The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to ruin ice cream...

Offer to make homemade ice cream to cheer up a down friend.

After she chooses cherry (over lemon), head to the kitchen with the recipe book.

Take out the bowl and spend well over 30 minutes (de)pitting the cherries (with love).

Follow direction leaving last few steps until you get to friend's house.

Later, when you are ready for ice cream, begin hand whipping the cream.

Continue while another friend judges your whipping abilities.

After your arm gets tired, pass the whipping off to other friend.

When other friend gives it back to you so you can finish, continue whipping and forget to pay attention because you are engrossed in the really bad dancers on some reality tv show.

Look down and realize the cream you were whipping that was supposed to be thick and creamy is now thick and chunky.

Put all the ingredients in the ice cream maker and hope it all turns out okay.

Watch the looks on your friends' faces as they attempt to swallow the spoonfuls of frozen curdled cream.

Call friend's man and have him pick up ice cream on his way home.

Moral of the story from Baking911: If you whip too long, the cream can curdle and separate. That's because prolonged beating has warmed the cream.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Can someone tell me why I chose to take the Bar in a state that uses such antiquated language on the exam? I realize that I am taking one of the more "formal" Bar Exams in the country (as noted by the demand that I wear a suit to take the test), but this nomenclature is getting ridiculous.

I don't think you should be able to just claim an existing word like "committee" as your own by pronouncing it differently (ko-me-tay) and making it mean something completely unrelated (guy who steps in for the mentally incapacitated).

And motions "craving oyer"? Really? Old legal terms are Latin. This one is half English, half French-ish, and wholly unneccessary.

Call a summons a summons and a complaint a complaint. No need for calling things "summons" in one court and "notice of motion for judgment" in another court.

Is this just for the Bar and just in my state or is this how I will start speaking once I become a lawyer? If so, can I count it as a second language?


Monday, May 28, 2007

The perfect day for our paths to cross

When I was a child, I joined my grandparents on my first ever trip to Washington D.C. Somewhere near the Vietnam War Memorial, I purchased one of those silver bracelets of a Marine Missing in Action. As a kid, I didn't think of the commercialism or touristy nature of those bracelets. I merely thought of the guy whose name was on it. I wore that bracelet for a while when I was younger and often wondered how my Marine went missing and if he had ever been found. This was in the pre-internet age, so I would not have even known what steps to take to figure that out. Instead, I just kept him in my thoughts and prayers until the day that I put that bracelet in a box somewhere and forgot about it and about him.

Two days ago, when the cable man was here, he needed a phone to test out our new phone line and I recalled having an old cordless in a box in my closet. As I dug through the box, I came upon my MIA bracelet. I took it out and put it on my desk to think about later. After a long day of errands and studying, as the sun was setting through my window it reflected off the bracelet and caught my eye. After almost twenty years, I put the bracelet back on. I reflected on my Marine; only this time, I took it a step further. I googled his name and found his story.

My Marine's plane went down in 1969 on my father's birthday (I recall choosing this particular bracelet solely for the date.) He was never heard from again, however, he was not lost forever. In 1999, they found parts of his plane and some remains of (presumably) him and his co-pilot in Laos. After careful excavation, they brought my Marine home. They laid him to rest right down the street from me in Arlington Cemetery.

As I looked down at the bracelet on my arm, I thought of the fact that I have lived here for almost six years and have not visited the cemetery. I thought of the fact that my Marine was from Washington state so his family is likely still far away. I thought that I should really find some time in my oh-so-busy life to go pay my respects to my Marine. As I pulled out my study schedule, I noticed I would have no class on Monday. It took a moment to dawn on me that Monday would be Memorial Day. I sat breathless for a moment. Memorial Day.

There could be no more fitting a day to meet my Marine.

Today I put my books aside, put my bracelet back on, and went to meet LTC Luther A. Lono. After picking up some flowers and a good friend, we headed to Arlington Cemetery. When I arrived at his gravesite, I felt as if I knew him personally. As I placed the bouquet of red, white and blue flowers at his headstone, I thanked him for serving this great country, for dying for my freedom, and for helping at least one American to truly understand what Memorial Day is about.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Barbri weekend woes

My birthday falls on a Friday this summer. My birthday never falls on a Friday. Additionally, my birthday is special this year 'cause I'm turning 30. Wow, I haven't changed decades in like, um, almost 10 years. You may be wondering what I will be doing for my 30th birthday. Brace yourselves: I will be taking a simulated Multistate Bar Examination from 9am to 4:30pm. Good freaking times, huh?

While I am excited about being able to check my progress mid-way through the summer, I am a little less excited about spending the Saturday and Sunday immediately following my birthday in a classroom. I have heard mixed ramblings about the weekend-long wrap up; some say waste of valuable time because you can just read the answers and some say really helpful.
Anyone have advice one way or the other?

(I know it seems a little far out to worry, but I heard a few rumors about a friend or two wanting to plan a big shindig and I just wanna know if I need to quash or downgrade their plans early on.)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bar Prep Week 1

Yeah, so, um, I couldn't do it. I tried, I really did. Beanie was right...there is no damn way I am getting through this summer without a written outlet for whining about the Bar Exam. Dear lawd, I already have three days worth of pent up Bar-related "stuff" and it doesn't fit into my pretty work-in-progress outline and I'm pretty sure no one wants mass emails of my daily Bar trials and tribulations. In fact, WonL readers probably don't want it either, so I hereby deem this blog to now be "WonL: The Bar Edition." If it does not interest you, you may wanna move along because I do not foresee it getting any better. But this is for me, not you:-)

So, I am taking a BarBri summer course in preparation for the Bar Exam. Although I have always hated the BarBri monopoly and all it stands for, I cannot fathom how anyone could be doing this on her own. After a WHOLE LOT of money changed hands, they gave me ten or so books with outlines, questions, answers, charts, practice exams, etc. Every day, I have four-ish hours of class and daily assignments that are a part of a "paced program" they have set up for me for the entire summer. They tell me what to read, which problems to work, what to organize, etc.

All I have to do is follow their instructions and retain the information. Easy, right? HA! According to their paced program, when I get home from class everyday I should be putting in between 5-9 more hours of work. Then, I should spend 10-12 hours on weekends. They say to "treat it like a full time job." Is it too late to just get my MBA?

Honestly, I am on track for week one even though I haven't been putting in the full time they request. However, I have also only had three classes, all of which I took in law school (Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure). We'll see how I feel when we start in on the things I have never heard of like Commercial Paper.

I have noticed a few things in my first week of classes. First of all, for the past three years, everyone has said that BarBri will teach me what I need for the Bar and I will not learn it in school. Thus far, I must disagree. So far, BarBri is refreshing what I found I already learned. I am realizing that I must have really gotten a good education because this stuff stuck somehow. (Yeah, Kerr, that means you too.) I have also found a tiny bit of respect for BarBri. The jovial, energetic professors on tape do this really great thing: they tell you what the VA Bar Examiners have consistently tested over the past 15-20 years and they focus on that. No wasting time on things that have very little chance of appearing on the Bar. I like that. I like that a lot!

Okay, back to reviewing my lecture notes.

Feels good to be back for a little while :-)


Thursday, May 17, 2007

That's a Wrap

Dear Pre-Law School Unsolicited Advice Giver,

You were wrong.

You told me that it would not be worth it and you were wrong. In more ways than I can expound, law school has been worth it. When I cross that stage on Sunday and receive my diploma, I will be reflecting on just how worth it these past three years were.

You told me that it would be the most miserable three years of my life. Granted, it was a lot of work. It was grueling and intellectually tiring and sometimes even emotionally exhausting. Still, it was far from miserable.

You told me that law school would turn me into a negative cynical person. Well, I still wake up every day smiling. I am still happy with the decision I made. I still look forward to the challenges ahead of me. Oh, and any cynicism present was already in me.

You told me that I would not make lasting friends because law school students are cut-throat and competitive. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I got close to some of the most intelligent, supportive, downright amazing people I have ever met. I found people that I can truly call friends...friends that will stay with me forever.

You told me that having a law school blog would be a waste of my time. Wrong again. WonL has kept me sane during the past three years. I would not have gotten through things in the same way if I did not have this outlet. I have cherished everything that WonL has brought into my life and I will miss it. Now it's time for Law-Rah to become Laura again.


P.S. If I ever decide to come back in another blog-form, I'll be sure to give y'all a head's up. Thanks to everyone for reading these past three years!

Monday, May 14, 2007

How to unwind

What happens when a bunch of law school students gather in this house in the OBX for an entire week before they graduate?


Unicorns run wild.

Beer-amids are erected.

Lighthouses are climbed.

Power hour is played.

Foosball men learn to dance.

Cheesy t-shirts are purchased.

And most importantly...friendships are forged.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Heading out

Add a couple more chairs some adult beverages and 14 of my closest friends who just finished law school...that's where I'll be unwinding. See y'all in a week!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Looking back for a moment...looking forward forever.

I just finished law school. I mean, I just turned in my last paper and...oh my gawd, I just finished law school. I knew this day would come, but at the same time, I never dreamed this day would come. I'm sitting here with a glass of champagne reflecting on all that it took to get me here. These feelings are familiar. Turning in that last paper brought me back to another time. Another accomplishment. Another glimpse into me:

So many words could describe the emotions I encountered in those ninety minutes. I had always been dramatic and this was just another performance, although there was much more riding on this than any play or dance recital. I was also filled with excitement and anticipation of showing everyone what I had accomplished over the last five years. It all boiled down to the one-hour I had to express to everyone the thoughts and ideas that drove this project. I was so overwhelmed thinking of all that I had gone through to get here, and how close I came to not making it. It had been a long road, but today was my chance to shine.

I glanced out over the familiar faces in the room. I stood there, my stomach in knots and my hands shaking in front of professors, local architects, and classmates and I began to present my thesis. Everyone in that room knew how much work I had put into this project and, more importantly, how much was riding on it. This pass/fail presentation would determine my degree. With my emotions riding high, I spent an hour trying to get everyone in that room to see things through my eyes. After completing my presentation, I stepped outside to allow the panel to decide my fate. Never had seven minutes lasted so long. As I attempted to distract myself from the swelling anxiety, I began to reflect upon how I came to stand outside that classroom.

Architecture school was the first thing in my life that did not come naturally to me. This whole new way of “thinking outside the box” was a foreign concept. After breezing through high school, barely opening books, I figured college would be the same. I was wrong. When I entered architecture school, I went from being the smart one, to being the one that just could not get it. During my second year of architecture school, one of my professors actually pulled me into his office to tell me I should think of pursuing a different degree. He told me, “this field is not meant for everyone; some people never get it.”

I stood there, frozen in disbelief. I had never ‘not been good enough’ for anything in my life. I had never even come close to being faced with the thought of quitting. I decided at that moment that there was no way I was going to be a part of those that just never got it. From then on, I was determined to do whatever it took to prove to everyone, including myself, that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

Over the three years that followed, I went through a growth process I could never have anticipated. I spent countless all-nighters weeding through projects and drawings with mounting frustrations, pulling back on my social life and missing holidays. I also learned that professor’s critiques were tests of endurance and persistence, both of which I needed to build up. I realized just how hard I had to work to get through this. But more importantly, I realized that I had it in me.

The minutes continued to inch along as I stood outside that classroom waiting for the Director to come and reveal my fate. I remember every feeling leading up to that moment, but cannot remember the moment itself: the moment I received “the handshake” that meant that I had passed Thesis and would be graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture. Little did I know at the time the true meaning of that handshake. It did not necessarily mean that I would become a world-famous designer, or someday own an architecture firm, or even enjoy working in that field. It meant that when dealt this challenge, I handled it with enthusiasm and determination. Receiving that handshake acknowledged the transformation I had made into a more committed and hard-working person and it meant that I was now ready to conquer anything that came my way. I needed to go through those experiences in architecture school to become the person I am today: a person who is truly prepared for this next challenge. I am not only ready, but I also firmly believe that my undergraduate experiences will help me to excel as both a law school student and someday, as an attorney.

That’s the letter I sent to GW Law school (in the form of a personal statement) over three years ago. Apparently, someone over there believed in me because they gave me a chance. More importantly, in a few weeks, they will be giving me a diploma. Because ladies and gentlemen, I got my law school handshake today.

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