Friday, August 28, 2009


A good friend recently reminded me that as we grow and change, the prism of our true self does not change, simply the pieces that people see. Isn't that beautiful?

I look at our children and know that the the core they are now developing will be with them for a lifetime. I can remember significant, and insignificant, things that happened in my life when I was seven. Boy Wonder is already at an age that I can remember and identify as being "me," and as possessing traits that are still self-defining. Strange to think the memories we are now making are likely to be with him for a lifetime. Our Little Princess is not far behind. This was part of the plan of law school - to have graduated before either of them would remember much about when mom was not around.

This week/weekend we are making camping memories. We've spent that last two nights camping in our backyard. We have a HUGE tent, big enough for two queen-size air mattresses, a third mattress with blankets for the dogs, lounge chairs and a spot for the laptop so Wife and I can watch movies after the kids are asleep. We're all enjoying the outdoor time, falling asleep listening to the crickets, snuggling together to stay warm in the middle of the night.

I may have idealized this a tad - quickly trying to block the memories of the neighbor's chipper than he ran for two hours last night, another neighbor's loud argument with his girlfriend, and the truck filled with industrial supplies that seemed to be touring the neighborhood. Once that drama was over though, the crickets were allowed to lead the nighttime symphony, the stars were brilliant against the nighttime sky, and it was good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Wait Continues

Well, my friends, we are half-way through this purgatory that the bar examiners like to put us applicants through. I have to say, I am neither handling the wait well nor in a mature-manner. Consciously, I am not always worried about the outcome, but it surfaces in lots of other ways in my life. Pretty much everything in my life is getting turned upside down and re-examined. What I probably should be doing is using that energy for good and sorting through all the cr*p in our garage!

Actually, I am still holding down my full-time job, slowly starting to think about starting the networking thing again, and pondering cover letters. By the time I get home at night, there isn't a ton of time for garage-cleaning. I cook dinner, help with clean up, spend a bit of time with the kids, and before we know it , it is bath and bedtime for the kids. Sometimes that leaves an hour or more before Wife and I are ready for bed, and sometimes, it does not. Where does the time go?!

I am glad not to be going back to classes this week, but am ready to move on now. Guess I best get to it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Dream Netbook is on Sale

OK, anyone who has been reading my blog for long - heck not even that long, knows that I am very interested in this adorable little netbook. It is cute and blue and powerful with an 8-hour battery life. Well, my dream Samsung NC-10 is currently on sale for just $329, including shipping! That is nearly $100 less than when I first started lusting after this machine only about three months ago.

Isn't it pretty?

From the ad:

"Weighing just 2.9 pounds, its designed to keep you online and on the go. Experience the freedom to surf the Web, shop and chat on IM with the latest wireless technology. Zip through your online applications with a speedy new Intel Atom processor. Store all your favorite videos, music, images and more with 160GB of storage, and enjoy them on a SuperBright 10.2-inch LCD."

The amazing thing about this to me is the size. Take a look at this:

One of the biggest complaints about netbook keyboards is that often non-alpha keys get put in odd places, but not with this baby. The 90% normal-size keyboard keeps everything in its usual spot, making it easy to use!

Loading programs can be done via a separate hard drive, or even a USB, according to a computer geek I was talking with one day. Yup - couple of USB drives, and I think I would be set!

Besides not really being ready to drop $300 on a toy, the other thing holding me back is that as soon as I commit to it, I will probably discover a program I REALLY want that will require the power and size of a bigger laptop. Wouldn't that just figure?

Still, it is nice to dream. Too bad it isn't just black, or silver. That would be so much easier to resist.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reader from NOAA?

Depending on how a blog is set up, limited details can be seen about one's visitors. I can see that I may have a reader from NOAA in Seattle. NOAA is a place that I would love to work, so if you would be willing to contact me personally for a little informational chat, please write to me at

Thank you!

Better Living Through Technology?

I really love pens. I could get lost for hours inside an office supply store, and you can bet a good amount of time would be spent testing out pens. I thought I would look up pens today and see what kind of cool looking pens would pop up. I was expecting something along the lines of a nice weighted pen, gel or roller ball action, maybe something in stainless steel, silver, gold, or even platinum.

The very first result was this:

Yes, apparently it is a spy pen. The product description says it is a fully functional black ball point pen, and then gives details about the video functions:

Digital Pocket Video Recorder
4 GB capacity
USB interface
352 x 288 CFI resolution
AVI video format
Easy to use one touch record button
Operates up to 3 hours with Li-Ion battery
Approximately 6.25-inch length

Now, something tell me this would not be the pen to choose as a favored writing instrument, but what a conversation starter! I saw some video posted showing the quality, and it is actually pretty good. Doubt you'd want this as your primary method of capturing the moments of your life, but just for fun, and as a back up, perfect! Pop it in your car in case you need to film an accident scene, or maybe capture the image of a decorating idea so you can show your spouse later - great idea!

As to its usefulness as a true spy camera to film someone who was unaware....well, seems like a legal and ethical issue that I'll not touch here! I will say it seems like a fun gadget, and is on sale for a great price at

As to a truly nice pen for writing, guess my search continues.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rockin' the Friend-Weekend Thing

The Get-Away Weekend was wildly successful! An amazing time was had with three friends I've known for a minimum of 28 years. We indulged in lots of laughter, conversation, good food, and tequila.

Friday was relatively mellow - mostly spending our time catching up on the details of current events in each of our lives. Saturday we were graced with an exceptionally beautiful day, which was perfect because we decided we wanted to take an adventure to wherever the next ferry was heading. We spent hours enjoying gorgeous water views, watching crabs walk near the shore, spying starfish, and investigating a myriad of fountains along a harborside park. For lunch we ate amazing seafood and salads, and this was our view:

Hours later, the very sweet boyfriend of of one of my friend's made us a delicious grilled shrimp and veggie kabob salad, and was generally the perfect host. (Rock Star, "Nick" truly does rock, Bon!)

During dinner, the drinking began.

If that sounds like the perfect way to start a novel, it probably is, but not one that will be written here! For the purposes of this posting - let me tell you how we spent the rest of the night - two words: Guitar Hero!

Yes, you read that right. Here we were - 43-53 year old adults, rockin' out on the guitar, drums and vocals - giving our all to "Living on a Prayer," "Beat It," and "Bleeding Love." (That one was some different game that involved dance moves and singing....) It was crazy fun!

The women all agreed that the drums were the best. Something about banging out the beat is very therapeutic. One of us who shall remain nameless, ended up with drumming blisters. So much for drumming all being in the wrists! We sang, we laughed, we drank, we forgot about our adult responsibilities for one night. I think this picture is blurry enough no one is particulary identifiable, but gives a good idea of what our night looked like. Add me in, either at the drums or sharing lead vocals....too funny!

Apparently the drums had not even been used before, since picking up the entire package on sale some time ago, but according to the boyfriend, if they never play again, the purchase price was well worth the fun of that one night alone. I'd have to agree. The drums especially were easy to use, felt really solid, and the interface with the game was easy to understand. Let me say, more than three drums was not a good combo for any of us beginners, but we did pretty well on the "easy" levels. Nice that different skill levels are an option. I can see how a person could get really addicted to playing the same song over and over to improve their score. Doing well and nailing the song is really satisfying.

Thank you, my Rock Star, friends! See you at the reunion tour!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Accomplishment

Have you ever had a freezer that built up frost so badly that you could barely fit an ice pack into it anymore? Sorry to say, I have. This is my little work refrigerator, and I rarely use the freezer, so it hasn't been much of an issue. Still, once it got past a certain point, defrosting meant I would have to take it outside, or end up with a huge wet spot on the carpet.

Probably not a good idea.

So, here's my big project for the day.

Some days are like this.

It sure is going to feel good when it is done though. It's been looming for the past year as one of those "some day" projects. I had to wait until summer for obvious reasons. So, today is the day!

Happy Weekend, everybody! (Three-Day Weekend for Me! Yippee!!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Simple Summer Fun

Today the Wife and Kids came to visit me at work for lunch. We had a nice meal (sub sandwiches!) outside at a picnic table in the shade. Even though the temp. may get darn close to 100 degrees today, at noon, it was just perfect in the shade, and there was even a gentle breeze blowing.

We ate our lunch pretty quickly, and since they'd only been here (here being work, which takes more than 30 minutes to drive from home), I suggested a walk. The first 5-10 minutes consisted of Boy Wonder counting down how much energy he had left because it was being sapped by the direct sun and could only be recharged if he stepped into the shade. It may be that he is playing too many video games! Still, kind of clever.

Along the way we sampled blackberries (except the Princess who loudly reminded me that she does not eat fruits and vegetables), found interesting rocks, leaves, and acorns. My shirt pocket is filled with treasures that Boy Wonder did not want mixed with the Princess's so I am taking them home later. We were all pretty hot by the time we got back, and then there was a meltdown that happened because the Princess did not want to leave me. It was mostly resolved by a promise to play in the pools with her when I got home. At least, I have not heard that it continued all the way home. (We have two different sizes of blow-up kiddie pools that are perfect for splashing around in, but easy enough to empty every night. Great way to water the garden and grass.)

So, looks like when I get home, it will be time to put on my bathing suit before firing up the barbecue! Not a bad way to spend a summer evening!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drama of Being Four

Oh my, the drama of being four!

We spent this past weekend at my niece's house. Her kids are about the same age as ours. This means two four-year-olds in one house. Not a pretty picture.

Fortunately, they were able to spend a lot of time outside. Actually, they get along very well, but every so often, it was melt-down city! One did something to hurt the other's feelings, and so-and-so doesn't want to play with me anymore, and yes, but she cheated at the game, and on and on...

Our little princess is going through a phase where there is at LEAST one full-blown, hysterical melt-down per day, and often many more. Wife is ready to leave the state and change her name. I heard the drama already starting today while I was on the phone early this morning. While they kids were watching TV, Boy Wonder pulled the blanket off of her while attempting to get back his own blanket that was tangled in hers. I know, tragic, right?

Later I found out there has been much drama about me leaving this weekend for a much needed getaway to visit old friends. The Princess is not happy that I will be gone for much of the weekend. She says she will not be able to go to sleep without me there. No matter that she's been doing it 4 or 5 nights a week for most of her life. It's a tough transition. I get that, and she doesn't want me to leave. Still, if it wasn't that, it would be something else.

Wife and I have been informed MANY times over the past couple weeks that we NEVER think of her and NEVER listen to her. Yikes. Is this girl four or fourteen? I won't be surprised to hear she wants to start driving soon and needs acne treatments. We are so going to be in for it when this girl hits the teen years. Dang - if only we had a distant relative to ship her off to! Maybe she'll get it all out of her system now? Please let me believe that. Don't anyone contradict me here, OK?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Growing up with Michael Jackson's Music

I love my MP3 player. I've mentioned this before. It's cute, it's blue, it has a nice menu so I can sort out what I want to listen to. Just this past Friday, with the touch of a few buttons, I had the "first dance" song Wife and I had at our wedding playing to start off our date night. A couple weeks ago, it was lots of upbeat Disney Channel stars to pump me up before the bar. (Judge me if you must, but the high energy teeny bopper stuff beats a lot of the depressing stuff on the top 40 stations for getting into a positive state of mind.)

Today I am looking at The Essential Michael Jackson as a potential new download, or maybe CD purchase. This "greatest hits" type of collection starts out with a very young Michael Jackson doing ABC and I Want You Back, then through the Off the Wall and Thriller Years and into Dirty Diana and Black or White. There are certainly a lot of Michael Jackson collections on sale right now, and given that all of my old stuff was on vinyl, this seems like a good time to enjoy some old memories.

Let's see, the music from Bad, released in 1979, set the stage for many awkward junior high dances. When Thriller was released in 1982 I was still 2 years away from my high school graduation. My friends and I were experiencing the "thrills" of first loves, first heartbreaks, first tastes of alcohol, and the history-making Thriller video in the basement of one of my best friend's houses. By the time Bad was released we were three years into college, and for some of us, the military. Michael's music set the stage
for some of life's most critical stages of "growing up" and it seems fitting to have a really good collection of his music handy in one place that is NOT on a dusty mix-tape lost somewhere in the garage!

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Says it All

Good, right? *grin*

Welcome New Readers!

I noticed my reader count has been going up, probably partly thanks to the shout out from Deb Peterson with She does a blog about continuing education and thought her readers might appreciate my recent post about making it through law school. Thanks, Deb!

I also suspect there may be some people freaking out about starting law school who did a random search and found me. In fact, I know that is how some of you found me. Welcome! Please dig around in my archives. Among a lot of senseless drivel meant mainly to amuse myself and get me through the days, there may actually be some useful tidbits.

From here on out, there won't be much about law school, unless something useful pops into by head. Mostly it will be about recovering from the bar and transitioning into a new life post-law school. Hopefully, there will be news in the-not-too-distant future about an amazing new job, and whatever else comes up in my life. I hope both new readers and old will stick around to see if I find anything interesting to say.

Not All That Creepy Crawly

Isn't nature amazing? This was crossing my path this morning:

After comparing a few photos online, I believe this is a milipede, as opposed to a centipede. I won't bet my reputation on it, though.

I know the picture is fuzzy. I either need a better camera on my phone or to start carrying one of our three cameras with me. Anyway, you can still see how brightly colored the legs are. Pretty amazing, really. The kids sure would have enjoyed seeing this with me. They love looking at bugs of all types, and my adventure girl is almost always happy to move insects or spider webs for her big brother. Cute, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bumper Sticker Humor

I saw a bumper sticker today that I just couldn't resist taking a picture of. Would have been more funny a year ago. With apologies to my Republican readers (I am sorry you are Republican):

The Big Questions

Now that school is over, bar prep is over and the bar itself is over, I've had more time to ponder what's next in life. I'm facing big questions, like:
- "Do I want to practice law or use my JD in a less traditional way?"
- "If I can get a job outside of my prefered practice area, do I take it anyway?"
- "Is it better to stay where I am where I have stability and flexibility and maybe do some pro bono work or an internship to get the experience I need to get the kind of job I want"
- "Paper or plastic?" (Cloth!)
- "does apidexin work?"
- "Why can't I get the smudge off my glasses?"
- "Are plain M&M's really far superior to the peanut ones, as I have always believed?"

As you can see, there is a lot on my mind these days.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Passing The Time - YouTube Style

Today I have spent some time emailing old friends- and by old - I mean since high school, actually, I've known one of them since 6th grade. Now, given my newly acquired J.D. status, I know that no one will expect me to do the math involved in figuring out how many years that has been, so let's leave it at "Damn - that's a long time!"

I also surfed a bit, wound up on YouTube, and now, here are my top picks for today. (Links take you to the videos I was watching.)

Ellen - We are All Gay
Straight or gay, you gotta love Ellen.

(Joan Jett - we should all look this good at almost 50! This is a recent photo, not from the movie mentioned below.)

Next up, from the 80's - who all remembers Light of Day with Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox? Most people thought it blew, but something in it really spoke to me. It came out around the same time I did, so it was probably the hot lesbian I was hearing, plus, who doesn't love Michael J. Fox?

Finally, summer brings back fond memories of Boston Legal, which Wife and I watched in marathon mode last summer. This is classic Boston Legal writing. Awesome stuff.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One Week Down!

Well, I made it through the first week of "the wait" until bar results come out, and the first week of no studying at all, for anything, period.

I have to say, this is a more strange transition for me than I had expected. It is uncomfortable not to know what is next. For four years my life has been consumed with a very tightly packed schedule - work, school, home, with studying wedged precisely into it all. Now, with school and studying gone, the structure of my life has come tumbling down, waiting for me to rebuilt it. Clearly, I'm spending lots more much needed time with my family. We're trying to make up for some of the summertime that we were cheated out of during June and July, but what happens beyond summer? Normally, I would be starting back to school in just 2 weeks.

I came across an interesting quote from some workshop materials I had on change in the workplace. "We create our lives through the quality of questions we ask ourselves."

Good, right? I'll think I'll leave you with that for today.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Have you ever Googled "best ever Margarita"?

I have.

There are are lot of informative sites, blog posts, articles, and comments to same out there.

It seems the consensus is that the quality of the tequila and freshness (and even type) of lime juice is key. Mixed opinions on what one mixes with those - Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Orange Curacao....a few, wait, a TON of variations are listed.

I have good tequilla. Two types, in fact. I have Orange Curacao of an indeterminate brand. I do not have limes. I have limeade. I have RealLime juice. I have ice. I think I have a margarita! (At least I would, if I were at home making it right now.)

By the way, the Cuervo Black pictured above - YUM!

I need more friends that drink.

How I Got Through Law School

The following is a VERY LONG POST intended for potential law students or current law students struggling through life as a "non-traditional" student and wondering how I managed.

I often get email asking for my advice. A recent reader sent me a whole list of questions, and I have answered them personally, but wanted to post them, too. Maybe someone will find them useful, or at the very least, not a terrible way to kill ten minutes. (Yes, ten - I told you it was a long post!)

First - for anyone with who is a partner of a law student, or law-student-wanna-be, be sure to check out my partner's blog, especially the archives - 2005 was my first year of law school from her perspective. (You will appreciate my sections below about how much it sucks to be a partner of a law student!)

Now, here is some of my best advice for making it through law school with a partner, and/or kids, and/or a full-time job:

First - mostly B's is totally good. At my school, the curve is forced that way. Period. You will get some A's, some C's, mostly B's. There are exceptions. Mostly, those of us working, and/or with kids, will not be among the exceptions. Once you can accept that, you will feel better. You are a non-traditional student and have to accept a different level of competence than you would have if you were not in your current situation. Even if you only have a partner to deal with, and are in your mid-30's, you are "non-traditional." You probably have more responsibilities than your 20-something classmates. You are now swimming in a pond of really freaking smart fish, and you may not be among the fastest of your peers. I was not. I always used to be before law school. It sucks, but is one of those things that I had to learn to accept. I had no energy to worry about it. I could only do my best....and school was only one of the balls I had in the air.

You do have an option. You can quit after your first year if you really think you will not want a career for which having a JD will help. You are probably already in debt, but it gets SO MUCH WORSE with every passing year, and lawyers do not make as much as people think. Still, I am glad I went. I loved the challenge. I know the JD will open doors for me. It will work out in the long run. I have to believe that. You must decide that for yourself. Really talk to other lawyers about their lives and careers. Most are very happy to talk to students about what they do and how they got there. Take some time to decide if this is best for you. Always believe you have choices in life.

OK. How did I do it?

1) I looked at the commitments I made as if there were no choice but to follow through with all of them. (Funny since I just told you to always believe you have choices! True, but I chose to follow through with my commitments and plans.)

I had my family. Sundays were for them. Period. No homework that day. I talked to my partner and my kids on the phone everyday, usually a few times a day.

I had certain hours I worked. I went to work. I did my job. The family needed money to live on - I was earning it. No choice. Then I had to go to class and pay attention. Not blog, not surf, just pay attention - take notes - participate when I wasn't completely lost or brain dead. I often felt as if I was both. Still....all I could do was my best under the circumstances.

Having ALL of my time so committed in some ways made my routine very easy. There were no choices to be made. I couldn't go have a drink after class. I didn't have time for law review. Some of that sucked a lot. I often wanted my biggest worry to be about where I was going drinking on Friday night, like some of my classmates, but that was not the path I'd chosen. I'd done that 15 years earlier.

2) I figured that homework was not optional. The assignments were not suggestions. They were what I had paid a huge amount of money to get to do to learn what I needed to learn. Did it help me during class? Sometimes. Did it help me during exams? Sometimes. Did it help me to learn the language of lawyers, how to think like a lawyer, help me to immerse myself in this odd culture of the law? Definitely. Indoctrination is part of the game.

How did I find the energy?

1) Sometimes it was very hard. During first year, I often took 15 minute naps in my car between work and school. I ate too much sugar and drank too much caffeine.

2) In my last year, I learned to regularly take walks, eat better, and pop a packet of Emergen-C in a bottle of water instead of opening a can of Coke.

3) A friend of mine really got involved in raw foods. She swears that is what helped her get through it all. It was probably an excellent idea. Her fruit smoothies definitely were better for her in the middle of class than my chocolate chip cookies.

How did I make my relationship last?

1) I am not sure. My first year was complete hell on our relationship. We fought a lot over I don't even know what. Mostly I had left her pretty much to be a single mom with a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old. She still expected me to pick up my share of the household duties. I couldn't do that and go to school and work. She had too much to do, and so did I. Neither of us was well-prepared for what that meant emotionally, nor did we have the outside support that some have. We had some family that occasionally helped with the kids. It was not nearly enough. So, we fought, we took out our frustrations on each other. To make up for the hell, we went to Disneyland twice during the summer after first year and really reconnected.

2) Everyone says once you have kids, make sure you still make time for each other. Have date nights, whatever. Same goes for law school. Make dates with each other. Keep them. Talk about law school AND other things in life. Your partner does not know what you are going through and really cannot relate, but remember, you also cannot relate to what she is going through. You have to both try to share what you are going through without getting defensive. It is really hard. I'm still not very good at it.

3) Being a partner of a law student sucks. They (you know - THEM) are teaching us to be even more difficult, argumentative and arrogant than we likely already were. So, not only are we difficult and stressed out, but we cannot make our partners the number one priority in our lives, even if we want to, even if they deserve it. To get through school, something's gotta give, and unfortunately, it is often the time you spend with your partner. Be sure to carve out some time for her each week. Make your partner a priority - but if she insists on being your top priority all the time - it just won't work.

4) Law school does a number on your self-esteem. Most of us are used to being at the top of our class. Most of us are suddenly forced into mediocrity. Our writing that has been our strength is suddenly crap. We are tested in a high stress situation that doesn't necessarily reflect what we've learned - do your best in three hours and here is your grade for the entire 16 weeks of work. All of that, plus add that most of us are wondering if the loans will be worth it and what we will really do when we get out. All of that forces us to be....well....probably not the best partners. Keep that in mind. It is easy to blame the other person for your own short-comings. Arguing and feeling guilty are distracting, but everyone has distractions. I sometimes think if I'd not been dealing with family stuff, my grades would have been higher. Maybe, but that is not where I am in life.

5) We had already been married for 11 years when I entered law school. We had two little kids. That is a lot to walk away from. So, that solid foundation was strong enough to last even through the big fights.

6) It really does get better after the first year. The first year of law school weeds out those that really want to be there and can handle it from those who don't or can't. It probably also weeds out the relationships that can't handle the really tough times. I know at least one guy from my "pod" of 40 that divorced after first year.

7) Sometimes - do something fun and spontaneous, and forget school for a day or two. Take your partner on a surprise trip somewhere. Go to a concert. Anything. Enjoy each other. Then get right back on track with your school work so you don't fall behind.

How did I mentally manage it all?

1) Sometimes I didn't.

2) Sometimes I fought with my partner. Sometimes I wanted to run away from it all. Sometimes I said things I shouldn't say. Later, I apologized.

3) Sometimes, I called on an old friend to let her know I was drowning, and she'd throw me a lifeline. Keep in touch with your friends, especially those outside of law school. They are at least insane in a totally different way than your law school friends.

4) I blogged. I came up with creative summer projects that had nothing to do with the law. I found I need to be creative to balance out the intense academic demands.

5) Seek Balance. Everyone tells us that. What the heck does it mean? For me, it meant trying to be really present with what I was doing at that moment - playing with my kids, doing my work, studying, whatever. It also meant making time for work and for fun. There has to be some fun to keep you going. Some things had to be given up - like dusting or spending time with "have to" friends or family. There was only time for really important stuff. It meant some semi-important stuff had to be let go. Really unimportant stuff - gone! You hope you can go back and pick up the stuff you didn't want to let go, but had to, like maybe a hobby. In a few years, maybe you'll be interested and have time for it - but for now, prioritization is important.

6) I wanted to drink. I rarely did. Law school with all the wine and beer receptions and luncheons sets us up to drink too much. Be careful. Drunk people do not make good first impressions.

How can I improve my test-taking skills?

1) I never signed up for BarBri before the bar exam. Given how useful their bar course was, I probably should have, plus it would have locked in a lower bar review course price. I think that using their study guides might be useful. Many of us during bar review said we wished we'd had some of the tips we were learning then during law school, particularly those surrounding essay questions.

2) Talk to professors. They want to help us learn. Look at where you could have improved your exam grades. If your school offers resources, take advantage of them. (I never did any of this, nor did I ever feel that I had time to go back and look at what I'd done. That would have meant taking time away from family or from the current homework. Seems like I could never get off the ride long enough to adjust my safety gear. Might it have helped my overall GPA? Maybe.)

3) Some things that are so foreign now just get easier and there is no way to learn it without simply doing it. We learn by doing and by being immersed in the culture.

What suggestions do I have for not losing it mentally?

1) Just after the bar doesn't seem like a great time to answer that as I am not sure that I did not lose it! Bar aside, though, for keeping the course during law school -

2) Go back up to the answers under "how did I mentally manage it all."

3) Talk to your friends. Talk to your partner. Talk to your classmates. They are going through much of the same crap you are going through. It's just that most of us don't talk about it. We all want people to think we've got it all together. Or maybe we just don't even have the time to wonder if our classmates are feeling the same way. They are. I accidentally stumbled upon this enough times to know that if I was going through it, so were others. During our first year, we were all fighting with our partners. Find out - then you can all laugh -or cry - about it together.

That's it!

I certainly did not do everything right, nor was I a huge academic success. I was a good student, I learned, I passed, I freaking graduated!

Would it have been easier without a job, a wife, kids, all of the trappings of adulthood? Certainly. Can it be done with all of these elements? Absolutely.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Bar Report

Where to begin?

It has been a week since I finished the bar. I think that calls for a a.....wait for!

OK, so, the bar experience was a mix of fear, excitement, and facing the unknown in what was the culmination of a four-year educational experience. The first day I was excited, somewhat nervous, and ready to go. There were about 500 of us, most in a large conference room, packed nearly on top of each other at row after row of long tables with barely enough room for our laptops and testing materials. There were four (?) large air conditioning units that had been installed especially for our event. They were blowing out blissfully cool air....for a while.

Most of us arrived at least an hour early for check in. Waiting was hard. It was already about 80+ degrees outside, so wandering around outside in search of fresh air was all but pointless. Still, everyone had their own method of coping at that point - talking, joking around, remaining totally silent at their spot, wandering, smoking....let me say, never has smoking seemed so appealing. I did a bit of everything...mostly walking, and talking with a few friends, and people nearby whom I had just met. I remembered to breathe deeply, and shared the advice with a friend desperate for any advice on coping.

One former classmate was mostly concentrating on keeping his breakfast down. I felt really bad for him.

The morning went well, and by lunch, I think most of us were feeling pretty good. The performance exam and one set of essays were done. I was happy to have had lots to say, and felt like I was doing well. Our career and alumni services hosted a lunch at a nearby restaurant. That was nice, and a chance to chat with friends about their plans for the rest of the summer.

By afternoon, the room had gotten HOT. Lots of people were complaining. I had made the unfortunate decision not to change into my shorts that I had brought with me even though I had gone to my car where I could have gotten them (see previous melted bottle picture). Truthfully, there would not have been much time though, and the bathroom lines were insane! Fortunately, I was so focused, and somehow, by the grace of god, remained pretty cool most of that day. I noticed by the last 45 minutes so so, that it was pretty hot. Still, I made it through and by the end of that day I was feeling GREAT! Day One Down!!

I had gotten two of my least favored topic areas - Partnerships and Tax - and had managed to remember enough to answer the questions and meet my character limits. I may not have aced every one, but certainly felt at least minimally competent.

Then came Day Two. Let me say that "minimally competent" felt like the theme for this day. That and HOT. No - HOT. We started the day at 8:00am at 82 degrees in the conference room. This was multiple choice question day (MBE). 100 questions in three hours. Lunch. 100 more questions.

I had done a lot of practice tests. I had been scoring well. I thought I would feel better about this part. At the end of three hours I was left feeling SO DONE that I was not sure how I would be able to come back and do more after lunch. I had no idea how I was doing. I was pretty sure if I had to read another property question I was going to scream, which would surely get me kicked out of the test.

Lunch was a much more somber experience this day. We all looked and felt pretty beat up. It was somewhere over 90 degrees outside, but I did not hear how much over. I knew we were heading for 107, which I later found out we reached.

I ate lunch. I took deep breaths in the shade near the pool. I put some Emergen-C in a cup of ice water and enjoyed the cool tartness as it cooled off my insides. About 1:30 we started the final section of the Bar Exam.

The final section.....three more hours and that was it. The end of four long years. Excitement and fear blended with the heat. I realized within moments just how hot it was. We were easily above 90 degrees in the conference room. I seriously considered that there might be people passing out or throwing up from heat exhaustion. Focus. OK - Fifi wants to kill her husband (intent) and gets her boyfriend to bring his gun (conspiracy), they drive over with the gun (this is a significant step if that is important)....I plan on going to get ice water when I get to question 18. I am so hot that it is difficult to focus, but I make myself visualize what is happening in each hypothetical. I haven't come this far to blow it because of the damn heat. Question 18 - and I am right near the ice water and the bathrooms. Excellent!

I eat ice through the rest of the exam, which works to keep me cool enough to finish - thank God!

At the end, I have no clue how I did. At some points, I felt eerily confident about the answers. The blessings of the many friends, and even strangers, praying for clarity for me? If so, I'll take it! Some questions, I struggled over, and finally saw the nuance that made the difference - I think. Some questions - guess and go.

Then it was over.
A friend and I exchanged relieved high fives, words of "thank god it is over," and danced around the fact it - the big IT - the whole law school experience was really over. I think we were both dazed. I know I was exhausted and sad that I didn't feel better than I did. We'd been warned we would feel terrible and have no idea how we'd done. That was exactly right.

Results will not be out until September 25th. Torture.

I have a lot of post-bar thoughts to share, but for now, will just say, "Congrats" to all my fellow bar-takers. Funny - it doesn't feel much like "congrats" in this strange limbo that we are in - but I suppose it is.

Also - to my friends and family who helped me through this insanity, thank you. You all deserve a special post of your own. The bar creates its own special kind of craziness - and those closest to us bar-takers get the disease spread over them like an air-borne virus. Hmmm....I'm smiling to myself....pleased with my analogy. Hope you are, too.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


This is from the first day of the bar.

It was a lovely water bottle given to us as a gift on our way in. It was filled with candy and a granola bar.

I tossed it in my car over lunch. About 40 minutes later:

Several of us agreed that it was symbolic of what was happening to us.

I will attempt a more detailed post tomorrow.