November 30, 2005

Dyeable Shoe Store--DON'T DO IT

If you are looking to buy dyeable shoes for any reason (I know, I know... tacky, but what's a girl on a budget to do?), do NOT use

They do not have any stock, but they sure have lots of pictures, and you'll place an order thinking the sizes and pictures mean something about the stock that they carry. The site will charge your credit card for the transaction as you place it. The next day, the owner/operator will call you to inform you of all the problems she encountered trying to place your order with the wholesalers, and how you need to go with different shoes/shipping/etc.

But, I didn't order different shoes or a different shipping period. Presumably for a reason? Like, mmmm.... I don't know, perhaps, I didn't want to by any of the other shoes you carry, that's why I selected these ones? Or, perhaps I need them by a certain time and that's why I paid for expedited shipping?

Also, note that if you can't come to an agreement on all of the replacement shoes before the end of the business day, they'll ship what portion of the order they can fill on its own. When you call the next day, they'll happily place a separate order for the "replacements" you selected and charge you separately for the second shipment
as well.


That is all.
It's ba-aackkk...

I was up 'til 3:30 AM last night. I FINALLY finished the Journal Article that ate San Francisco. After 3 (count-em) failed email attachment attempts, I managed to rid myself of the thing.

Amped, it took me a while to fall asleep.

I had no reason to get up early today.

But, I woke at 9:15, ready to start the day with the all-too-familiar subtle panic: it's finals prep time (of course, I was dreaming about the wedding, so that could be contributing to my feeling of overwhelm, but regardless).

This is ridiculous. Doesn't my body know I'm a 3L?

November 28, 2005

It's about time

Skynyrd and Miles under one roof. Finally.

November 27, 2005

An Easy Decision

If 3L plus a wedding is any indication of how busy I'll be as a lawyer, I may not need to decide whether to quit blogging, go the honest route and disclose the blog to the firm, or not disclose and accept the risks of continuing my existence as a thinly-veiled anonymous blogger.

I have no time to post. Duh, I have no time to do anything. Hence, when I finally sit down to blog, I find that I can't remember the amusing tidbits that are the blood and guts of good blog-worthy material. Also, I'm just not that amusing. I crack myself up, but others... not so much. So, I need spare time to take note of funny things, remember to write about them, and edit. Lately, I'm short on the spare time, or perhaps my priorities have been reordered, so I've been writing about the mundane things in my life, which are, of course, interesting to me, but not so much so to others. I fear I've become one of them. You know them: the "here's-what-I-ate-for-breakfast" or better yet "here's what I did today, in bulleted list" crew.

So, in an effort to embrace my mediocrity before it whimpers into non-existence, and in a desire not to disappoint, I'd like to add that Thanksgiving was great:

  • Deep Fried Turkey: E'd been talking this up for the last 5 years. Apparently, the Californian version isn't quite as good. I'll agree that the meat was some of the most moist I've ever had, although I was disappointed that it wasn't quite like KFC, which is how I pictured it. All-in-all, it was not the life-altering experience I'd hoped for. Also, there were no mashed potatoes. I think I'm still a little angry about this and may be taking it out on the southern turkey. But, say what you will about the substitution of sweet potatoes for mashed potatoes (can't it be both?), I've never been able to sit outside in 40 degree weather and watch father-aged men slowly lower a brined and (hopefully) dried turkey into oil boiling at 300 degrees. It's a risky endeavor. Every year, someone burns down their house. The meat tastes so much sweeter because of the fear. Of course, this is done with wine in hand at 1 PM EST. So, basically, Thanksgiving in the south rocks.

  • Tuesday-to-Saturday: If you must fly cross-country for turkey day, and can fly on the T-S schedule instead of the W-Su schedule, I highly recommend it. I can't go so far as to say it was a pleasure, but it was much better than any holiday travel in recent memory.

  • 15 miles: Today's run of 15 miles was faster than last weeks 14-miler, but more difficult. This was after sticking to my running schedule by running in Atlanta and the North Georgian hills, which should have prepped me quite well. Right about now, I'm exhausted. 3 hours is a long time to be out for a training run. The water, carnitas enchiladas, two baskets of chips, and margarita afterwards, however, were some of the best food I've ever eaten.

  • Surreal Saturday: E pointed out that he woke at 6:30 AM PST (which is unheard of on its own--he's a programmer) to go shoot clay in a clearcut beneath power lines in the North Georgian mountains. Then, we ate lunch at the general store (I'm not making this up), drove into town, hopped on the plane, flew across the country, drove home, and headed to the local Californian Irish pub to celebrate the 40th birthday of someone we didn't even know (Gotta love the Irish, if you're friends with one of 'em, you're invited to all of their fun). Not the average cultural experience of anyone, really. At this point, you have to say, "only in America" and then give thanks. It's the weekend of the day for it, yo.

  • Southern Bacon: Tonight's dinner of 12 bean soup is in its final stages on the stove. The house smells like liquid smoke (and not a little bit). E warned me not to add any salt to the soup (I pointed out that the celebrated bacon may be delicious, but that perhaps because it comes from tobacco country, it's not for the most sensitive palate...). If nothing else, the bacon will add a unique and strong flavor to the soup... we'll have to see. Thankfully, we've got a whole 'nother half pound to use in the upcoming weeks. Seeing as how finals studying starts on Tuesday, you know there will be culinary procrastination like no other. Stay tuned for tales of the salty and smokey. God bless the South.

I am thankful. This is a great country and I am blessed to have such great family, friends and E. That is all.

November 20, 2005

A Brief Respite

I emerged victorious from my week of self-scheduled hell. My final trial for trial ad went reasonably well. I made objections by instinct, which was interesting -- when did I develop that instinct? I also forgot to enter the gun into evidence, but thank goodness for redirect...

After my week of late nights and trial prep, I basically finished what I wanted to finish more or less (a few journal things to sort out, but nothing huge), and am on schedule to jump into the next set of madness.

But, before I jump in, I actually managed to earn myself about 3 days between the end of trial ad and the flight to thanksgiving with E's family when I can relax and enjoy life and just do the ordinary reading and going to class that makes being a student flexible and easy.

This weekend, I put some of that precious-as-gold free time to good use by going to Big Game and watching Spitfire Levy step up and make his dad cry and all of us cheer. Good Job. Love the underdog. Love it. Think I need to rent Rudy.

Today, I ran the scheduled 14 miles on my marathon training program. I'd skipped Friday's run for trial prep, so I should have been in great shape for it. But, it was the longest run I've done. Ever. It's also much, much, longer than any distance I've ever ran by myself. I ran slowly, thought about whatever came to mind, drank water at every fountain I passed, and walked to warm up and cool down for a total of almost 15 miles in 3 hours. I can't believe how long a marathon is going to (a) feel on my legs, and (b) take in real time. I guess that's why you start building up the mileage several months ahead of get used to the mental focus and the physical output. I'm slightly overwhelmed at what I've signed myself up for.

Finally, I leave you with a terribly funny joke from H (with whom E and I had French food for dinner):

How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?



I couldn't stop laughing. Perhaps I'm slap-happy?

November 13, 2005

Big Week

I just got back from a 7 hour Wills & Trusts review. Now, I just need to fit my running, reading, finishing the journal article from hell, commuting, going to class, eating, and preparing for my final trial in ad trial on Saturday in the next 136 hours.

In order to do so, I'm going MIA for all non-required law school activities 'til Saturday afternoon. Wish me luck.

November 10, 2005

I'm all about da bling

My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?

Link thanks to E spat, whose blog is easily 10 times more entertaining than mine.

November 9, 2005


In the end, I chose to go with the firm that didn't pitch its shower or running culture. But, I was concerned about maintaining my running and had already started researching ways to pay for access to a shower so that I could run on my lunch (or, let's be honest, my dinner) break.

Yesterday, at lunch with some of my future colleagues from the firm, I asked about the gyms that people belonged to for the purpose of finding the nearest shower to the office. I was ecstatic to learn that the firm I chose has a shower in the basement. If only I had known, I could have broken the dead even tie and saved myself a couple of weeks of career decision anguish as well as gotten more schoolwork done (which I am now realizing is the main thing that's going to bite me in the ass from the first couple months of job stuff). Oh well. All's well that ends well. In hindsight, the career decision wasn't remotely as big of a deal as I had myself worked up to believe. I've made much bigger decisions in the past, most definitely will do so in the future, and no one really knows where or what they will be doing tomorrow, much less in a year.

Here's to not going completely bat-shit fucking loco. [raises glass]

November 7, 2005

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup

(aka lazy, pull stuff from the fridge and pantry soup)

Generally, I have a good sense of how good/bad a throw-it-together meal will be before it's complete. But this concoction was shockingly delicious and filling. Even E approved: "This is amazingly good for something that has no meat or cheese."

Sautee a diced half of white onion, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, and 5 chopped dried red spicy peppers (the super-hot decorative ones) in olive oil 'til the onion is clear. Toss in some fresh rosemary, a few sage leaves, and briefly cover with the oil/onion/garlic mixture. Add 6 cups of chicken broth (3 cans), 1/4 bottle of old white wine from the fridge, and one can of stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

Lower to a simmer. Toss in one can butter beans, a chopped bunch of broccoli & half a bag of cavaturi. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve immediately.

November 6, 2005

One step at a time

Two weeks ago, I was in great shape for the Nike Half Marathon. Unfortunately, I started a pace group too slow and the race was too crowded to catch up to where I wanted to be. So, I called it training run for today's half marathon.

Unfortunately, life called a few times over the past few weeks, and made sure that I was not in the best physical shape for today. I was short on miles and sleep, and long on work, stress, bad food, and various other debaucherous activities that take their toll on the old body. Knowing how poorly prepared I was, part of me considered giving up on the run altogether. I could use the time to do some much needed studying or finishing up the journal responsibilities I promised to do before I can officially resign.

But, I'd committed to doing this race, I wanted to run across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, and I'd already paid for the privilege. So, yesterday, bright and early I made the final decision: I drove to and from San Francisco to pick up my race packet. If I was willing to do that, driving up to run the race was a sure thing.

So, in the spirit of making sacrifices for my goals, last night, I left E and friends at 9 PM after pounding water galore and "carb-loading" on a beer, hamburger, calamari, french fries, some of M's nachos and a salad. The server at the pub loved me and my constant, "could I please have another glass of water when you get a moment?"

Today, at 5:40 AM, I woke, stumbled into my running gear and drove to San Francisco on auto-pilot while drinking a gatorade. I arrived about 15 minutes before the race started, parked the car, put on my chip, bib, and garmin, and jogged to the start. In a bit of foreshadowing, I had the good fortune to be one of the very last people to get to use the porta-johns before the start -- it was already looking like I may just be lucky.

My plan was to shoot for my original goal of clearing the 2 hour mark, which meant that I needed to average about 9m10s miles. I figured I'd be consistently slower than that for the first 5 or 6 miles, I'd do the math, realize how fast I'd need to run to make up the lost time, and set a new, more reasonable goal on the course.

Mile 1 went as suspected: I finished warming up, and completed a 9:32 mile. 22 seconds to make up. Mile 2, however, surprised me at 9:05. "Huh," I thought, "only 17 seconds behind..." I didn't consciously speed up, but the chance of actually meeting my goal must have encouraged me, because I ran 8:51 for mile 3. And, there I was, 2 seconds ahead. All I had to do was maintain 9:10 minute miles for the next 10.1 miles and I'd have done it.

Thanks to the spitting fog, I wasn't that hot. Thanks to the short mileage weeks, my legs were fresh. And thanks to some decent downhills and the excitement at the prospect of running over the bridge for the first time, I didn't even realize that I sped up again to finish mile 4 at 8:35.

From wednesday's workout, I knew that pace was barely sustainable for 4 miles, so I had to slow up if I wanted to finish. My legs were happy for the slower pace, and it turned out, so was I: as I was slowly jogging along, R, a friend I used to work with and hadn't seen in over 1.5 years passed me. We stayed together and caught up for a nice 9:26 mile 5 and 9:41 mile 6.

R wanted to walk, so we parted ways, and refreshed, I ran mile 7 at 8:52. I met another runner, J, at this point, because he also was shooting for sub-2-hours, and he liked the pace I was keeping. We ran together for what my watch claims was a 6:50 mile 8 (I'm suspicious and will verify against the chip results when they are out), and an 8:57 mile 9 (more like what I expected).

Somewhere around mile 10, I really started to focus and J disappeared. The running faster thing really takes a toll on your legs. While they were fresh, they were also unused to long distances, and had never gone this far, this fast. I found that it took quite a bit of concentration to keep the pace I'd set as my goal. My body truly did want to slow down. But, I was so close to actually meeting my goal, that despite my failure to maintain my training, I somehow found the force of will to push my legs. I sustained myself with alternating thoughts 1) encouraging: almost there now, and 2) good-old-fashioned-reality-sucks: the marathon will be so much more difficult than this, so I'd better suck it up and get used to pushing myself if I plan to finish.

It worked. Mile 10, 8:58. Still on track. Somewhere in mile 11, people around me started grunting out loud. Thankfully, I've done that before when I've been pushing myself through intervals, so it didn't scare me. But it did make me realize how gross I must sound.

Occasionally, someone with a ton of juice would blaze past me. Slowly, I was passing some of the grunters, and a few of those who'd been keeping pace. We were all looking straight ahead, focused, and breathing hard. My watch beeped and I realized that I'd finish mile 11 in 8:42. I was surprised. Given how hard I had to work for the 8:58 on Mile 10, I figured I'd just keep getting slower for the rest of the race. But hey, no complaints here.

And then, I only had 2.1 miles left. I looked at my watch and realized I had 22 minutes to finish if I was going to meet my goal. I thought of the Nike race and how I had so much energy left at the end that I finished the last two miles in 15m13s. I knew that was not happening with these 2 miles. This was the hardest I'd ever run 11 miles and my legs were burning. I thought, "this must be what they mean when they say don't race too often because it takes too much of a toll on your body..."

I decided to shoot for finishing in 21 minutes. "10-minute miles," I told myself. "Just two ten-minute miles and you can stop." Like most things, deciding you can do it is more difficult than doing it. So, I actually ran mile 12 at 9:01 and mile 13 at 8:51. I even had enough to sprint the last bit at a 7:19 pace.

They announced my name, I crossed the finish line, and I wanted to cry, partially because my legs hurt, but also because I was so impressed with my mind over matter. Next time, I'll be in better shape, I swore to myself. Happily, I limped away with my medal and the memory of the 1:57 on the timer as I crossed the finish line.

Now, I'm home and need to hit the books. But before I did, I wanted to write about this because I've been so overwhelmed lately that I'd forgotten how amazing it feels to accomplish something that I'd set my mind to do. I need to remember that I should be honest with myself about my limits so that I don't crash before the finish, but when in doubt, I should keep going at the goal pace. It was absolutely worth it.

November 5, 2005

Admitting Defeat

Years ago, I'd have done it all and ended up in the hospital. (In fact, I did that once...) But I'm older now.

So, today, regretfully, I turned in my resignation from journal. My latest assignment had become a monster (as articles sometimes do) and I had not a spare moment to deal with this unplanned diversion from my time-block tetris.

After forcing my schedule into the shape where I could commit to finishing the journal work while squeezing in preparation for my final trial in trial ad, finishing my school work, the MPRE, running, wedding planning and finals, I had to admit that while I could balance it all, it wasn't pretty. And honestly, I didn't want to be in this same situation in the future. In order to be sure I wasn't going to be in the same situation in December, or worse yet, February (the month before the wedding), something had to give. Instead of sleep, I chose the journal.

Add the relief from knowing where I'll work next fall, choosing a cake designer, knowing the wedding colors, ordering the rings, and registering for gifts, and I'm almost relaxed all of a sudden. Perhaps I'll have a zen-like run tomorrow.

November 4, 2005

The Painful Irony

I'm not amused that the organization in charge of the MPRE refuses to release the raw scores that it uses to scale the exams.

I've asked google and all the legal people I know to estimate how to translate percentage correct on practice exams into scaled scores. Turns out, no one seems to know.

Instead, I get:

"Don't worry. Everyone passes the MPRE."

Or, better yet:

"80 is passing in California."

Oh, that's comforting. Too bad a scaled score of 80 means approximately the same to me as "two monkeys." Scaled to what, exactly? We don't know anything about it other than that 100 is the mean they shoot for when scaling scores. The only relevant information I have found is that it looks like only 15 percent of the people who took the exam in 2004 actually scored low enough to fail in California. So, pragmatically, I guess I can go to sleep and rely upon the hope that when I'm prepared and lucky, I don't usually find myself in the bottom 15 percent.

But, the bigger question is this: How can the ABA allow an organization to assign numbers that determine whether or not you are "ethical" enough to be a lawyer while not requiring that the organization disclose exactly what those numbers mean? Why do we give the National Conference of Bar Examiners the power to make this judgment without disclosing the methods by which it determines its scaled scores, or at the very least, which raw scores correspond to the scaled scores for past tests.

I can think of several reasons why an organization with a monopoly on testing would want to keep their scoring methodology a secret. But most of those reasons lead to the conclusion that the NCBE is hiding something, and not one of them is justifiable. Any help? Or are you all with me?

November 2, 2005

Back Home

Most people, they think that if your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, you should bathe her in tomato juice.

They're wrong.

Massengill Douche works much better.

Good to know.

And yes, Penelope, my step-brother's dog, is doing much better.