December 30th 2006

more foodblogging

I have been on a major cooking tear this break. Of course, that’s not really anything unusual, since I always want to nest when I have free time and the weather is cold (or at least chilly. Seriously, it’s been a pretty pathetic winter around here. Notwithstanding the big storm at the beginning of the month, of course).

Tonight, I wanted stew. I have the new dutch oven (thanks, brother!) and had all the supplies–you know, the potatoes and carrots and onions and celery and wine and broth. I bought stew meat the other day when we got home, too. So I pounced right in with a terrific Cooks Illustrated recipe, halved, of course, because I am not making stew for eight.

But as I jotted down the instructions earlier today, I thought to myself, Hey, self, what goes good with stew?? And myself answered, Well, self, HOMEMADE BREAD goes well with stew.

Problem: the dutch oven for the no-knead bread would be in use for the stew. And I did not have even eight hours to let the stuff rise, much less the additional two for it to do the second rise and bake. So I pulled out the stand mixer and did regular old kneaded bread. It’ll go in the oven right after the stew comes out. (Yeah, the stew braises in the oven. MMMMMMM.)

So I’ve been nesting today. Nest nest nest. I also did some writing. Yay, me! But mostly, I’ve been nesting.

December 29th 2006

free stuff

Because Target doesn’t have any in stock in the local stores, and the website says it’ll take up to six weeks if I order one that way, I decided it was time to spend some Lexis points instead. I just unloaded most of my (paltry) Lexis points for one of these. (I got a nano for Christmas, since my 3-year-old 2nd generation iPod was giving me about an hour and a half of battery, and now I need to stock up on accessories.)

I know, I know, it’s going to take two to four weeks to get the thing–and that’s almost as long as it would have taken from Target, where I also have store credit–but it feels like it was more free, getting it with Lexis points, than spending my store credit at Target. Maybe that’s crazy, but that’s just the way my brain works. Lexis points=free, my friend, free. (You could argue that stuff bought with Lexis points is MORE than free, since you learn stuff while you earn them. I’m not necessarily making that argument, but I’m saying you could make that argument.)

a doggy update

Now that we’re back home, Himself has relaxed back into his normal personality. For much of our Christmas trip to the Angst-in-laws’, he was alternately hyper and subdued, skittish and manic. We’re pretty sure it’s because he thought he was in trouble–no getting on the couches at the Angst-in-laws’, for example–and yet was super excited to have a yard to run around in.

So today he’s been very sweet, and very obedient. He was especially good on his morning walk. I’m glad to see he’s no worse for the wear, and that being home hasn’t been too confusing for him.

[Unfortunately, while on vacation, he picked up a very doggy smell–and I say unfortunately because he had a bath just a week ago! The downside to all that playtime in the yard, I suppose.]

December 28th 2006

still alive

So I took a few days off. From blogging. It was nice. And now that I’m back home, I guess I have to get back to it.

With that, here’s what’s happened in the last three days. I got everything I asked Santa for. (Well, that may not be true, but close enough.) I took back those things which did not fit or otherwise needed to be returned. Store credit rocks! My best friend got engaged. I’m so excited for her! Finally, I planned my Spring Break trip–I’m going skiing with my dad.

And that’s it. Tomorrow, I’ve got to get back to work; my comment won’t rewrite itself, even though I keep dreaming it’s come to life and is making itself over.

December 25th 2006

xmas foodblogging

The bread was a huge hit this morning–when toasted, its texture resembles an English muffin, but with better flavor and bite. My 18-month old nephew, in particular, was a huge fan, which tells me this is a recipe I really need to make again–adults and toddlers alike noshed on it all morning.

In other foodblogging news, I roasted a goose for Christmas dinner, and it turned out pretty good. Goose is tricky to make, since it’s very fatty (like duck) and the meat is very thinly stretched over the bones. The best recipes involve methods designed to render much of the fat out of the bird without the fat seeping down into the meat. I chose the less-dangerous-though-less-reliable method of pricking the skin all over–without piercing the flesh–and roating at high heat, breast down, for the first 30 minutes. (The other method requires the cook to plunge the bird into a pot of boiling water, twice–once from each end–and I just don’t think I’m tall enough or coordinated enough for that to NOT end badly.) At any rate, I spent a lot of time concerned over goose fat this afternoon. In the end, the feedback was positive, even though I thought the meat got a little overdone, so I will also call this one a success.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your Christmas noshings were as good as ours, and your day a terrific one, full of family and love.

December 24th 2006

Christmas Eve gift

Yeah.

It’s been sort of a busy couple of days. There are many things to write about–the dog, and his ecstatic reaction to having a yard to run around in, the last-minute Christmas shopping, the last-last-minute Christmas shopping when one of the last-minute gifts turned out to be the wrong thing, the experience of spending the holidays away from my family after what has been a somewhat rough year, and on and on and on.

But for now, I’m watching It’s a Wonderful Life (again), watching some gifts be assembled, and starting to drift off into happy Christmas Eve dozing-ness.

Merry Christmas, all. I’ll be back in a few days. Or maybe tomorrow.

December 22nd 2006

you knew I’d make some bread. you had to.

It will come as no surprise to any of my regular readers that I HAD to make this bread. I am a BIG fan of breadmaking, and an even bigger fan of any method that is less labor intensive as the regular, knead-till-your-arms-fall-off method, well as is cognizant of the tremendous power of yeast.

So here, in all it’s glory, is my attempt at No-Knead Bread. A few notes:

First, I did not let this stuff rise and ferment for 18 hours. I did not have 18 hours. Mr. Angst and I did Christmas with each other (and with the out-of-town gifts my family has sent) this morning. So I received my brand new dutch oven, therefore, at 10 am (thanks, brother!). Also, we are leaving to celebrate Christmas with the Angst family tomorrow morning, at about 9 am. But I really, really wanted to play with the dutch oven before we left (and what better way to play than to bake bread that sort of requires one). I also figured it would be really coool to take fresh, homemade bread to my in-laws.

All that to say, my dough got a 9 hour rise. (To be fair, I added a LITTLE bit more yeast–perhaps 50% more than the recipe calls for, hoping it might offset the shortened rising time.)

Here it is at 8 hours. Many, many bubbles. Many, many threads of gluten. I think it got so developed so quickly because I let it do about 6 hours of its rise in the oven, which has a resting temperature somewhere probably around 80 degrees, just a little higher than the recommended 70-degree-room temperature.

8 hours rise

Here is the dough after the scraping, flouring, and folding. Um, folks? The dough is MUCH wetter than it looks in the little video on the NY Times website. Maybe I didn’t use “just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers” because it was STICKY. I kept adding flour, though, and finally was able to get it into a rough ball. You can see my cotton towel coated with white cornmeal, ready to take the dough for the second rise.

shaped bread

Here is the bread after the second rise, ready to go into the HOT HOT HOT dutch oven. HOT HOT HOT. I’m excited, though, because I know that, at this point, we’re only an hour or so away from fresh bread. Not that we’re cutting into it tonight. No sirree. Once it cools, it gets wrapped up for tomorrow.

second rise

And here’s the dough in the pot. Getting it into the pot was the trickiest part, I think. It’s pretty floppy stuff, and doesn’t really go where you want it to. I tried shaking the pot once the dough was in, to get it to even out, but that didn’t really work. Eh. If it’s uneven, it’s uneven. At this point I was more concerned that the steaming thing (the whole point of using a pot with a lid) wouldn’t work because I had to take the handle off the pot lid (not able to withstand the temperature, you know, and my foil makeshift didn’t stay).

in the pot

Now I’ve taken off the lid. Now would be the time to mention that the smell of this stuff is pretty heavenly. I can only imagine how good the apartment would smell if I made it with cinnamon and raisins, or with cheese, or with any other yummy, flavorful filling. I took the lid off after about 28 minutes, which seems to be around the right amount of time, since I can tell a bit of a crust is forming. The rest of the oven time will just be for browning all over. Yum!

lid off

The finished product, after another 20 minutes in the oven. I wish I also had a picture of the crumb to show you, but I am not cutting into this any time soon–I really want it to cool fully!

finished bread

I can hear the crust crackling, so I’m pretty excited about digging into this stuff. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I have to wait. Or DO I?)

Update: OK, I lied. I couldn’t wait. Here’s the crumb. It’s not as full of big giant holes as some of the other examples out there on the web, but pretty respectable, nonetheless. (And tasty. Yeah, yeah. Oh well.)

crumbjpg.jpg

December 21st 2006

guess what???

HALFWAY DONE!!!

December 20th 2006

even a dying man gets to choose his last words

I take my last exam tomorrow. That means, of course, that I spent tonight finalizing my outline and preparing it to be well-used, should I need to use it. (The best sorts of exams are the ones where the issues jump right out and you never need to use your outline. So I hope I won’t have to use my outline tomorrow, but just in case, I want it READY.)

I had this brilliant idea that, since I’d spent some time color coding certain things in my outline–highlighting for some things and font colors for others–that I would just pop down to Kinko’s to print it off in color. We have a laser printer at home, and it doesn’t print in color and I wanted COLOR, dammit!

But I did not want color enough to spend ONE DOLLAR PER PAGE to have my 47 page outline printed in beautiful, glossy, laser-printed color. No sirree. I hauled my butt–IN THE RAIN–down to the Kinko’s only to discover that color prints cost a f–king DOLLAR EACH. And, frankly, I didn’t feel like spending FORTY-SEVEN DOLLARS on my outline. No matter HOW pretty it is. I mean, 90% of it is BLACK, so the $47 I would spend to get that 10% color seemed unreasonable.

Back home I came, then, and printed it out in black and white–and it’s not nearly so pretty, even though I attacked it with multicolored highlighters so I get at least SOME of the same effect. But it was FREE to print at home, and that, I suppose, makes it all OK.

I’m off to bed, now, to get as decent a night’s sleep as I can (still debating whether or not I should take some Nyquil; I think I’ll just take a regular Sudafed, except the “regular” Sudafed doesn’t actually have any Sudafed IN IT), before I wake up early and go get this thing over with.

By the by, I know I was tagged with the Christmas song meme, and I PROMISE I am going to do it. I’ve just been really, really swamped over the last few days, what with doing all this learning and outlining (and last-minute Christmas shopping and shipping, too).

Happy holidays, all! I’ll be back tomorrow, likely somewhat tipsy.

December 18th 2006

you can’t JUST work. you have to EAT, too.

What, so exams aren’t stressful enough? I have to get sick, too? And the kind of sick that makes me wake up with a tight chest and labored breathing? (And, hey, Vicks? I thought Nyquil was supposed to make all the icky congestion go away while I slept. That’s what it’s done for me before. Worthless drug.)

Today was laborious–and not just because of my breathing. I spent a lot of time working through about 300 pages of Hart & Wechsler, and I feel it in my bones. I. Am. Tired. But I am not done, unfortunately. On board for tonight–federal common law, admiralty, and a habeas corpus. Or maybe just brief sketches of each of those. I’m not sure.

One cannot trudge through the murkiness of federal jurisdiction without sustenance, though. So tonight I made these pizzas again. They were just as good this time as last. (And just as messy to make–flour EVERYWHERE.)

And with a full tummy and the cooking itch satisfied, I am back to work.

December 17th 2006

Weekly Law School Roundup #49

Welcome to the latest edition of the Weekly Law School Roundup! This week’s Roundup includes a collection of posts about exams–and how to relax when exams are all done–from law students.

1Ls

2Ls

3Ls

Not a Law Student Taking Exams, But Relevant

  • It’s really true. It really, really is. And yet it’s still pretty nerdy. (Concurring Opinions)

And that’s it for this week’s Roundup! Look for it next week at Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and then, in two weeks, back here.

these late night musings are getting a little old

I woke up in the middle of the night again last night. I had been dreaming about the exam I’ve already taken–strange dreams that muddle my brain all up–and suddenly, I was awake.

At 4:45 am, I was thinking about the exam. I know, like other people, I am almost guaranteed to obsess over some sentence or paragraph for the next month. I’ve done this in the past–it’s nothing new. Except this time, I’m actually afraid all my obsession actually means something. Yes, folks, the fear is back. At least it’s in time for my other exam.

By 5:00 in the morning, all I could do was beat myself up. I told myself I slacked off this semester, I was lazy this semester, I didn’t bother to do the work this semester. And maybe all of those things are true. They certainly seemed it in the dark, under the covers. The (not quite) light of day hasn’t exactly chased the shadows away, either. It’s probably true that I didn’t read as carefully as I should have; nor did I pay as close attention as I could have in class. But I did the reading! And I went to class! And, honestly, I have a good grasp on the subject matter! But I’m still pretty sure I blew at least some portion of that exam.

Near 5:30, all this post-exam angst turned into something of a personal attack. And that’s when things got ugly. Suddenly I worried about my ability to do the job I’ll be doing when I get out of law school–after all, if I can’t manage to work hard enough in one semester, how will I ever manage to work hard enough to bill my hours? Or to not screw something up? Practice is much different, after all–real people get screwed out of real money if I forget something. Maybe this was all a big mistake. Maybe I really can’t hack it.

By 6:00, I was desperately trying to think of anything else. ANYTHING. What to wear today. How early I needed to get up to make it to church on time. I even tried thinking about my other exam. But my thoughts kept circling back to torture. I rolled over three times, flipped onto my stomach, and then back to my right side, and then onto my back. I tucked my hands under the pillow. I kicked off my flannel pajama bottoms. I curled up because I was too cold.

Somewhere after all of that, I fell back asleep and dreamed about apartments and computers and my family. Strange dreams again, but a relief and a respite. The morning makes things look different; I know I can hack it, even though I might not have spent as much time on my classwork this semester as in the past. The exam is over, what’s done is done, I can’t do anything about it–and I can’t afford to dwell on it anymore, because I have another exam to prepare for and, after that, a second draft to finish.

December 16th 2006

sigh

The studying? It is slow going. Yesterday’s exam was…oh…just…gag. That’s all I’m going to say about that–gag. I’m recouping by redoubling my efforts on Fed Jur. And it’s slow, slow, slow going.

Also, It’s a Wonderful Life is on, so I’m distracted by that. I’m also feeling a bit thin today, so I’ve already wept, like, three times over the movie. And over commercials for We Are Marshall. And over all the other cheesy Christmas commercials.

Yeah, it’s a sad, sad night.

December 15th 2006

THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about!

DIH. TOE.

Ditto.

December 13th 2006

the enjoyment is a little late

Thirty pages into my Employment Discrimination outline, and I remember that I actually like this area of law. It’s really interesting stuff! Why couldn’t I remember that during the semester?

December 12th 2006

almost not-winter?

Let me tell you what sucks.

Getting up at 7 am and realizing it’s pretty much still dark out.

Now let me tell you what’s worse.

Realizing it’s only December 12th and the mornings will be getting darker for another 22 days.

December 11th 2006

another reason 2L is so much worse than 1L

I know, I know. Blogging about studying is boring. I know! But there’s nothing else to blog about right now. Plus, blogging about studying is a good distraction from actually studying.

See, here’s the problem. I have only two exams this semester. I have ten days in which to prepare for them and take them. That, my friends, is MORE than enough time. So not only am I experiencing the classic lack of fear of the 2L, I also am experiencing the classic lack of urgency of someone who only has two exams.[1]

Now, to be fair, I have outlined about half of both of my classes. (And by half, I mean about 1/3 of each. And by “of each” I mean, on average–four weeks of one class plus six weeks of the other equals ten weeks total, out of a combined 26 weeks of class notes. Something like that. And see? That’s WAY more than 1/3, right? Sigh.) Now I’m going to mumble some bullshit about how the first few weeks of class have the most important material, and the subsequent weeks are just nuancing those core principles. And try to convince myself that that’s true. (It might be true for one of my classes. It definitely isn’t for the other one.)

At some point in the next few days the fear will set in–not that 1L-type fear, because, hey, I’ve done this, I know how to do it, and even if I do badly, I still have a job for next summer. It will be the 2L-type fear, showing up at the predictable time–my mind will say, um, even though you have that job for the summer, you have to have a job after graduation, remember? And one of these classes isn’t curved, so you could conceivably get a really bad grade. And you only have so many hours left to outline so you can take some practice exams. And, and, and….

Until then, though, I will be struggling through this material, trying to get in to a rhthym, churning it out. God help me.


  1. See supra; see also this; sort of this; and sort of this, too.

December 9th 2006

i guess you could call it arbitrary; i’d call it bad teaching

I think it’s a bad sign that I’ve only gone though three weeks of notes for one outline but already have a sense of how the whole outline will come together, whereas I’m six weeks into my other outline and have no idea what’s IN that outline despite being 1/3 of the way done with it.

Notably, I stopped doing the reading for three-week-ouline class, well, three weeks ago, and had a bad habit of zoning out during class, but I almost never missed a reading assignment for the six-week-outline class and paid (mostly) very close attention. This does not bode well for that exam.

holiday partying

You know you’re in trouble when you attend a Christmas party and have a ten-minute conversation with someone about the legality of prisons refusing to hire women as guards. I had a good time, though, and am definitely glad I stepped away from outlining to be social for a few hours. Even I did get stepped on by a very obnoxious drunk guy. Who then got loud. As a fellow party attender said after the drunk guy stumbled away, “I just exchanged insults with a drunk; that must mean it’s time to go home.”

I have a rule I try to follow for party attendance: Leave while you’re still having fun. If you follow this rule, you never wake up the next morning regretting having gone out the night before. Chances are, you won’t have gotten into a fight with anyone, nor will you have gotten so drunk that you made a fool of yourself. You will probably remember everything that happened. It’s a good rule. Sometimes I don’t don’t follow it–usually because I’m having so much fun that I don’t want to leave. But last night, I could see that I was on that edge–if I stayed any longer, I would stop enjoying myself. I only regret that I was out past midnight; I definitely didn’t want to get up this morning.

December 8th 2006

breaking news

Every now and then it occurs to me how strange it is that we can get news of occurrences within moments of their happening. I’m watching breaking news right now, and I am simply stunned by how short the chain of communication is. Think: someone in the middle of an event picks up a cellphone and calls someone elsewhere on their cellphone. That person elsewhere passes the information on, and suddenly a situation that might have been known only to law enforcement is available to the public. The news providers start collecting this information, and transmitting it on the TV and on radio, and it gets passed back into the situation.

It’s just amazing.