Thursday, January 31, 2008

Its a B-Movie Shooooow...

So today I found myself looking out the window at work this afternoon, and I caught the tail end of the sunset. A song from The Brave Little Toaster came to mind as I looked out at the clouds and realized I'd missed the entire day's sunlight.

"There goes the sun, here comes the night, somebody turn out the light. Somebody tell me that fate has been kind... You can't go out, you are out of your mind!"

Written out, it sounds bleaker than it actually is -- the movie itself is a delightfully campy Disney cartoon from the 80s. We watched it incessantly at my house growing up. But something about the sun setting and being trapped in my office made me think about that silly little song.

It also made me think about dropping everything and buying a one way ticket for Steven and I to Fiji. Lots of sunlight, lots of sand, and absolutely zero Microsoft Word.


I tend to work on a rewards system. When things get rough and I feel overwhelmed, its time for a little token gift to myself, as a reminder of all the fun stuff I get to do once this (SECOND!) bar exam is over.

Enter my new favorite place:


Steven took me there the other night (after the BBQ Incident), just to look at all the pretty things and remember that a world exists beyond Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman.

Wanna see what I got?


Hint: I am a sucker for this stuff.


Yes. Sock yarn. Don't judge me. :)


Its really neat - self-striping and yet still tweedy-looking.


I'm trying my best to save this until post-Bar, but my yarn-resistance-willpower is low right now. I might break it out this weekend if studies go badly.

Steven agreed to take me to the yarn store on condition that we went to Guitar Center afterwards, which just happens to be nearby. We went, and we visited the $17,000 Lenny Replica guitar. Steven asked the Guitar Center folks if he could play "Lenny" on the Lenny guitar. Their answer?

"You got $17K, she's all yours." (Steven has now decided he'd rather have a Danelectro, valued at approximately $152.50.)

In Bar news (because I'm sure you're dying to know), I have ALMOST all my outlines done - Evidence and Commercial Paper/Secured Transactions are left. This weekend will be dedicated to finishing those off and then plowing through the essay questions. I'm not quite as concerned as I previously was about having time enough to study, because my boss is going to let me take a full week off of work to study -- but STILL, considering that I took a solid two, two-and-a-half weeks off for the VA Bar and I was still stressed out of my mind, I'm not sure I'll be much better by the end of this ONE week off...

Unless I miraculously learn everything in four days. (In which case I will be making some stripey, tweedy socks, you can be sure of that.)

Lordy, I'm tired. How do people do this?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

I am a person of big plans. I'll admit it.


I like to attempt things that I've never done before, mostly just to see if I can do it.

This is typically my approach to cooking.

So when I heard about the idea of pulled pork barbeque in a Crock Pot, I was hooked. I was dying to try it, and if it met the Steven-Seal-Of-Approval, I was planning to add it to our regular magical-Crock-Pot meal rotation.


I bought a pork tenderloin and all the fixins, and yesterday before work, I mixed up a delicious-smelling sauce -- brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and all manner of spices. It was going to be amazing. I had buns, I had mac-and-cheese. I was all set.


I nearly danced out the front door that morning -- I was so excited to try it. I thought about it all day while I drooled on my paperwork. I rushed home to find that Steven had a rough day, and I thought to myself -- "Oh it will be so very nice to sit down to a prepared meal together!"

But then I realized that the Crock Pot was not wafting delicious smells like it should have been. I threw the lid off and stabbed the should-have-been-roasted-and-falling-apart tenderloin. Raw.

Note to self. Crock Pot is not nearly as magical when you leave it unplugged.



So, I got angry. And I decided to try again the next day. I sloshed the raw tenderloin into a tupperware bowl, threw it in the refrigerator, and determined that I would cook that stupid tenderloin if it killed me. I dropped it in the crock pot this morning and you can surely bet that I plugged that sucker in good this time.

About halfway through the day, I realized that there really wasn't any safe way to get away with leaving a raw pork tenderloin on my counter overnight and then attempting to cook and eat the same tenderloin. Little voices (probably from the USDA Food Safety department) whispered things like "eeeeeeeeeee-coli!" in my ear.

By the time I got home, I had resigned myself to the sad truth - I knew we had to toss it. But I figured at least it would be a good test run, to show Steven just how very delicious this barbeque recipe would be (with properly-handled-and-refrigerated proteins).

Um, yeah.


Not so much.


That, my friends, is a brick of charcoal. I refuse to admit that I am secretly glad to have had this test run, as it shows me that I will need a great deal more sauce to make a roasted porkloin and not a pile of Kingsford briquetes.

And so, my delectable barbeque failed, both for food safety reasons and for nuclear combustion reasons.

Thus, we resorted to the fail-safe option:



In other news, Steven's world has been turned upside-down today. First of all, his beloved Twins have traded their beloved Santana. I have been hearing about this trade for weeks and weeks, and the grandiose list of marquee players we could receive in return for good old Johan.

And today, the trade was consummated. And we got ... uh ... two minor leaguers, an 18-year-old kid, and some guy named Gomez.


Needless to say, dear hubby is not a happy camper.

Also getting under his skin today, the evangelicals (Dobson & crew) have decided to endorse Mitt Romney instead of the obvious (read: better) choice of Mike Huckabee. After watching the coverage of the Santana trade on ESPN and then turning the channel to see the Romney-Dobson political marriage, Steven threw up his hands in disgust.

"What is going ON with the WORLD?"

Clearly there is only one solution to our tenderloin-and-trade woes.

Retail therapy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

That's it...

Got this in the mail from the Maryland Bar people...


Did you catch that? Let me show you again:


That's it. I'm not studying anymore.


Made pizza last night and used my fun new measuring cups and spoons from Christmas.



Burnt the pizza a little. Accidentally on purpose forgot to take a picture. :)


Steven and I went to lunch today at "Dixie Bones," a BBQ place in Lorton. Steven and crew had eaten there for a work lunch last week, and he wanted me to try a certain dish they'd had. (Yes, this means that my homemade BBQ plans were delayed until later, but I maintain that this was mostly because I needed to go to the grocery and buy sandwich buns and ketchup, and not because Steven preferred this BBQ to mine. I insist.)

Dixie Bones was very southern and charming. It was also COMPLTELELY PACKED TO THE GILLS with people, resulting from two factors which I should have considered in advance: (a) it was Sunday, and (b) there was a barbeque buffet. If that's not a deadly combination, I don't know what is. When we finally got seated, we ordered the "loaded potato," which consists of the following coronary-inducing ingredients: one enormous baked potato, stuffed with sour cream and cheddar, and piled with shredded barbequed chicken. It was immensely delicious. Aaaand my pants no longer fit. Oh well.

PS - Goal for today is to finish the MD Professional Responsibility outline. I did two essays yesterday and a bunch of flashcards while we were waiting in the ridiculously small-and-glutted waiting area at the restaurant. The customers waiting with us were reading the flashcards over my shoulder, if that gives you any idea of the crowd. Ta-ta - I'm off to figure out how not to get sued for malpractice in Maryland.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Checklist for a Day of Studying

Sleepy Dogs Wearing Clothes?


And Chewing On My Water Bottles?



Something to keep Steven occupied?




Fresh coffee with cinnamon-hazelnut flavored creamer of some sort?



Notebook full of outlines needing review?



Fun and cozy striped socks that I finally finished?



Those little Post-It tabby things?



Fairly depressing subject matter?




Let the highlighting and rote memorization begin.


I tend to work on a rewards system, and this weekend's reward is that I get to try to make a Crock Pot Pulled Pork BBQ. One of the attorneys at work is a BBQ aficionado, so he gave me a mini-crash-course in BBQ. I took notes. On a Post-It. (I should buy stock in 3M. I am a Post-It hoarder.)


I warned him that I am a beginner, and I may end up just using my McCormick mix stuff instead...we'll see how it goes. Studying first, people. Food is secondary -- especially now that I know Steven can cook...


Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Are Not Going To Believe This

Or maybe you will believe it, if you know my dear sweet husband. I came home last night, stressed and tired, and as I pulled up to the apartment, I was thinking to myself just how much I did not want to cook dinner, and just how much I didn't want to go back out the door for fast food.

And to my complete and utter delight, here is what I saw as I walked in the door.




STEVEN. MADE. DINNER! For me! Delicious chili in a bread bowl with cheese and sour cream and all manner of goodness! He said he got a recipe from the grocery store, and he picked out all the ingredients, brought it all home after work, and it was simmering and perfect by the time I got home.


And it was delicious. I thanked him and thanked him and I'm still shocked and amazed and delighted, BECAUSE tonight, I walked in the door and he had made Pizza!

I just might be the luckiest girl in the world.

Now if I could just get the dogs to walk themselves...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not Exciting At All

Quick note to myself:

Agency/Pship outline needs Maryland specifics
Commercial law needs full outline (or maybe just MD specifics?)
Family Law - outline partially complete
Professional Responsibility - needs full outline
Contracts/Sales - needs MD specifics
Evidence - needs MD specifics
Torts - needs MD specifics

Goals: Do at least 3 essay questions between now and when my head hits the pillow Friday night.

To all concerned parties -- I could quite possibly drop off the face of the map here for a month or so. Maybe Steven will keep you informed during that time. I will negotiate this matter with him.

:) Send one up to the Big Guy for me, if you think of it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Steven's First Blog Post

So far this blog has been dominated by countless photos of yarn, kitchen items, and numerous postings of Bar preparation outlines. BOOOOORRRRRRINGGGGGGG.

As a result, I decided I needed to take control for a post or two and let everyone know whats going on in the world of Steven.

Last night we went and saw the new movie Cloverfield.

It was scary to say the least. The film was really hyped up by the press - so I wasn't sure what to expect. If you can get by the shaky-camcorder-first-person-effect, that the whole film was shot in, it was actually a really unique film with a decent plot and it had a scary and HUGE monster/Godzilla looking creature. Heather cried when the movie was over! (not that this crying thing is new - she also cries daily at the end of her Tivoed Dr. Phil episodes).

All in all, we both gave it two thumbs way up.

This weekend I also took interest in the South Carolina primary. I was really pulling for Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris. But the old fogey John Mccain came away with the win. I actually heard that they were actually going to make a version of the board game Clue with Chuck Norris as a character. But the game always seemed to end with: "Chuck Norris, in the Library, with a roundhouse-kick."

That is all for now! Maybe in the next few days I will post again.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Playing Catch Up

So we finally went grocery shopping this weekend. For the first time since ... ahem... Christmas. Little Mrs. Steele's cupboards were very very bare. We kinda splurged at the store -- We each bought our own kind of shampoo! (Yes, this is splurging. We are the type of people who could potentially re-use plastic sandwich bags.) Steven bought this fancy-schmancy Paul Mitchell Tea Tree stuff.


He's been raving about it all day -- he says it makes his scalp tingle. I told him he might have accidentally bought Head & Shoulders and he just doesn't realize it yet. Ha.

I am only five pages into my Maryland Civ Pro outline, even though I worked on it all yesterday and half of today. I spent the other half of today trying to get our house in order. The entire month of January has just knocked me down, and as a result, we had no clean laundry, no clean silverware, and suitcases still lying on the floor, half-unpacked.

And I would officially like to report a moment of success:


I have ... (drumroll please)... Finished. All. The. Laundry.

All of it.


That is what the bottom of my laundry basket looks like. (I had forgotten.)

After such a domestic success, I was on a roll...

I made dinner, too.


Real dinner. On the stove. With pots and pans, even.


And it was actually moderately healthy.

(Chicken with green beans and barley)

And, to boot, all the well-fed tummies in my house took a nice long (QUIET) nap this afternoon.


The nap did not last, of course, but his behavior has been less-than-completely-depraved today, so I am happy. I opened the blinds earlier, which helped to distract him from pestering me nonstop while I was working on outlines. (Owning a small dog is sort of like having an eternal toddler.)


Of course, the universe took notice of how well things were going. And the universe struck back.


After a quick prayer, I tore the envelope open and braced myself for the worst. But alas! All is well!


I get to use my laptop to take the Bar. Whew.

All this good karma is going to catch up with me eventually. I'll probably fall down the stairs in my heels again or something. (Did I mention I did that? At work? Yes, it was a brilliant moment for me.) But for now, I'm through playing catch up from Christmas, and I'm happy. My house is as clean as its going to get, and all of the household appliances I own are running simultaneously (Washer? Check. Dryer? Check. Dishwasher? Check.)

And I started a new project: the February Baby Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book.


I've tried to make this sweater before, and the lace pattern always stumps me, so this time, I'm going to make it without the lace pattern -- just stockinette straight down from the collar. Right now, I'm just past the second buttonhole, and loving it. Very simple, very straightforward.

(See the buttonholes?)

Except I just realized what the color of this yarn reminds me of.


Pepto Bismol. Rats.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Buckling Down

Here's the view at Chez Steele, courtesy of my fine photographer husband:


Its unfortunately going to be the view for a while.


Because its buckle-down time.


If I could come back in another life as someone else, I think I'd still come back as me, but I would want like 10 arms.


And days would have to be longer. Twenty-four hours just isn't enough.


That's my main complaint these days. There's just NOT enough time. Although, I guess if the worst thing happening to you is that you don't have enough time to do everything you want to do, life is pretty good.


Just keep telling me that, OK?


Yesterday morning, the view was really nice.


It was crisp and wintry.


It made me want to go curl up in a warm blanket and write a novel.


Or at least drink a long, relaxing cup of coffee.


Or watch Steven dance with the dog.


Pringles has been extra needy lately. I think its because I've been typing outlines instead of tending to his every whimper. He may need therapy. Look at those little eyes.


Alright. Maryland Civil Procedure is calling me. I leave you with a little something fabulous that I picked up the other day.


Bronz-ish Gold is totally the new black.