Sorry I've been absent lately. It's crunch time for the bar now (3 days!) so I haven't had time to take photos, write, or think about anything other than random legal concepts. I promise to return exactly one week from today when my two months of leisure activities finally begin!
I'm daydreaming about the beach today. Just 5 and a half more weeks until my lovely Hawaiian vacation. Until then, images of the California side of the Pacific will have to do. (This was also the last time I shot on film - that's two things I'm dreaming about now.)
Interesting California legal fact for you non-bar studiers:
In California, witnesses who have been hypnotized are disqualified from testifying. Makes sense, right? But wait, there's an exception: In a criminal case, a witness is not disqualified if they were hypnotized by police using procedures that protect against suggestion.
According to Webster's Dictionary, "hypnotize" means "to induce hypnosis." But here's the definition of hypnosis: a trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject.
Does something about this rule of evidence seem wrong to anyone else?
I'm not a believer in horoscopes. I don't think the alignment of Saturn or Mars in retrograde will have any effect on my performance on the bar. But I'll take a little hope wherever I can get it. When I clicked on my horoscope today, I found a little ray of sunshine peaking through the storm clouds:
"You are always willing to work hard, even when the results don't show up until far in the future. You, more than most people, understand the value of laying groundwork and paying dues. Not only should your efforts ensure long-lasting success, but after all the time, energy, and sweat you've put into it, you should be better able to handle (and maintain) that success when it does arrive."
Now, I ask you - Could there be a more perfectly accurate horoscope for my life right now? Up until this week, I thought I was handling the stress pretty well. That is, until I developed a twitch in my neck (apparently these things can be "stress or anxiety" induced), lost my appetite, and cried in the shower because I dropped my soap. I've either been really annoyed for no good reason or I've cried a lot lately for no good reason.
Stress has a sneaky way of creeping in, even when you think you're managing it well. But as overwhelmed, exhausted, and inadequate as I might feel, I know it will be over soon. And even though I don't believe in horoscopes, I know today's words have some truth to them. I, along with everyone else I know prepping for this exam, have worked really hard to get where we are. Though we won't see the fruits of our labor for a while, all the tears and neck twitches will totally be worth it when we finally do!
When The Boyfriend was a wee young lad, his favorite kind of pie was apple. (Not much has changed over the years.) But, being the wee young lad that he was, he didn't understand that it was called "apple pie." In all his young wisdom, he thought it was called "happy pie." I've not yet figured out whether that was a misunderstanding of words or a higher understanding of emotions. Either way, the name stuck.
As luck would have it, a few decades later the not-so-wee young lad met This Girl. Little did he know, This Girl loves to bake, especially pies (and cookies, but that's more for personal reasons).
I first made this particular apple pie recipe about eight years ago, in my small-ish kitchen in Chicago. I've since added, subtracted, and overall re-worked the recipe into a perfect pan of gooey delicious warmth. I've made this recipe more times than I can count and even tweaked it to make a "Happy Cake" for The Boyfriend's birthday last year. I don't follow a recipe anymore when I make it so some of the measurements below are approximations. Please play with it and use it as a base for your own perfectly Happy Pie!
A handful of old-fashioned oats (I told you these were approximations!)
Cinnamon, to taste
Nutmeg, just a tiny bit
Couple drops of lemon juice
What to Do:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Peel and core all the apples then slice them into roughly 1/4 inch slices. (I've found thicker slices hold their texture better - thinner ones tend to get a little applesauce-y.)
2. Place apple slices in a large bowl and add lemon juice, 1 tbsp. of white sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon (maybe a teaspoon or two?) and a little sprinkle of nutmeg. Toss to thoroughly coat the apples.
3. While the apples are soaking up their cinnamon sugar goodness, add the butter, flour, remaining sugar, brown sugar, oats, and a bit more cinnamon to another bowl and combine with a pastry cutter until well-incorporated. (You can use a fork if you don't have a pastry cutter.) Careful not to overwork the flour. If the mixture is a little dry, you can add a little more butter.
4. Place bottom crust in pie dish and layer apple slices on top.
5. Carefully add the crumble mixture, pressing gently to cover the top of the pie. Fold over the edges of the bottom crust, if necessary.
6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the top is a golden brown. Usually, I just keep an eye on the pie and watch for the juices to start bubbling up between the little cracks in the crumble topping. That's when you know it's done.
7. Let cool for a bit so the filling can settle, then serve while still slightly warm. Enjoy!
Note: The real flavor of this pie comes from the tart filling and the sweet-yet-spicy crumble top. Because of that, I think it's okay to use a pre-made pastry crust for the bottom crust. (You will probably never hear me say that about any other pie recipes though!) I recommend Pillsbury's refrigerated pie crust. It's a little bland, which actually works for this recipe, but unlike most pre-made crusts, it stays tender and flaky when you bake it.
I read a blog called Shutter Sisters just about everyday and am always so impressed with the photos I see posted. The blog does a little thing called "One Word Project" where every month a new word is chosen and each day a photo by blog readers representing that word is posted. For July, the word is "Treasure."
I stopped over this morning to check out the latest posts and was very happy to find my own "Treasure" had been selected for the day! Check it out here and feel free to browse the site and check out all the other great photos.
I'm taking a very short study break to write this post. A friend (and fellow bar studier) recently wrote about making lists and it made me realize that I've been making a silent wish-list in my head for the last month. It's a list of all the things I want to do between July 30 and October 1 (when I start work). This brief time period will be the first time in at least FOUR YEARS that I have absolutely nothing I have to do. So why not have a list of things I want to do? (Note - I may add to this list as the month goes on!)
1. Go to a matinee movie in the middle of the week
2. Read books just for fun
3. Get totally lost in my "fun books" and not care that I spend the entire day lounging and reading
4. Lay out (with sunscreen on, of course) and feel summer