Tuesday, July 31, 2012

STP meets RVA

Hello kittens, I'm back from Virginia and slowly settling into "normal"... as normal as my life will be in limbo for the next 2 months until results come out. 

Alas, in the meantime, what's the saying? Ignorance is bliss? Thursday morning I left for Richmond, Virginia to visit my chidhood best friend who is interning with a minor league baseball team out there. She picked me up from the airport Thursday night and we headed to the horse races.
[ So southern!] Their team had a suite and a sponsored race that night. 

The next day, we slept until 11 [HEAVEN] and then trekked over to her complex's pool. Apparently we needed a pool pass, but the little Russian pool boy wasn't too heavy handed and let us in "just this once." Thanks, bud. 

[Side note: I DEVOURED Emily Giffen's newest book: Where We Belong. I bought it in the airport Thursday and had finished it by Friday night. Love me some Emily Giffen]
 After that, we went and had froyo before dinner. Why? Because we're adults, and we can. This was my first taste of Sweet Frog. [Fun fact: I learned FROG stands for "Fully Rely On God"]
 I had 2 types of fruity froyo, with strawberries, raspberries, and "wet walnuts".. which I learned was a really bad way of saying walnuts that were soaked in some kind of syrup. So, what I'm about to say next may make me crazy, but I'm willing to run that risk. Froyo is frozen YOGURT. Therefore, my theory is, since I only really like fruity yogurts (strawberry, banana, vanilla, raspberry, etc.) I have only ever gotten fruity froyo. I am also what I refer to as a "purist"... so, fruity froyo, means, only fruity toppings, with the occasional nuts. Can you tell I'm a recovering law student? Type-A-crazypants, over here.
 We drove down Monument Street, where there were tons of.... monuments. Yes. 
Here's stonewall on his horse.

Friday night we made fajitas at home, watched Say Yes to the Dress, the Olympics, and were in bed by 10:45. Saturday morning we drove around the city.
 We then wound up in a district called Shockoe Bottom. Maybe I'm a giant 10 year old, but every time someone said "Shockoe" I just kept imagining Choco Tacos. You know, from the ice cream man? See. 10 year old. 

There was a rather festive man in knickers loading up a boat on the canal for a tour, so we jumped in line and hopped on the boat, where a family from Massachusetts proceeded to tell me how much they liked my ring. The grandmother asked me if I was on the Bachelor. Bahaha. Flattering, (and no offense M) but a few carats shy of qualifying for that.
 The view down the canal.
We headed back to her apartment, showered up, and got ready for the night and the 2 of us along with one of her coworkers went to dinner. We went to a place called Lucky Buddha that we had passed earlier, since I was craving Chinese. We walked in, and the place was EMPTY. Not EMPTY as in there were 1 or 2 other people, I'm not exaggerating, aside from staff, we were the only patrons there. 

I ordered the spicy orange chicken: 
 Beautiful, no? We noticed a little pamplet on the table that said "July Menu Tasting: Half off full menu, except specialty rolls"... I assumed this meant the Suhshi menu. Then our bill came. My total? A whopping $3.89. My jaw hit the table. The other girls' drinks were just as expensive as their meals. We think this place was primarily a bar and just recently opened the kitchen up, so they were having a tasting the entire month of July.. also would explain why there was nobody there.. people may not know about it yet. Overall, a fantastic surprise.
The girls at dinner. 

After dinner, we wandered over to the bar to wait for some other girls. We decided to give it an hour or so and see what kind of a nighttime bar this place turned into. Well, it turned into a mini rave. I parked my ass at the bar the whole night. I started off with a small rum & coke. For unexplained reasons, the bartender gave me a tall one for my 3rd. For my 4th (over a period of 4 hours, people...) I asked specifically for a "small one"... apparently the bartender was some kind of comedian because he proceeded to fill a shot glass with rum and coke and stick a straw in it (the glass on the left). Hilarious, dude. He then gave me a real one. 

 Speaking of me sitting.. apparently sitting at a bar is weird, because some Mario Lopez lookalike marched up to me and told me as much. He said he just HAD to come talk to the "girl who was sitting down" all night. I had a bar seat, I was still in on the conversation, and I wasn't interested in schmoozing with dudes, obvs. Anyway, after asking me if I had any pets (another interesting opening line) he asked if I had a boyfriend. I flashed what I have dubbed "the man repeller"- my ring- and he exclaims "HOLY SHIT you're MARRIED!?" I said no, engaged. He then proceeded to inspect my ring, call his brother over, and tell me how beautiful it was and asked when the wedding was. Strange turn of events, but at least he knew to back off. haha.

Sunday we spent the entire day at her friends' pool complex grilling and sitting in the pool. I took zero photos. We went home and watched the Olympics, again. 

Monday morning I went with Tori to work at the stadium. She had a quick meeting and then was going to bring me to the airport. One of her duties at work is to take care of Parker, the mascot. Meet Parker: 

Yes, Parker is a potbellied pig. It was hilarious, she opened his pen under the stands and he went TEARING out of the pen, around the corner, towards the field. She hadn't told me what was going on so my first thought was, "Shit, she better know how to wrangle a pig." Little did I know he ran to the fence where he patiently waited for her to open that gate, and then ran inside the field to his "outdoor pen" that he stays in during the day. Who knew pigs could be trained so well! 

From there, I hopped on the plane, and touched down in MN around 6:30 where M was waiting to bring us to a baby shower for a friend of ours...where I also took zero photos. 

Hey, at least you have some from Virginia. Haha. 

Not much else going on here. Started back at work today, which was great. I missed it, surprisingly enough. Everybody was so nice and happy to see me, it seemed like. Lots of "So, how did it go!?" outside my office door. 

Have a girls night planned for Friday and a 2nd birthday party for my cousin Saturday.. so I'll be sure to stop back with updates later this week. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Just checking in to say, I'm aliiiveeeee! I'm done. 
To preempt any questions: 

I feel okay about it. 

Which is better than panicky, in my book. Plus, after hearing people FREAKING OUT about the first day's essays choices... I think I'm on an equal playing field. Although, for the record, I didn't feel THAT bad. Maybe I should've, who knows. Multiple choice (yesterday) is always a crapshoot. If all or even half the ones I was "iffy" between 2 answers on went my way, we're doing good. If not? I still may be okay. Hard to tell. All I do know is it's about to be the longest 2 and a half months of my life waiting for results. Torture, I tell you. 

BUT as my uncle, aunt, and countless others said, you can't change it now, and worrying certainly won't change the outcome OR any of your answers. So, here's hoping it's good enough. 

At least nobody in our testing center had a seizure... and bled all over... and at least the power didn't go out. Yeah, real life horror stories from the bar exam. Read about that HERE.

Although, I did hear that due to the heavy rainfall on Tuesday there was a leak in the roof, and after the exam started, water started dripping on some dude and his computer. He told a proctor, and the proctor allegedly told him since we'd started, he couldn't get up and move. I also heard someone barfed. 

OH and here's another good bit: during our instructions, they warn you that if they catch you with a phone that you forgot to leave in your car, and you fail to turn it over to the proctors, it will be deemed an attempt to cheat and they'd confiscate it and.. wait for it.. send it in for forensic analysis. They don't mess. 

I am now off to Virginia for 4 days to see my best friend for the first time since January. Pretty excited! ANNDD I'm even charging my camera.. so I'll have actual PHOTOS guys! exciting stuff, I tell you what. 

Thanks for all the well wishes! Hopefully they won't be needed again in February. woof.

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 more days.

Oh hi. I'm still alive. 

I'm still reading your blogs... I swear. It's the only thing keeping me moderately sane in the mornings. I zip through a lot of them though because then around 10 I usually feel the "OMGWHATHAVEIBEENDOING" guilt of not studying for that hour. 

Holed up at the library.. per usual. I've determined Corporations is the one topic I will just never really feel confident with. So many of these subject areas anger me. Not anger me on principal, but in the fact that they even test us on them. 

Family law. Um, what? SO specialized. Unless I practice IN FAMILY LAW that is not something general lawyers should need to know about. Forget the fact that it's the easiest subject on the test. 

Income tax. Again, what? Hi, that's what turbotax is for. Just kidding. But really.... tax isn't as bad as I was braced for. I never took tax in school, and my brain doesn't process business-related law very well, at all.. so I was dreading this. Not so bad, have my flash cards down cold. 

Lets see... I waffle back and forth with how I'm feeling. Here's a glimpse into an hour of my day. 

"Memorizing flashcards. not so bad! I know this stuff!" 
10 minutes later 
"wait... why did I just get 5 of the 10 practice questions I did wrong? OMGIAMGOINGTOFAIL"
10 minutes later
"AH! 5 in a row right! I'm a GENIUS! ACING THIS SHIT!" 
10 minutes later 
"wait a minute. That sample answer is wrong.... ((consults outline book)) OMG it's wrong. It's the sample though? Mkay, I don't trust anything that sample answer said anymore. Moving on."
10 minutes later
"what is that guy outside doing? is he stretching? Why is he wearing a pink shirt?" 
10 minutes later 
10 minutes later
"OMG. I got EVERY SINGLE ISSUE on this Estates and Trusts essay right! BRILLIANT." 

and so on. and so on. and so on. 

It's SUCH a mindfuck. 

in 5 days it'll be over. That both feels like a nanoseconds worth of time away, and an eternity. I'm really looking forward to reclaiming my life after the test. I'm DREADING the 2 and a half MONTH wait to score release. 8th amendment cruel and unusual punishment WHAT. exactly. 

My top 2 fears:
1) studying as hard as I felt like I could and not passing. I wouldn't even know where to start.
2) trying to muster the stamina to do this again. I have never studied so much in my life. Go on, throw a tomato, but school...even law school... wasn't really that hard for me 85% of the time. 

Will I be embarrassed if I fail? Sure, for a little bit. But it's not THAT uncommon. There are plenty of smart people that fail, and plenty of idiots that pass. Which is why this test is stupid. Mostly it's the 2 things I laid out above. OH and 3) telling people I failed. I know, I KNOW there's no shame if it happens. It's hard. BUT, I've never failed a test in my life. not the ACT, not the LSAT (entrance test for law school), not my drivers test, not the MPRE (ethics test for law school). Ok, half lie. My LSAT was awful, but I still got IN despite that. This test is it. There's no personal statement/GPA/legacy student bonus to save me. 

and the most terrifying and exciting thing of all: this is the culmination of EVERYTHING I have EVER wanted in my ENTIRE life. I've wanted to be a lawyer since I was in 4th grade. The idea that it all comes down to this both terrifies and thrills me. Thrills because it's almost OVER, I'm almost THERE. Terrified because it's a lot of pressure for a lifetimes worth of hopes and dreams to hinge on one stupid test. 

Don't misinterpret my rant here. I'm not operating wholly under the "OMG I am going to bomb" mantra. 75% of the time I'm actually moderately confident about it. I DO think a bit of healthy fear is necessary. Keeps me respecting the test.. which I think is the perfect way to describe it. 

Anyway, off to join my dad and M at my dad's best friends' birthday party. I wasn't going to go, but I honestly can't stare at another corporations flashcard for a second longer. 

Exhibit A: 

peace out. see you all on the other side.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

My "old" man

Yesterday, the 13th, was M's 28th birthday. One thing I told myself is that I would not 100% lose myself in bar studying to the detriment of those around me... in some instances. One of those, was M's birthday. His actual birthday weekend is being spent at his friend's bachelor party at a cabin, which is just as well since I've been holed up in the library for 10 hours a day the last 2 days. Woof. 

Tuesday, I made reservations for a surprise birthday night. I gave him a hint Wednesday, and then got lost getting there twice and eventually half panicked told him, although as soon as we pulled up near the docks at Lake Minnetonka I think he had a good idea ;-). 

I took him on a Hawaiian themed dinner cruise on Lake Minnetonka. 
 For those not familiar with MN, Lake Minnetonka is a BIG deal. Quite literally, it's huge. There is over 140 miles of shoreline, and it spans 9+ cities. BIG. I'm also fairly certain there's not a single home that fronts the lake that's worth any less than $1 million. 
 (our centerpieces :) ) 
Some random fun facts I learned of people who have lived/live on the lake: The dude who invented breathe right nose strips, a 27 year old freak who made his money on the stock exchange, Tom Petters (I believe it was the 2nd, but one of the largest ponzi scheme perpetrators next to Bernie Madolf... the legal nerd in me is all too familiar with him as our firm handled some collateral cases dealing with that mess), and the Mann Theater family. There were others, but my brain is mushy. 
 (Wayzata Bay, where the boat launched from) 
 Thursday nights are the "sailing regatta" nights on the lake... fancy! 
 The birthdayyy boy! 
 Loons- our state bird. **I was corrected by M.. these are geese. Blame the bar exam. Also, I'm not an ornothologist, or whateverthehellitis that knows about birds**
 The weather was looking rough on the drive out there, and the entire cruise the starboard side (left side? port side? who the fuck knows) was dark and overcast. Our side was sunny and beautiful. The skies cleared in time for a gorgeous sunset 
 It was nice to take a break from the books to join the real world... partake in fun activities.. sometimes I forget it's summer and normal people are out doing fun things at night/on the weekends. 
Dearest M: 
Who knows when you'll get around to stalking this post out (although I know you'll get to it eventually.. ;-) )... I know I've been miserable and irritable and absent the last, oh, 2 months.. but despite that, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there, for supporting me unconditionally, and for telling me "you're going to pass!" even though I may hate it, but because I know you really believe it. You have the utmost faith in me, and it helps. It does. When I have my meltdowns about failing (3, to date people...) even if you're not here you text me to tell me you love me, or rub my back when you are there. More than that, I know failing isn't the absolute end of the world, (somewhere, deeeeeeeep deeeeep down I know this), because I still have a FANTASTIC fiance, and a wonderful life we've made together. I know that you'd love me even if I did wind up being a waitress with a J.D. ;-) 

Real talk? Ah mees you. I hope you're having fun at Zach's, but 10 hours at the library is so much more bearable when I have a cute kitteh AND a cute boy to come home to. 



Monday, July 9, 2012

Losing my sanity

When did I last post? the 5th? Well, it's the 9th, and I have no idea where those days went. I do know I spent one in an emo tailspin after seeing the results of the simulated bar exam we took. The good news is, I picked up this bad boy:

It's official! I have my J.D. :-) Guys, real talk, this test fucking sucks. Pardon my french. Rational me knows that I'm doing okay, and that given the fact that I did not study a LICK outside of going to lectures, I didn't do that abysmally on the simulated test, and going into it I KNEW I wouldn't do that well- but that it'd serve as a foundation for the areas I needed the most work in. Hormonal me took one look at that score, and the percentile I fell in (as compared to the whole country) and lost.my.shit. I may or may not have then gotten my period the next day, which likely explains it better, but zomg.

About a week into studying someone posted this article on twitter: Ten things you will do while studying for the bar. Take a gander, at least at the headings. It's funny, but mostly funny because it's true. I didn't fully appreciate that until this weekend.  So far I think I've accomplished 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Our lecturer today (as does the article I posted) both mentioned "people telling you that you will pass".... which will make you stabby. It's so true. This is not to say I'm not grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement of my loved ones and non-lawyer friends, (and once I'm removed from this test I'm sure I'll be even MORE grateful) but it really and truly is one of those "you don't understand unless you experience it" things. Every time someone tries to tell me "I'll be fine" or "ohhhh you'll pass no problem!" I feel my blood boil. At the same time, if someone were to tell me, "retaking it isn't the worst thing in the world" I may actually take a swing at them. There's really nothing good to say in terms of encouragement either way that won't annoy a bar-exam studier. Or that may just be me. Also? Perhaps even WORSE for me: the attorneys at my firm telling me how they studied, or didn't study (and drank and golfed, in the case of one of them), or how "you've never failed anything in your life, you're not going to fail this test, it's not that bad!"

shut up. is what I want to say. 

It's just the honest truth. Oh, sure Mr. partner who makes 6 figures and took the exam DECADES ago and probably had a job lined up for him, sure, it's not so bad. SHUT UP.

I realize this whole post makes me sound like an ungrateful twat, but I'm just being real. Maybe saying things like "good luck!" or "I'll be thinking of you!" are better? Who knows. I feel like I'm living in an emotional glass house. One minute I get a simulated exam essay question back (did good on! For having not studied at all) and am positive, then I take some multiple choice questions and tank, and I'm back to square one. 

The good news for you guys is this: emo, whiner, debbie-downer Kelly will only be residing around here for 2 more weeks. The bad news for me is: OMGIONLYHAVE2MOREWEEKS. 

but seriously, for you and me both I'm praying that I don't have to do this twice. woof.

(super sweet customized art that M's mom got for me at the Hopkins art fair! Can't wait until I have an office to hang it in!)

This little guy is sick of it too, as you can tell.

These two have both been a god send throughout this process (woah, does that sound dramatic or what).. but really. It does help me keep things in perspective that after all, it IS just a test, and I have a lot of really great things in my life right now :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The irony of the 4th of July

The Fourth of July a day to celebrate our nation's freedom and independence. 

The irony in the Fourth for me is that it marked the "turning" point in my bar exam studying where I lose my freedom and independence. Many a mention has been made of the fact that after the Fourth of July is when we should start to really kick it into gear. That means that now? It's crunch time. Tomorrow is our last in-class lecture. Tomorrow is also my last day of work until July 31st. I've taken the next few weeks off to dedicate 8-10 hours a day to studying. Yes, it's going to be as fun as it sounds. On one hand, I really just want the whole stupid thing to be over, on the other hand, I feel like I need 10 more weeks instead of 2 and a half, to study everything they expect us to know. 

There are 13 subject areas on the bar exam. We've had a lecture for each of those, every one of which had a 15-40 page outline (one was 70 pages). On one hand, when I consider the fact that a 64% is "passing" in MN, I'm able to remain fairly calm. On the other hand, when I remember what happened with the LSAT (the law school admissions test) I find myself on the verge of a total panic attack. 

I "studied" for the LSAT, I took a brief prep course, I THOUGHT I was prepared... wrong. I don't recall what my exact score was, but I do recall it was 2-3 points below the low median for the law school I wanted to go to- WMCL. I hadn't taken enough practice tests, and I did not devote anywhere near the amount of time I should have. I crossed my fingers and applied to a few schools anyway. When wait list, and rejection letters began rolling in, I had a quarter life crisis. Do I take the LSAT again? Do I consider grad school? Then, late January 2009, I got the letter from WMCL: I was accepted. Lord knows how it happened, but it happened. I got admitted on a special program for people with low GPA's or LSATS, and spent the first few months of law school wondering if I really belonged there. If I could cut it. I ended up graduating with a good GPA, 2 Moot Court's on my resume, and a lot more confidence.

Bottom line: I never want to look back on a test and realize too late I could've done more. Are the next few weeks going to suck? Yes. But it's a few weeks versus having to take this damn test again....the thought alone makes me want to vomit. 

Moving on. M and I went to my uncle Mike's for the Fourth, and like the absent minded blogger that I am, I forgot my camera. We sat around on the patio, chatted, ate, and drank... per usual. 

M and I went home around 4:30 for a few hours before heading to my office to watch fireworks. Every year a bunch of people from the office sit on the rooftop balcony that overlooks the Mississippi for the fireworks show over St. Anthony Main. This year? NOBODY showed up, except M and myself, and my uncle Tom and aunt Pam. Tommy is a partner at the firm. Here's the view from the 25th floor: 
 We picked up some wine, raspberries, and cheese spread and crackers before heading up. Pam made crack cookies, as I called them. I think they were butterscotch chip cookies. I think I ate 10.
 We dragged conference room chairs out onto the deck (huge leather chairs) and the 4 of us sat and watched the fireworks. The best part? The fireworks we went for started at 10:00, but from 9:30-10:00 as you scanned the horizon, you could see the fireworks of every east suburban city for at least 20 miles in a 180 degree radius. It was incredible. Finally our show got underway.
 I could think of no better way to watch fireworks: free parking in my work ramp, sitting in a leather chairs, with a nice breeze (as you're bound to have 25 stories up), no bugs, and most importantly: no crowds. Call me a surly old curmudgeon, but crowds and parking give me such a headache.

I had the day off work, which meant instead of an 8 hour day followed by 4 hours of lecture, I just had 4 hours of lecture this morning. I got home and started to work on flashcards. It was then that I realized how nice it would be to be a cat: 
Rough life. TJ got need and bored and promptly stomped over to put a stop to my studying for a brief period:
Kitteh sez, "pay attenshun to meh."
In the same vein-TJ has mastered the face of indifference, exhibits 2:

 and 3:
 I feel like this post is the jankiest thing I've ever written. I seriously have re-read it 4 times and hate the way it flows, hate the words I chose, and feel like a high schooler could've come up with something wittier... but my brain is sleepy. I'm not feeling creative. I'm going to have to find something to write about between now and August otherwise all my "weekend update" or "what I've been up to lately" posts would look the same: me, cracked out on coffee, buried behind a stack of flashcards.