I know a lot of people don't like carnations. They consider them too plain, too boring, too high school prom corsage-y. But I think there's something lovely and sweet about their simplicity. We have some yellow ones in our kitchen and they brighten the room up very nicely. They may be the cheapest of flowers, but they still make me smile.



Ode to a Little Bird

Oh, Little Bird,
How sweetly you sing
Outside my window
At 4 in the morning.
Yes, that’s right,
I said 4.
When you started your song
I could sleep no more.
Tomorrow, I suggest,
Wait ‘til later to sing.
Otherwise, be warned,
Your neck I shall wring.


The End

I just got home from my last law school class. Correction: My last law school class ever. The finality and uncertainty are a little scary. When I graduated from college, I knew I’d end up in school again. I didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do with my life, where I was going, or who I was. Barring some unforeseen circumstances (e.g. school suddenly is offered for free), I know I probably will never be in school again. Which is a shame because I am good at school. Very good, actually. Yet I’ll never again do something I know I’m good at doing. That is the scary “finality” part. Now, I have to be a real lawyer. Real people with real problems will come to me looking for real solutions and I don’t know if I can deliver. I think I can, but I don’t know I can. That is the scary “uncertainty” part. I knew I could handle law school, and part of me knows I can handle the bar. But I don’t know if I can handle being a lawyer. What if I mess up? What if my mistakes ruin someone else life? Will I be happy with this as my career for the next 40+ years? I don’t know. I don’t know. And I don’t know. I hate not knowing.

On top of that, I’ve made some great friends here at law school and really come to learn a bit about myself in the process. Will those friendships survive outside the convenient high-school-esque environment of law school? I hope so. But think of how many people you felt close to in high school and how many of those same people you never talk to anymore. Will the same thing happen with my law school friends? I don’t know. I hope not. But I don’t know.

We watched My Cousin Vinny in my very last class and, in one particular scene, Vinny talks about a judge telling him he’d be a good litigator and how, at the time, Vinny didn’t even know what a litigator was. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my old boss about two months before I started law school. She said something about my theatre background being useful as a litigator and I nodded in agreement. Here’s a little secret, though: two months before starting law school, I didn’t know what a litigator was. I had no idea what she was talking about. I know the answer now. Hopefully, in just a little while, I’ll know all the other “I don’t know” questions, too. Hopefully, the other uncertainties will soon become known. Hopefully, the fuzzy uneasiness in my stomach will be replaced with confidence. Until then, my answer to most questions will probably be, “I don’t know. But I’m hopeful.”

Snickers as Health Food?

It’s finals time so of course I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid studying.  Today, “everything” includes reading random articles on Yahoo! News.  I was perusing the headlines when I saw something that might actually be useful – “6 Rules to Eat Right at Work.”  After all, going to school and studying all day is basically “work” so maybe these rules will help me stay healthy during finals.  As I was skimming the article’s contents, I noticed something a little fishy.  It was a comment on keeping healthy snacks stashed at your desk: “To keep your brain well fueled, you can’t let yourself get too hungry. Have a ready supply of trail mix, peanut-butter crackers, or Snickers bars at work.”

Snickers bars???  Really?  Since when did Snickers bars become health food?  The article goes on to say that these snacks will help stabilize your blood sugars and keep you energized.  Isn’t a Snickers bar a sure fire way to guarantee a sugar crash mid-afternoon?  And aren’t those things loaded with calories?  How could eating one every afternoon possibly be good for you?  The article has some other tips that seem credible but this one just taints the whole thing, which ruins my plan of “learning” by reading news on the Internet, by the way.  The upside?  If I ever seriously crave a Snickers in the afternoon, Yahoo! News just gave me the best reason ever to justify it!


Friday Foto - Amici

Translation: Friends



A Nod to Good Advertising

Have you seen the commercials for Reebok Easytone shoes? If you haven’t, then you must not be watching much TV. The commercials feature women, shown mainly from behind and from the waist down, with amazingly tanned, toned legs and booties. These commercials actually made my roommate say, “Whoa, I want my legs to look like that!” (My roommate, by the way, has her own pair of amazingly tanned and toned legs to begin with.) I mean, just look at the print ad.  The lady is just walking her miniature dog and her legs are awesome!  The commercials are doing their job.

But I wonder if the shoes are as effective as the advertising. The athletic kicks garnered mixed reviews on amazon.com.  Some people loved them and saw a difference, some saw no difference but still thought they were cute. And they are - simple, colorful, and understated. I’m very tempted. I haven't worn Reeboks since junior high and I don’t know if they’re worth the $109 price tag, but if I see a pair on sale I might just take them for a test walk. Considering I’ll be spending most of the summer sitting on my bootie studying, this backside could probably use a little extra help!


Turning Over a New Leaf

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and happiness is in the air.  That is, except for in my room.  Here I sit, reading 80+ pages of Supreme Court decisions while listening to the wind rustling the leaves outside my window.  Ah, to be outside in the sun!  But … it’s okay.  I’m turning over a new leaf.  Rather than sulk in my unfulfilled desires of basking in the sun, I’ll remind myself that my time will soon come.  I know I’ll have my vacation in just a little while.  August and September will be leisurely and worry-free months.  Until then, I’ll have to be content with enjoying just the sounds of spring.  And It sure sounds nice from my bedroom window.


Mission Accomplished!

The 10K is complete and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.  In fact, I kinda liked it!  I will definitely run another race - maybe even a half-marathon.  And it was nice having a certain someone by my side.



Friday Foto - Zampino

Translation: Paw



Spring in the Living Room



Free Stuff On Tax Day

I'm mainly interested in the free coffee from Starbucks.  Tomorrow (Tax Day - Thursday) Starbucks is giving free coffee to anyone who brings in their own mug.  Wallet and Environmentally Friendly!  Here are a few other freebies on Tax Day, too.

Click here for Freebies!


Live Strong

I just discovered a pretty awesome website.  It’s Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” site.  The site has a feature called “My Plate.”  You can log in and create a free account to track all your caloric intake/output.  I’m not trying to lose weight or anything like that, but I do want to be more conscious of how I eat and how active I am.  Once you create the account, the website will ask you questions about your weight, height, and weight goals (maintain, lose, gain – um, who wants to gain weight???).  Then you can log the meals you eat and the site will give you a breakdown of calories, fat, carbs, cholesterol, sodium, etc.  I entered “eggs” and a dropdown menu appeared with every type of egg you can think of.  You can also enter calories manually if you’re eating a meal out or if you can easily read the label.  There’s a feature at the bottom of the screen that also allows you to enter your physical activity (anything from mowing the lawn to running a marathon) and keep track of the calories you burn.  Since I’m more interested in maintaining a well-balanced diet, the most useful aspect of this site is the pie chart (mmmm…. pie….) that shows the breakdown of fat, protein, and carbs in the meals.

Of course, logging everything you eat and do can be very time-consuming.  And, of course, I am easily tempted by laziness.  I don’t know how long I’ll continue tracking meals and activities but I thought it was still worth sharing!


Roasted Garlic, Tomato, and Basil Pasta

This dish is moderately inspired by a Rachel Ray recipe.  I usually don’t dig her recipes, but with a few tweaks this turned out to be a surprisingly flavorful, light, fresh lunch.

What You Need:
- 1 lb. gluten-free penne pasta
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 10-12 cloves of garlic
- Fresh basil – I used about half a bunch from the grocery store but you can use more or less depending on your tastes
- Olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano
- Grated Reggiano cheese
- Red pepper flakes

What To Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet.  Spread out the tomatoes on the sheet. 
2. Crack the garlic (smash it under a knife with the base of your palm) but leave it in the skin.  Spread it out with the tomatoes on the sheet and season with salt & pepper.
3. Roast the tomatoes and garlic for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil (for cooking the pasta). 
4. When the water is boiling, add the pasta.  Cook it for about 2 minutes less than what the directions say – you want it to be slightly undercooked because it will cook more once the sauce is added.  When the pasta is cooked, set aside two ladles full of the starchy water before draining.  You need this for the sauce.
5. When the 20 minutes is up, remove the roasted garlic and tomatoes from the oven.  Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and mash them into a paste (use a fork or knife).
6. Add the garlic paste to the starchy water you previously set aside.  Mix well to make a garlic broth.  Add the roasted tomatoes and mash with a potato masher.  Don't worry if the tomatoes don't fully mash up - it's better if they're a little chunky!
7. Add the pasta to the tomato/garlic broth.  Mix well and add the fresh basil.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes so the pasta will absorb the broth.
8. Serve with fresh Reggiano sprinkled on top.  Enjoy!!

TIPS: I added some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little kick (I love spicy foods).  Some goat cheese sprinkled on top, instead of the Reggiano, adds a creamy smooth flavor to the dish.  This isn’t a heavy sauce kind of dish – it’s more about the pasta and veggies. 


Friday Foto - Moda

Translation: trendy; fashionable
(See yesterday's post for relevance of this photo!)



Fashionable Fro-Yo?

Can someone explain to me when dessert became trendy?  I don’t mean trendy like it’s cool to have dessert.  I mean trendy as in knee-high boots are trendy.  Like, the item itself is fashionable and cool. 

Apparently, cupcakes have been the “It” dessert for some time now.  Many believe it all happened when Carrie and Miranda from Sex and the City sat outside Magnolia Bakery and dissected their love lives over mounds of butter cream frosting.  Heck, it’s even a stop on the SATC tour!  Then there was also the brilliant SNL digital short “Lazy Sunday" that brought Magnolia Bakery and cupcakes in general into coolness.  But why does a dessert have to be a trend?  Why can’t we enjoy it for the sweet sugary morsel of heaven that it is?  If Carrie didn’t chow down on a tiny cake baked in fluted paper, would it not be “cool” for me to now own 500 Cupcakes

And who is this magical Dessert God who decides what the next trend will be?  I know in fashion it's usually the designers or those crazy Italians that set the trends.  So who does it for dessert?  The entrepreneurial restaurant owner?  The little guy that just wants to open an “original” shop in his neighborhood?  The stay-at-home mom who makes tiny works of art for her 5-yr. old’s birthday? 

My tiny college town in Northern California is apparently trying to set some trends of their own.  Yesterday, I saw the 6th frozen yogurt shop in town.  That’s right – SIX.  Just to give you an idea of what this town is like – there are just three stand-alone Starbuck’s that I know of (not counting the little carts on campus or in the grocery store).  I’m not saying a town needs a lot of Starbuck’s, but when I was in Chicago you couldn’t walk more than three blocks without passing one!

And now, we have six fro-yo shops.  All offer basically the same thing.  They try to put their own spin on it but really it’s the same.  Why?  Who needs that many?  Are you trying to tell me fro-yo will be trendy again or are you just that far behind in the times?  There’s only one cool little cupcake shop in town and it’s tucked away down an alley.  Get with it people.

You know what I’d like to see as the next dessert trend?  Rice pudding.  Yep, I said it.  I know some think rice pudding has a strange texture or you’ve only ever seen it at Mexican restaurants (billed as Arroz con Leche).  For those of you in this group, you don’t know what you’re missing.  If done right, rice pudding can be rich, creamy bliss.  I’ve had good rice pudding at a tapas restaurant in San Francisco but the best is in NYC.  I cannot go to NYC without a stop at Rice to Riches.  Look it up next time you’re there.  Grab dinner in Little Italy (anywhere - all the restaurants are good) then cross Mulberry and grab some rice pudding for dessert.  I promise you’ll love me forever for making the suggestion!  And who knows - maybe you'll be setting a new trend.


Hey, Motivation, Get Back Here!!

I don’t know if this is a severe case of senioritis or extreme laziness but Mr. Motivation has been on an extended vacation lately and I actually need him to return.  For whatever reason, I just don’t want to do the things I have to do.  Even simple things, like watching a movie for my Law & Pop class, hold no appeal precisely because they are required activities.  I love movies.  I love escaping into another world for two hours and believing everything works out in the end.  If someone approached me right now and said, “Hey, you wanna watch a movie?” I’d probably say, “Sure!”  But because I’m told I must watch a movie, I protest.  I suddenly revert to the petulant child of days gone by and want to scream, “BUT I DON’T WANNA!!!”  

Why is this?  Is it because, as a student, I’m tired of someone else having control of my schedule?  Is it because, subconsciously, I’m bored by the life I’ve chosen?  Or maybe it’s because I just didn’t have enough coffee this morning…

Whatever the reason, it must end.  There are papers to write, finals to ace, and one major bar exam to pass.  You know how they say if you smile and fake happiness then you’ll actually begin to feel real happiness?  Maybe if I force myself to fake motivation then I will actually begin to feel motivated.  At this point, anything is worth a shot.


Friday Foto (on Saturday) - Giocattolo

Translation: Toy, plaything



Almost There

I just got back from a run.  I'm still on my training schedule for the 10K and before today the farthest I'd run was 3.5 miles.  The race is in 10 days and that 6-mile goal seemed so far away.  But today, I beat my personal best.  I set out to do the full 6 miles.  I knew I probably wouldn't be able to run all of it, but I wanted to see how long it would take and how much of it I could actually do.  It took me about an hour and ten minutes, which is not so good, but I ran about 5 of the 6 miles!!!  I was just shy of meeting the full 5 because I stopped to walk about 3 blocks.  Overall, I'm proud of this accomplishment.  My feet are blistered, my right hip is sore, and my quads are tight.  But I ran the farthest I've ever run and the 6-mile goal actually seems attainable now.  It's a good day so far.
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