Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Changes


My blog has been silent for far too long. There just has not been much going on these days (besides lots of Bar studying!), so I've put off posting.

In an attempt to rejuvenate my blog, update it a little, and hopefully improve it, I'm moving to Wordpress! I'm keeping basically the same title, just updating the "Pursuit of a Law Degree" part, since I now have a law degree. :) After a week of figuring things out and making changes, it's finally ready!

So come join me on Wordpress! Click here to access: Life, Liberty, and a Law Degree. Be watching for some new posts in the next couple of days!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Resurfacing

Ahhh, the bliss of not having anything to do. It's been a very long time since I've had this much time off (read: two years), and it has been good for my soul. I hope to write a "law school recap"-type post, or something like that, soon, but in the meantime, I thought you might like to know what I've been up to for the last two weeks.

So, you may ask, what does a recent law school graduate do with the three weeks in between graduation and the start of Bar exam prep?

First thing first: you get a kitty. :) I have been mulling over this idea for several months. You see, I have two months of 6 to 8 hours of studying a day coming up, and I thought it might be nice to have a little company - of the kind that can sit on my lap. :)

Meet Leona:





She spent most of the first three days under the goodwill blanket we got her - she's a little introvert who just needs quiet. :)


She was pretty timid at first - every little sound made her jump, and she was terrified of the big open space in our living room. But after being here for almost two weeks, she's settling in quite well, and letting us know when she needs attention (aka, at 5:45am this morning when she was hungry).

And in case the pictures weren't enough, here's a video:

video

I've also been doing a good bit of reading. I finally finished my 700-page Alexander Hamilton biography (the one non-president in my presidential biography collection) this week, and moved on to something lighter: "Supreme Courtship" by Christopher Buckley. I've forgotten how wonderful it is to devour a novel in less than three days. :) It was entertaining, though certainly not the best book I've ever read. But I got in on the dollar rack at a used bookstore, and the title was too tempting to pass up.

What has taken up the majority of my time over the past three weeks is cleaning/organizing. With only 1200 square feet, you'd think it wouldn't take that long. But there are lots of TV/kitty breaks to be taken. :) Yesterday, AG and I moved all of our furniture into the other room so we could have a little more space, and I think that's the last big-scale project for a while. We got a second workout in moving all that heavy stuff...

Well, that's about all for now. I'm off to do some more cleaning and tidying up before Jocelyn's graduation festivities commence this evening.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Close Calls

It's been quite the week, huh? In processing and thinking about all the terrible things that have happened this week, I realized just how many times I have encountered death over the past month. None of them have involved me personally being in harm's way. But each of them has struck close to home and reminded me how short life is. Let me explain...

Four weeks ago, I ran the half marathon at Baylor's annual Bearathon event. As I got close to the finish line, I noticed someone laying on the ground, surrounded by people. A race volunteer was directing people to run on the right side of the course to avoid him. I finished the race and wondered what was going on, but didn't want to be rude or get in the way by trying to look.

I found out later that afternoon that the man died at the hospital. It was one of those rare occasions where someone drops dead at the end of a race for no apparent reason. His name was Daniel Jones. He was a 23-year-old senior at Baylor, and the preliminary autopsy gave no explanation about why he died. It was a surreal feeling, knowing that I had run right past him, and he had just completed the same race as I had.

The following weekend, I was at my parents' church for Easter. Toward the end of the service, a man suddenly passed out. Apparently he had been having trouble with high blood pressure, and it had been a stressful week. Thankfully, there was a nurse in the building and it wasn't actually a heart attack. However, for a few minutes, that's what everyone thought it was. Hearing his wife and kid sobbing in the back of the sanctuary was terrifying. I couldn't move. Even though I didn't know the guy, I felt like sobbing also.

Being in such close proximity to almost two deaths within the space of a week shook me. It was a very real reminder that I am not guaranteed tomorrow, or even the next hour. However, after mulling over that for several days, I honestly forgot about them and continued on with life.

And then this week, I was confronted yet again with my mortality.

Although I was not close in proximity to the bombings in Boston, it hit close to home because I am a runner. I have run many road races over the past three years, and am constantly reading about the honor of "qualifying for Boston." I had been watching the race live Monday morning, cheering for two of my favorite distance runners, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. It could have just as easily been me at that finish line.

On Wednesday came the explosion in West, where I was once again semi-close in proximity. I found myself once again reminded of how fragile life is. Here I am, worrying about whether or not I will have a job in four months when I move to Colorado. And yet, there is no guarantee that I will even be alive then. What if I am wasting my time right now worrying about a job, when I should be spending that time as if it's my last day on earth? If I knew this was my last day, what would I be doing right now?

So, my prayer as I continue processing these events is that God will use these experiences to remind me of what is truly important. That I will leave each day in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow, doing things that actually matter.

Rather than being frightened by recent events, let's remember that ultimately, God is control of how many more breaths we take. And in the meantime, our responsibility is to live life to the fullest, and show Christ's love to as many people as we can.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seven

That's how many class days of law school I have left. I am 98.33333% done with law school.

And graduation is exactly three weeks from today. EEK!!!

For the past three years, I've had this post-it note hanging above my desk:


While I wouldn't trade the experience of these last few years, I am glad to be closing this chapter and starting a new one. I wonder what the next three years have in store...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Weekend Away

Last Thursday, both of my classes were cancelled. With a four-day weekend, a road trip was in order.



So on Thursday morning, AnnaGrace and I headed down to Austin. We were able to find two really good hotel deals on Hotels.com - one at the four-star Sheraton downtown!



We spent the majority of our time visiting thrift shops and used bookstores, with a few vintage shops thrown in as well.

One of my favorite bookstores was Blue Awning Books. It's a little bookshop owned by an older couple. They were super friendly when we came in, and all of their books are catalogued!! So, if you're looking for something specific, they can look it up for you. They also sell books online, so you can check them out from anywhere! :)

I was able to find two more presidential biographies for my collection, plus this interesting-looking find on the dollar rack:


Another great bookstore was Recycled Reads. It supports the Austin Public Library, and all books (except some collectible ones) are $2 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks. While there, I walked around the corner and saw this cookbook:


I may have gasped because I was so excited. :)

While I was ecstatic over books, AnnaGrace was drooling over old photographs:



In addition to shopping, we also checked out a couple local restaurants. On Friday night, we ate at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Their pancake special of the day was cinnamon roll. Oh. My. Goodness. It was the best pancake I have ever had. I need to find (or create) a recipe for this ASAP.




Lunch on Saturday was at The Steeping Room. The Buddha Bowl was fantastic - and seems like it might be easy to recreate!



 We rounded out the trip by shopping at The Domain, a huge upscale shopping center on the north side of Austin before heading home. It was a great trip!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Becoming a Morning Runner and the Bearathon


I've become a morning runner. As in, I've run before 9am a couple times in the past week . This is coming from the girl who used to always work out around 3pm. The one who never wanted to switch her routine. The one who felt like death every time she tried to run in the morning.

And then two weeks ago, I decided to do an easy workout in the morning, because I had to stay at school later than normal. When I walked out of school at 5pm, it felt so good not to have a workout hanging over my head. And, I felt so much more alert and energized the whole day.

Ever since then, I've done all my workouts in the morning. :)



On Saturday I ran the Bearathon again. My longest training run was 10 miles, so the last 3.1 really hurt. :) But I finished in 2:25:04! The best part was Jocelyn meeting for the last half mile. I think I disappointed her by how slowly I was moving at that point. :)


This year's race was super cold. So when I got home, I promptly used the space heater as a hair dryer. Quite an efficient way to multi-task, if you ask me. :)


For dinner, I made a homemade chicken pot pie from my "New Best Recipe Cookbook." Nothing beats chicken pot pie after a race (except maybe pizza...).



I had to improvise a little with the crust because I didn't have enough butter. I'm still not exactly sure what went wrong, but clearly I need a little work there.

I also made a batch of homemade Cheez-its. Since you can't buy them gluten free, I figured I would try my hand at them. These actually turned out really well! I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy the recipe is. The most tedious part was cutting and spreading out the pieces once they are cut. I recommend cutting them on wax paper (or a silpat, if you're fancy), and then just dragging that onto the pan, rather than transferring them one-by-one. You can find the recipe at Better Homes and Gardens.



Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cooking Adventures

Guess what was waiting for me when I returned from spring break?


This cookbook. I think it's going to change my life.

Some days, I think I should have gone to culinary school. Maybe that's what my mid-life crisis will be. Can I start planning that now?

A couple weeks ago, a friend recommended America's Test Kitchen for bread recipes. I checked out the website, and promptly bought the cookbook. My first attempt at the bread turned out like this:


The texture of this bread is amazing. The only downside is that the recipe is pretty complicated - you have to soak the dough overnight and let it rise twice. After having to ask my roommate to bake the bread for me, I realized that trying to make this recipe in the middle of the week wasn't such a great idea. :)

My next recipe plan is to buy a whole chicken. For dinner #1, I will roast it. Then, I'll strip the meat off the bone and make chicken salad and chicken pot pie. I'll just have to pace myself so I don't burn out on  chicken before I'm through!

In addition to my cooking adventures, I started my "garden" this weekend. My basil plant survived the winter (it's quite a hardy plant!), and I added lettuce, orange bell pepper, and cilantro (cilantro-lime rice, here I come!). Now I'm watering them like crazy and sending, "Grow fast!" vibes. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Rest of Break

Tuesday held a trip to Breckenridge:





Check out these views from our condo:






Wednesday we stopped at Red Rocks on our way back to Denver:




Thursday we visited Hammond's Candy Factory in Denver:



And the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Arsenal:




And now I'm home, sweet home - and waiting for the day when I move to Colorado! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

I LOVE Skiing

I am going to fit so well in to the Colorado lifestyle. :) I am loving being back here. I love this place so much.

Today I went skiing for the first time in my life. It was AMAZING. I loved it so much. That is, until I got off the beginner slopes and onto the real ones. :) The first time down a real one (even though it was a green!) was kind of scary. Turns out I also took a wrong turn and went down a more advanced portion of the slope...sitting down both times. :)




It's also amazing to me that it's so much colder here, but it doesn't feel that cold. I must be made to live here. :)

Check out this view from our condo this morning. This photo is unedited - and doesn't do justice to the actual view.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Break!

I did a 6-mile run this morning in 1:01:46. I'm becoming a morning runner!!! (More on that later...)

And now...


The mountains are calling, and I must go. - John Muir

We're off to the mountains! ... and I'm going to scope out my future home state. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sorry for the long hiatus - I meant to blog this weekend, and then time just got away from me. Here's what I've been up to over the last week and a half:

I made my first loaves of sourdough bread:


As you can see, I need to figure out the recipe a little better. The recipe I used said the bread needs to rise for 12-15 hours. Since I go to bed super early, I put it in on Sunday night before I went to sleep. Unfortunately, it didn't rise at all. Plus, it had a crust on the top of it because I had forgotten to oil the top. Oops.

I had read on one blog that if the bread doesn't rise enough and you have to leave before it's done, to put it in the fridge, which will keep it inactive for awhile. So I put it in the fridge and tried again Monday night. This time, I put it in the oven with the light on rather than just leaving it on the counter (it's a little warmer in there). Before I went to bed, I peeked on it, and it was rising!!

Unfortunately, there was a crust on it again Tuesday morning, though it had risen more. I think next time I need to put a towel over the top...and I think I won't let it rise quite so long. While the texture needs tweaking, the taste is pretty darn awesome.

On Saturday night, Jocelyn, AnnaGrace, and I went to a concert at Common Grounds. We found out last minute that Caleb Chapman was playing (Steven Curtis Chapman's son), and couldn't pass it up! It was a really great concert. Jillian Edwards Chapman was also there. You should check both artists out!



Friday, February 22, 2013

I am trying something new. With all this time on my hands this quarter, I want to start making bread.

I started out with this bread:


I got the recipe from a friend, and boy is it amazing. You can find the recipe at My New Roots. It is also super easy, gluten free, and full of fiber. I recommend topping it with honey.

I've just started my next adventure in making bread: a sourdough starter.



I came across instructions yesterday, and it looks like it's not too complicated. I LOVE sourdough bread, but I've always been intimidated by it because it requires a starter. Turns out that means putting water and flour in a jar in equal proportions, "feeding" it every so often, and letting it mature for a while. Sounds doable...we'll see how it goes next week when I try to make my first loaf.

Well, that's all the new adventures for now. I'm off to get some lunch and then work on my independent study paper. Happy Friday!