Legal Quandary

Friday, September 30, 2005

But Not Me Baby - I've Got You To Save Me!

I can't decide which is worse...

The fact that lots of people find my blog by misspelling Coeur D'Alene (as in Idaho).


The fact that I am only #5 on the Google Search Results for said misspellings.

My Commercial Transactions Prof

Paces back and forth at the front of the classroom. Which is fine - I've dealt with pacers before. What I find distracting is the fact that he also chews his nails (or cuticles - I can't tell) while he's doing it.

So he'll pose a question, pick someone to answer, pace and chew, all the while muttering "Uh huh. Yeah. I think so!"

If he pulled out a cell phone and started talking, it would totally remind me of my brother-in-law. Or at least Mr. Q's impression of my BIL.



Jim commented the other day on how living in TVPNM can make you a "weather wuss" in no time at all.

I had a total of 6 years on the West Coast before heading east this past summer, and let's just say that despite my Midwest upbringing, I was unused to breaking into a sweat the moment I left my house.

Last night's dip into the low 50's and today's temp of 63 were therefore a welcome change. I actually had to wear a jacket for my walk to the metro this morning - not just to wear in class. (Our building is EXTREMELY cold. I routinely take a sweatshirt/cardigan/parka to school with me to ward off frostbite. I even had problems typing the other day because my thumbs went numb.)

Of course, this in no way waives my right to bitch when the temperature drops below freezing and stays there this winter.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

No Fair!

Mr Q. came home the other day and announced that we need to arrange for someone to come help me with the kids in February or March.


Because he's going to Australia.

So incredibly jealous....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

LQ Endorses

I recently came to the conclusion that I cannot go on focussing solely on the bitterness that is Law School. Aside from being incredibly boring for my 6 readers, I get tired of being so negative. Also - there's less than a year left before I run out of material. With that in mind, I thought I would put some energy into writing about things that make me happy. My goal is for this to become a fairly regular occurrence here at LQ.

I originally thought about naming this "Good Stuff," envisioning the B-52s song of that title playing in the background. Then I realized that it is wayyy too close to "Good Things" of Martha Stewart fame. And I didn't think that was the route I wanted to go - though I suppose it's the same general idea. Except of course, I don't have 6 bizillion dollars and a media empire to back up my recommendations. (Though if any of the businesses featured here at LQ would like to change that, I'm willing to entertain offers - email to legalquandary[at]gmail[dot]com.)

Mostly these posts will probably be food related. Why? Because food makes me happy. Cooking it. Eating it. Having stockpiles of prepared meals in my freezer. All sources of great happiness and satisfaction for me. A good bratwurst can bring tears of joy to my eyes. I'm always in search of a good burger. I believe that the perfect scone is a thing of beauty. A nice glass of red wine. A good piece (or more!) of chocolate. Good coffee. All of these make me very, very happy.

And bread. Bread makes me very happy too. Especially when it's really good bread. In fact, whenever I move, one of the first things I go looking for is a good place to get German bread - blame it on my German mother.

This brings me to my first endorsement - The Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe in Arlington, VA. With approximately 40 different kinds of bread, I could be happy here for a very long time. I tried two kinds - the Black Forest Sourdough Rye and the Schwaben Brot. I preferred the darker, slightly denser Schwaben Brot. (The shorter bread on the right in the photo.) We had both breads for dinner the other night with butter and sliced tomatoes garnished with salt, pepper, onion & parsley. Yummy!

Prices for the breads are very reasonable - ranging from $2.70 to $3.55 for a 1 lb loaf. Beats the heck out of what I've seen at the Farmer's Market. I only wish they would use just a bit less flour for decorating the top of the loaves - I ended up scraping quite a bit of it off and will probably choose a different bread to try next time for this reason. I'm eying the Toasted Sesame and Six Grain breads...

HPS also has a smallish German deli with different meats and cheeses. I tried the coarse Leberwurst (liverwurst), which was pretty good. I know a lot of Americans malign Leberwurst as "gross." My own children refuse to touch the stuff, but it is something I grew up with and really enjoy. I only buy it occasionally because of the high fat content, but I will probably buy this again. They sell both bratwurst and weisswurst, blutwurst, several kinds of cheese, sauerkraut (which looks fairly fresh, though not homemade), and several other German staple deli items.

Additionally, they carry a pretty nice selection of other German groceries. I purchased a jar of German mustard, which I have not tried yet. Though I was disappointed that they did not carry the Thomy mustard in a tube. (Yes, I know Thomy is Swiss, not German). I was pleasantly surprised to find that they carry 3 different kinds of Back-Oblaten (Little wafers for baking. I use them for macaroons because the sugar/egg white mixture burns so easily.) I didn't pay attention to how the prices compare, since I usually have my mother send me items like Vanilla Sugar, bouillon, mustard, and pudding mix.

Finally, I tried a couple of HPS's pastries. One was a sort of cinnamon streusel cake. It was light and quite good, but I've never had anything like it in Germany. The other was a classic Berliner - which is essentially a German jelly doughnut - fried, filled with apricot jam (not too sweet or artificial tasting and with pieces of fruit), and then rolled in granulated sugar. Every bit as good as those I've had in Germany. They have a tremendous selection of pastries, cookies, and cakes. I'll probably take the family with me on my next trip so we can order several types and share.

About the only thing that is preventing me from just moving in is that the ladies behind the counter were not incredibly nice. I mentioned this to Mr. Q and he just laughed and said that was his impression of almost all Germans - that they weren't really nice until you got to know them. I don't think that's true, but maybe my experience was a bit skewed by having spent many summers with my Oma and Tante Elsa in Germany. We lived in a small town and everyone knew them, so it's possible that everyone was nice to me because of them. At any rate, I'm hoping the ladies were just having a bad day, and next time will be different.

If you live in the DC area, I highly recommend a trip to the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe.

They also offer good complimentary coffee with your purchase. Sadly, I spilled mine almost immediately.

Monday, September 26, 2005

We're Not in TVPNM Anymore, Toto

I went to get a mocha on campus today. I've never visited a coffee shop where I had to give the barrista explicit instructions as to how to make a mocha. To include listing what's in it and reminding her to put espresso in it.

*ugh* and from the taste of it - I shouldn't have bothered. Truly dreadful. Blech.


Have you ever had a class where you just don't know what you're supposed to be learning? Where the professor just sort of asks everyone their opinions about various aspects of the reading, but never really talks about what the law is? Where you hate going to class because there doesn't seem to be any point in it?

I have. Only 10 more weeks to go.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Small World

I took Lil Q to the park this morning. My initial intent was to take her along the WOD trail in order to get a little workout in, but she seemed so excited about going to the park that I couldn't resist.

After the park, we ended up in the local Starbucks for a mocha and hot chocolate. As we were waiting for our order, someone commented on my TVPNU LAW Shirt & Hat combo (remember - I was planning to work out).

Him: (pointing at my hat) "Rough day yesterday, huh?"

"Yeah. Well, we're rebuilding. [Insert name of unethical coach here] did a lot of damage."

(Side note - I care nothing about football, but Mr. Q had filled me in on the details of yesterday's debacle. You couldn't go to school on that campus without knowing about the coach situation.)

Him: "Yeah..haha...I just came from TVPNM."

Me: "Oh? What brings you here then?"

Him: "I'm an attorney for the [insert name of military branch here]. I actually did some recruiting at TVPNU last year - they weren't very friendly."

Me: "Wait - you were there to interview so-and-so, right? My name is LQ - we met last year. So-and-so introduced us."

How random is that?

Though it was clear he didn't remember me. I'm also a little surprised that he's still bitter about the fact that he got put into a little study room in the back of the library to conduct interviews. (Which actually isn't all that unusual at TVPNU.)

Legal Eats!

Vanilla Gorilla requested that I post photos of the first Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies to come out of the Blue Kitchen. Just for you, O Hairy One...

I also tried something different with the recipe this time. I like how the cookies turned out, so I figured I'd share. Since at least one person liked the idea of recipes every once in awhile. (I know there's more of you. You're just shy or didn't get around to commenting - it's ok.)

This recipe substitutes ground hazelnuts for some of the flour, which probably adds some fat, but also adds a nice flavor and all the nutritional benefits of hazelnuts. (Vitamin E, Copper, Manganese & Magnesium.) Trader Joe's sells them already ground as "Hazelnut Meal". Be sure to use real butter for all baking. Margarine just doesn't compare. Sure butter adds saturated fat, but it also tastes soooo much better. Also - you're eating cookies - you can't be all that concerned...

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c brown sugar lightly packed
1/2 granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c ground hazelnut
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3 c quick cooking oats - uncooked
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Nestle Toll House)
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Cream sugars and butter together. Add vanilla and eggs & beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, hazelnuts, baking sode, cinnamon, and salt - whisk together, then gradually add this mix into the butter/sugar mix. Stir in oats. Once combined, stir in chocolate chips & nuts.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop rounded spoonfuls. (I use a Pampered Chef small scoop - I own 2 so the kids can help.) Bake until lightly browned in 350 degree oven - about 10-12 minutes. If you like soft cookies, be sure not to overcook. If you want to keep them soft, store them in a tupperware container with a slice of break. The bread will get stale, but the cookies will stay soft. Don't ask me why this works, but it does.

I rarely bake the whole batch. Usually, I scoop them all out onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze. (See the photo) Once frozen, I store them in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag in the freezer. That way we don't feel compelled to eat dozens of cookies at a time, but always have treats on hand.

If you're not a fan of hazelnuts, just substitute more all-purpose flour.


On a side note. As much as I complain about Blogger, I have to give them kudos on their ability to add photos now. Much easier than the way I used to do it. So...good job, Blogger!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In Other News...

it appears that Blogger and Firefox have kissed and made up! (Or maybe I've just got kissing on the brain now.)


Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

I was having an email conversation with a friend today via gmail. For those of you who don't know, gmail does little sponsored ads in the sidebars. I guess they're supposed to be targeted based on what you're emailing. Which honestly is a little scary because it means some computer is "reading" your email.

At any rate, the link to this ad kept coming up.

Finally, my curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on it. Something I never do because I figure it just encourages them.

Not that I have a dirty mind, but it wasn't what I was expecting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Interview

Alternate Title: Never Underestimate My Ability to Get Lost

I wrote a long post about this last night, but stupid Blogger/Firefox ate it.

So there I was... (your response is "Where were you?" Humor me.)

I had my newly tailored skirt. A new pair of Anne Klein shoes. A new black purse (though why I bothered is beyond me - boys never notice those things). My hair was up. My make-up was on. I looked smart, skinny, and competent.

My application package was complete. I had mapquested and printed out directions to *what I thought* was the right place. I even gave myself an hour and a half to get there.

I drove and drove and was doing fine until about the last 5 miles. When I got lost. I mean really, totally, utterly, where-in-the-hell-am-I??? lost. Let the panic attack begin. It didn't help that my cell phone was also inexplicably not working and I couldn't get in touch with the interviewer. So picture me driving around lost and totally freaking out.

Finally, I did get in touch with him, explained my situation and he gave me directions to get there. I eventually made it, but let's just say I was extremely late. He was very cool about it and told me not to worry. But still - it's hard to talk about your great listening skills and proven competence when you can't even navigate a largish metropolitan area.

At any rate - once I got there, it went great. Really, really well. There's actually a panel who makes the final decision, but the interviewer said I should have a really good shot. He also promised to make no mention of my general lack of navigational skills.

So who knows.

I'll find out sometime around Halloween. Trick or Treat.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wish Me Luck!

So tomorrow is the big interview day. Please send those postive thoughts, good vibes, prayers, etc, toward the greater DC area around 1:30PM Eastern.

On a different note - can anyone tell me why all the green candy that used to be yummy lime flavored is now icky green apple flavored??? Blech.

On a Completely Unrelated Note...

Is anyone else having problems with Blogger and Firefox not wanting to play nice together?

Everytime I log into Blogger, I get an error message and Firefox shuts down. I've had to resort to using IE again. *shudder*

Any thoughts?

Dear Masters Degree University,

Your transcript office sucks.

You would think that if I faxed a transcript request, along with an authorization to charge my credit card $10 for you to return fax a one-page document, your transcript folks would pick up on the fact that I needed my transcript fast. You would be wrong.

Not only did they not pick up on the fact, but it took them 4 days to get around to sending my request via intercampus mail to the office that could fax out my transcript. Because, as your employee so kindly told me today, I had sent the request to the wrong office. Never mind that I sent the request to the ONLY transcript office you had listed on your website. And I'd had to hunt to find that.

In 4 days, I could have had an official transcript were it not for your office's incompetence. I know, because, the other 2 universities I sent transcript requests to managed it.

Please do something about that.

Hugs and kisses,


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Out of Whack

We went to the local Farmer's Market this morning. There was also some sort of small town Fall Festival going on. You know - where all the candidates for office show up and hand out balloons, and the police come and let the kids climb in the cars and pet the canines. With the jumping castles, all the food booths, and Creative Memories ladies. You get the idea.

One of the chiropractors in town also had a booth. I've written, oh, a couple of dozen times lately, about how stressed I've been, so I figured - what the heck - I should see what this guy has to say.

The news was not good. Apparently, I either have disk problems or arthritis in my neck. Also - one of my shoulders is higher than the other, as is one of my hips. He even showed me in his circus mirror he had set up! How can a girl go through life without noticing this? Did anyone else notice this about me? Why am I always the last to know?!!

After he delivered this little tidbit of information, he proceeded to give me a lecture on the importance of stretching before and after I exercise.

I think I need a second opinion...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Special Kind of Stupid

When I am stressed, I eat like there's no tomorrow.

When I am really, really stressed, apparently, I don't eat at all. Like yesterday - I had my cereal at around 7AM and then literally forgot to eat until dinner.

Some comedienne once said it takes a special kind of stupid to forget to eat. I guess that's me. Total food consumed today so far - 1 can of Pepsi and string cheese.

On the plus side, stress also makes me very fidgety. Which, I hear is a good way to lose weight.

If things don't let up soon, between the two, I'll be back down to my pre-EC weight by Christmas...hmmmmmm

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Stress Bunny

I feel like it's been so long since I've written anything of substance. Arguably, I've never written anything of substance here. At any rate, I have an excuse a reason at the moment.

I am applying for a job. Lately my life has been consumed by the process of editing multiple writing samples, completely revamping my resume, filling out forms, and writing "Motivational Statements." Whatever the fuck those are.

Yeah, I know. I'm a 3L. Applying for jobs is something I'm supposed to be doing right now. Maybe I'm even supposed to be stressed out about the whole process.

The thing is I really, really want this job. I mean *really* want this job. It's the one I've wanted for 9 years now. The one that is the whole reason I decided to go through hell law school. I won't tell you what it is, because I'm afraid that will somehow jinx me. But it's a job that I think I'm pretty uniquely qualified for. Seriously - I think they would be hard pressed to find many people better qualified. And I know that they wouldn't find anyone who would love coming to work every day more than I would.

I set up the interview today for next Tuesday.

Please send out good vibes so I don't fuck this up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Sure Way to Draw the Stares of Strangers

...and not in a good way.

Push a stroller down the street without a child in it.

In my defense, I was walking to/from Lil Q's daycare. It's only about a mile from the house, and walking to drop her off and pick her up forces me to get some exercise.

Walking the mile with her but without a stroller is not an option.

Monday, September 12, 2005

On Death and Dying

How pathetic is it that I can't bring myself to delete my dad's phone numbers from my cell phone?

Or that I still feel like I should call him? Does that ever go away?

Also - do you think I'll ever get over feeling guilty that I sat at the airport reading a book and didn't even think to call the hospital to check on him until I got their message that he had already died?

Legal Eats

People have asked me from time to time how I manage to balance being a full time law student with working and being a wife and mom. My standard answer has always been to say that I just do all of those things badly - which isn't exactly true.

Probably the biggest thing that I do to try to keep ahead of the power curve is to cook in advance. I'm a huge believer in cooking once and eating two, three, or four times. So I thought that I would try to share some of my favorite recipes on a semi-regular basis (translation - when I think about it, or am procrastinating from some project.) Next time I'll try to include pictures.

Most of the recipes probably came from somewhere else at some point, but I've usually made changes along the way to make them easier, healthier, or taste better. Like a law school outline, I feel like making changes gives me the right to call a recipe my own.

Let me know what you think.

Mexican Lasagne

This is one of my favorite quick meals. It's vegetarian, and if you use low-fat cheese and sour cream, pretty healthy. High in fiber, and all that jazz. I usually make one pan of this at Thanksgiving for my vegetarian guests - and everyone ends up eating it.

This recipe makes one lasagne for tonight, and one to freeze. Cut the recipe in half if you only want to make one. You can also assemble this the night before and refrigerate until you're ready to cook. This gives the flavors a chance to blend and allows the juices to soak into the corn tortillas, giving them an almost "tamale" sort of texture and taste.

6-8 corn tortillas, sliced in half
1 bag of frozen corn (thawed)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed.
1/2 c. diced red onion
3 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (plain oregano or a blend of dried oregano and basil work well too)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans diced green chiles
4 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, CoJack, Monterey Jack, or - if you like spicy - Pepper Jack)
Sour cream
2 8 inch square cake pans. I use the aluminum ones for freezing.

Combine corn, onion, diced tomatoes, chiles, and seasonings in a bowl & mix well. Spray the pans with cooking spray. Lay down the tortilla halves in a single layer. I put the flat sides along the edges, so the rounded edges are all toward the center , and then put one half of another tortilla over the gap. Spread about 2 cups of the mixed ingredients over the top of the tortillas. Sprinkle on 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the lasagne you plan to eat tonight until the cheese on top is melted and slightly browned (about 20 min). Let it stand for a few minutes before serving and top with sour cream.

Cover the pan you're freezing with a double layer of aluminum foil and place into a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Freeze for later. Take it out of the freezer the night before you want to use it - it'll take forever to cook if you don't thaw it. Trust me. I know of what I speak.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Slightly Higher Class Litterbug

If such a creature exists.

Seen near the Lincoln Memorial.

Pointless Query

Is it wrong to wash down a multi-vitamin and Tylenol PM with Pepsi?

On the one hand, it seems so counterproductive. On the other hand, it seems like a way for me to make up for my nutritionally poor choice of beverage, while ensuring I'm able to sleep tonight.

I suppose it would be more wrong (wronger?) if I were washing them down with, say, bourbon.

Of course, then I probably wouldn't need the Tylenol PM.

Dear Roundboy and Mrs. Roundboy,

EC has been back with me for almost a month now, and there's something I have to share with you.

I was mad as hell at you when she came back. In fact, I'm still pretty irate, which is why I'm writing this.

Do you know that she gained 12 pounds over the summer??? 12 pounds. In 5 weeks. Over 2 pounds a week. Do you know how many calories per day that translates to??? Let me save you the trouble of looking it up. It means you fed her an average of nearly 3000 calories a day! Say it with me now, three thousand calories.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the hell is wrong with you?

Now, I know what you're going to say. You're going to tell me she went through a growth spurt. I'll concede that she grew an inch, but that is nowhere near enough to compensate for all the weight she put on. So, nice try, but no cigar.

Look, EC is never going to be a skinny child, and I am fine with that. She is - or at least she was - a healthy, active child. I have no problem with healthy. But you do this to her every single year. Since 1999, she's come back between 7 and 10 pounds heavier every summer. And since 1999, I have had to watch what she eats and make sure she exercises for the next 9 months to try to get her back to a normal weight. AND I have to do it without being so obvious as to give her a reason to develop an eating disorder.

Both the kid's grandfathers died of cancer. High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes all run in her family. Why do you want to endanger your child's health? If you two want to have 6 chins between you, be my guest, but please keep EC out of it.

Also, eat a fucking salad from time to time.



Friday, September 09, 2005

Happy Birthday Baby Zoom!

Lil Q is officially 3. We nicknamed her "Baby Zoom" almost from the time we first knew of her. Though we had various reasons for doing so, a lot of it had to do with a game EC used to play, "The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis." (Which I highly recommend, btw.) At random points during the game this voice would just boom out "ZOOMBINI!"

Since we didn't know her gender at that point, we thought Zoombini was a great nickname. Eventually it just got shortened to Baby Zoom.

Which, as it turns out, was an apt name for her.

We were in the process of moving into our house in TVPNM (sort of a theme with us Quandaries), and it was EC's 3rd day of school. We'd gone out to a fabulous dinner the night before, but I wasn't feeling so great. It probably didn't help that I'd insisted on walking EC to school (2 miles roundtrip), but hey - I wasn't due for another 3 weeks. By the time I picked EC up from a playdate* that afternoon, I had to stop to catch my breath every couple of minutes.

It didn't dawn on me until Mr. Q came home, that maybe we should time some contractions. 20 minutes later - after getting EC started on her homework and fiddling around with God knows what else - he comes upstairs. At this point, I can't find any comfortable position to sit, stand, or lay down in. While we were waiting for the doctor to call back, Mr. Q tried to call his dad (an MD), but ended up talking to his mom instead. Who tried to convince him to do a pelvic exam on me. She had 6 kids - and delivered the last 3 at home,

When the doctor finally called back, Mr. Q described what was going on. We were determined not to be the people who got sent home with false labor, but the doc said "What the heck, why don't you come on in."

The next door neighbors took EC for the night on about 5 minutes notice. I stood in the driveway and shouted while Mr. Q gave exacting instructions about bedtime, breakfast, school, and after school. I kept shouting the entire way to the hospital. And as Mr. Q pulled up to the emergency entrance to the hospital. Where the attendants said we couldn't park - until they heard me shouting. They finally said Mr. Q could park at the curb, but LEFT ME STANDING THERE SHOUTING while someone got a wheelchair. They wouldn't even let me in the ER because they thought I would scare people.

And about 10 minutes later, Baby Zoom arrived. It's a good thing there wasn't much traffic on the way or we would made the evening news.

* A word I despise.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Is It Just Me...

...or is it strange that I go to school in the metropolitan area where the Chief Justice of the Supreme court was buried today, and not a single person has mentioned it?

Maybe all the discussion happened yesterday (I don't have class on Tuesdays), but still.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

For the Love of GOD!

Forget the library.

I need earplugs or an iPod for the noise in my own house.

EC completed her first day of Middle School today and is reading aloud all the information they sent home with her today. Lil Q is babbling in the background.

This does not bode well for Commercial Transactions reading.

Random NOVAtown* Observation

We slept with the windows open last night. The temperature at night has dropped considerably, and we hate to spend money on air conditioning when you can just open the window. Because we are cheap like that.

And you know what? It's really noisy outside at night. I'm not just talking about traffic noise (though that's considerable as well, since we're at a pretty busy intersection), but the bugs are really, really noisy.

I guess I had gotten really used to TVPNM, where we didn't even *have* air conditioning, and the only sounds you heard at night were airplanes, occasional sirens, and normal neighborhood noises. Like cats fighting, dogs barking, or - in our case - chickens.

* Northern Virginia town

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Labor Day/Garage Sale/Potty Training Weekend Update

The Garage Sale netted us close to $250. Not bad for about 4 hours work which resulted in getting clutter out of our house and into someone else.

Unfortunately, the Potty Training is somewhat less successful.

Stubborn Child.