June 28, 2006

A new view

This morning, I found out my dad is back in the ICU. So, I skipped barbri and drove to my hometown while listening to Fessler (PMBR contracts, I actually find him hilarious, but I'm a dork). Then, I did the whole visiting with family, supportive sister/daughter, talk with the doctors, emotionally draining thing instead of studying for a few hours.

Also, on my way to the hospital, I got a speeding ticket. In a construction zone.

By the time BarBri rolled around, a bar review class seemed like a nice break. So, I drove out to the local PM video class (that is on the same schedule as the one where I live) and I found that I could outline my way through the majority of the essays reasonably well.

4 hours later I called the ICU to hear that my dad was sleeping peacefully and doing a little better. Now, I'm at my dad's house, less than a mile from the hospital should I need to go, studying for a wee bit before some sleep.

Sometimes, when it rains, it doesn't really pour. It's just a change in the weather.

I'm not the least bit angry today. I'm just thankful. It's a nice feeling.

June 27, 2006

Gourmet leftovers

If you ever find yourself with the following leftovers that are on their way out and need to be consumed:

1. 1 cup buttermilk
2. 2/3 cup sour cream
3. eggs
4. prosciutto (6 slices)

Let me *strongly* suggest the dinner course we had this fine evening:

buttermilk-sour-cream-waffles (with prosciutto)*

2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup half-and-half (could probably use water or milk, but we only have half-and-half for the coffee, so when milk is needed, it's half and half or nothing)
2 eggs, separated
4 T butter (half stick) melted
1/2 t vanilla
canola oil for brushing the waffle iron

1. combine dry ingredients, stir well with a whisk.
2. combine dairy ingredients, vanilla and egg yolks, stir 'til smooth.
3. Mix dairy mixture into dry ingredients with whisk 'til smooth.
4. Whip egg whites 'til soft peaks. Fold in.
5. heat waffle iron to 3.5/5. Baste with oil when ready. Spoon in slightly less than half a cup of batter and cook 'til done.
6. Serve warm, with 1-2 slices of prosciutto each. Fold and eat like a sandwich. Consider adding a tomato.
7. Mmm... savory breakfast for dinner....

*modified by the ingredients in my pantry but adapted from "Rich Buttermilk Waffles" in How to Cook Everything.

June 26, 2006

Bar: the outsider's perspective

Tonight, I continued to express my frustration with my increasing understanding of the reality of the essay section of the California bar exam, and how it's a test of giving them what they want, instead of a test of applying the correct law to the facts for questions presented.

E said:

You know, it's not like it's the most suprising thing in the world that the exam that determines whether you are qualified to be a lawyer really just tests whether you can figure out how to game a system...

[laugh] Right.

June 25, 2006

Meeting the neighbors

It's never good when the first time you meet one of your neighbors is when you sack up and go over to their house to apologize for the 1 AM noise you and your friends were making that woke up their child.

Sure, it was the right thing to do. I even showed up with wine and spoke to them in their native language. But, somehow, I just don't think we're going to be friends.

Oddly, that makes me sad.
Bar: I am so angry

There is no other way to describe it. I am ANGRY at the sample answers. I am ANGRY that my brain does not work like other people's. I am ANGRY that there seems to be some secret decoder ring telling people that even when the call of the question asks for A, B, and C, they should be sure to discuss Q, and avoid discussing Z.

I'm beginning to think that the Q's are just a list of issues that we are expected to memorize and find a way to discuss on the bar exam, regardless of what the questions ask for.

That's fine. Stupid, but fine. Gimme a list of stuff I'm supposed to discuss no matter what, tell me to fit it in to the best of my abilities on the given facts, and I can do that.

Unfortunately, this is only a suspicion, and nothing that has been confirmed. I'm compiling my own list, but it's slow going. And annoying.

Near as I can tell, the written portion really is just a test of memorization of the list of important topics, and not *really* a test of your knowledge of how the law applies to the facts (because at least half of the writing barbri seems to want is all about how the law doesn't apply to these facts).

Ugggh... I'm just so angry.

June 24, 2006

Why, hello there

My internal buddhist monk has been fairly silent these days. Occasionally, he grins at me from his lotus position while I'm baking as my study break (this week's madeira cake with reisling soaked blueberries, nectarines and plums was a big hit.) But, for the most part, he avoids the barbri buildings.

Imagine my surprise when he briefly showed up during the practice MBE and felt the need to speak.

[BT turns page]

Law-talkin' BT: Oh, thank goodness. Question 185. Only 15 more and this will be all over. I can go home.

[BT excited at the prospect of being done]

Monk BT: You know. This *is* your life. You chose it. You're not getting another one. Do you really want to wish your time away like that? *Live* this experience.

Law-talkin' BT: [grudgingly, but knowing the monk is right] O.K. I'll try.

I told E about it last night. I was impressed by the power of my philosophical self to break through the bar ridiculousness and remind me about the important realities of life. It was damn hard to fully immerse myself in the moment while doing multiple choice questions, but I did try.

Thank goodness the monk sat quietly meditating in the corner and left me to my insanity 'til I only had 15 questions left. I don't know if I could have kept up the fullly aware approach to the bar for much longer. It was exhausting -- the nature of the exam, what it represents, the stress of the other people in the room, my stress, the heavy breathing of the guy with the cold, the characters in the questions, their actions....phew. I wish I could say I did better on those last 15 questions than the rest. But no. I did slightly worse than my average overall. Approximately what you'd expect at the end of a long day of testing.

E and I both agreed that it would probably be best if my inner Buddhist monk could keep his philosophical points to a minimum during the actual Bar Exam. He's useful when I need to calm down or change perspective, but he demands attention in a way that can be quite distracting.

This *is* my life, monk. You are right. Feel free to visit during studying, lectures, and even practice exams. But, if you don't mind, I'd like to do the actual bar exam in a way that this madness is only one 2.2 month period of my life. That may require me to avoid the full awareness. I'm just not there yet. Cut me some slack.

June 23, 2006

Bar: wanna trade advice?

My suspicion that multiple choice was going to be my strong suit is proving to be correct. So far, I've taken the PMBR early bird course and I've done approximately 50 additional PMBR questions from the Red Book per subject (0 for crim and only 25 for torts, but 50 each for the other subjects). Additionally, I've been doing all of the questions assigned by the BarBri paced program more or less when they are due.

Today, I took the simulated MBE that barbri gave and I got a 150/200. I'm going to keep studying and shooting for that elusive 80%, but overall, I think I need to switch gears and focus on the area where I suck.

So here it is. I'm offering my (albeit untested on the real exam) study plan for the MBE in exchange for any helpful tips those of you who seem to have any clue about this essay business can offer for someone who is all OVER the place and failing like mad. I seem to have trouble knowing what to focus on in the fact patterns, what assumptions to make and what issues to discuss for long bits of time vs. short ones. The best advice I've heard so far is review as many sample answers as you can get your hands on. But, I'm hoping someone out there has something a little more concrete in the way of a study plan to attack my particular problem. See, I'm a weirdo. I arrive at my conclusions via the odd road, generally. Knowing the right answer isn't getting me squat on the essays. I need to learn how to be "normal" and fast.

So, for those of you that are curious, here's how I've been studying for the MBE (YMMV, of course):

1. Do all of the reading and questions that barbri has assigned on the paced program.

2. For every set of multiple choice questions I've done (PMBR or BarBri), sit down and hand write, underline, and make sure I understand the rule behind every question I got wrong. Put those notes in the binder for 3(c) below.

3. When a subject is assigned for review, do one of the following:

  • 25-50 multiple choice questions from the PMBR red book

  • all of the flashcards from the PMBR stuff (I'm a big fan of walking around the neighborhood while going over these. My neighbors must think I'm insane.)

  • go over the charts/notes in my binder (charts/notes I've collected from BarBri, PMBR, etc. that make sense to my head)

You will note, I do not review the questions I got right. In a perfect world, sure, I'd do that too because no doubt I'm getting lucky with some of my guesses and might get it wrong next time. But, I figure with limited time it makes more sense to focus on the stuff I know I need to learn, as opposed to the stuff I *might* need to learn.

Last, but not least, if you think what I've listed above is a ridiculous amount of work, I present, in my defense, the guy who finished 3381 MBE prep questions by June 18.

The mind boggles at how much power this exam has over us, the formerly sane.

June 21, 2006

bar: demoralization

Nothing will help your mood about your prospects for passing the bar quite like getting a failed essay back. Unless it's two.

Oh, wait, and unless the reason you failed was for missing issues. And there were comments scrawled across the page like, "What about Equal Protection?" And "Use Case Blah in your policy analysis."

And, of course, the kicker is that I DID the equal protection analysis. On the next page after the scrawling red comment, the second and third words were "Equal" and "Protection." I had also used Case Blah in my policy analysis. It just wasn't on the page where the grader decided to look for it.

The combination of the 2 minutes per essay grading and my "I never think of things like other people" approach is not looking good, my friends.

I'm not sure studying more will help, either. The more I know about a subject, the more likely I am to stray from the standard approach.

In other good news, my grades for last semester are all in. It's official -- I'm a MUCH better student when I don't study too hard or try to learn the material. If only I had known it earlier in law school. This time around, my grades are perfectly indirectly related to my knowledge of the actual subject matter.

Thankfully, I am actually amused (and not angry) that one of my worst grades in law school is in Intellectual Property. And, of course, one of the best is in Corporations, where I didn't buy the book, missed the most classes of any class I took in law school, and had no pre-existing knowledge to fall back on.

I'm thinking the take home message should be that I should stop studying for the bar right now.

June 19, 2006

Fast Food Evolution

I'm not really a fan of fast food. Truth be told, I'm somewhat of a food snob. I like fresh, locally grown produce, slow food, home-cooked meals, and, when circumstances call for it, I sincerely enjoy haute cuisine.

But, I do have a guilty pleasure of Taco Bell. About 12 times a year, usually on road trips, I indulge in the bell. It's good in a deliciously terrible way. E and I had the bell on Saturday. Mmmm.... Nachos bell grande with a side of jalapeños.

I imagine the sinful pleasure I experience from the occasional bell indulgence must be one of the reasons that some people make fast food a regular part of their diet. But I can't relate. Even after my very much enjoyed sin in the not-anything-like-south-of-the-border, I'm cured for a good while afterwards.

Usually, I'm glad that I don't like fast food. It's long on calories and short on nutrients. The whole process of enjoying a meal is condensed into an almost clinical experience when you indulge in fast food at the restaurant. And if you're going to take it home... why not go for something else?

Why not indeed? This weekend, when my dad needs food and I need to study, I've had more fast food in the last few days than I have in weeks.

Guess what? Things have changed. Perhaps I'm a few years behind the times, but I'm happy to report that there are decent salad offerings at fast food joints these days.

Today, Dad sent me to Wendy's to pick up lunches of their Southwest Taco Salad. The produce was fresh. The "tortilla strips" (looked like little bits of doritos that weren't quite good enough to make it out of the factory in a doritos bag) and the sour-cream-alternative were not for me, but the salad itself wasn't half bad, and the dressing was actually fairly tasty. Apparently, they intend for you to put the chili *on* the salad. But, I ate it on the side. It was ... not so great, but it's not obviously poisonous either, which is impressive for a meat-based option from a fast-food joint, in my opinion.

Inspired, and unable to find Subway (my default pseudo-fast-food option), I pulled into Carl's Junior for dinner. Turns out, the Carl's Junior charbroiled chicken salad to go is also not bad. The chicken breast was somewhat decent and the produce was also fresh. The dressing could use some work, but then again, I'm generally of the opinion that almost all pre-prepared dressings suck, so their balsamic vinegar based offering wasn't any worse than what I'd expect out of a bottle off the grocery shelf.

All in all, I was impressed.

I was amused too. Because just this Saturday, while indulging at the bell, I was appalled to see their latest advertising campaign for the fourth meal. (Anyone have time to figure out why they need to know your age for entrance to the site?)

Now, I see that the one fast food option I crave is clearly the worst of the worst. Which is heartening, in an odd way. Clearly I need to branch out and gain a better appreciation for mainstream America. I'm too judgmental. The fast food nation has evolved and I should appreciate how. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I sample the salad offerings from McDonald's, Burger King, and/or any other joints I can find in my quest for quick healthy food.

Okay, truth be told, once I'm home I'll probably go back to the pre-stocked healthy food in the fridge with subway as the default, but still... I like to pretend I've got spare time to run silly experiments. Ooh, how sad is your life when you are disappointed that you won't be able to run the fast food salad experiment...

Man. I need help. Badly.
Bar: A consistent problem

I continously fail to accord the appropriate weight to the issues (says BarBri).

I discuss things that deserve 1 paragraph in pages.

I discuss things that deserve pages in 1 paragraph.

I discuss things that Barbri doesn't mention for multiple paragraphs.

I've checked the outlines. I'm not getting the law wrong. It's not that I'm mis-reading the call of the question. These issues are there in the fact patterns. But for some reason, I'm supposed to know to skip 'em. Or to relegate them to the basement. Or to pay 'em lots of attention.

I'm not too happy 'bout this. Right now, I'm a big party of fail-o-rama on the essays.

I'm reminded of how, back-in-the-day there were those pictures where you would stare and people swore there were outlines of images within the chaos. "Can you see the sailboat?" my friends would ask. "No. Can you see the dinosaur?" I'd respond.

I never thought this particular oddity in my personality would bite me in the ass so badly.

How, exactly, does one learn to think like a bar clone?

June 17, 2006

Bar: the good, the bad, and the ugly #1

The good

After 3 or 4 days of reviewing topics I supposedly learned in anywhere from 1 to 3 semesters of study in law school, I can successfully answer enough % correct on simulated MBE questions to pass the exam.

The bad

When this counts, I will not have 3 or 4 days of reviewing each topic before I am handed a nice collection of questions that 1) are conveniently labeled by topic (so I can limit my selection choices to topic-appropriate answers); and 2) are grouped by topic (so I can avoid context switching and getting confused by all the details from other subjects).

The ugly

I don't even want to talk about the essays. Good thing they are only 2/3 of the points. Oh, and professor property, I still hate you the most of all of my bar topic profs. Congrats.

June 16, 2006

Let me give thanks

For my health, which took a brief dive into a cold/sinus/chest annoyance that made me miss my brother's birthday, but has returned in time for me to go hang out with the family for father's day. Sure, a cold isn't a big deal, but boy, do I take breathing for granted.

For E, who is dealing with my unavailability, unpredictable moodiness and incessant baking (read: turning the kitchen into a disaster area) with admirable patience.

For my friends, who selflessly travel to my house to come share their happiness and normalcy and laughter with me over wine and barbeque on my one scheduled night off per week.

And finally, for my dad's stubborness and resiliance in the face of his cancer. The blood markers for his tumor are almost back to those of a normal person after 6 cycles of chemotherapy.

I'm gonna work my ass off tonight and tomorrow so I can focus on what really matters this weekend: Father's day.

June 15, 2006

Bar: Odd comparison, no?

My head keeps flashing back to gymnastics camp these days.

Back when I was a young teenager, my gymnastics team and I would head up to the mountains where the air was thin and the sun was strong. We'd work out on apparati set up outdoors. Every day. For at least one week. And for those of us who were working for the camp ('cause none of us could afford to pay for more than one week) for close to a month.

There were always other gymnastics teams there. They had their own way of training. Some of them were better than us at things we didn't think we could improve. You knew you'd see them on the competition floor in the fall and it was always weird to see them months ahead of time, struggling to get into competition form, just like you.

In the past I used to look back on those days in the mountains with fondness. I'd remember the views, the funny things that happened, the laughter, and how much fun it was to return to sea level and have superhuman lung capacity for a few days.

But these days, what I keep flashing back to is the soreness. I remember being so exhausted at the end of the day that I could barely walk up the stairs to my dorm room after dinner before falling asleep only to wake up the next day and do it again. I remember the ripped hands that ripped open and bled each day getting worse. I remember the injuries I witnessed. I remember that camp required at least 6-8 hours of hard-core workout per day, whereas summer workouts at home were only 4-6 hours per day.

I'm sure there is some interesting subconscius comparison my brain is making between gymnastics camp and the bar. But I'm not bothering to figure it out. I like the little flashes of memory reminding me who I used to be. I like that I had other memories of camp that I'd forgotten. I'm kind of amazed at that little girl and I like to be reminded of her.

June 14, 2006

Bar: Dreams

Sure, I'm only 3 weeks in. But, I think the thing I'm going to miss least about the bar are the law dreams.

Every night. And not ordinary law, mind you. Fucked up combinations of pseudo-law and other shit that only makes sense in dream land.

My subconscious may be more fatigued than I am.

June 12, 2006

An auspicious start

For some reason, my radio alarm clock switched from mariachi music to country.

I was woken this morning by a twangy male crooning, "Size Matters."


It's going to be a long week.

**Update: I decided I must have misheard, so I did a little research. Oh no, it's a real country song.

June 11, 2006

I'm gonna miss you

Oh, Erwin. It was so nice to get back together with you and spend some quality time together for the last two days. I was so impressed by how you just stood there, away from the podium, reciting your poetry from memory.

Everything I see today reminds me of you. [In fact, according to the schedule I can plan on revisiting my loving memory of your clear words and calm approach every day until next Thursday.]

You have no idea how much of a pleasure it was to enjoy you yet again. After the beating I had taken from property, I thought I'd never recover. I was certain I was set up for a long downard spiral.

You lifted me up. You gave me hope.

We've been through quite a bit together and it's been wonderful. You will always have a special place in my heart.

June 10, 2006

Eating the Bar: Summer of dessert

Turns out, baking is the perfect study break.

Study, study, study, take a break to mix. Put it in the oven. Study, study, study, take it out to cool. Study, study, study. Eat.

This week's offerings included a dense chocolate loaf and a damp lemon almond cake. Next week, I've got a chocolate cheese cake scheduled. In order to survive this madness, I think I'll just spend my summer oscillating between my alter egos of bar-maniac and wanna-be Domestic Goddess.

At least my memories of the bar will taste and smell good.

June 9, 2006


During finals, my bank's ATM ate my card.

Now that it's the bar, the stakes are higher. Now, my bank has lost a large check that I deposited in one of their on-site ATMs.

I received a very impersonal letter stating, "Your assistance in replacing the check is requested." In other words, you need to go convince the person who wrote you the check that we lost to write you another one before 6/19.

Awesome. I totally have time to deal with this right now.

I called the number, then sat on hold for 35 minutes only, found out that the number in the letter is wrong, was connected to another number, sat on hold again for 20 more minutes, only to be told that it was still the wrong department, and finally I was transferred to the correct place.

There, I was told that the person I needed to speak with had left for the day and that I should call back tomorrow. When I said I didn't have time to call back and that I didn't cause this problem, so perhaps I shouldn't be the one to call back, I was informed that, "normal business hours are 8 to 4" and that they don't actually know whether I made any deposit at all, so they can't take me at my word as to whether I caused the problem or not.

It's unfortunate, because I've been very happy with my bank for the last 8 years, but in the last year they've done two things that have made it clear that they are not very careful with their maintenance of ATM machines. That's a risk I don't have time to deal with. You can guarantee that if this isn't handled well tomorrow I'll be leaving my bank just as soon as the bar exam is over.

June 7, 2006

Bar: maintenance of denial

The rational approach would be to admit that the bar is merely an exclusionary tactic employed by a monopoly that I want to join. They keep their numbers down by ensuring that the amount of material tested is unknowable in 2 months.

If I could fully accept the former as true, then I could just study what I can, relax, and hope that luck is on my side. If she wasn't, I wouldn't take it personally and I'd sit for the exam again.

But, the entire profession of law *has* to believe that the difference between a pass and a fail on the bar actually means something useful. They *have* to believe that it is an effective filter to keep out those who shouldn't be practicing. Because, if they didn't believe that, well, then the bar exam would probably be an illegal restraint against competition or something along those lines, now wouldn't it?

We're not about to challenge their perspective. Us newly minted JDs were raised and worked our way through a system that taught us that if we just work hard enough, and if we do enough stuff, we will succeed. So, we trick ourselves into believing that if we slog through enough of this crap, if we are just determined and disciplined enough, it will work out fine for us this time too.

But deep down, we are beginning to realize that this test is a crap shoot.

Methinks that's the real reason why we're all so stressed. None of us are ready to switch our religious allegiance from fairness to luck. We want to keep chance firmly in the closet of denial. Each day, we must work harder and longer to push against that door, telling ourselves that if we are disciplined enough, the dreaded fate of not passing won't happen to us. We can keep it at bay, we tell ourselves.

Unfortunately, every additional hour spent studying shows us just how impossible it would be to truly learn all of this material in such a short time. Our resolve weakens and the denial-door cracks. Rays of the bitch-goddess luck stream through the room begging for worship.

Most of us, we don't want to start paying homage to luck. She is out of our control. She doesn't get along with our chosen deity of fairness. She would mean that we deserve less credit than we like to give ourselves. And she doesn't always believe in meritocracy. Even those of us that didn't do as well as we'd have liked in law school, those of us who admitted that there were elements of subjectivity to the grading process that meant the grades were not effective ranking tools, we want to believe that if we could do it again, we've learned some insight tht would make us better students -- we'd be better this time around. You would never hear a recent J.D. say about law school, "Oh, yeah, that 4.0 -- she was just lucky." Some of us might think that the difference between 4.0 and a 3.6 is luck. But, regardless, they are both indicative of a respectable performance, and it would be gauche to point out that neither one is any more impressive. So we keep our mouths shut.

But even those of us who accept that there is no *real* difference between an A- and B+, we refuse to consider that there may be no *real* difference between Esq. and J.D. Sure it may not be fair that any one of the top 15% of the class could have been the summa cum laude speaker, but who cares, really? Luck didn't *really* deprive any of those people something important, did she? It's not like luck kept a large portion of law students from graduating.

There's no way that the difference between passing and failing the bar is governed by luck. It just wouldn't be fair.

So we work like dogs. Even though it's completely irrational.

June 5, 2006

Bar: Oh, just shut up.

I had my first bar-induced freak out yesterday. Minor, but I definitely didn't handle the juggling of the 10th detail I was supposed to handling in my normal manner (which would be to simple forget whatever it was I was holding and set it down so I could go on an hour-long hunt for it later). Instead, I handed the telephone back to E and informed him that he could tell the person that I just couldn't handle what they were asking me to do just then. I didn't trust myself to do it nicely, as I'd already tried to subtly get the point across, but it didn't register. I was concerned that attempt #2 would result in me being a jerk (or rather, more of a jerk than I had already been), so I handed the phone to E.

In other news, BarBri apparently thinks it's reasonable to construct a 6 page outline and 8 page response (both single-spaced) to an evidence question that is supposed to take 1 hour.

Shut up barbri. No one can do that. No one.

All right. With that out of the way, I'm going to take my grumpy self back to evidence and hope that the next essay question is a little more reasonable.

June 3, 2006

Science experiment (aka freedom)

E & I recently acquired a body fat analyzer scale. Yeah, that's what happens when you give people a gift card for their wedding present. They just may buy a body fat scale and some replacement sonicare heads with it. Sorry if you had something else in mind, but we took the "good on any item" slogan to heart and this is what we chose, so thanks.

Anyways, since the scale arrived, we've been running all sorts of experiments. See, I spent several years trapped in spandex at the gymnastics gym and then later at the pool. I loved my time there, but HATED the role that the scale played in the lives of the majority of the girls'/womens' lives who surrounded me. They were fearful of the scale. It meant something about their self worth. It represented everything about who they could or couldn't be. It was a terrible thing. So, between them and my mother, I've been on strike and never really had a scale to play with on a day to day basis.

But now, I do. And I'm studying for the bar. So, I'm going a little crazy. And here are some of the useful tidbits I have learned from the scale:

1. If you don't like the % bodyfat readout that the personalized scale gives you, and you are female, just tell it you are a male. That'll fix it right up. Other options include rounding up your height and decreasing your age. (I'm still puzzling out the algorithm that takes the bioimpedance and combines it with the personalized data you give it to come up with a number.)

2. A 4 mile run in 85 degree heat results in about 2% of my body weight in water loss. The scale has at least some commitment to reality of body fat, because it did at least show that my body fat % went up despite the lost weight.

3. A 6 mile run in 70 degree heat results in the same thing as 4 miles at 85 degrees. Take home: for overall health, it's worth waiting 'til later in the day to take that run.

4. A night of sleep after a barbeque and 4 glasses of wine/champagne results in 3.5% of my body weight in water loss. Ergo, if you want to lose weight, clearly, you should drink and sleep more instead of exercise. [grin] I'm kidding, of course. The real take home is that you shouldn't work out in the heat after a night of drinking. How amazing is it that you can lose 3.5% of your body weight while sleeping? Granted, I was the girl whose coach required she bring a towel to gymnastics practice because she was so sweaty, so maybe that's not normal. But still, I'm in awe of the human body.

5. A super burrito for lunch, sitting still for barbri and bar studies all day, and mexican food for dinner (mas chips? si, por favor!) results in 5.1 lbs of weight difference between the AM and the PM. 5.1 lbs in the positive direction. In one day. That's a large weight change for anyone. I'm not a particularly big person. But I do have a big appetite. Even our favorite server knows so, he came to our table tonight and asked me, "Tiene hombre hambre?" and then looked at E and laughed, saying, "Ella tiene siempre hombre hambre." E, of course, responded, "Es verdad, mi amigo!" I didn't disappoint. Good thing I can sweat out almost all of those big appetite pounds I put on by putting away a few stiff drinks and going to sleep...

Anyways, the plan for us is to watch both the weight and fat percentage numbers to make sure they don't move too much in the upward direction. It's barbeque season and we have a tendency to swing a little too far in the voluptuous direction by labor day than we'd like. Plus, there are always pictures at labor day. We're always at our laughable fattest come labor day. Other than avoiding bad labor day pictures, we've hit the point in our lives where we should probably watch our weight as an act of health. So, we're doing it.

It's refreshing to finally be free of the scales I knew as an athlete and young female. This instrument doesn't represent the self-hatred and desire to measure up that so many scales in locker rooms have represented to me in the past. This instrument doesn't remind me of the scale my mother kept in her bathroom for her entire life and used as a reminder that all she was going to do was eat carrots for the day. This scale has nothing to do with my enjoyment of food and the other things in life. I don't need to rebel against this scale. It is merely something to help us maintain our life for as long as possible. It's just our cute little appliance that has been tricked into thinking I'm a boy. It's just a silly scale.

June 2, 2006

Eating the Bar

I think it will be helpful throughout this process to keep in mind the sage words of the stranger from one of the greatest movies ever made:

Sometimes, you eat the bar. And, well, sometimes, he eats you.

In the spirit of the former, I present the salad I served at last night's barbeque. As a bonus, there are several steps which can be spread out while studying and used as "rewards" to get you through some chunks of work:

Spicy Turmerik Barley Salad

1. 1 lb pearled barley. Soak for several hours 'til tender. Drain.

2. Mix dressing ingredients (listed below) and pour over barley. Allow to soak an hour or so.

1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C apple vinegar
scant white sugar
1 T black pepper
1-2 T turmeric (I was on the phone and I thought I was using cumin, so the recipe took a completely different turn, but it was a good one.)
dash of oregano

3. Toss barley and dressing into a sautee pan. Bring liquid to a boil and briefly stir barley until liquid is evaporated down. Allow to cool/chill.

4. In a food processor, chop the following on pulse until they are in small colorful chunks. Mix into barley. Chill and serve.

2 cucumbers (their own food processor cycle)
5 medium round tomatoes (I used orange, they were pretty, they got their own cycle and became fairly liquified, but it was fine.)
1/2 red onion (I combined these last 5 ingredients in the last cycle)
2 jalapeños (the other mistake, I was shooting for 1 but was mid-conversation and had a helpful sous-chef who just kept chopping)
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch parsely w/stalks
2 times around the food processor with EVOO.