Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Club: Love Walked In

This book club selection brought to you by Ginger and Jenn. Ginger created the book club, and Jenn picked the book for this round. The book selected was Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, and I have to say I liked it.  Really liked it.  Okay, I loved it.

Why did it take me three tries to admit I loved this book?  Well, I have a very high bar for truly loving a book.  Usually chick lit, while I enjoy it for something light and fun to read in between some heftier stuff, doesn't quite make the cut.  But this one was different.  Something about the way she drew you in right at the beginning, using first person to narrate Cornelia's voice so that you're immediately connected to her.  And then she narrates all Clare's parts in third person so that you really just feel like Cornelia is telling you all this over a cup of coffee -- she's telling you what was going on in her own life and then explaining what was happening to Clare at the same time.  And then she throws in such great little twists so that it's not just some story about how she fell in love with Martin and that was that and they had some problems and then it all was okay again. ***SPOILER ALERT:  From this point forward, the review is riddled with spoilers*** No.  Martin wasn't even the love of her life in the end.  He turned out to be kind of shallow and unlikeable, and then just when he was almost getting some depth to himself (such an artful way of writing a shallow character, too...he wasn't just flat on the page, he had life, but you could tell he was just one of those "what you see is what you get" people) he goes and dies.  And it was one of those deaths where you just say, "oh well, too bad."  No tears...there was no connection for the tears.

I also loved how the Teo and Cornelia relationship developed.  Or, rather, slapped Cornelia in the face, since, as she says, there was no process to the falling in love.  She just wasn't in love with him and then she was.  It sounds odd, even unbelievable, but I believe her.  I can believe that if you've known someone forever like that, and you know you love them in a certain way but you think it's just like brother and sister, it could easily happen that you look at them one day and something just shifts.  I think that's how it works for people who've known each other forever who suddenly fall in love and there they are.  I don't think they could have been in love with each other the whole time...if they had been, why did it take so long?  And in the case of people who've known each other since childhood, could they have really been "in love" at the start?  Can kids fall in love with each other?  We don't know exactly how long Teo had been in love with Cornelia, he doesn't say.  He just said it had been so long that he'd learned to hide it.  So maybe he did love her when they were children.  Either way, I thought this development was pulled off really well.  It was perfectly believable, because best friends DO fall in love, but it didn't feel like a cliché.  It just felt real.

I also loved how effectively she made us want Clare's mother to return, but then when she did, we weren't sure anymore if we wanted her there.  We knew she had to come back because Clare needed her, but they had formed this family unit for Clare that was almost better than what she'd had with just her mother.  I think the resolution of this conflict was appropriate.  Cornelia definitely couldn't stay as an additional "mom", I think that just would have been weird.  I liked the idea when Clare first mentioned it, but then as I thought about it I just thought it was kind of inappropriate now that Clare's mom had returned and was properly medicated.  But Clare still needed that network of people she could go to -- another house she could run to any time if anything weird started happening, people who would notice if something was wrong and would DO something, and people who would support Clare and her mom and get them back to a good place in their lives.

It was also good that we didn't have any "input" from Clare's mother.  Some authors would have had additional narratives from her, explaining where she was and what was wrong, but I think that would have taken away from the conflicted feeling I ended up with when the mother finally returned.  I would have fully wanted her back, knowing what struggles she had gone through to get better and see Clare again, instead of worrying that maybe she wasn't ready to come back, maybe she wasn't truly better.

So, anyway, I really did love this book.  Chick lit or's a lovable book.  I even got the sequel (which isn't so much a "sequel" as it is another story centering around Cornelia, now married to Teo and recently relocated from NYC to the suburbs, dealing with new struggles and new characters) and I'm pleased to report it has the same effective writing style.  So thanks to Ginger and Jenn, without whom I never would have picked up this book.  :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Good, Bad, Happy, Sad

Aside from my recent book review, I think it's been a while since I posted.  It's definitely been a while since I posted about life in general.  See, I started this blog at the beginning of law school.  It's supposed to be about me, sure, but really it's supposed to be about me and my interaction with the legal profession, and ever since the bar exam ended, my life has been decidedly non-legal.  So I would come by to the blog to post some kind of update, recall the essential theme of the blog, and feel sad because I'm still not working as a lawyer.  I'm not even a paralegal or a law clerk or something.  I'm working in retail.  Victoria's Secret, to be exact.  As retail goes, it's really not bad, and I'm actually thinking about keeping it as a very, very part-time job even when I find my legal job, but that's not the point.  The point is that I'm not doing ANY legal work.

But, I'm hoping that will change very, very soon.  I'm pretty sure all of you readers know that I passed the bar exam (!!!) so at least now when I apply for jobs, I can assure them that they won't be taking a gamble when they hire me.  It was different before I got the bar exam results, everyone I talked to said it was a "dead zone" for most people because, especially in this economy, employers don't want too many unknowns.  And not knowing if this person you're about to hire will even be able to practice law is a HUGE unknown.  But, there are still very few job postings out there to apply to, so it's still going to be tough.  But I keep saying, all I need is to attract the attention of just ONE employer.  I'm pretty good in interviews, so I think the job will come.

Meanwhile, this lack of a legal job is really taking a toll on my finances.  So, Marcelo and I are moving.  With my little minimum wage job, I can't even come close to my half of the expenses, and he can't cover it anymore.  It makes me sad; I've lived here for two years and have really settled in and fallen in love with this wonderful apartment, but today we found another nice place and it's in our budget.  It's smaller and it's only one bedroom, but all the stuff we care about having should fit and it's still a nice place.  And there's a fitness center at that complex, which should be pretty cool.  There's still a pool, and we'd still have a balcony too.  And a little gas fireplace -- actually, gas heat and stove too.  I'm excited about the gas stove.  As for our intent to maintain our separate bedrooms until we were "ready" to combine, well...I guess that's now.  The idea of going down to a one bedroom doesn't scare me, and I was the one who was the most concerned about it, so I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be.  Besides, even though we're only at the three-month mark in our relationship, we were roommates for six months before that.  So we know each other (and our living habits in terms of cleanliness and such) pretty well.  And he knows when to leave me alone because I'm busy or feeling quiet or irritable or whatever, he's not going to forget how to do that just because we're in a smaller space.  So, it will all be fine.  Besides, the move FEELS right, and you all know how much stock I put into what feels right and what feels wrong.

Well, I guess that's all my good/bad/happy/sad stuff lately.  I will say, it's a real testament to my eternal optimism that I've been going through all this and I'm still positive about the future.  And I'm not utterly depressed about the current state of my life, I'm just accepting it as a rough patch.  We all have to deal with those.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

For Ginger's Book Club for September/October, we read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  I actually finished it a while ago but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say in my review.  I agree with others who said that the lack of quotation marks drove me crazy, but that's not a review of a book.

I think this review is hard for me to write because on the one hand, the story kept me reading, but on the other hand, the book left me feeling about as empty as Rose's mother's cooking.  I think that I, like Jenn, wasn't connecting with the characters.  What I think kept me reading was the fact that I wanted, so badly, to connect with this family and so I kept going to see if that connection would happen.  But it just didn't.

I also really wanted to connect with the book because I thought I was going to be able to connect with Rose and what she "tastes" in her food.  My favorite sense, by far, is taste.  I have very discerning taste buds, so if I say food is good, it really is GOOD.  I can tell when the measurements were a little off or that milk was almost too old or that substitution you thought would work just didn't quite cut it.  This often makes it difficult to eat food made by others, and it also makes it difficult to prepare food for myself.  When cooking for myself, I get so wrapped up in trying to make sure the flavors are balanced so that I'll enjoy it when it's done that I can't enjoy the process.  I'm stressed and flustered and trying to make sure the onions don't burn while I'm pouring the spices into the measuring spoon because I bought this stupid container without a removable lid so I can't just SCOOP them...and I think, while it's not quite like the way Rose tasted people's feelings, I can taste that frustration in the food when I'm done.  The only food I cook that I truly enjoy is the stuff that I can cook from memory and without measurements.  Then I am enjoying the process, probably singing and dancing in the kitchen, and I can taste that enjoyment when I'm done too.

As for others' food, I think I've been spoiled by people who can try a recipe once or twice and then do it from memory, because I can tell when someone has tried to do that but they just don't know what they're doing.  I've also been spoiled by people who know how a recipe is supposed to look and taste and know what adjustments to make when it's not.  So then when I get food from someone who just threw stuff in willy-nilly and now the alfredo sauce is a little more like warmed up cream with some's just disappointing.  All of you reading this who have cooked for me -- don't worry, this is not my way of saying your food lets me down.  Your food is what has spoiled me so that NOW I feel let down by other food.  And this other food is not BAD by any means, it's just more like eating to survive, not eating to enjoy.

My point with all this discussion on food is that my discerning taste buds and my attachment to the enjoyment of food really made me want to connect with Rose in the book.  I really wanted her to learn something about food because of her special talent, but instead she just ate factory food since it wouldn't taste like feelings.  Only at the end did I start connecting with her, when she finally decided to start visiting restaurants and trying to enjoy food and allowing the feelings to be part of the flavor.  And then the book was over and I was left hungry for something more.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The New Social Circle

I remember when the internet first appeared.  It was lauded as the new way to bring people together from around the globe.  But it didn't really do that as soon as everyone expected.  For the business world, yes, it was great, and it was great right away.  But for everyday people like you and me, we learned quickly that we had to be careful.  Yeah, it was a cool idea, and you might have some "'friends" in chat rooms or bulletin boards (remember when those were the only ways to "connect" outside of email?) but there wasn't much of a connection beyond that.  Everyone was wary of sexual predators and serial killers, especially when their teenage children were exploring the internet.

Over time, people got more relaxed.  I know my mom has been part of an email movie discussion group called The Balcony for years.  She visited friends or had friends visit her when I still thought it was creepy and weird to make friends through the internet.  How do you know who these people are?  How do you know that the person they're presenting is the real thing?  How can you trust them?  Of course, this was during my late teens, and I'm a smart one, I knew that I needed to be cautious at that age.  But even through college and for a while after, I didn't really branch out.  I had an early version of the blog for a while, I think the site was called Diaryland...or maybe that was later.  Anyway, the whole idea was that it was similar to your private journal, and you could make it private, semi-private, or public.  I remember mine was public, and since I never really kept a diary of private thoughts, it just became a place to talk about my day (kind of like this blog).  I had some regular readers whose journals I also read, and I thought it was pretty cool that I sort of knew about all these people writing from all over the world.  But I didn't really consider them friends.  I always felt like I needed to keep some distance.  And eventually I got tired of the servers overloading on that site and I stopped writing.  When that happened, I didn't worry about keeping in touch with my readers.  A few of them had already gotten sick of the servers or stopped writing for other reasons, and even though we'd been reading each other's journals, we didn't feel THAT close.  We were just a bunch of teenagers -- we had our real friends, and our readers were just these people who happened to be permitted to read the minor, sharable details of our lives.

After that, I went back to using social media solely for keeping in touch with people I knew in real life.  It was nice to have MSN chat when my friends and I all went to different colleges.  I'm not sure I'd even still know my best friend if it hadn't been for chatting online a few times a week.  Even just a few years before, college was known as the time when you drift away from your old friends and make the friends that you know you'll have forever.  Granted, I certainly made some wonderful friends in college, and I believe I will have them forever.  I just didn't end up drifting away from the old friends, and it was all because we could chat online.  Why doesn't just calling work, you ask?  Well, when you call someone, you feel like you have to talk.  When online, especially when you can make a group chat window (which we did all the time), it's more like you're just hanging out.  You don't feel like you have to keep the conversation moving the whole time.  It might even hit a lull and then you don't talk for a couple hours, but then something funny will happen and if they're still online, you can tell them about it.

So, great.  I stayed in touch with my friends who were really still just a few hours away.  And I'd have online conversations with some new college friends if it was late at night and we were in our separate dorm rooms.  But that's still not connecting "around the globe."  Where's that amazing socialization that we were supposed to get?

I know by this point in the post you're all saying, "duh, Bridgete, it's here."  And you're right, it is.  My mom just told me that she's showing one of her Balcony friends around Portland.  Like I said, she had that connection thing long before I did.  But now I've connected too.  Blogging finally did it.  I don't know why blogging is so much different than that online diary I had, whether it's because I'm older or because now most of the people you meet have a blog or two so it's just normal, but it's different.  Jenn and Matt are part of my Boston family, and I never would have even met them if it hadn't been for blogging.  I'd feel perfectly comfortable flying to Colorado and staying with Ginger or Kate.  Bree made her blog private but still welcomed me into the inner circle of permitted readers.  And that's just the people I know through the more personal blogs.  Then there's the author of You Suck at Craigslist.  Those people got me through the bar exam.  Well, let's hope they did, they might have just served as a distraction. ;)

I've added these people as friends on Facebook.  I stoically add only "real" friends as Facebook friends.  So I guess my blog friends are "real" friends.  In fact, I don't even distinguish between blog friends and real friends anymore.  Sure, certain blog friends are part of a particular circle and they don't really interact with the other circles, except maybe with an occasional reply to someone's comment on one of my statuses.  But when I talk about something funny someone said, I just say, "Oh, _____ said the funniest thing the other day!" and that's that.  No need to explain that I've never actually met this person.  That's not important anymore.  We know each other, and that's enough.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Paris, je t'aime...

Okay. I've been trying to figure out what to say about Paris, other than I loved it, I wanted to stay, and now that I'm home I miss it more than I ever thought I could miss something as simple as a location on the earth. But it's not just "a location". It's Paris. Everything about Paris is beauty in its purest form. The food, the wine, the architecture, the art -- it's all beautiful. The ugliest building in the city was built in the 70s, which was a strange time for architecture everywhere -- even that is at least more attractive than the buildings that appeared in the US at the same time.

And then there's the people. Everyone is quiet and polite. You don't have to holler at the top of your lungs and throw your elbows around to get off the Metro. A single, fairly quiet "pardon" and the crowd parts. All the restaurants and cafes are fairly small with tables crammed in as close as they can be, but you still cannot hear the conversation of the people next to you. Unless they're American tourists -- who I quickly became annoyed with as if I was already Parisian. And oh my goodness, the children. You all know that I don't like children. Well, I had NO problem with Parisian children. And at one restaurant, I learned why -- if the child is throwing a tantrum or otherwise causing a disturbance in public, you know what the parents do? They leave. They go home, taking the fussy child with them, and after a while, the child learns that disruptive behavior in public is not acceptable.  I swear to you, even the pigeons were polite.  You throw a pigeon a crumb and instead of begging for more or calling out to his 20 friends nearby that he found someone gullible, he'd just eat the crumb, bob his head as if to say, "merci," and move along.

I know you all want to know the specifics, like what we did, what we saw, what we ate.  But I just can't make myself reduce Paris into a chronicle of experiences.  It was simply THE experience.  So, for what we did and saw, you can visit my mom's chronicle on her blog, starting with day one.  You can also see what she ate -- I didn't record what I ate.  I just ate.

As for photos, my mom has a few in her blog.  You can see my photos on Facebook.  I've already checked, you will be able to see those photos whether you're my Facebook friend or not.

I now know that I MUST return to Paris as soon as I'm able.  So, on that note, to my dear Paris -- À bientôt!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eating, Praying, Loving

Well, I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert, for the book club that Ginger started. What I found most interesting is not necessarily the book itself (although I definitely enjoyed it), but rather the fact that it was so the right time for me to read this book. Here I was, going on a trip to Paris, where I indulged in food and wine more delicious than anything I've ever had here in the states, even in Boston's most fabulous restaurants (and Bostonians love their food). I ate. While in Paris, I entered Notre Dame Cathedral for the first time in my life and the energy of God or the Universe or whatever you want to call it overwhelmed me, to the point where I had to just sit and let it wash over me. Then I lit a candle to pray for a job and I'm now trying to patiently wait for that to come along. I prayed. And I fell head over heels for my roommate with a sudden rush of feelings so strong I wondered where I'd kept them the past six months. I love.

This book taught me a lot about how to look at those experiences I've just had. First, that allowing pleasure for pleasure's sake, without allowing in worry and regret and whatever else, is an art that, as an American, I may never achieve. But after spending a week in Paris where nearly all I did was go sightseeing, eat, and drink wine, I've learned that I want to try. I want to figure out a way to be a lawyer while still taking time to actually enjoy my lunch, instead of scarfing it down in front of the computer screen because that memo just can't wait for me to digest. I'm not sure how well that will work since I just had to pick a profession that always needs something done yesterday, but both my experience in Paris and my new understanding of true pleasure from the book have made me want to try.

Second, I've been weird about religion for a long time now. I've felt the Universe work for me many times before. One moment that comes to mind is when my mom was almost stuck in Portland for Christmas due to a huge snowstorm in the NW. I remember when she told me her flight was canceled...I hung up the phone and fell to the floor in tears, screaming to the sky that I don't care about the presents, I don't care about anything but having my mom with me for Christmas and DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!? About 5 minutes later, she called back and said her flight had been reinstated and she was on her way. Then there was when Severus was really sick last summer. He had a bladder infection, which can be really dangerous in a male cat. I remember getting him on the antibiotics and they just didn't seem to be DOING anything for the first three days. I was terrified, and I didn't know what else to do. So, I prayed. I prayed to anything that I could think of. And he got better. And, most recently, I prayed that Christen would be okay and that her headaches and whatnot would be nothing. Well, the tests all came back healthy, and in the meantime she realized she only felt sick at work. So, she quit, and she's already starting to feel better.

The thing is, my prayers always involve tears. I'm always sobbing about something or other and begging for help. But I guess that's how it started for Liz. And I liked that Liz feels a lot like me in that she knows there are many paths to who she calls God. I also liked that she calls the being God without attaching the Judeo-Christian ideals to it, she just says it's more comfortable and familiar for her. I'd been really struggling with what to say when I'm praying. I've even been struggling with calling it praying. I still don't like organized religion, with all the rules and right and wrong, so the words associated with the most familiar group of organized religions in the US sometimes bother me. But I think I might go ahead and adopt Liz's idea, that I'm just saying God because it's familiar and easy. I think that will help my attempts at prayer, whether I do them every day or just when I need something. On that note, I liked the bit in the book with the petition to resolve the whole divorce thing, and then the resolution came. I mostly liked when Liz said something to the effect of, I can't just go to God when I want something, and her friend said, "why not?" This makes sense to me. If you're always devoted in your heart, if you're always aware of and grateful for the forces at work, helping you out, then what's wrong with only praying when you need or want something? It's like...well, okay, I have wonderful parents who never guilt me into calling more often or whatever, so this comparison may not hold true for everyone, but I'll use it anyway. It's like when I call my mom or dad for help with something, and they just do it. No stipulations (except maybe paying back borrowed money), no guilt, just love. And I don't have to tell them every single day that I love them, they know I love them. It's in my heart, always. So, why can't God be the same? And, even better, help to the greatest extent possible, for God, should be infinite!

And finally. I have loved before. Years ago. I was young and didn't handle it well. And then some things happened and I was intentionally celibate for two years because I couldn't even deal with the idea of sex. The celibacy broke with a little summer fling that I had just before leaving Portland for Boston to come to law school. He was actually a really great guy and the perfect person to have chosen for the purpose he served -- to bring me back to a place where someone can be interested in both physical AND internal beauty (some of the issues from before). Then there were a few "almost lovers," to quote Almost Lover, by A Fine Frenzy, through the three years of law school. Nothing really ever panned out, for a variety of reasons -- sometimes my issues, sometimes the guy's issues, sometimes both. And then there's now. It's been six years since I've been in a RELATIONSHIP.  I've grown up a lot.  I've learned a lot about myself.  I've learned a lot about what I need and what I want, as well as what I don't need and what I don't want.  I've fumbled around in the dating world and decided against a lot of potential flings/relationships/etc. because I knew they wouldn't be healthy for me.  And then, when I found a person who might be right, I finally gave myself the green light to go ahead and fall again.  I finally told myself I'm ready for the unbalancing balance of love.  And now I'm here, and I'm happy with my south Brazilian (another coincidental similarity to Liz).

So, thanks for the perfect timing, Ginger.  Now, on to the next book!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Update on life

First of all, I need all my bloggy friends to send prayers/healing thoughts/whatever you prefer to my best friend, Christen.  She's been dizzy, nauseous, and has had a headache for about two weeks now.  She went to the doctor, they gave her some anti-nausea stuff with directions to use it until Wednesday and directions to call if the symptoms came back...they did.  So, she has to go back to the doctor, they have to check more things, and I'm terrified and helpless.  So, good thoughts, hope that it's either nothing or something simple, like, maybe she needs a new eyeglass prescription.

In other, happier news...totally dating my roommate now.  Crazy, right?  Whatever, I've known him for six months now and for most of those six months, the thought was in the back of my mind and I kept finding ways to push it away because I figured it was a bad idea.  Who knows, maybe it's still a little crazy, but I couldn't keep ignoring what I felt or inventing things that "annoyed" me so that I could try to push the feelings aside.  He's a nice guy, the last few days he's been totally respectful, and before I went ahead with anything I laid all my relationship issues on the table and he was really understanding about it all.  We decided to maintain separate bedrooms for a while to try to make it a little less like we're "living together" even though, well, we are.  So, there you go.

And, on another happy note, my mom and I depart for PARIS today!  I'm so excited.  I can't even describe how excited I am about this.  On that note, I'd better go pack!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spicy Taters and Eggs!

Okay Ginger, here's my recipe for the month.  I didn't even think to take a picture, I was just experimenting and then when I was almost done eating it I thought, well, this should be my recipe this month!

So, some background.  When I was a kid, my dad used to make this thing for breakfast that he called Taters and Eggs.  Like the name indicates, it's sliced up potatoes and scrambled eggs, all mixed up in the pan.  Pretty simple, but I've always loved it.  I'm not usually a fan of the sweet breakfast foods like pancakes, so when I wanted something "special" this is always what I craved.  Well, today I went to make some, but I decided to kick it up a notch and make it a bit spicy.  I thought, hey, I like spicy potatoes, and people put Tabasco sauce on their eggs all the time so I can't imagine they'd interfere with the spice.  Anyway, it was delicious.  So, I'm going to share the recipe.

Ingredients (for one serving):
One medium russet potato (or whatever other kind of potato you'd like to use, just make sure it's approximately the same size as a medium-sized russet potato).
Three eggs
Olive oil, about 1/2 a tablespoon
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper

Wash and peel the potato (or don't peel it, whatever).  Cut it into lengthwise quarters, and then thinly slice up the quarters.  You want the slices to be somewhere around 1/8 inch, thin enough to cook quickly in a frying pan.  When you've started slicing the potato, start heating the olive oil in a ten-inch skillet.  When it's hot and the potatoes are sliced, throw them in and get them cooking.  When they have a nice even coating of the olive oil, grab your chili powder and give your potatoes a nice, even, light coating, then stir the potatoes around to get it all over all of them.  Chili powder is a pretty mild spice, as spice goes, so don't worry too much about accidentally going overboard.  Take the paprika and lightly coat the potatoes and stir them again, just like with the chili powder.  Then take your cayenne pepper and really, really, lightly dust the potatoes with it and stir them around again.  The cayenne pepper is the one you want to watch out for, go too crazy and those will be some SPICY potatoes.  Of course, if that's what you want, then go for it, just keep in mind that I like spice and even I have nearly out-spiced myself with the cayenne pepper.

Once you've gotten the potatoes all spiced up, keep moving them around every minute or so to make sure they cook evenly.  As soon as they're just about fully cooked, turn the heat down to medium and give the pan a minute or two to cool down.  Once the pan cools, take your three eggs, whisk them up in a bowl like you would for scrambled eggs, throw in a dash or two of salt and get that mixed into the eggs, then pour them in right on top of the potatoes.  Quickly stir the whole mixture and get the eggs fully cooked, for about a minute or so.  Immediately remove the pan from heat and serve.  Enjoy!

Ginger, I know you can't have eggs.  I don't know how you'd improvise scrambled eggs, but you could always just make the spicy potatoes on their own as a side dish.  =)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy (Late) Independence Day!

It's been a while since I blogged.  I need to get back to the studying since I took basically the whole weekend off for the holiday, but I wanted to quickly post and say hi to everyone.

So, remember the guy that I said I had a date with in my last substantive update?  Well, I'm still seeing him.  As we can find the time, at least.  Between my studying and his job as a paramedic, it's been difficult.  But we're still making an effort, at least.  So, I'll tell you more about how that's going when he and I get the chance to really spend some time together.  So far I like him, but that's about all I know.

I had fun with Jenn and Matt last night at the fireworks.  It was weird though, there was this abnormally long gap between the 1812 Overture and the fireworks show.  So there we were getting irritated and bored while waiting for the fireworks to start.  But it finally started and I got some really good fireworks photos this year.  I'll have to remember that spot for later years if I want to go back for more photos.  Next year I might stay home and find out how much I can see from my balcony.  I've heard from various Quincy residents that if you have a balcony that faces the city (like I do) you have a pretty great view.  Not a photographer's view, but now that I finally got the photos I want, that's fine.

What, you want to SEE the photos?  Alright, alright, don't get your panties in a twist.  Here's my flickr album:

There are some fireworks from previous years in the same'll know which ones are this year's from my oh-so-creative title on each one:  July 4th, 2010.  =)

The studying is going quite well.  We had a practice MBE (multi-state bar exam...the multiple choice part) the other day.  I actually missed physically going in to the practice day because I slept really poorly the night before, but I did it at home and timed myself...and made sure to sit at my desk, rather than on the couch or something.  I know, I missed the experience of being in a huge room with a bunch of other test-takers, but it's not like I haven't taken standardized multiple-choice tests before.  Anyway, supposedly, the average national score is 105 on the practice day.  Passing on the bar exam is roughly 128 (raw score, not scaled).  My score on the practice day was 130.  So unless being in a room with a bunch of other people is going to distract me more than the cat coming up and meowing at me or climbing in my lap or hopping on the desk and trying to lay on the testing booklet, all I need to do is maintain that score, rather than improve on it.  Hooray!  As for the essay day, which is Massachusetts only, I'm pretty well set there too.  We've been turning in practice essays to barbri for them to grade and give back to far I've gotten a little above a 4 on each essay I've turned in, and the goal score per essay is a 4 or a 5 (out of 7 possible).  The score is mostly a reflection of organization and at least demonstrating adequate knowledge of the law.  As I've learned from the practice essays, adequate does not mean perfect, because I know both the ones I turned in were not perfect.  So, yay!

And, with that, I should go study now, so that I don't lose all this progress.  At this point, I probably won't write again until after the exam, so...see you all when it's over!
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Tuna

Okay, this is for Ginger's Asian Style Noodles meme. I'll admit, I've never made it with noodles, always with rice. I didn't have time this month to try it with noodles, but since I invented the Spicy Teriyaki Tuna part ages ago, I figured this is the right time to share. So, because the tuna has a teriyaki sauce, I think it will go well with udon or soba noodles. I was personally going to go with soba, had I managed to actually make it this month. I was going to cook them up and then just put the Spicy Tuna Teriyaki on top, sort of like when you go to a bento stand (if any of you have ever done that...).

So, for the main deal, the key to this is actually a specialty package of tuna from StarKist. It's StarKist Tuna Creations - Sweet & Spicy Tuna. My inspiration actually came from the recipe on the back, but I didn't have everything necessary and I was trying to just throw together some food with what I had in the house. So, I looked in the fridge and discovered I had a bottle of Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce. I thought that would work...and it did. It's a kind of thin sauce, so if you like a thicker sauce, you might want to mix it with some cornstarch first. Or just make your own, or find a thicker pre-made sauce. But that's up to you. So now, without further ado, the recipe:

1 package StarKist Tuna Creations - Sweet & Spicy Tuna
1/2 to 1 cup frozen corn (I always just throw it in until it looks right)
2 to 3 cups frozen broccoli cuts (again, I just throw it in until it looks right)
Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce (or your own teriyaki sauce, or any other teriyaki sauce you like)
1 Tbsp. cooking oil - sesame or vegetable oil both work well, but I've used olive oil before when that's what I had and it doesn't end up tasting like olives, so it should be fine.

Prepare noodles according to directions on the box. Set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet on about medium high. Stir fry the broccoli until it's a bit warm, around two minutes, and then add the corn and warm it up for about a minute. Add the tuna packet and stir fry for one minute, then add the teriyaki sauce. I always just eyeball it, so I don't know exactly how much is in there -- I'd say add sauce until there's enough for it to kind of boil around the tuna and corn, and the broccoli pieces are at least partially covered. Let it simmer for a couple minutes until everything is hot, then remove from heat. Spoon over noodles. My suggestion would be to keep the noodles and tuna separate so everyone can decide on their own sauce-to-noodle proportion...but that's how I like to serve spaghetti too, so maybe that's just me. =)
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Monday, May 31, 2010


Well...I graduated.  And now I have to prep for the bar.  So...I'm done, but not done.  But graduation was a great day.  I really did work hard to get there, so even though I now have more work ahead of me, I still feel good about what I've accomplished so far.

All the lawyers here call the state "Pass-achusetts", so I'm hoping that means I shouldn't be concerned.  But it's still going to be two more months of intense studying...Pass-achusetts or not, I have to study for it.  The only reason so many people pass here is because of how Mass deals with the scoring -- rather than say you failed because you just missed the mark on one part of it (essay or multiple choice), if you can make up for it on the other part and your overall score is good enough, you pass.

In spite of how busy I'm going to be, apparently I have a date...sometime this week.  We haven't made the official plan, but he's been texting me and stuff so I don't think he's going to forget about me, lol.  I met him last night, he's a friend of Vanessa's...or maybe a friend of one of her friends.  Whatever.  He's nice and interesting, and he seems intelligent.  He's a paramedic, which is pretty cool (and with how often I like to hit my head/sprain my ankle/otherwise injure myself, that could be useful, lol).  And when he asked me to dinner, I warned him that I'm not one of those girls who just eats a salad at dinner and he told me he thinks that's hot, lol.  I'll just have to warn him that I may be short on time, especially at the end of July.  I have this tendency to meet guys when I'm not looking for one because I'm going to be busy or I'm moving across the country or something, so I've learned to just go with it.

Oh!  Part of commencement week was a scavenger hunt all over Boston.  It was on Tuesday, which was, of course, the hottest day EVER.  Okay, not ever, but it got up to like, 90.  Anyway, so my team didn't win, we ran out of steam (and so did Abby, Amanda's chihuahua) so we didn't get nearly as much stuff as some of the other teams.  BUT, we ended up winning most creative with our interpretations for the photo requirements, so we still each got a $15 iTunes gift card, woo!

Well, I think that's about it.  I might be back to complain about bar studying, but I'm not sure.  I'll at least try to keep you all posted on the new boy.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And you all thought I'd fallen off the edge of the world...

Nope, I'm right here.

I suppose all the readers I know about are also my FB friends...or at least email buddies (hi Nikki!), so you're probably all aware that I didn't actually fall off the edge of the world.  But, regardless, I guess it's time for a post.

Let's see, where did I leave you?  Oh, right, okay, so I've had two choir concerts since last time.  The March one was the fun one, and I got to be part of a group of 10 singers doing "California Dreamin'", so that was a blast.  If you'd like to see that (and the rest of the concert), the whole thing can be found on YouTube here.  Then our May concert was actually just this last Sunday.  For that, we did Brahms' Requiem.  It went pretty well, except that about halfway through, apparently some little old lady complained about being cold, so they shut all the windows in the church...nearly killing half the soprano section (those high notes can really make a person light-headed), as well as a few members of the other sections.  I'm surprised I wasn't among those who almost fainted...I'm prone to overheating, AND I'm a soprano.  Anyway...I mean, I'm all for making sure the audience isn't freezing, but there has to be a better solution than nearly killing the performers.  Perhaps by shutting SOME of the windows and finding a Snuggie for the little old lady.

So, that's choir.  What else?  Oh, the roomie and I are getting along swimmingly.  When he's home in the evenings (only Sunday-Tuesday right now because he works in a restaurant) we've taken to sitting in the living room instead of retiring to our separate bedrooms right after dinner.  Severus seems to like the company in the daytime, too, so it's good all around.  Oh, and he's still cooking and being helpful with cleaning and such...and still doesn't seem to mind my little OCD things.  He just puts stuff where I tell him it goes and that's that.

The job search is still pretty fruitless...but I'm staying calm only because I have that possible back-up plan from my 4th internship.  A couple weeks ago I mailed in some stuff for what I've been calling the perfect job -- it's a Junior Tax Attorney position at a small, tax-only firm...and they do litigation as well as transactional stuff, so I wouldn't have to give up on getting to litigate just to do tax law!  So, we'll see how that goes, I'm crossing my fingers.  And I'm checking postings on a weekly basis just to see what's there. 

As for school...I'm in my last week of classes, next week is finals, and then the following week is grad week, culminating in commencement on the 28th.  It's so close...but it hasn't really hit me yet.  I think it might have something to do with the bar exam looming just after.  I'm done, but I'm not really done.  This would be why the celebratory graduation trip to Paris is in August.  Well, that and the fact that BarBri starts the week after graduation.  For some, it starts the week OF graduation, but I happened to sign up for the video lectures as opposed to the live ones.  Not planned, I just wanted to take the evening class...for two reasons.  One, now I get to lay by the pool with my BarBri books piled around me during the day, and two, it really fits better with my studying style, because I know I won't study AFTER going to a class in the morning, but I will study before.  Especially if I isolate myself at the pool with no facebook or TV.  You'd think all that water might distract a swimmer like myself, but I know from experience that the pool at my apartment isn't really all that warm, so it feels great for about 5 minutes on a really hot day, then I get cold and have to get out and warm up in the sun again.

Speaking of Paris...the trip itself is all paid for, and money from family members has started to appear in my registry on for spending purposes once my mom and I are there, so that's exciting.  I've been practicing my French -- a friend at school went to Switzerland for one of her internships so we had a "French Lunch" last week.  I held my own pretty well...she definitely had to remind me of a few words, and my verb conjugations in actual conversation could use some work (meaning, I know how to conjugate the verb for the pronoun I just used, but I have to think a bit too long about it) but I certainly did better than I thought I would, so that was great.

Umm...oh!  My 27th birthday came and went.  The Boston party was a blast, as was the birthday weekend in DC.  Although getting on a plane twice in 4 days gave me a cold, and then right on the heels of that the pollen count in Boston jumped to record levels (according to various sources), and the pollen in spring is the kind of pollen I'm particularly allergic to, so I've been sniffly, stuffy, and sneezy ever since.  But I still had a good birthday so that's what counts!  =)

Well, I think that's about all the time we have today.  I'll try to write again sometime around graduation...before I start drowning in bar prep.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh goodness! Where have I been?

Pardon my absence.  How long has it been, two months?  I think I was I'm not sure what kept me so busy, I just know my weekends were full for a long time, and weekdays were full with work.

I think I'll give all relevant updates in backwards's easier to remember that way.

Today, I went to the BU Dental School to have my first dentist appointment in...well, years.  I didn't know until THIS year that I could sign up for a student dental plan and get cheap dental I could have been going since 1L year, but, oh well, I'm going now.  For students in the Boston area, it's $250 to sign up for a year, and then all x-rays, exams, cleanings, and fillings are free.  So I got my x-rays last week, and then went in for the exam today.  The cleaning comes later.  So today, he told me that apparently the reason one tooth has been bothering me is because there's a broken filling.  He said he should be able to just fix that without a root canal, hooray!  He also assured me that root canals are no big deal if I do need one on that tooth, and it should be really cheap at the dental school (wait till you hear the cost for a crown).  Then there are a few teeth that look like they have some small cavities forming so we're going to fix those since that's all free too.  And then there's one tooth in the back that has a big filling, it doesn't desperately need a crown but since it's only $200 to do it at the school as opposed to roughly $1000 in the real world, we're going to just take care of it.  So, first I'll be going back for the cleaning, then they'll fix that broken filling, then they'll fix the other tiny cavities, then probably at the end of the summer I'll get that crown.

Yesterday was the first day back to class...for my last quarter of law school.  I'm taking:  Law and Literature, Welfare Law, Employment Law, and Human Rights in the Global Economy.  I'm in class from 10:15 to 5, with 15 minute breaks to run to my next class...but then I have NOTHING Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.  Tuesdays and/or Thursdays I'll be doing my cushy work-study job, and Fridays I'll just hang around at home unless a professor uses one of the reschedule periods.  Anyway, so I'm actually pretty excited about all my classes.  Law and Literature is exactly what it sounds like...reading actual BOOKS and then talking about them.  We'll be looking at them from a legal perspective, but still...reading books!!!  Hooray!  And one of our assigned books is Pride and Prejudice!  Hooray again!  Welfare Law is with my favorite professor, which is the main reason I signed up for it, but it looks like it's going to be really interesting.  Employment Law is going to be good, people seem to often have the question "If I get fired, can I sue?"  I already know that usually the answer is no (in the US, at least), but now I'll know when the answer is yes.  And Human Rights in the Global Economy is going to be really fascinating, we'll be talking a lot about what human rights actually are (food? shelter? physical/personal security?), and who, in the global sense, has the responsibility to ensure that these rights are honored.  As law classes go, it's a pretty "fluffy" quarter...which is exactly what I want for my final quarter.

Speaking of it being my final quarter...well, I still don't have a job after graduation.  BUT, the law firm I just finished working at sorta-kinda offered me a job.  I say sorta-kinda because it's a small firm, they're not really certain what their hiring needs will be when I'm out of school and done with the bar and everything, so they couldn't make a firm offer.  But, they loved me there (my evaluation for school said something about "the suberb lawyer [I] will become"), and both the managing partner (aka, guy with his name on the door) and the office manager encouraged me to check in with them during my job search and apply if there's an, if the stars align and they have an opening, I should be able to work there.  So, it's a half-relief.  Oh, and the managing partner said he'll write letters of recommendation for me, so that will give me an edge for anywhere else I apply.  Now I need to go to career services and figure out where to look for job openings.  I'm still applying for a tax LLM, too, so hopefully I'll get into that and I can do that next year if I end up jobless.  If I'm REALLY jobless...I've talked to a lot of people who graduated last year when the legal job market was basically dead (it's currently on life support, but I would no longer call it completely dead) who started their own firm or are considering doing so as new's not the optimal way to do things, but it can work.  I want my own firm someday anyway, so if I have to resort to it now, then, okay.  So, I'm not in a total panic about still being jobless.

Let's see, so that gets us back to February 19th, which was my last day at my internship.  February 6th, my choir did a Cabaret night thing, which is a fun little dinner, and we provide our own entertainment by signing up to perform something.  I signed up, and did Defying Gravity from Wicked, and I totally kicked ASS.  People were complimenting me all night (I had to go first, some "newbie" rule), and even Monday at rehearsal I was still getting compliments.  It was a great feeling, I haven't rocked the house like that in a while.  Also on the subject of choir, I'm in a little group of about 10 singing...well, I want to surprise Jenn with the song when she comes, so I'm not telling what it is, let's just say it's going to be awesome.  We just did it for the whole choir last night, they said the 10 of us have a really nice blend, so that will be fun.  I'll tell you all what song it was (or Jenn can tell you) after the concert on the 14th.

Okay, so going back from February 6th takes me back to February Ist...or, well, actually January 31st...when I FINALLY got a new roommate!  He's awesome.  He's already picked up on most of my little OCD things (like the "leftover spot" in the fridge), he cooks, he puts dishes right in the dishwasher (I hate when people leave stuff in the sink when the dishwasher is RIGHT THERE...unless it's soaking), he handwashes anything that is too big or otherwise shoudn't go in the dishwasher, he cleans up after himself, he's not noisy, he's's fantastic.  His name is Marcelo, he's from Brazil, he was a physical therapist there, a few years ago he moved here.  He's now working on getting a PT license here; he has to take a few classes that they wouldn't transfer from his old school, and then he can take the licensing exam.  So, US licensing requirements aside, I basically have a resident physical therapist.  Good for me, with all my back problems and my stupid knee that hasn't been the same since I hurt it in 2001.  So, anyway, after all the trouble with finding a roommate...well, I guess the universe was just making me wait until the right person was ready to move.  Lucky for me my landlord is awesome...well, actually, his uncle was paying through December, January I still just paid my half, so really Kevin only lost out on half the rent in January.  With all the vacancies all over the place, I'm pretty sure getting half the rent for just one month was better than making me move out and getting no rent at all.  He would have let me stay had I not found someone for February (he told me) but still...better for both of us that I found someone.  Paying all the utilities on a rather big winter...with electric heat...yeah, that was a bitch.  Although my new energy-efficient furnace helped with that...but it still sucked.

Um, okay, so, January.  I don't think there was any significant news for that month.  Just working and stuff.  Oh, wait!  Work!  I went to a trial!  It was so cool to watch.  It had nothing to do with asbestos litigation (the primary focus of this firm...I think I told you guys that but just in case I didn't).  It was a dispute between insured and insurer, we represented the insured, we won, hooray!  I also made some good friends at work.  So, yeah, January was good.

So, now that I've covered's what's coming up.  Tomorrow after class I get to go shopping with Vanessa for a new dress for Barrister's Ball (law school prom).  Friday there's another law firm cocktail hour and I still get to go even though I don't work there anymore (I told you they love me!).  Saturday Megan and I are going to a wedding.  Choir concert is March 14th.  In a few weeks, Megan has a birthday dinner.  Barrister's Ball is also in a few weeks.  And from April 9th-11th I'm going to DC for my own birthday celebration!  I'm going to have a local party too, either the weekend before or the weekend after (Jenn, I need your input on that, you tend to be the busiest), but I'm excited to be finally visiting DC!  Actually, I need to go reserve my plane tickets...I looked at all my options and it's (oddly) cheaper to fly than take Amtrak, I've already refused to take Greyhound any farther than NYC (after the "fun" of getting to Richmond to see Mraz), and I don't want to drive 10 hours for just a weekend (and I absolutely don't want to drive 10 hours ON my birthday to come back), so flying it is!  I'll be staying with my "twin" (the girl I met over the summer), her birthday is the 10th (mine is the 11th, if you forgot) so we thought it would be fun to celebrate together.

Alright, I think I've covered everything.  Everyone feel caught up now?  Good, because I'm hungry, and I need to study.  I should update again soon, now that I'm back in class I can get back into a good blogging rhythm.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Yes, I'm still here.

I'm sure you all thought I was just hibernating.  It's not that...I was actually more busy than I've been in a long time.   Dad here for Thanksgiving, starting new internship, choir performance, Mom here for Christmas...busy busy busy.

I definitely had a great time with each parent during their visits.  The new internship is fine, but I'm now certain I don't want to work in asbestos litigation.  At least everyone likes me and I'm learning some new stuff, so it'll be fine, but I'll be glad to be done in February.  And the choir performance went really well, I was pleased with that.

I know, I could go into more detail on all that, but it's just not in me today.

Oh!  My dad gave me a Wii Fit for Christmas, that thing is SO fun!  Anyone with a Wii needs to get it.  Hell, just get a Wii and then get the Wii Fit too!

It seems this is turning into a broken thought process post...that wasn't really my intent, I guess it's just how my brain is working today.

Oh goodness, my entire Corporations class is pretty upset with how the final went.  So not only did we all have to teach ourselves everything because he was useless, but then we get to the final and he went and tested us, in DETAIL, on stuff he glazed over in about a day.  I have never been so frustrated in an exam...not one that I'd studied that hard for, at least.  So we're petitioning to the dean.  One or two students complaining is one thing...everyone (or at least almost everyone) in the class is another.  I'm not sure what she'll do in response, but she'll have to do something.

The other classes ended fine.  I had to pull an all-nighter to get a paper done, but that's how law school goes sometimes.

Let's see, what did I write in my last post that you all might need updates on?

Oh, yeah, so my landlord's uncle bailed out again.  He slept here one other night after that first night, and then my landlord told me he changed his mind yet again.  I don't really know what the deal is, I sensed that it's all tangled up in a bunch of family drama so I didn't want to pry.  So I'm roommateless again, but my landlord and I are doing what we can to get someone in here.  I'm just glad I still only have to pay half the rent, especially since it's not exactly my fault the room is still empty at this point.

Oh, and the whole Mock Trial thing died.  One of the people in our team, who we entrusted to do something very important relating to figuring out if funding would be possible before the sign up deadline, totally dropped the ball.  I knew I should have just done it myself, being PAD treasurer and all, but I was busy at that time so I was glad he volunteered.  Sucks...but oh well.

I thought about going to the grocery store today, but it's been snowing all day.  Not hard enough to actually prevent me from going, and the roads are plowed so if I really needed to go I could.  But it's enough to deter me right now since I have food, I just wanted to pick up a couple things.  So instead...I am going to sit here in my pajamas, watch TV, and play with my Wii Fit.

On that note...I'm going to wrap this up.  Hopefully now that the holidays are over I can get back into a regular posting routine again.  =)
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