March 31, 2006

He Said, She Said

Last night, E and I decided to go out. I am officially only behind in 2 classes, which seemed like something to celebrate. Either that, or the fact that it was Thursday, or, maybe that I just didn't want to cook.

I threw out all of our usual suspect restaurants, but kind of wanted to branch out and try something we don't go to very often. I suggested an old Sunnyvale favorite but E didn't want to drive that far. So, I suggested a new local vietnamese fusion joint that we'd gone to with friends a few weeks prior. I thought that we had loved it.

Turns out, it was just me. I loved it. I even took my bridesmaids there on our day-before-the-wedding thank you lunch. They loved it too (or so I thought). The restaurant seems to be quite a success -- they hit the right price point, the quality of the food is excellent, and the theme is unlike anything else in the area, which makes it your only option for healthy, well-done, vietnamese fusion.

But E didn't want to go there. In fact, he made a face. I was confused.

BT: Didn't you love the food?
E: It was all right.
BT: But, weren't those huge fighting prawns cool?
E: Yeah, they were okay.
BT: And your shaking beef, made from filet mignon, how could you not love it? It was delicious.
E: Dude. You guys were the ones who loved that place. It was too hip.
BT: What?
E: You know. The lighting. The ambiance. The crowd. I didn't like it.
BT: Oh.

So, we ended up at a local Pizza joint we'd never tried.

BT: Is this better?
E: Yeah. They almost got it right. Cheap beer, there's a bar, it's kind of loud, smells like pizza.
BT: [laugh] There needs to be a bar for you to enjoy a pizza joint? They can't just serve drinks?
E: Yeah, that's why I didn't want to go to Pizza Chicago.
BT: [laugh] I had no idea. [Thinking to self: We're not even sitting at the bar, why does it matter if they have one?]
E: This place is pretty good though. They've almost got it right. The fixtures are too shiny, but the menu, ambiance, and crowd is right on.
BT: Actually, I do like this place, it's pretty cool.
E: Yeah, I'm kind of disappointed in us that we've never been here. It's not quite up to the standard of The Front Room, but it's close.

We had a delicious dinner of calzones (calzone caliente is *highly* recommended). And, as we enjoyed our dinner, we ran into not 1, not 2, but 4 of my former work colleagues at the pizza joint. I guess E's taste is shared by many people. Silly me, always focused on just the food and drink (ambiance, outside of good service and cleanliness, does very little either positive or negative for my dining experience). Who knew that people selected restaurants on the basis of things like lighting, fixtures, and the existence of a bar? Learn something new every day.

March 29, 2006

Daytime Dreams

I have a list of all of the fun things I get to make with our new wedding-related booty. I'm very excited to cross 'em off one-by-one over the next year, but for now must content myself with referring to list and smiling in anticipation because very few of 'em are going to make the time cut before August. The wok has already been seasoned and well-used, but that's because Asian food is efficient for a high-stress life. (In recognition of that fact, we took a trip to Ranch 99 last weekend and loaded up on all sorts of quick and easy food for finals and the bar.)

But, I digress. Here's what I'm looking forward to enjoying as a result of the wedding gifts:

1. Espresso Drinks made with the espresso maker (need to get a grinder with a superfine setting or buy some espresso grounds)

2. Panini grilled on the panini grill (We broke it in on some pugliese rubbed with olive oil and garlic to go with the Tuscan Bean Soup the other night. But I'm really looking forward to the day when I can lay some fresh-cut prosciutto, fontina, and fresh summer tomatoes between two slices of bread...).

3. Evenly rolled and cut linguine made with the pasta roller attachment for the kitchenaid. (Yes, I have made homemade pasta by hand ever since living in Italy and do consider kitchen gadgets to be somewhat unnecessary. But, I've never even attempted to hand cut linguine. I'm not crazy. Okay, I am. But not that crazy.)

4. Creme Brulée. (Two words: Blow torch. Apparently, it takes a few times before you get it right. How fun is that going to be?)

5. Baking with the pyrex, silicone, and various other bakeware we received. (I already made some perfectly moist and structurally sound homemade cornbread in the silicone bread pans. [yeah, I was skeptical about the oil instead of butter too... try it, you'll be thrilled] But I'm looking forward to cakes, souflées, casseroles, breads, tartes, pies, cookies, and well, you get the idea.)

6. Ice cream in the ice cream attachment for the kitchenaid. (E's mother makes the best lemon ice cream ever. I may have to start with that and then branch out if she's willing to part with the recipe.)

7. Pizza from scratch, on the pizza stone. (Mmmmmm...home made pizza.)

8. Salad in our new serving bowls (okay, in fairness, this one should be able to get itself off the list just as soon as I can figure out where they will be stored.)

9. Chips and salsa or cruditée with dip in the gorgeous party platter (this will probably cross itself off the list when barbeque season rolls around.)

10. Custard or chocolate molten cakelettes or something else wonderful in our new larger ramekins.

11. Something (or many somethings) from each of our recently acquired cookbooks (including a local women's club collection which appears to have some fabulous offerings).

12. Margaritas in our new margarita pitcher and glasses. (Need a good recipe. We love the ritas, but thus far, we only drink 'em at Mexican restaurants or in Mexico.)

13. Martinis in our new martini glasses. (I admit, we don't drink much in the way of hard alcohol around here, so if you have any suggestions for variations on the theme that may appeal to us like chocolate martinis, or something the boys may like, I'd love your suggestions.)

14. A dinner party where we break out all of our new china and stemware with friends. (It's likely we'll need to acquire some additional table-like apparati in order to fit all the placesettings at once, check back sometime in the fall.)

How's that for a short list of great things to which I look forward? Trust me, I've got a million other lists of things I'd like to do (friends to visit, books to read, places to travel, restaurants to try, wine to try, languages to speak, experiences to have), but this one is easy and focused. I have all of the necessary equipment, I just have to find the time. And I will. Soon. Ahhh... here's to looking forward while I go back to my con law reading (update, I'm only behind in 3 classes now! Woo hoo!)
It Begins

After the wedding, I had about 2 weeks of low frequency nightmares. For me, this is amazing. I have them all the time. Last night, it was particularly bad.

Once, E and I barely swam away from a plane that crashed into a lake. We swam away bobbing under water intermittently. Former coworkers of mine passed us doing heads-up freestyle. We bobbed to the left out of their path after they passed us. The plane exploded. Everyone except E and I went up in flames (because of the path of oil/gas they trailed behind them while swimming through the top of the water). I woke in a cold sweat.

I fell back asleep only so E could jump out of a helicopter while it was a few feet from the ground and careening to its demise. He started to run away leaving me in the thing. Realized I hadn't followed, he turned around and waited 'til the helicopter was closer to the ground and started yelling at me to jump out the back. I yelled at him to get out of the way and not get crushed. He put his hand in the helicopter, I ran beneath the blades, grabbed his hand and jumped. We ran away just before it exploded. I woke certain that I could be the reason E did something stupid that hurt him.

Finally, I fell back asleep to find myself in the hospital and my dad wasn't getting better. He insisted on getting up and walking by himself but he was very unsteady. I yelled at him to get his walker, and he turned around, confused. I was too far away. I yelled at the nurse that he was going to fall. She got there just in time, but couldn't catch all of his weight so he fell anyways and hit his head. I ran to his side and we both cried at his declining health.

My stomach hurts this morning.

March 28, 2006


Yesterday, I did some master planning for all days between today and memorial day.

Primarily, I allocated time to the following 3 groups of activities:

1. Law school -- mainly study day allocation as necessary given my current state of unpreparedness, how many units the course is, and how much I think I need to study between now and the exam.

2. Working out -- if there's one thing law school has taught me, it's that in a time of stress, many things can go out the window, but I MUST maintain some minor commitment to working out or I'll head into a downward spiral of headaches, dizziness, heartburn, and sleeping problems. So, I've got tentative plans to do a few easy races between now and memorial day. If life won't let me run 'em, no worries, at least I'll have done the training to stay sane.

3. Social/Family/E -- yup. I'm that big of a geek. When facing a big grind-time, I actually schedule when I'm going to see my extended family, when I'm allocating time to hang out with E, and when, if at all, I'm going to allow myself to do something social with people outside of my family.

The scheduling brought an odd intersection of bay area running, my family life, and law school to my attention that may have otherwise slipped my notice: My school, in its infinite wisdom, scheduled graduation for the same day as a little footrace known as Bay to Breakers. Awesome. An extra 65,000 participants and 110,000 spectators all less than 2 miles from graduation... sounds fun.

The race suggests finding an alternate route (you know, avoid the freeways that the out of towners will be using to get to the race...that's right, all of 'em) and, also to avoid/postpone travel in the affected areas.

This presents a particularly interesting problem. I have relatives from out of town who are uncomfortable with "the city." If they must come, they deal with much of their discomfort by getting up at the asscrack of dawn. This means they arrive very early (to avoid traffic and have enough time to deal with unforseen complications). Clearly this plan is going to backfire this time. So now, I've got to figure out if it's better to get 'em all to San Francisco and into a hotel the night before graduation (a night in the city???) or to try to make the point that they should drive later in the day and just sit in traffic because it'll actually be better than the early AM traffic on the day of the race.

March 27, 2006

A nod to the law-life

Believe it or not, my life isn't all stir-fry and domestic happiness. The stuff necessary to one day practice law does, in fact, take up a substantial amount of my life. As proof, I present the following:

First, If you are a law student (or any graduate student) who hasn't yet consolidated your student loans:

Just Do It. Now.

You have 'til July 1, 2006 whether you are a 3rd year student or a continuing student. If you consolidate, you get to lock in at least a 4.7% over the life of the loan. If you don't, next year, and every year after it, you get 6.8%. If you don't have time to consider your options, my 2-cents would be to consolidate with your existing lender (half of you will have to anyways because of the single lender rule), because it'll most likely save you money in the long run. (Of course, the smart thing to do would be to *calculate* which option makes the most sense for you...)

Second, after a weekend of medium effort on the school front, with 5 weeks of school left, I'm pleasantly surprised at how far behind in school I am. Given that I got married, took my honeymoon over spring break, and had to miss a few weeks of school for a family member who was ill, I figure this isn't too bad.

  • Community Property: 60 pages behind.

  • Constitutional Law: 60 pages behind.

  • Corporations: N/A -- didn't buy the book, going off an outline (I'll let you know how that turns out).

  • Venture Capital Law: Unable to calculate. Have read one of the suggested additional reading books, but it wasn't formally assigned. I've done bits of the assigned reading from the handouts, but I expect to frantically cram the billions of handouts that he gave us into my head the day before the final (unless I can magically come up with some other time to do it).

  • Intellectual Property: 15 pages behind.

So, in theory, I could catch up if I read for 270 minutes this evening (I average about 2 minutes per page). But, in reality, I'll probably only read the 15 pages for IP (only to have a new assignment due as soon as I exit that class tomorrow).

I'm very aware that the time where I can take care of life things (finances, cleaning, cooking for enjoyment, etc.) is quickly drawing to a close. Whether it's realistic or not, I feel like once it's time to buckle down for finals, that's it 'til August. There's finals, then bar review, then the bar.

Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. But, because I fear I won't be, I'll keep plugging through the life things that can't be put on hold 'til August and that pile of reading will most likely remain the same size for at least another week.

Finally, and if you have lots of Lexis points and you to are looking to procrastinate with other stuff before you buckle down for finals -- the Amazon Superstore ROCKS! In contrast, Westlaw's reward program is lame. I don't want anything in my point range on Westlaw. But for lexis, I just browsed amazon 'til I found stuff I wanted. Now, I can't wait to get my Mexican cookbooks, my Martin Yan -- Quick & Easy (remember Yan Can Cook?), another Yoga DVD, and All the Pretty Horses (I never read it, and figure having one unread pleasure book lying around for after the bar is a good idea).

March 26, 2006

Everyone has bad days

Yesterday, E and I went to our favorite local hole-in-the-wall burrito joint. In fariness, it's not really that much of a hole-in-the-wall, it's more like the fanciest authentic California-ized taqueria you've ever seen (they serve more burritos from the assembly line than tacos and they are okay with it).

Unfortunately, E found a hair in his burrito right around the same time that I spotted and killed a cockroach scampering across the newly tiled floor.

Then, I quietly went to report these atrocities to the manager. I didn't want to make a scene. Between the E and I over the last 3 years, I think we've averaged at least one item per week from this joint. We love it and I have no desire to upset their business or other customers. I was just a little disappointed and disgusted.

The manager was very concerned about the hair. She collected it in a napkin, and I suspect there will be hair comparisons later -- someone is getting in trouble. Pero la cucaracha? Nada importante. Like, I said, this joint is authentic.

Of course, to make it up to us, she apologized and offered us two free burritos on our next visit. We thanked her and pocketed the hand-written card. We'll be back. Just as soon at the food coma (burritos yesterday and dim sum this morning) dissipates. Burritos make up at least 35% of my finals sustinence. I suspect the bar will be the same. I'm not about to let something so silly as a forgotten hair net and an expired roach trap change my game plan.

Bad days. We all have 'em. (Here's to hoping they don't miss again...I'd hate to lose my apetite.)

March 24, 2006

Wok this way!

Okay, first, this is creepy:

It's pretty dead on for me. Link thanks to beanie.

Second, we got a wok for one of our wedding presents. Tonight's offering was fabulous. So, I've decided the best way to cook pheasant is in the form of some chili-oil based stir-fry. Pheasant is healthy. Pheasant is difficult to shoot. Pheasant is a nice gift from the family hunters. But generally, even when wrapped in bacon, pheasant is hard-pressed to be fabulous.

So, if you have a spare vacuum-sealed pheasant in the freezer, here's my suggestion.

Black-bean chili pheasant stir-fry

1. Thaw and carve/cut one pheasant into small stir-fry sized chunks of pheasant meat. Wash and place the chunks in a bowl, ready for stir-frying.

2. Open a can of black-bean chili sauce (or what should be known as black-bean chili oil). Pour 3 Tablespoons into the wok.

3. Heat the wok to high. Add 1 yellow onion, diced, and 3 cloves of garlic diced. Sautee in the wok vigorously for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add pheasant. Continue to stir in the wok.

4. Open and drain: 1 can baby corn (E likes it cut into bite-sized pieces, I think they are bite-sized already), 1 can water chestnuts, 1 can button mushrooms. Add all drained vegetables to wok, turn down the heat to medium-high and continue stirring for 1-3 minutes. Cover if bored.

5. Chop 1/3 bunch of washed parsely cilantro. Mix with 2 cups bean sprouts.

6. When the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are well soaked in chili-oil, turn to low heat, continue to stir, add parsely cilantro & bean sprouts. Stir and cool.

7. After 1-2 minutes, turn off heat. Continue to stir until ready to be served. Serve hot, from the wok, either over rice or on its own.


March 22, 2006

Wifey Lifey

So far this week, I've been a good new wife. I'm slowly cleaning the house to return it to some semblance of cleanliness that preceded the wedding hurricane. I made lentil soup from scratch for Monday (leftovers tuesday). I even stayed awake for all of Lost in Translation last night (I'm one of those who fall asleep instead of watching the movie with you). Tonight I thawed some homemade bolognese to serve with artichoke linguine (from the Great Artichoke trip) in an effort to bribe our photographer when she showed up with the contact sheets. Unfortunately (or fortunately, really), she was onto me and brought her own bribe of citizen cake pugliese and dessert. E, who never misses a trick, pointed out that we should have the photographer over more often since he prefers bolognese, bread, and cake to vegetarian lentil soup.

Unfortunately, the only thing I'm not liking about my first wife week at home is that I have a sore throat. My tongue is slightly swollen. It hurts to swallow. And, I'm exhausted.

Figures. Everytime I really buckle down to push through a stressful period of time, as soon as I relax, my body does it's best to let me know how much it disliked what I put it through.

Got it. Message received.

So, since I can't go home to visit my dad during his chemo with this nice little infection (which is probably the cousin of the nasty sinus infection that E has, I hope I don't have to go to the doctor to get antibiotics), I get to stay home and just do normal life stuff for the first weekend in at least 4 months.

I'm ecstatic.

I've got big plans to study, catch up on my reading, clean, sleep, write Thank Yous and possibly cook another meal or two. It may not sound fun to you, but it sounds like heaven to me. Even with a mutinous body.

How's that for a boring post? Oh, and the contact sheets were fun. I don't know how we're going to pick our favorite photos. But it's a good problem to have.

March 19, 2006

Hola Senora E!

Well, it's a done deal. E and I are hitched. Additionally, everything was a fairy tale, from my father who was able to walk me down the aisle without a walker or wheelchair, to my niece, who at 4 years old insisted on giving her own toast (and the DJ let her), to our families & friends who all appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely at every turn, to the food, the service, the building, and even the weather. Despite's predictions, even the weather cleared up to provide a beautiful blue sky day for our wedding. I can easily say that struggles were absolutely worth it. Trite, but true, my wedding day was the happiest and most fun day of my life. When the entire wedding weekend and honeymoon are combined, I can't even believe how wonderful the last week of my life has been (and how quickly it is now over).

At some point after the ceremony (during family photographs) my matron of honor, D, signed the marriage license as the one required witness, and that was that. E and I were officially husband and wife as of the pronouncement during the ceremony. I actually thought E and I had to sign the marriage license as well so I didn't realize that I was truly married 'til 11 PM when I asked when E & I were going to sign and formalize the whole thing. Apparently, after getting the marriage license, the only required formalities are a witness to the oral oaths and the verification from the officiant that the oaths had been administered correctly.

R immediately signed her name in the place of the "officiant" after the ceremony. One of my closest friends since middle school, E & I asked her to become ordained through the Universal Life Church in order to marry us. She did so, and she did an excellent job performing the ceremony. In fact, other than the food and location, we received more compliments on the officiant and the ceremony than anything else. After how well it worked out, I can't imagine having us joined by any other person. I am so thankful that she was willing to take on that task.

So, after making promises and kissing, R introduced us to the crowd as Mr. & Mrs. E, whereupon we attended and enjoyed the greatest party of my life (how could it not be with all of the close friends and family selected by you?). A day or two later we arrived in Zihuatanejo for some much needed R&R on our luna de miel. We did nothing other than sleep (in the bed, on our private sun terrace, on the sun deck, under the umbrellas at the poolside bar), eat delicious food, walk in the sun, swim, lay in the shade, lay in the sun, drink beers and margaritas, enjoy some of the most impeccable service I've ever received at a hotel, and, of course, enjoy each other without any distractions from friends, family, or outside life. Everywhere we went, I was greated with, "Hola Senora E! Como Esta? Todo Bien?" Each time, I grinned and answered, "Si. Completamente bien."

And each day, I became more and more comfortable that I was Senora E. Just 2 months prior I'd been in Mexico as Senorita BT. It had been at least the 4th or 5th time in my life to be referred to in Spanish as Senorita BT and I had learned to accept it as my name when in a Spanish speaking country. (You see, there's no Ms. in Spanish...)

Imagine my surprise when I arrived this time to find I had an entirely new name. Senora E! That's me. For some reason, it was the missing formality I needed. I never signed the certificate, which I thought I had to do. So, thank goodness for the sexist nature of the Spanish language and Mexico's insistence on referring to me by both "Senora" and E's name. After 5 days of hearing it, I finally believed it was true.

And, now, my friends, Senora E has some serious catching up in the real world to do. School and basic life responsibilities like cleaning were on pause 'til after the wedding. Now, despite what I may wish, the honeymoon *is* over. I have no excuse and very little time left 'til I'm no longer a law student (assuming all goes well...).

March 5, 2006

Day of Celebration

9 cases of wine for the wedding picked up from the hometown local winery. One bottle opened and tasted -- delicious relief that we won't be serving swill.

Avoiding the Tahoe traffic from my hometown by going through wine country -- fabulous.

Spending the day with E talking and thinking about how everything we did was probably the last time we were going to be doing that thing as a non-married couple -- surreal.

Arriving home to find the Corporations Gilbert's that I ordered to save me from the fall-out of the bottom of the priority list -- a relief.

Learning that my dad had a wonderful response to his first round of chemo and is much better than he was a month ago -- words fail me.

Hearing the oncologist tell us that my dad will probably be out of the hospital in time to attend the wedding in person -- emotional beyond words.

It's raining. According to it's probably going to rain on our wedding day. But a year ago E refused to let us select a venue without a gorgeous indoor facility. Smart guy, that E. Sure, there are only 6 days 'til the wedding and a billion things to do. But it's all falling into place, one piece at a time. I'm excited and happier than I could imagine.