Friday, July 31, 2009

Now what?

Last night I did in fact succeed at getting fairly drunk (especially right after the test when my dad bought me 2 giant martinis and I spilled half the second one all over the guy sitting near us at the bar). And convinced my B-ton friends to come out for the celebrations, which made me feel very special since some of them actually had to work today. My family surprised me by showing up right after the test and taking me out for a super nice dinner. Really I have been whiny and crazy enough this summer that everyone I spend time with felt they had a stake in this, and you know they kind of did. Family members were really stressed out, etc. It was really sweet, and kind of nice that they appreciated the hugeness of the whole thing from my perspective. And my dad gave me a really thoughtful pep talk yesterday about how I'm handling my life in a good way. All in all, way more positive reinforcement than this girl's equipped for.

And now, well, it's noon on Friday, I'm home alone, listening to NPR podcasts with a few hours to kill before my glorious 80-minute massage that I scheduled for late this afternoon, and I don't really know what to do with myself. The responsible answer is, make a dent in the work (yeah work, blah) I have to do this weekend plus go to the gym. But I think more likely I'm just going to watch TV, get dressed, go pick up my new travel pack from the REI store, and just relax-o-rama. And try to figure out which shoes I might wear to my friends' wedding tomorrow (yay I love weddings!). You know, life is pretty good at this moment even though I am slightly bored and also slightly overwhelmed by the 10,000,000 errands to do in 2 weeks before I leave for my big trip. Wheee Australia!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready to Go...

I woke up this morning, on Bar Exam Day 1, at 5 am. And rolled out of bed at 5:15, threw on running clothes and ipod, and went off to the high school track. I had it all to myself this morning for a quickie 1.5-mile sunrise run. Who is this person? My high school and college selves would never believe this.

Now I'm all showered and breakfasted, and I've got my regulation 1-gallon ziploc bag containing many #2 pencils, earplugs, tissues, wallet, lip balm, sandwich and snacks (NOT to be eaten in test room at any time!). Nothing else allowed. And I'm about to head off to the World Trade Center in the beautiful seaport area of Boston to get started with the next phase of life, the attorney phase. Oy.

I was going to try to stay at a hotel this week, to spare my family the abuse and me the noise and inconvenience of my current living situation (no privacy, no quiet space, etc) but I'm kind of glad I didn't, since at this point I'm reasonably zen'd out about the thing and my parents are sort of doting, to the extent my parents ever are that way. They are nervous and excited.

Today, I've got under control. Tomorrow, well that's another story as I've still got a little bit of cramming to do for the Mass test. Eesh. But if I rock the test today (ha ha) it won't be that horrible if tomorrow's essays are all crap I don't know like civ pro and jurisdiction. (Those are the same topic! If I get 2 civpro/jurisdiction essays I will scream!)

That's all from here, I'm off.

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 23-24, 2009

Whoa there, 2 posts in a row. It's obviously been an uber-productive AM over here in the study bunker.

But since the last one didn't involve any actual foodstuffs, here's a summary of the last 18 hours.

I woke up yesterday afternoon hungry, cranky and confused from a nap on the couch with my face in a book and decided to abandon my original dinner plan involving something like quinoa and tofu, and go for the quick and comforty dinner of butternut squash soup (trader joe's), sugar snaps, and some toast with canola margarine. So quick and delicious. During finals a couple months ago I pretty much lived on toast for a while, and I really just don't get sick of it, especially with chewy and complex sprouted wheatberry bread. Nom nom nom.
I also had like 4 popsicles (it's a family addiction -- we used to have "ice cream time" every night around here and now my dad buys popsicles by the ton as a healthier replacement) and a handful of chocolate covered edamame. So good, that stuff, really it's a revelation.

This morning, I rolled out of bed around 8:45 and dug into some kashi go-lean almond honey flax (on sale at Target for super cheap!) with blackberries, plus some coffee. Not sure if my parents' coffee is getting better or my standards are going down, but probably it's the second one. Which is fine -- beggars can't be choosers, after all, and it is awfully nice of them to feed and shelter me all summer...
A little later, a protein shake. Since I'm such a weight-liftin' burly girly, I gots to get my protein. Or something. I'm trying to cut back on the soy (because Jillian Michaels and Briana Stockton have indoctrinated me into their little anti-soy vegan school of thought, to an extent) so I'm using oat milk these days, but I've still got oodles of soy protein powder so I haven't broken into my new stash of hemp protein powder yet. The oat milk is pretty terrific, but kind of expensivo. I've also got hemp milk to try after the oat milk is gone, so I'll post a full report on that when I get to it. It is in a tie-dye printed tetrapak, so obviously it's going to be good.
And the lunch du jour (or really, du week, but I don't know any actual French): wild arugula with a garden herb flavor Sunshine burger, topped with garlicky hummus and salsa. OMG. This is the best and most delicious lunch of all time. Inspired by several bloggers who have posted about a similar salad idea, I've been eating this really often in the last few weeks. Sunshine burgers are soy-free and vegan, and sooooo delicious. I bought a million of them last time I went to whole foods, and I think I've got just 3 left in the freezer now since I left a bunch in my friend's apartment when I stayed there a couple weeks ago.
That's today so far, and now I'm back to the studying. 2 hours of evidence, 90 mins or so at the gym, then stopping by to pay respects. Sigh. Then, home for constitutional law, criminal law & procedure, and a whole lotta practice questions. Woo, Friday!


To my huge relief, I now have a place to live starting September when I get back from the big Australia trip. It's a big-ish place, big kitchen, in my ideal price range, and less than 10 mins to the T. And a clawfoot tub! Basically, every single thing I wanted, so hopefully that all works out -- I generally have a lot of skepticism about perfect apartments, since I've had a couple and they both had major issues (crazy landlady, crazy landlady/roommate). This landlord seems not-crazy and also, he doesn't live in the building so even if he is some kind of nutter I won't have to deal with him monitoring my comings and goings. He owns several buildings around the city and lives in the suburbs so there's only so much time he could possibly devote to stalking me, and that is how I like it. Also amazing: I don't have to carry my heavy stuff (except the futon I lent a friend for the summer, which I'll have to somehow retrieve) because I've got movers! So I just have to call them up and get them to take my furniture & boxes out of storage and bring it all over to the new place. Very nice, since the new place is a 3rd floor walkup, not the most fun for moving into.

Hooray for that one piece of awesome news amid the drudgery. I've been slogging along with studying, working out, sleeping off the past few weeks of inadequate sleep. And then got really bad news yesterday that a really young guy who used to bus tables at the restaurant where I worked in college had died. Ugh. Just, ugh. What a sweet kid, and a member of the amazing and wonderful family who own the place where I practically lived for 3 years and where I took refuge when things with my own family were less than awesome. So, that kind of threw things into perspective a bit, that maybe my weeks of whining and crying and generally feeling like the bar exam is the worst thing that could happen to a person, well maybe it is all a bit overdramatic. I'm taking a break from my self-centeredness today to go to the wake.

So, that's happening. And I'm going to also try to plow through my 3 remaining multi-state exam subjects and go lift weights and other unrealistically many things. Life is going to be so good in one week, aside from the awe-inspiring hangover I imagine I will have next Friday. Hurrah.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So, on the schedule today was approximately 11 hours of studying, of which I've so far done about 2.5. I also went to the gym (during which somehow several hours apparently disappeared, even though I only worked out for an hour and 20 mins), Trader Joe's, and Target, and I baked 2 dozen pretty good vegan blueberry muffins.

Yum! I haven't baked vegan muffins in a zillion years, probably because I kind of gave up on vegan baking a long time ago when all the recipes I tried were so crappy. But ever since Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and other such Isa Chandra Moskowitz masterpieces, my faith is renewed.

These muffins are fluffy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and extremely gooey because of the overload of blueberries in there. They could probably do with fewer, but come on. It's not such a bad thing to bite in and realize that the whole muffin is pretty much just fresh jam masquerading as baked goods.

They do need a little something, maybe a little cinnamon and nutmeg as they are spiceless. However, looking around the internets now it seems like a lot of muffin recipes are sans spice, so I guess it's not so uncommon.

Here is the recipe, for vegans, those who've run out of eggs & milk, or who want to treat your vegan friends:

Vegan Blueberry Muffins (adapted from
makes 24

  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar (apple cider vinegar is great for this, but white is also fine)
  • 4 cups white flour (could substitute whole wheat for 1-2 cups of this)
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar (I use Trader Joe's organic, as it's also vegan--even non vegans must agree, "non-vegan sugar" just sounds horrifying!)
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (could reduce this if you want your muffins more muffiny)

  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners or lightly grease them.
  2. Mix vinegar into soymilk and set aside to let it thicken up.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest to combine them and to get rid of any lumps in the flour (this is a substitute for sifting, so think "airy").
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, milk&vinegar combo, and lemon juice until very well combined and a little frothy.
  5. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ones (can do this half at a time or all at once, doesn't matter much) and fold gently to combine. A rubber spatula is helpful here. When the dry stuff is all coated in the wet stuff but still lumpy, throw in the blueberries and fold so they're evenly distributed. If you see pockets of flour as you do this, gently break them up and incorporate them into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter among the 24 muffin cups, filling them nearly to the top. Bake for about 20-24 mins, until a toothpick inserted into one of the middle muffins comes out dry.
There's my muffin, alongside my bar study books at the kitchen table. And that's the timer to tell me that I have 1 hour and 35 mins left of studying torts, before I move onto practice questions, then going over practice questions, then studying some Mass state stuff. Oy. Did I mention the 8.5ish hours I'm still meant to do today? I'm going to study a bit into the wee hours and then pick it back up tomorrow and keep on truckin'.

A few days ago I was pretty ready to just kill myself and get it over with, but I am in reasonably good spirits today and I'm really attributing it to (1) working out really really hard the last couple days and (2) a wee bit of sunlight. My hope is that this more positive outlook, Vitamin D infusion, and heightened blood flow to my brain will all help out in the not-failing-the-bar department, but we'll see. I just didn't expect to be this worried about it, but the stakes feel very high. However, even if I fail, and even if I then lose my job and become homeless because there's no other job I'm remotely qualified for that could help pay my crushing, crushing debt, well it would at least mean that I do not have to be a lawyer anymore. Because obviously what I really wanted all along is to be legally-educated and then go to culinary school or some such thing. What I mean to say is, I will keep on going and figure it all out if it comes to that.

AND I lifted weights today like a TOTAL BADASS. I squatted 95 pounds! I don't know if that is actually a lot, but it sure sounds like a lot to me and it is the most I've done. It just kind of took me a while psychologically to realize that this is something I am able to do without injuring or embarrassing myself -- I'm doing it in the Smith machine, so I don't have to feel like I'm going to drop a barbell on my neck and have to hope my little brother sees and comes to the rescue.

That's all from here. I'm home all day long now so I'm going to start doing more food photos, but it's going to be pretty boring the next week as I try to push through and pass this em-effing exam. And then I'm going to drink all of the martinis in the world!

PS Hi Angie if you're reading this! Your shout-out totally made my day!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer-summer-summer time!

Summer has come to Boston, at long last. It is HOT.

Which is why it's totally obvious that yesterday would be the day I decide to make risotto. Standing with my face over a steamy pan of gooey hot hot deliciousness in 90 degree weather is kind of cathartic, in a covered-in-sweat way.

So, what has happened in the last month? I actually ran that 7.5-mile race I mentioned in the last post! I know! Even as I was getting in the car at like 7:45 am on the morning after my grad party, I was like "really?" But yes. There was no real reason not to, since though I ate tons of delicious veggie sausage, chips and dip, etc. etc. and had a few beers, I crashed out at 9 pm so I woke up super rested at 6, with loads of time to get myself to Cambridge for the New Charles River Run. My goal was to average less than a 12 minute mile, since that's generally my long run time at this point in my training, and I totally succeeded, averaging an 11:36 pace and not walking at all, except when I sort of trotted through the water stands that were every 2-4 miles.

Running is still going on, and I love it more and more all the time. Casey, I feel you on the treadmill speed control thing, but since it stopped raining here every day I have been running around the old high school track, which is made of soft red rubbery stuff that is awesome for joints, and I am actually faster on the track. I probably don't run at a consistent pace, but I time each quarter-mile, so I can stay on track for my speed goals. The bad news, however, is that registration for my half marathon (Boston Oct 11) sold out on the first day and I was holding back hoping I'd convince my little brother to sign up too. So, I'm going to have to figure out a new race, which may be Philly Nov 22, or Manchester NH Oct 18, or Staten Island Oct 11, or maybe I'll just wait until the Disney Princess race in March, which I also better sign up for soon if I'm going to commit. It's just hard for me to pull the trigger, especially knowing that it's unlikely I'll convince anyone to go with me. C are you into half marathons? I will totally fly to Minnesota to run one.

Meanwhile, bar study and general avoidance of fun. I get up, I study a little, I go to the gym or track, I study a little more, I watch a lot of tv, I go to bed thinking that yet another day has gone by and I'm still not going to pass the bar! Ugh. While it is true that 92% of people passed the MA bar last year, that's not very reassuring when I'm averaging really low scores on my practice tests every day. A week and a half to go.

Ye olde work space. The other laptop is my sister's.

And then I'm going to AUSTRALIA!! Bar trip! I'm going by myself for 3 weeks, leaving straight from my friend's wedding in Oregon. Crazy! I am super stoked about kangaroos, koalas, snorkeling on the reef, and maybe even surfing.

But, back to the risotto. I bought some arborio rice maybe a month ago when I was craving paella, which I do not know how to make. But I do know, more or less, how to make risotto, so that's what it was. I still reallyreally want to make paella (this one) but that'll have to wait until after July 30 when I'm a free lady.
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Other foodage:

Apple & Almond butter. Actually kind of not as good as apple & peanut butter, but I am really digging almond butter on toast.

Iced coffee! Still making that superb recipe from the previous post.