Thursday, December 17, 2009

me and the movies

There are some movies I feel obligated to watch when they are on. If I am flipping through channels and one of them comes up, I stay on it and watch it through. I can't help it, even though I can quote the dialogue along with the characters.

Shattered Glass
The Departed
Gone with the Wind
The Princess Bride
Sex and the City
A Christmas Story
Bride and Prejudice
X-Files: I Want to Believe (Derek gets particularly pissed at this one for some reason!)
An American in Paris
Sense and Sensibility
Howard's End

It's insane how many times I've seen all these movies. They are all so different that I can't explain the appeal in just a few words. Some remind me of my father, some remind me of good times, some just drew me in.

I can't explain "The Departed" other than it satisfies some bloodthirst that must reside in me. "Shattered Glass" is just great story-telling and acting. "Howard's End" and "Atonement" are just beautiful movies to watch. "Bride and Prejudice" reminds me of home and cracks me up big time.

"The Princess Bride" is just downright wonderful and deserves its own paragraph. I saw that in high school (actually IN high school: some class showed it to raise funds for something or other) and thought it was a great romance. Only when I left school and saw it again did I realize its genius. Last year, I read the book and almost died laughing.

"Sex and the City" scares even me. I was watching it again yesterday and realized I was saying the lines out loud. It's one of those movies I keep on in the background when I am doing something else. So is "Sense and Sensibility" (even though I own the DVD, it's always like the first time when I see that movie) and "X-Files: I Want to Believe".

I guess I also find comfort in familiar things. Like some books I read over and over. Or repeating funnny things Derek said when he was a baby or John wrote to me when we were apart. It's just nice to go back to something I really love.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

law school applications chronicles - applications

So I'm almost done with sending my applications. Actually, I just have one school to complete as soon as I get in touch with their Admissions office to answer some questions.

My 2nd recommender never sent his recommendation. It would have been process by now. I gave up the same day I wrote that last post and asked someone else. She took 1 weekend and it took just a couple of days for LSAC to process it. I sent all my applications on Thanksgiving Day and one school already got back to me that my paperwork has been received.

Now I just wait for April when the "watching the mailbox" really begins.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

law school application chronicles - recommendations

You know how every book you read about applying to law school and every advisor you speak to about applying to law school and every blog you read chronicling applying to law school talk about that slow 2nd recommendation and you think, "Pshaw! That isn't going to happen to me," as you send that 14th reminder email to that 2nd recommender to please get his ass in gear and send the damn thing?

It happened to me.

I really thought I was above that. I'm not in school and haven't been for 15 years. I'm in regular touch with the 2 people I asked for recommendations and never thought I'd have a problem. The first one came in great time and was processed quickly by the LSDAS and sat in my account just waiting to be assigned to a school.

The 2nd one was my ace in the hole. I expected this one to be the one that kicked all other LoRs in the butt. Especially since I have a stinky LSAT score, I needed my written material to be extra-glowing. The first one was marvellous and I couldn't have asked for more, but I knew the 2nd one was going to go Matsui on it.

After much hounding and unanswered emails to the recommender, I finally get a response that it was sent. It takes 7-10 days for the LSDAS to process it and when I called, 2 weeks after I was told it was sent, they couldn't even tell me if it was received.


So I ask the recommender to tell me when and how he sent it so I can try to track it down. Turns out he was NY and mailed it from his hotel. He gave it to reception and they assured him it would be sent out. So I ring the hotel to find out if they have any unsent mail from that date. The mailroom manager informs me of the procedure for letters and tells me that if it didn't have a return address on the envelope, it doesn't get mailed, even though they submit it to the post office. It is now considered "lost".


I can't blame the recommender, because he didn't know about that and the hotel should have told him, since they sold him the stamp. But I am irked no end because I have been waiting far too long for the letter and I gave him months and a deadline. He repeatedly ignored my emails and I was so frustrated. I didn't want to be angry with him or even let on that I was angry at all because I didn't need him to be pissed off that he was doing me a favor and then be even slower.

I only have myself to blame. I worked with this man for years and knew what was going to happen, but I really felt, and still do, that his recommendation would be amazing. He sent me a draft and I wasn't disappointed. I love the guy and can't wait to see him again, but this is my life here.

He offered to FedEx it, but I had to first mail him a signed attachment. I have no idea why, but LSAC requires the applicant sign a form stating that you agree that the LoR be sent to the revelant law schools and you waive your right to see the finished LoR. I can understand when schools did interviews why the applicant not see the LoR, but no one interviews any more. What a waste of paper and time.

So I put the damn form in the snail mail and pray he gets it by Monday. In the meantime, I called the Internship Coordinator at the publishing company I interned at and pleaded with her to write me a letter and send it poste haste. She was wonderful and agreed. I sent her a form and reminded her she had written me a great LoR last year and she could just tweak that for law school. She still had it and promised to send it out on Monday.

Now, I am only in a tizzic about it because the school I want to go to requires 2 LoRs. It is small and recently became a Tier 1 school, so 2010's applicants are going to be the best. The competition will be stiff and I am very worried.

I've managed to send out 2 completed applications to schools that only needed 1 letter. The other 4 require 2 letters and I am only waiting for the 1. I would have liked to sent them all already. The books, advisors and podcasts all say by Thanksgiving is a good early time to have sent your application in, but everyone is going to do that. I already have the sucky LSAT score to deal with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Both John and I had read that the "V" pilot was the best ever, on E!, I think. Or a site that quoted E!. Anyhoo, we were looking forward to seeing it last night.

We were lucky enough to see the original miniseries on Sunday. We taped "V: The Final Battle" because we wanted to watch the game. We made Pie put himself to bed last night so we wouldn't miss anything. Priorities, right?

I don't know about "best pilot ever". "FlashForward" had a better time at creating suspense, tension and there was a kangaroo. Despite the seriousness of the events, there was still humor. The original "V" was pretty campy, but really stood out in bits. Some of the characters were pretty one-dimensional, and that was tough to take. But we did enjoy it hugely.


I thought, since the new "V" was to be a series, they would spend a little more time creating the illusion the Vs (Visitors) are Earth's friends. It seemed pretty sped up that a rebellion started up within weeks, Vs peace ambassadors were introduced and the brainwashing has begun, traitors on both sides were revealed. It felt more movie-of-the-week than the establishment of a series here to stay.

The always-lovely Morena Baccarin, leader of the Vs, managed to look menacing and you did want to be devoted to her. The FBI agent, Elizabeth Mitchell, is falling into one-dimensional category. Alan Tudyk, cute on "Firefly", revels as the baddie, much as he did on "Dollhouse". Weakest is Logan Huffman who plays Mitchell's son, eager to believe the V's "peace always" message. David Packer played Huffman's role in the original miniseries. His backstory as Daniel Bernstein, the son who couldn't hold a job and was such a disappointmen to his father, was much more believable than Huffman's. Huffman's Tyler is just a brat who needs a slap.

The original miniseries also had Daniel's grandfather as the grounding element against the Visitors. Abraham lived through WWII and watched his wife being led to the gas chamber as he tried to escape with Daniel's father. So far, there's nothing in the new tv series to connect the audience with the threat the Vs represent.

V in the miniseries also stood for victory. Here, in the pilot, it is just a shortened form of Visitors. I understand the symbolism, but it feels cheapened by the fact that a rebellion is established so quickly. There was also no reason given as to why the rebellion started. Where did the first clues come from? The miniseries established that questions arose after the Visitors arrived and scientists had begun to discover anomalies about the creatures themselves.

It all felt a bit rushed for a pilot. Like we were supposed to read something beforehand that would establish why the reporter feels stymied in his job, why Tyler is giving his mother agita, why are Morris Chestnut's teeth so distractingly white and why does Lourdes Benedicto keep getting roles when she cannot act.

Monday, October 19, 2009

when it rains

The Hwangs felt it this weekend. Crawling internet access, poor LSAT score, sicknesses, pet passing.

The only good thing was that Pie's EBT results came in the mail and he scored in the 99th percentile. At least I know my smarts went somewhere other than my foot.

I woke up Saturday morning to take a Pie for his first round of H1N1 vaccination. I checked my email and saw my LSAT score. I stared at it and walked back into the bedroom, woke John, told him and began to bawl. Pie ran downstairs to see what was wrong with Mummy.

I got it together fast for him and sent him back upstairs. I cried quietly in John's arms and then we decided to go ahead with the application processes and hope the strength of my essays will wow the crowd. But I was, and still am, crushed. I've never done so poorly in anything academic since Spanish in high school. And even that didn't disappoint me this way.

John spent the weekend being miserable from the cold. But he and Pie did go to see "Where the Wild Things Are" and he said James Gandolfini pretty much ran away with the show. Pie got a crown from his gymnastics class and he looked pretty cool wearing it. He wore it for a about 2 minutes when the movie started and then told his daddy it was making his head sweat, so he took it off.

Most of Friday and Saturday had me swearing and jonesing for the internets. We called Time Warner Cable and they did whatever and eventually John agreed to an appointment for Thursday! Thursday! I have to fill out forms online. Fuck Thursday.

But then John thought the cable itself might be bad and changed it. So far, so good. We're going to wait a couple of days and see how it goes before we cancel the appointment.

But last night was the worst. I went to bed early. I felt that John was snapping at me and I wanted to snap at him and my head was pounding and he was sick and the Pie was making too much noise and it did me in. I fell asleep in minutes. It felt like was only asleep for minutes when I heard, "Petal. Petal. Felix is dead."

There was much what-ing and Felix-is-dead-ing until it sunk in. John sounded like he was in shock. He couldn't even break it to me gently, he just had to say it. For a while, everything he said sounded like it came from outside of him. Felix is my... was my favorite pet but nothing I was going through was compared to John, who had him from a baby.

We put him in a box and woke Valentine. She clambered into the box and sniffed him a bit and then curled up next to him. That's when I lost it. Both Jackson and Mollie came downstairs and having all 4 pets in the same square foot made my allergies rise up something fierce. John's hands were already itching as he is slightly allergic to Felix. He was slightly allergic to Felix.

Felix. Past tense now.

We decided against telling Pie last night. I tried going back to bed twice but my right eye was itching so bad, I wanted to dig it right out. I'm pretty sure I scratched my cornea. We had no non-drowsy med so I had to wait it out. It hurt when I blinked. I washed my hands and face and stayed up with John for a bit while he was on the phone with the internet people. When he changed the cable, we played around online and then I went to bed.

I woke up to see Valentine still curled up next to her little brother. I'm not sure she closed her eyes all the way last night. It hurts to even think about her.

I told Pie and he was so unhappy. We'd already told him that we'd have to put down Valentimes (what he calls her) but Felix was a surprise. He didn't want to see Felix and I wasn't terribly unhappy about that. I didn't want his last memory of him to be all stiff in a box.

John's awake and we're going to call the vet to see about cremation and disposal. We also decided we might have to move up Valentine's trip to the beyond. We were so distressed at the thought of having to go through this another 3 times. I'm so glad I made callalloo yesterday. I need all the comfort food I can get.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Le Pie est ici

In an effort to not think about the LSAT score, I called Shelly. And talked about the LSATs. Sigh.

However, we did manage to talk of other things, including her trying to get me to take a train to Maryland to help her unpack. More sigh.

The Pie came up and I was telling her how we live a fairly quiet NY life, as compared to the frantic idea that most people have of New Yorkers. We don't have small children, two jobs, have to walk up several flights of stairs to get home. Only one of us has to be in rush-hour traffic and both my husband and child can come home to hot food most days of the week.

And the Pie is in a school he truly loves. That is so foreign to me. I hated school. Not just like everyone else. I truly hated the place. Elementary school holds no good memories to me. I went to 2: Aranguez Islamia and San Juan Presbyterian. All my older siblings went to AI and were very well-known, and my mother was adored there. I hated that school. I had a couple of friends, but most of the other kids didn't like me because I was bright.

SJP was no better. There, my father was revered. My absolute worst memory comes from that school and my sainted father is right in the middle of it.

I hated getting up in morning. I hated putting on that garbadine uniform. I hated walking up the steps to my classroom. I hated the feeling of wondering if I was going to get hit by the teacher, with a stick, a ruler, his hand or the back of a handbrush. My 5th Standard teacher instituted the tap: students were allowed to "tap up" (slap behind the head) of any other student who was standing to answer a question and made a mistake. One girl's mother was a teacher in the school and after her daughter got her first tap, her mother came to our teacher and told him that the child gets headaches and to not tap her anymore. The rest of us could go suck duck egg. I still remember the first and only time I ever got hit on the back of the head by the boy sitting next to me because I made a mistake reading from a science book. I wanted to close that big, thick textbook and slam him upside the face. I have no idea to this day how I managed to contain myself. I didn't blame the boy, who told me he was sorry afterwards. No one enjoyed doing that to the person standing up. It was a tiny way of sharing the licks, especially among the kids who were beaten more often than others. I just hope that teacher died a slow and painful death.


I digress.

Pie just does not have this experience in school. Neither did Chris. Pie just has the best damn time in school. He does not know how lucky he is. He wouldn't have this experience in public school, or in any other private school for that matter. He does so much in a day and it never feels oppressive, the way my school work did. He's allowed to think for himself and express himself, not a wild way, but in a controlled, creative way that still gives him freedom.

I am so glad neither of my children had to go through what I did. Corporal punishment was against the law by the time Chris went to school, but I still made it very clear that I would not tolerate any teacher putting God out of her thoughts.

Ok. Back to Bom.

law school applications

I'm not sure that filling out law school applications was the way to get my mind off the LSAT score. My heart speeds up whenever I see Inbox (1) in my email tab. I wake up in a panic every morning, wondering if today is the day. I read in someone's law school blog that she did amazing as an undergrad and had all kinds of stuff going for her but she didn't get a great LSAT score and saw more rejections than acceptions.

I'm only applying to 6 schools, in the New York City area: Cardozo, NYU, NY Law, Fordham, CUNY Law School and Columbia. Anywhere else is too far and would require me to move. Actually, even CUNY is far, but...

Fordham means I can come home during the day. Columbia, too, but I don't have the highest hopes for Columbia. NYU is one of my favorite places and there are 2 wonderful scholarships that are right up my alley. NY Law has massive classes. Cardozo has small classes and is the front runner, just ahead of Fordham and NYU, as they are all terrific intellectual property law schools. I think I'm really going into international IP, which might be helpful if I ever have to move back home.

So I've been filling out applications and writing down everything that had to get left out or is needed specifically for a school. The 2 schols for NYU require separate essays, I also need to write 2 Addendums for all the apps to explain why there are 2 LSAT scores and why I there's an employment gap between 2005 and 2009.

[John gave me a small journal yesterday and it is coming in so handy to jot down all these things. I am also waiting on a plug for my Mac. It's okay to fill out the forms on Derek's laptop but I need a lot of stuff that's saved on my hard drive to write the essays. John's computer is on the fritz as well and he is waiting on a video card. I can do research on his, if it were working, but I cannot type on his weird ergonomic keyboard. I need the Sexy Beast for my juices to flow.]

I'm also trying to get the feel of where IP is going and what is needed to get into an academic career. I attended a terrific IP conference at NYU over the summer and am going to a conference on teaching law at Cardozo next month.

Ok, enough of this. Must get back to filling out forms.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the lsat chonicles - the aftermath

I am so afraid of these results. I am trying to prepare myself for a score that just won't cut it. I can't put into words how I feel about this test. I felt I did so many things wrong, things that never went wrong before.

I forgot to set my watch before the first section, which was Reading Comp. I had the dials set to 12 but I forgot to press the knob when the examiner said to start. As a result, I had no idea of the time I was wasting and only had 5 minutes to do the last passage. I'm not even sure I aced the first 3 passages.

Then there were 3 Logical Reasoning sections, one of them being experimental, 2 before the break and one after. I was dead tired by the break and it didn't help that the door slammed into my toes and I wanted to faint from the pain. I just had to suck it up.

The proctors made a huge deal about not lining up for bathrooms. I took the test in a high school. Very nice facilities but I had a side-along desk, bigger than the ones I took the tests on at Kaplan, but cramped all the same. All of my stuff kept falling off. It was so irritating.

Anyhoo, we were told there were bathrooms on all the floors (tests were on the 4th and 5th floor and I was on the 4th) and not to line up, just go use the others. Fine. But we weren't allowed to use the elevators, even though the proctors made full use of them, lazy gits. What the fuck where they saving their energy for? To call 5 minutes? To walk around and pick up 20 or so books in a room.

Again, I digress. So I went down to the 3rd floor before the test started to use the bathroom, only to find it locked. I knew the one on the first floor was open, but I didn't want to walk up 4 flights of stairs yet again. So I went back to the line on the 4th floor and the woman who was in front of me let me go in front of her because she said I was there before her. So nice.

At the break, when the proctors again announced not to stand in line, I shouted that the bathrooms on the 3rd floor were locked. I had to shout because they refused to listen when I spoke softly. By then I was so irritated and vexed (and I hadn't even hurt my toe then) with their stupid proclamation, that I just shouted. We got the staff bathroom on the 4th floor open but the lines were long everywhere. I guess the proctors wanted to go home by noon or something, but they had no choice but to wait for everyone to use the bathrooms.

I was so tired after the 3rd Logical Reasoning. I was so looking forward to the Logical Games section but by the time it came, I was exhausted. And it was so easy. Again, I mismanaged my time and wanted to throw the pencil when time was called.

I got through the writing sample. I was so upset. The test was so easy. It should have been easy for me. Nothing in it was a surprise or undoable. I don't know what happened to me. I just felt crappy.

The rest of the day was great. I got home by 1:20 and John was so surprised when he and Pie came home from Pie's gymnastics class that he thought I left the test early or something. The proctors were efficient, minus that bathroom thing, and we started on time and moved very quickly because each room only had about 20-25 people. There were no problems in my room and seemed to be few all-round, judging by the fact that nearly everyone left the building at the same time.

We hung out at home. I went to Old Navy, tired as I was, and bought a Cardy Coat. I missed Shelley because I had no one to model it for but John liked it. I'm trying to get him to buy me another one.

We went to dinner at Ollie's and had a good time. We brought home enough food to eat the next day.

Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning with a sore throat. By the next day it was a full-on cold and I've been laid up all week. I feel better today than I have since Sunday and I don't want to over do it but we have company on Friday and Sunday and I have to get a-house-cleaning. John has been terrific, taking the Pie to school, picking him up, doing dishes and being sweet to me, even when I mouth "I AM SPARTA!"

I am hoping for the best re the LSATs and, after this post, will try not to think about it till the scores come in. Think good thoughts for me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

the lsat chonicles - before test day

I don't have much to say except that I hope I do well tomorrow. I am officially tired of the LSATs and I feel like I am jinxing myself not to improve a 153 by feeling that way. I spent this week going over the June test. I hate inference and flaw questions. I feel like I betraying myself by even typing that.

I kept a lot of the techniques Tutor taught me. I did like having the ability to choose what works for me. New Tutor added a lot but it gave me a sense of empowerment to be able to weed out what I didn't like from her stuff and slip in what I knew works for me.

John is taking me to Ollie's for dinner after the test. Then, the wait begins.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

for Aliti

1. What color is your toothbrush? Blue and white

2. Name one person who made you smile today? John

3. What were you doing at 8:00am this morning? Heading to breakfast with the family

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Same thing as right now: Watching the Pie play in the pool

5. What is your favorite candy bar? Kit Kat

6. Have you ever bitten your toenails? Yes, when I was small

7. What is the last thing you said aloud? "Oh my God" when I saw a girl hitting her smaller brother

8. What is your favorite ice cream? Nestle Crunch Dibs

9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Coffee

10. Do you like your wallet? Very much

11. What was the last thing you ate? Breakfast: a mushroom, bacon and cheese omelet, potatoes and toast.

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? Yes, a t-shirt for the Pie.

13. What was the last sporting event you watched? Baseball

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? Butter

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? A friend

16. Ever go camping? Narp

17. Do you take vitamins daily? Narp

18. Do you go to church every Sunday? Narp

19. Do you have a tan? Narp

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? Narp

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? Not always

22. What did your last text message say? "We're going to be late bc of rain"

23. What you doing tomorrow? A lot of sleeping

24. What was the last movie you saw at the theater? "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

25. Look to your left, what do you see? The wall

26. What color is your watch? Silver

27. What do you think of when you hear Australia? An aboriginal woman I interviewed for one of the first stories I ever wrote for the "Guardian"

28. What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning? "What time is it?"

29. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive-through? Go in

30. What is your favorite number? 81

31. Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? The husband

32. Any plans today? Watch the Pie play

33. How many states have you lived in? 1

34. Biggest annoyance right now? Other people

35. Last song listened to? "This Used to be My Playground" by Madonna

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Sure

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? I wish

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? My slippers

39. Are you jealous of anyone? Yarp

40. Is anyone jealous of you? I hope so

41. Do you love anyone? Yarp

42. Do any of your friends have children? Yarp

43. What do you usually do during the day? Study, sleep, read. It's a tough existence

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Yes, absolutely

45. Do you use the word 'hello' daily? Yarp

46. What color is your car? If I had one, I hope it would be green

47. Do you like cats? Yarp

48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Yarp

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Narp

50. How did you get your worst scar? C-section to get the Pie out the oven

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i want to be 7 again... but only if i can be my mom

Pie had the best surprise birthday party ever. I want to post the pix I took but my Mac is playing up in its tail and I have to take it in to a Genius Bar to make sure it's only the plug and not something else. Sigh.

It was a small party. We were hoping for a big do in Central Park, but our friends' prior commitments combined with thunderstorms led to a few close friends in our home. Pie spent the night by his grandmother and everyone, except one kid and his mom, got to the house before he did. It was pretty great because all the kids, except the one who came later, have all been over and know the place well. They all found themselves in Pie's room, having a grand ol' time with his toys. We didn't tell Pie that till yesterday!

Pie told John later that when he saw all the people in the living room, just before he walked inside, he wanted to ask what they were all doing in his house. LOL! When they all shouted, "SURPRISE!", he stopped. It was like he froze for a couple of seconds, the threw his hands up and shouted, "YAY!"

It was terrific.

He made a beeline for his friends and they (6 boys and 1 girl) all went to his room. The 1 girl was almost 3 and threw herself in with them quite happily, in between shouts of, "Mummy, I want cupcake!" I told everyone that I was just waiting for the last boy to arrive and then we'd do the cakes and presents.

Pie picked out his own cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop. It seemed so much nicer than a cake, especially since there would be 5 vegans and having a extra cake would seem odd. I didn't want anyone to feel left out or weird, so I got vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods. I had some of the icing and it was so good, almost better than the non-vegan ones.

When we called everyone for cake, I don't think you could have held them back with a team of horses. Pie was just so elated. He looked so happy when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him. He asked (and got) a #7 candle and 7 individual candles and he blew each one out separately. AND made a wish for each one. That took some time.

Then he opened presents and loved every thing he got. He got a cool Nerf football and some books and even some cash. He got some Moon Sand, but the little girl finished that for him. She had a blast and all the boys told on her because she made a huge mess. John had to bring out the Shop Vac. Her mom and I sat back and let her go. She was happy to be in the thick of things with the boys. They played with Pie's Moon Sand that he got for Christmas and she played with the one he got that day. Unfortunately, that is now inside the Shop Vac and I promised her mom that I am getting her Moon Sand for her next present!

John's mom cleaned up most of the mess downstairs and even wiped the kids' feet because they were all knee-deep in Moon Sand. Have I mentioned I hate Moon Sand? Well, John was in charge of cleanup, so I didn't have to hate it quite so much that day.

Everyone had a blast. The kids played downstairs and parents took turns (except me) to go check on them while my MIL stayed down there, for the most part. But, really, they took care of themselves. They were all really good kids and we locked the dog and the cat in our bedroom, because one of our friends was allergic, so there was no pet to get underfoot. They had free reign of downstairs and enjoyed themselves hugely.

The grown-ups yakked upstairs and there was much mirth to be had. I was so happy to see everyone have a good time. I laughed so hard, my voice almost disappeared. After everyone left, I abandoned the husband and child and went to bed. I woke up in the morning to a clean house and a bad cold. It was worth it to see Pie's face. I don't think he could have had more fun if he tried.

Monday, July 27, 2009

the summer of almost seven years old

I've been looking at the Pie a lot lately and am just stunned by (1) how utterly good-looking he is and (2) he is turning 7 at the end of next month.

I've allowed him to grow his hair for the summer, with the agreement that he would cut it before his birthday, which is a week before he goes to school. He doesn't like having messy hair when he is going to school but I've always wanted to see what he would look like if we let the sweet curls keep growing. He's got these little curly bits around his ears and his handsome face is framed by this thick, black, wavy hair. It emphasizes his deep, dark eyes and I cannot get over how I will have to beat the pretty girls and boys off with big sticks in a few years.

He is so tall and thin. He's so strong and so very unaware of his own strength. He's not skinny-thin (okay, maybe a little) but muscular and wiry. His basic yoga and gym training has him contorting himself into all kinds of positions and mostly giving me a heart attack.

I find it so hard to believe he is getting so big. He was in my arms, a cute, little, fatty baby. He was set on one hip as I did my thing in the kitchen. He said things like "chooch it, mama chooch it" when he saw ants, making the onomatopaeic sound of the Baygon. And no matter how many times I said, and he repeated, "cu-cum-ba", he put it together as "cumbaba", a pronunciation I love to this day. A cucumber can never be anything else.

I remember watching him taking that first step into his second step, all by himself. Him walking towards me, all wobbly and triumphant as I clapped and clapped. I rocked him on my chest every single night so he would fall asleep. He still likes that, but he is so heavy now, I can barely breathe when he lies on top of me.

Now he says things like "Daddy, how do you spell absurd?" and "Well, you weren't specific," and "I used that strategy" that leaves us dumbfounded. We lie in bed at night, repeating what he has said to us over the years. When we moved in together, even after he wore us out all day, we would lie in bed talking about him. It's not so surprising to me anymore.

He still likes to stick up under me when he is sitting on the sofa. Unfortunately, a couple of days before my period, I cannot bear to be touched and this only happened after he was born. Sad, but I feel so suffocated when he comes and jams his thigh under mine. I cannot help it, so he gives me two inches of space and I have to be content. He cannot help it either.

Friday, July 24, 2009


On Tuesday, I hurt my back while bending over to open to one of Pie's drawers. I felt the pain like a hot iron across my hips, searing into my lower back muscles. I immediately straightened up and realized after that if I didn't do it then, I would not have been able to.

I screamed when it happened and again when I straightened up. Pie was in the bathroom getting ready for a shower and yelled to ask if I was all right. I had no idea what to say, because I really wasn't. I forced myself to lie on his bed and tried to breathe through the pain.

I told him to bring me my phone and sent him back. I heard him get into the shower and wondered if to call 911. I decided to call John and see if I could get him to come home. I rang both his work and cell phones and no answer. I just redialed his cell phone over and over, hoping that someone in his office would see it vibrating on his desk (if he was in a meeting) and call his attention to it. 

Pie came out of the shower and I told him that if I cannot reach Daddy in the next few minutes, I will have to go to the hospital because I hurt my back very badly and I cannot move. The look on his face almost made me want to get up and dance the fandango. He look terrified for a moment. He asked if I was going to be all right. I sent him to get dressed and let me try to reach Daddy one more time.

I really meant to dial 911 as he stepped out of the room but then we heard the front door. I thought I was hallucinating from the pain. Then, Pie said, "Daddy," and I could have fainted from relief.

John never comes home early without calling. It's like an unspoken rule. I have to have time to hide the evidence of the lover and the crack before he comes home. 

We tried to get a hot pack under me but it was too painful for me to move on my side. I took some Tylenol and he went to refill my codeine prescription. He moved my laptop into Pie's room so I could at least watch a movie. I couldn't read or move, but I managed to turn my head so I could see the screen. I now have a crick in the left side of my neck.

The worst of it was when I had to go to the bathroom. I held it for as long as I could but I had to go. The pain was as bad as when I had my C-section. The initial pain was worse than any labor pain I had with Chris. Maybe it was a good thing I went through that C-section because at least I knew how to move.

I had to ease my legs off the bed first. Thank goodness Pie's bed is not very high. Then I managed to get on my side and walk my hands up until I was sitting. John helped me to stand up and I put my hands on his shoulders and we walked very slowly to the bathroom.

It's a day in your life when your husband has to pull down your jeans and underpants when you have to go potty. I was so embarrassed. John was so sweet, trying to make me laugh. I had to sit ramrod-straight and of all of the days to go number 2. Sitting upright is not conducive to pooping, let me tell you. I read about the correct way to poop and it changed my life.

I managed the rest of it by myself (thank God!) but had to call John to help me back into my underpants and to get my jammy pants instead of my jeans. Then make the trek back to the bed.

Sleeping on Pie's bed was a bitch. Sleeping on my back was a bitch. All the meds I was taking was making me nauseaous. I desperately wanted to sleep on my own bed but there was no way I could make the stairs.

John stayed home Wednesday and Thursday and took excellent care of me and last night I was able to go downstairs to my own bed. I've had to take something to help me sleep so I would not roll around too much and hurt myself. I cannot sit down for too long and I already emailed my LSAT teacher to tell her it looks like I cannot make it this weekend. I think the train ride to the Village would derail me.

I do feel a bit better and can move around. I cannot bend over, though, so Pie is chief picker-upper for the next few days. I am going to try to cook today because the boys have been eating pasta for 3 days and I ate macaroni and cheese for 2 days in a row and cannot look at it anymore.

Friday, July 3, 2009

my NY travels

I got home from a rather long, unnecessarily circuituous route home from a trip to Times Square. I got the gift for Pie's pal and headed outside the store. So far, so good.

I wanted to see what the Boardwalk hoopla was all about, so I took a walk up the street. It was okay. I guess I'm not enough of a New Yawker to be as ticked off as John. There were fewer tourists on the sidewalk, but only for the bit where the street was blocked off. After that, it was back to every person for herself.

So I decided to walk down to 6th Ave to catch the M7 home. But since I have no actual sense of direction, I took a chance and turned left. Wound up walking towards 8th Avenue. Ah well. I didn't bother to turn around and decided to keep walking till I hit a bus stop or subway stairs.

I think it was 45th Street I was on and it was fabulous. The entire street was filled with back-to-back restaurants. It's one block off the street with all the theaters and it must be lovely to go see a show and then just walk down the street and have your pick of foodies. I was enthralled. I do not think I ever took so long to walk one block in my life.

I got to 9th Ave and found a bus stop that would take me right to my flat. Lover-ly. I bought a Vitamin water to beat the hit and jumped on the bus that pulled up right as I walked out of the deli where I bought my water. I was feeling good.


Isn't it always a however?

I didn't realize the bus was going downtown. I live uptown. I heard the driver say "Last stop" and wondered if I was in Brooklyn! Ack! Where the frak was I?

How could I not know where I was? Well, yesterday I picked up Heather Armstrong's book "It Sucked and Then I Cried" from the library. I requested it ages ago and had to wait for over 200 people to get through their copies before I could get it. I started it last night and even though I read her blog every day, I could not put it down.

I took the bus to Toys R US so I could read and thought I had a nice long bus ride ahead of me to read more on the way home. Well, the long ride part was true but I was so engrossed in the book that I never raised my head to see I was going the wrong way.

(Aside: Bellie: if those plans are still the plans, run out and buy this book now! NOW! I was trying to find a 2nd hand copy to send to you but I think all the women who bought the book are keeping it in the waistband of their jeans to swack the fathers of their children!)

Anyhoo, so I get out on Hudson Street and had to laugh. It was originally my intention to go to the toy store and then head down to this new park called The Highline to see if I wanted to go there to watch the fireworks along the Hudson River. And here I was, just a few blocks away!

Well, to punish myself I didn't go see the park. I found the train station and went to take the C train home. 20 minutes in the blistering station (not complaining, I enjoyed every second of being outside in the heat. No fucking winter!) a crackling voice said something about no uptown A or C service. So I took an E to 34th street and walked out to look for that elusive 6th Ave again.

There was this lovely map thingy outside Madison Square Garden, with landmarks and everything so I didn't have to deal with north and south. I found this store that John and I had taken Drew to for his birthday a couple of years ago. It was a games store. Now it's an adult film and paraphernalia store. I couldn't tell from the outside, so I went it. It was pretty cool, especially for me. The guys in the store got all quiet as I walked around. Anyone touching anything immediately dropped and put his hands at his sides. It was hilarious, but I really wanted to get home, so I left. (I must go back with John.) I found the B and D train station and decided to take the B home. Ah home. I remembered it well.

Alas, alack! Another 20 mins to hear Ms Crackly Voice say ... well, I can't tell you what she said. In fact, I cannot even tell you exactly it was a she. The D came and I took it to 59th St. I was very happy to get off because a guy in a wheelchair sat in front of me and stared down my t-shirt while I was reading. I wanted to hit him with my book AND Kijani's Transformer toy.

I got out and decided was going to take th M7 home. But then I saw Whole Foods across the street and felt I MUST. GO. THERE. NOW. Powerful draw, Whole Foods is. One is opening up in my neighborhood and people are up in arms. Screw you, people. Whole Foods is the bestest!

I bought stuff and lolly-gagged over the flowers and finally left the people place to find the M7. On the bus ride home (in the right direction this time) I finished the book. I was in tears. It was like reading about what I went through with Le Pie, minus the supportive husband and father. That's the part that made me cry the most. I actually think I would love to have a child with a man who actually wants the baby and wants to take care of me while I have our baby. But that's a post for another time.

It was great, four hours later, to be home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

the lsat chronicles - score

I got my score last week - a 153 in the 56th percentile. Not good enough.

I was so delflated when I saw it. I rang John immediately and told him I was wanted to re-do it in September. It meant another $132 but at least I could take the Kaplan course again for free. I decided not to do the exact same course again but another one that is more tailored to people who have taken the exam and need a push for the harder questions. I also got a terrific tutor, as my own Tutor has left to go to law school.

Part of me wants to tackle it now and part of me feels so dejected. I was hoping to get over 160 and get on my recommenders, finish my personal statement and get the applications ready. The class does not start until July 19 so I have time to work on my statement and my recommendations. At the same time, I want to make sure I have time to spend with the kiddie.

John is on vacation this week but so far he has mostly slept the days away and stayed up at night. We've done nothing together and we have no ready money with which to do it, even if I could convince him. He and Le Pie are headed to CT tomorrow to visit Jess and Bri and I will be home. My brother is coming to visit on Sunday and we're trying to save a little money with me not going, not having to board Jackson etc. I still have to tell my brother about the score.

I thought that by this time the LSAT chronicles would give way to the law school chronicles. But, I guess not.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I suppose I owe myself an LSAT chronicles update, but I had such a good time today that i don't want to think about that right now. The lime at MoJo's pulled me out of my funk in a splendiferous way. 

I told the husband, while we were on the bus to their house, that I was feeling a little melancholy. He offered to show me a big melancholy. I think that's when things started to turn around.

I thought, before that, I would have to turn it on. That would be hard to maintain, given how I was feeling. But John and Pie were already in such good moods, it was infectious. By the time we got there, I was happy to be outside in the sunshine.

Joe and Maureen's friends, many of whom I've never met, were terrific. I actually forewent the people I did know to chat with people I've never spoken to before. One couple took to Pie like ducks to water and we got on like a house on fire. Once we realized how much we had in common, I had to force myself to leave them to go talk to the people whom I did know. Then, the lime got even better with them because they had me laughing about all kinds of things. Especially Ryan. What a lovely guy.

Sometimes, it's hard to be myself here. Today, I just didn't think about it. I just wanted to be me and not think about what John would say or the LSATs or anything else.

I left with the couple we befriended, who offered in the absolute sweetest way to give us a lift home. Le Pie and the husband wanted to stay behind. Our original plan was to stay to watch the Yankees plays the Mets at Joe's but I was thinking about the rain and how great it was to get a ride home. But Pie really wanted to stay and John's pals put him up to asking to stay, so I left alone.

It was a good time riding home, talking with my new friends. Poor Jackson was climbing the walls to go outside when I got in at nearly 9 p.m. and, as sorry as I was to leave the lime and the game, I was glad I came home to walk and feed him.

Thank you and g'night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

shakespeare in the park - twelfth night

Anne Hathaway is not the only reason to see "Twelfth Night". I am sure her name is the draw, and she gives a wonderful performance as Viola/Cesario, but the rest of the cast is nothing short of amazing. Hathaway holds her own and she better, because the acting quality is fantastic.

I am not a fan of Shakespeare's comedies. I have always been drawn to the tragedies, my favorite being "King Lear". I also enjoy the histories, and they are my favorite to study. I first met "Twelfth Night" in 3rd form and I read it with my father. It was the only play we were to read together, as he passed away just after. "As You Like It" and "Much Ado About Nothing" came later in high school but I always found them overrated.

So, with a soft spot for "Twelfth Night", I joined a virtual line to get tickets to see the play. It's a random choosing so I was very lucky to get tickets on Wednesday. I was so excited. I went to pick them up just after 6 but they didn't let people into the Delacorte Theater until 7:45, so it was a wait. And with the monsoon weather we've been having, it was a wait with my heart in my throat.

I thought I dressed well for the weather. I wore a sweater over my tank and took my raincoat and umbrella. But it was still cold. Very cold. People brought blankets and I wished I'd thought of that but I was a Shakepeare in the Park novice. People around me commented that it was much better this way than when it is muggy and hot because it just feels uncomfortable with so many people.

I got a seat at the end, near the aisle, with a terrific view of the stage. I'll post some pictures over on Facebook a little later. You weren't supposed to take pix but I had no flash on my camera phone, so I got some before the play started. I wanted to take a couple of the actors while the light was still good but there were a lot of ushers around me so I didn't get the chance. Besides, when the play started, I didn't want to do anything else.

I do not think I have ever laughed so hard with this play. The interpretation was hilarious and the actors used the language as if they spoke it every day of their lives. It reminded me of "Romeo + Juliet" when Claire Danes screams "My only love sprung from my only hate!" It was a way of hearing the words leap off the page and make you forget it was written nearly 500 years ago.

It was Hamish Linklater who ran away with the show with his portrayal of Sir Andrew Aguecheek. He was delightfully foppish and brought a wickedly funny and, dare I say, sympatheic element to the naive and manipulated Aguecheek. I never like Aguecheek in the play and never warmed to him in any other production I've ever seen. But this time, I laughed so hard, I cried whenever he was on stage.

It wasn't just what he said, it was all the little non-scripted actions and nuances that Linklater brought to the character that made him endearing. I found myself longing for him to return to the stage, despite the fact that I knew exactly what was going to happen. I wanted to see him fall, frown, and hear him whine in his high-pitched voice that never managed to become annoying. He wore a long, flaxen wig and I wanted to die everytime he flipped his hair.

He was given every opportunity to shine with the bawdy and ridiculously funny antics of Maria, Sir Toby Belch and Feste, with Fabian (Jon Patrick Walker) joining in for good measure. Julie White, a tiny thing, gave Maria a jauntiness and life to her mischief. Jay O. Sanders played Sir Toby and swung his bulk around with ease. He and White had terrific chemistry on stage and if I found it unbelieveable that Sir Toby and Maria got married in the play, I didn't feel that way this time. Their interaction was as much courtship as it was to create high jinks.

The Fool sings a great deal in the play and David Pittu was ideally cast as Feste. His voice was nothing short of divine. He sings a song for Orsino (Raul Esparza), who joins in as Viola/Cesario looks on in pain, and he, too, has an amazing voice. The songs, and the vocals, added another dimension to the entertainment that I didn't expect. Just to sit back and enjoy someone's magnificent voice was delightful.

Hathaway sang in her first scene as Cesario and she is always a treat to hear. Audra McDonald, as Olivia, only joins in during the last song but just a few notes of her lovely operatic voice is enough.

Speaking of McDonald, she brought a sweet girlishness to the role of Olivia. She giggled and twirled and the delicious look on her face when she thought there were two Sebastians had me falling out of my seat.

And couldn't leave out Michael Cumpsty, in the funny but thankless role of the unfortunately-named Malvolio. His letter-reading scene was hysterically funny, as was his appearance in yellow stockings with cross-garters. Words cannot do justice to that image. That he had to pause to let the audience's laughter die down in both those scenes, should give some idea.

The rain held off until the very end, when a light drizzle started during the last song, which includes a line about the "wind and the rain". When Feste sang it, he looked up and laughed and got a rousing round of applause, deservedly.

It was a delightful performance. I didn't realize I knew most of the dialogue until I sat down and "season'd a brother's dead love" took me back to Roydon Salick's Shakespeare I. Ahhh, the memories.

So, if you're in New York between now and July 12, I recommend lining up, online or physically, to get your free tickets and enjoy Shakepeare in the Park - Twelfth Night. I can guarantee you will enjoy yourself hugely.

potato love

Last night, I was still too tired to make real dinner so I went to one of my favorite easy go-to meals for the guys: eggs!

Pie loves breakfast food at dinner and I made him a hot dog omelet with toast with butter and jam and a cup of honey vanilla chammomile tea. There was nothing left when he was done.

For John, I had a couple of boiled potatoes left over from potato salad I made earlier this week, so I cut them up and sauteed them in some olive oil. I added some Mrs Dash all-purpose seasoning and some dill and served them over a lovely, puffy omelet. He loved it.

He asked me what I put in the eggs and I said, "love". He gave me a John-look and I told him what else I put in it. He wandered around the kitchen a bit and then pulled up a stool by my legs and gave me puppy-dog-John and asked me to make him some more of the potatoes, just the way I made them. "And don't forget the love," he said. I reminded him how he scoffed at my love earlier, but he looked so cute so I got up.

There was only one half of a potato left and he gave Pie a taste, who almost died dead at how good it tasted. John found a cuter face than his own and just gave him the rest. Somehow, it got the name "potato love" and exortations were made to Mummy to please make more. But I wasn't going to boil potatoes at that hour, especially since I was so tired. I promised to make more today.

Pie has a school picnic today and it's pot luck. We're taking some pesto pasta from FreshDirect. It has always been a big hit at our parties. There is probably going to be a ton of food for the kids so it would be nice for the grown-ups to enjoy something that is not a mini-hot dog.

So the delivery came this morning and Pie saw the potatoes in the box. I had forgotten all about yesterday. It happens at 6:30 in the morning, what can I say? Anyhoo, he didn't forget and reminded me I have to make "potato love" for him today. Who can refuse?

Monday, June 15, 2009

the lsat chonicles - test prep

Even though the results are not out for the June LSAT as yet, I wanted to write a little more about the test prep class I took and how it differed from when I was doing it on my own.

(I found this little gem after I started at Kaplan, and it was very helpful for both LSAT prep and law school admissions. I really couldn't find a more comprehensive blog about the LSAT anywhere else, and I really looked.)

I started my own prep late last year. I bought a Kaplan 2009 prep book and got it going with a friend. It was slow going. If I'd found Steve's blog at that time, I could have used some of the study methods he set out, but I was just plodding along.

I took a couple of prep tests in the meantime. One from and Kaplan and one from Princeton Review. I finished all the sections (there were no writing samples on these tests and only four sections) and scored the exact same on both. They were not bad scores for someone doing the test for the very first time but all of my work was instinct and not really based on any understanding of what I was doing.

Reading Comprehension was the easiest for me, but I read entire passages and absorbed everything. Logic Games and Logical Reasoning were pretty foreign and I wasn't always sure what I was doing.

I began to do some research into prep classes. I very quickly ruled out all but the big two. I chose Kaplan because the other one was just disorganized. They also didn't use real LSAT questions. I also went to a seminar they hosted and the woman kept pronouncing "recommendation" as "reeCOMendation" although she pronounced "recommend" correctly. That really grated on my every nerve.

I attended a couple of Kaplan seminars and was pleased with what I saw. I signed up for Kaplan Extreme and began my journey to law school in ernest.

I really got a lot out of the course. Every section was broken down and every question type identified. That alone was so much help. In the actual test, I found myself automatically identifying question type in LR and knowing exactly what to look for. Even better, I could rule out answer choices immediately.

I discovered a more constructive way to take the test. The word "triage" is now stuck in my brain. Tutor himself carved a space in my head for that because he never let us forget how important it was to take a minute and look at the games and RC passages and determine the order in which they should be done. At first I thought this was done by personal choice, but not so. By the actual test, it was automatic and became a part of time-management.

Not to say that there wasn't a pitfall. The LG section in the June 2009 test was no picnic and there was no way around doing what I did. I didn't finish and that killed me. I have no idea how I put that mess behind me and carried on, but I did. For the record, dinosaurs suck!

But there was no question I was better prepared for even that on the day of the test than people who studied on their own. The guy next to me and the number of people canceling their scores were evidence of that.

At the same time, being better prepared might not translate into a good score. Much like the politician in "The Suffrage of Elvira", I don't want to jinx myself. I have no idea how I did. Some mornings I wake up and feel very good about everything, even fucking dinosaurs. And other mornings I wake up and wonder if I should sign up for the September test now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

my autobiography in point form


Where did you take your Facebook profile picture? It's one of my wedding pix.

What exactly are you wearing right now? Slacks, tank and short-sleeved hoodie.

What is your current problem? Waiting on LSAT scores and wondering if we can afford to give Pie the summer vacation I'd like him to have.

What makes you happy most? Hearing John and Pie play; reading; doing absolutely nothing at all.

What song are you listening to at the moment? Richard Attenborough's narration of the jungle part of "Planet Earth".

Ever sang in front of a large audience? If a parang session in high school counts, then yes.

Do you still watch kiddy movies or kiddy TV shows? I have a 6-year-old, so very yes.

Do you speak any languages? A liitle Spanish and French and a few words in Hindi.

Has anyone you’ve been really close with passed away? Yes

What’s something that really annoys you? My husband.

Chapter 1:
1. Middle name: Now it's Maharaj.

2. Nicknames: Maude, Bones, Pmaha, Pet.

3. Current location: Apt in NY, NY.

4. Eye color: Dark brown.

Chapter 2:
1. Do you live with your parent(s)? No.

2. Do you get along with your parent(s)? After a fashion.

3. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? My mother is widow.

4. Do you have any Siblings? Five.

Chapter 3: Favorites
1. Ice Cream: Ben and Jerry's Stephen Colbert-inspired ice cream.

2. Season: Blistering hot summer.

3. Shampoo/conditioner: Head and Shoulders and St Ives.

Chapter 4: Do You..
1. Dance in the shower? Yes, in spite of slipperiness and previous injury caused by said slipperiness.

2. Do you write on your hand? Yes.

3. Call people back? Yes..

4. Believe in love? Yes.

6. Any bad habits? One or two.

Chapter 5: Have You..
1. Broken a bone: No.

2. Sprained stuff: My wrist.

3. Had physical therapy: Yes.

4. Gotten stitches: Yes.

5. Taken painkillers: Yes.

6. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling: No.

7. Been stung by a bee: Bee, no. Wasp, yes.

8. Thrown up at the dentist: No.

9. Sworn in front of your parents: My mother, yes.

10. Had detention: Once, with my whole class in high school. We had to clean all the benches.

Chapter 6: Who/What was the last
1. Movie(s): Star Trek (and it was AWESOME!)

2. Person to text you: My former next-door neighbor.

3. Person you called: The husband.

4. Person you hugged: The husband.

5. Person you tackled: The Pie.

6. Person you talked to on AIM/iChat: Anu on Google Chat.

7. Thing you touched: Seeing as how I'm typing I suppose that would be the keyboard of my laptop.

8. Thing you ate: A bowl of Maggie Chicken Noodle Soup.

9. Thing you drank: Cuppa coffee.

10. Thing you said: To the husband: Have a super-fabulous day.

Chapter 7: Future
1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hopefully employed.

2. Where do you hope to live? Eventually, in France.

3. Do you want to be famous? Only if I can be fabulously wealthy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

just so tired

I feel so mentally exhausted. My body feels so mashed up, like I got drunk and slept in a drain the night before. I just want to sleep. I couldn't even stay up to watch the game last night, even though I had slept a good part of the day away. Even today, I don't feel much better.

I'm also not over the LSAT mindset that I've developed over the last few weeks. It feels weird not doing the work every day.

I did get some movies from the library and put back the books I took off reserve or returned without finishing over the last month. Netflix comes back up next week. I still have the admissions to work on but I did a lot before and don't plan to do anything until I get my score, so I have about 3 weeks off.

I'm hoping my energy is restored by this weekend because I'd like some Mummy and Pie time. He is so happy I do not have class anymore. We've started reading Harry Potter at night and he decided he wanted to read on by himself. We didn't do that with the "Regarding the..." books because neither of us had read those before. Since I have read all the Harry Potters, I told him to go ahead. It is wonderful for me to see my six-year-old walking around with "The Sorcerer's Stone" and reading it on the bus.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the lsat chronicles - the test

I feel mentally drained. I haven't felt this way since LG took over the Guardian as editor-in-chief. But not even the mental workouts from those days was enough to prepare me for how I would feel this morning. I'm spazzing out even as I type this.

John's friend Michelle, who is a lawyer and has been through all of this before, offered to drive me to the test and wait there for me until I was done. I was so grateful and I really hope I can do that for someone one day because it was a huge help to see a familiar face during the break and after the test. Plus, I had no idea that I'd really want to talk about it so much and it was good to be able to do that with someone who knew exactly what I was talking about when I said, "I hoped section 1 was the experimental section because I didn't get to finish one of the games and had to guess-bubble!" More about that in a bit.

So she picked me up at 11 because I had to get to Queens College in Flushing, Queens, for 12:30. John walked out with me to meet her and pointed out her snazzy car with the top down. It was my first time riding in a car like that and I wish I could have enjoyed the experience a bit more. Michelle was wonderfully distracting, keeping up a steady stream of conversation but I was very reticent. I was not nervous, just kind of numb.

We got there in plenty of time and joined the rest of the gallon-bag holders on the 4th floor of the Student Union Bldg. Luckily, it was the place where I was supposed to be because I didn't know there was another floor of test-takers. And neither did a lot of other test-takers. 

The LSAC people did not label the rooms properly and there was a lot of confusion. I was on a floor with a ballroom and the two sides of it were labeled Ballroom East and Ballroom West. The sign put up by the LSAC was A-Goldberg in Room 404 and Grant to L in Room 410. But there were no rooms 404 and 410, just Ballrooms East and West. Plus, no note about where everybody else who didn't fall into A-L was supposed to go.

So I asked the supervisor (she was easy to pick out because she yelled at everybody and was pretty condescending) where were the rooms we were supposed to go to. She said, "Read the notice." I said, "Em, I CAN read but the rooms here do not say 404 and 410 but Ballrooms East and West." I spoke very slowly and deliberately.

She looked up and realized I was right. She then pointed to the left for 404 and to the right for 410 and left. No apology and no announcement. I had to shout out to the crowd of poor test-takers, all of who were wondering the same as me, where to go.

The procters were just the biggest joke of all. Not one of them looked a day under 60. There were 3 in my room and 2 of them had canes. One had 2 canes. The one-cane lady was wonderfully inefficient and I wondered if it was her first time. 

The main procter in my room was the 2-cane man. He called for all the Gs to come inside. So all the people with the last name G went inside. Then they came back out because the supervisor threw them out. We had to get finger-printed first outside. One-cane lady was doing the printing and she said to line up with the Gs first, then the Hs and so forth. One girl asked her if we're supposed to guess everyone's name. It was a fair question. Why couldn't she just call out the letters? 

There were only a small handful of Gs, so I went in very quickly. The main proctor checked your ticket against your ID and the LSAC list and you were escorted to your assigned seat. I got to sit in the second row, on an end next to a window. Awesome! There were 3 rows of 2-seat tables, so it was very roomy and comfortable, especially being up in front.

At first everyone was very quiet, but seeing that it was only 12:45 and we didn't expect to start the test till 2, people began to talk. I had a lovely seatmate, a nice guy who happened to work as an intellectual property paralegal. We had lots to talk about. It took us a while to get going, but once we discovered we had something in common, we couldn't shut up. He studied for the test on his own so he quizzed me about Kaplan. I gave him a couple of tips but he looked pretty bummed out by the end of the test and told me he was going to take a class for September.

It took a long time to get started. Two people were in the room who were Rs and there was a lot of fuss about leaving them there or sending them back and then getting books for them and putting them on the list... It caused a long delay and those poor people had to go through a lot. One of them canceled his score before the writing sample. Poor guy. By the end of the test, 9 people out of my room of 68 canceled their score. 

That took so long that people had to go to the bathroom. Before we went inside the supervisor told us to go before we went into the room because once we sat down we wouldn't be allowed to go back out and would have to wait until section 2. But the main procter was nice enough to let one girl go. Then a guy said if he let her go, the guy should too, so he went. The MP said that 10 people shouldn't go at once because we're about to get started. So about 15 people got up and rushed to the bathrooms! I know I felt much more comfortable when I came back. We were still nowhere near to starting.

They finally got round to handing out the test books. Then they had to come round and check ID and take down your test book number. Then we bubbled in our info on the answer sheet and got into test mode. I had already turned my watch to 12:00 (so I could time my sections) and there was no clock in the room so I had no idea what time it was. The procter said he would only give us a 5-minute warning and we'd get a 15-minute break. They adopted the "if I can't see your cellphone then you don't have one" attitude, so a couple of people switched off their phones and kept it in their pockets. We were given severe warning about if they heard any kind of electronic noise coming from a test-taker, that person would be escorted out immediately and their book taken away and their name flagged. I had already given mine to Michelle.

At last, we got started. My first section was Logic Games and it was very hard. I wasn't at all happy. Not once have I not been able to get to all the games and this time I didn't get to the last game and had to guess-bubble C for all those questions. I did manage to work out the first answer and I know I got it right and did change my C to the correct choice on my answer sheet, but it was a lot of questions to miss. 

That was a tough way to start. I was hoping LG would be the first section and was very happy to see that it was. I just felt that I could get a better handle on the test that way. Despite the missed questions, I didn't falter and just put it out of my mind when I got to section 2.

Section 2 was Logical Reasoning and I thought I handled it well. I identified every question type, worked through the section exactly as I had been doing for the last 3 months and left the longer and harder questions for last. I answered every question and was pleased when it was over.

Section 3 was another Logic Games section and hope reared in my heart that the first section would be the experimental section. I totally killed those games and was so happy at the end. I thought it was the easiest games section I had ever done. However, after the test, my seatmate and I got to chatting about the sections and he got two Reading Comprehension sections and one LG and I had it the other way around. And his LG sounded a lot like my first LG section. Okay, exactly like it. I did forget a lot by then so I could be mistaken but I was pretty sure the dinosaur question he mentioned was in my first and not third section.

But during the break (where I was surprised to discover it was 4 o'clock) I was unaware of all of this and was pretty happy. I took my chocolate bar, banana and water bottle out to Michelle, who got to wait in the lobby right outside my test room, and chatted with her for a bit. We weren't allowed to talk about the test so I told her I would tell her the funny stories later. I went back in, ready to kill what I knew must be coming: another LR section and the Reading Comp.

And conquer them I did. I was very happy with RC. The humanities was the comparative passages and for the first time I thought the humanities passage was the hardest one. But I was very familiar with the terms (thank God for the degree in English Lit) and at least knew what the writers were saying. But even for me it was tough to pick out what they had in common because it really looked like they were presenting very separate things. 

I actually did that first and I know my Tutor would kill me because just the day before he said we should do the two-passage questions 3rd or 4th. But, in my triage of the section, there were 2 tougher-looking passages about fractal geometry and something else. I forget now but it was the natural sciences one. 

Once I figured out what the humanities passages were talking about (Willa Cather's style), I felt it was smooth sailing and finished well before the 8.5 minutes we're supposed to allot per passage.

I then did the law passage, which was again easy. I had finished 2 passages in 15 minutes and could take my time with fractal geometry and natural sciences. Fortunately, they were much easier than I anticipated and I should have left the humanities for last. But I was able to finish with plenty of time to spare and went back to look over the Willa Cather passages and was happy with my answers.

By the end of the 5th section, they had managed to get the a/c turned off. When I sat down, all those hours before, I didn't feel warm at all and was getting a nice breeze through the window. But I guess people in the middle didn't feel so comfortable and just as we were about to start section 1, the a/c came on. By the end of section 1, we were all test-taking icicles.

People complained at the break and the procters did try to get it turned off. Just after the start of section 4, they made an announcement that the engineers had gone home and they would re-open the windows to get some of the warmer air circulate. It didn't work but someone did get it turned off.

I have to say, I really zoned out the cold during the test. I tried my best to take tests during not-perfect circumstances and I thought this one was the best test environment I ever had. It was only at the end of a section I realized my fingers were blue. Once I was in a section, though, I was oblivious to everything but what was in front of me. That also made me feel pretty good.

The writing sample was the last section and that I did with my eyes closed. I didn't even need the scratch paper. Then it was over. The procters got into a tussle over someone leaving the room before time was called and the one-cane lady and the 2-cane guy really went at it. I got to hear most of it as I was done with my writing sample as it happened. It was very funny but distracting. The MP didn't turn the mike off and everyone could hear what they were saying. They were really kind of badly-behaved.

Michelle said that the procters in the next room were worse. Three of them stood at the back talking in loud voices. 

It took a long time for them to count the papers before they let us leave. One-cane lady was so mad, you see it. She had to keep re-counting because she was so angry she kept losing count. It didn't help that two-cane guy kept going at her for the guy who left. I have no idea how she could have stopped him from leaving. SHE WALKS WITH A CANE! It took her four tries to get her count to match with the others. 

Then we got to leave. Amen. Michelle and I went looking for something to eat and wound up at a cute place called Prohibition around 85th and Amsterdam. We were going to Jackson Hole, which is right next door, but we stopped to look at Prohibition's menu and were sold.

I had a frozen cosmopolitan to celebrate being done with the test. I texted Tutor the bare bones of the experience and then ate like it was the first time. I was so hungry I about inhaled 2 of the mini burgers on my plate. I slowed down over the fries and then exhaled. Michelle asked me if I was ok and I said I think I was done. I just came to a full stop. We laughed hard over our meal and I took the remaining 2 mini-burgers home for John, because I couldn't eat anything anymore.

Michelle dropped me home, I kissed my sleeping Pie (who peppered me with questions this morning to make sure I wasn't going back to school until next year) and yapped with John for a bit before showering and hitting the bed. He came in later and gave me a back rub and I fell asleep.

I'm still pretty wiped this morning but I got up to take the kid to school so John could sleep late. We still have some issues with the upstairs lights so an electrician is coming this morning. Life goes on as the 3-week wait for scores begins.

Monday, June 8, 2009

the lsat chronicles - the morning of

It was tough getting to sleep last night. John got me 2 games for my phone so I stayed up, trying to relax, by playing a lot of Solitaire. I eventually got out of bed around 10, ate a banana and made a cup of hot, peppermint tea and went back to bed.

That meant it was tough getting out of bed this morning. But a Pie has to go to school, so I managed. I took him to school this morning, thinking that being outside would be a good idea. And it was. It was very mind-clearing.

My darling husband allowed me to convince him to work from home today. We are having some kind of electrical issue in the upstairs living room and kitchen and Javier is here trying to fix it. I don't think any of us anticipated he'd still be here nearly 2 hours later, so I am glad John is here.

My test-day buddy is going to pick me up at 11 and there's no turning back. I have already decided, barring some kind of freak disaster, I will not be canceling my score. I am just going to do the best I can, use the Kaplan method and breathe.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the lsat chronicles - 2 days before

We had our last in-class test today. Nothing has changed. I wish I was doing better.

Tomorrow is my birthday. My mother-in-law came today and we went to Ollie's for dinner. I was happy, because I wanted to go there tomorrow for lunch. Now, I am glad I am not going anywhere tomorrow. I am going to buy a very small cake and come home and celebrate with John and the Pie and then hit the bed till Monday.

My MIL also gave me some lovely birthday presents. She gave me a ring that her mother gave to her and she told me she wanted me to have it now. She rang me later to tell me that she didn't give me anything for my wedding so she wanted to give it to me now. She is so sweet. She also gave me a pair of earrings and a lovely little jewel box. She is a such a dear to me. I've encountered some lame mothers of boyfriends in my day, and she makes up for every single one of them. Especially the one I had to live with. The universe owed me for that one and I couldn't ask for better than Ki Hwang.

His grandma even took care of a present for me from the Pie. She gave him a picture holder for me the last time he spent the night at her house and he kept it hidden all this time. Not bad for the kid who cannot keep a secret.

My mom sent me some money, which I took and got myself a pedicure today. A nice Indian-wedding red to give me some good luck for Monday. I gave the Pie $5 out of it and he immediately went and got himself some ice-cream. Not much about saving, that kid.

So, in effect, the birthday celebrations are over and I must say, I am happy. Not that I don't wish for a party. My son asked me who is coming to my birthday and I told him I'm not having a party and he said, "it's like your birthday never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever existed." There were a lot more "evers".

Tomorrow, I go to my last LSAT class and then chill out till Monday. My test-day buddy is picking me up around 11 and she promised coffee. I have to arrive at the test center at 12:30 and I have no idea when I will be leaving. My friend said she is going to stay until it is over and since she is a lawyer and has been through this already, I think she is prepared for the possible long haul. I am so happy she will be there. It will be nice to see a friendly face after the test and no one from my LAST class will be at the center.

I am hoping something happens between now and Monday. I am identifying question types and cutting down on carelessness but I could stand to see some limited options and get the tougher LR questions right. It worries me that after all this time I cannot conquer those 12-23 set. And there's nothing I can do now to make it better.

So I wait for Monday. Wish me luck. And Happy Birthday! One doesn't turn 35 every day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I watch movies and read books about people from ancient cultures coming to the US and trying to adjust. They try to hold on to their past while raising a family influenced by all things American. They grew up amidst the mysteries and sustenance of rituals, traditions and a different world view. Here, a new way of life bludgeons you almost from the moment you step off the plane.

I am not of Carib or Arawak descent, so I can hardly claim being from an ancient culture. While I feel close to my Indian ancestry, I didn't really grow up in those traditions. I have always considered myself a Trini, even before being a woman.

I loved being a Trinidadian. Hard as my life was, I was very connected to where I lived. It was, and still is, a part of who I am. I had my complaints, who doesn't? Trinidad needs improving, no question, but so does the US, England, Zimbabwe and China. 

I miss the heat. I never thought I'd hear myself say that. But the day I walked down a hot NY street with a hot cup of coffee told me a lot about who I am. Also, the day I felt that biting wind told me a thing or two as well.

I wish we could go home more often. I had never orignally intended to make anything like a yearly trip home, but now with law school looming and the possibilty of not going back till I graduate it's killing me not to go. 

I find here to be isolating. I have a mind-set that removes me from everything. It doesn't help that John constantly tells me how to think, how to behave, what to say. It's not like "Sleeping with the Enemy" or anything that bad. I know where he is coming from. But I find my nail digging into my hand every now and then and forcing my poker face on and telling myself to shut up. I know he's coming from a good place and doesn't mean to be annoying and it's not his fault I am annoyed. 

Sometimes, I just shut down. I cannot bear people. Sometimes, I wish I could just pick up the phone and chat. But I know I want to talk to Bellie and Anu and no one else will do. I miss my friends and I have so very few friends here. Certainly none of that caliber. John's friends are sweet, but all of them that I know are pregnant. No shit. All of them. I cannot imagine what our baby-buying budget is going to look like later this year! 

It's not that I don't want to talk to them. I do. I'd love to tell tales about when Pie was a baby and all that. But I am late in the game here. All these women have had support from early on. In a way, I envy them, because I didn't have that. Definitely not with Pie and in a backhand, (now-I-see) underhanded way with Chris. Sometimes, being around them is very, very hard. I feel physical pain in my chest to see their happy homes and babies and grandparents.

I've found it much harder to let go of the time before John and after Pie. Maybe if I were younger, it would be easier. But, then again, there's a lot of shit that still angers me and years span a chasm between now and then.

I hate that I took things for granted back home. I hate that I didn't eat more doubles or jump in a Peter Minshall mas. I went to Panorama once and never Dimanche Gras. I should have gone to more cricket and fete at Moka. I miss "Soca Santa" and Double Ten at Excellent City, which was perfectly positioned two streets away from D'Guardian. But I didn't know I'd be missing them. They were always there and I could do them whenever.

I don't even know when Divali and Eid are here. I get some messages from home on the day, but it's so far removed from me here. I held my own Eid once at my flat and all I served was sawine and I think most people I knew came by. It was just great. One of my friends even dropped HER sawine off and took away some of mine!

I worry about my friends. Who does Bellie call now when she needs cheering up? Why is Anu asking me to "come home tomorrow"? I wonder about Table 5, whom I pretty much lost touch with after I left home. I hope they are all doing well.

Ok. Sad sack post over. Back to the books.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the last chronicles - endurance

I'm in the home stretch, but it doesn't feel like it. It's May 27 and the exam is on June 8. I have my last tutoring session this morning and Tutor is going to go over LR questions in the assumption family, where I am still have problems less than 2 weeks before the test. This worries me.

I'm a little tired of class and going to class. It's not that I am not learning and find the work done instructive, I'm just tired of going. There is no bond with this class as there was with others and half the class isn't even taking the test in June. I don't know why that bothers me. I think I wish the class could be a little more intense and I feel it's getting a bit laid-back. Maybe it's me who should be more intense.

Still, I am very glad I took the class. Kaplan knows its stuff and Tutor is, naturally, a heavy advocate of the method. On occasion, rare ones, that does get a bit annoying, especially when someone suggests a small deviation that has been found helpful. I did that once and I felt he was quick to knock it down without really giving it some thought. He said if I found it to work, I can go ahead but he made it clear that it was an aberration and one else should give it a go. I found myself feeling more insulted than I should. 

I suppose he should be advocating anything other than the method because, as he himself pointed out about another matter, people who didn't do well would be very happy to blame Kaplan for something and sue.

That really depresses me. Shit like that makes me miss home more than ever. I come across thinking like that so very often and it makes me retreat into myself. I really feel like I am losing myself in this country. It's been too long since I've been home and I need a shot of Trinidad like I need my caffeine every morning. It does not help that one of my closest friends keeps asking me to come home tomorrow. I want to, honey. More than these inadequate words can describe.

I must try to compartmentalize that until June 8. No birthday, no Trinidad. But I made the choice and I am committed. I am not dealing with anything that I did not know was going to happen. I can do this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the lsat chronicles - slow progress

I am seeing some improvement in both Logical Reasoning and Logic Games. My grasp (finally!) of Formal Logic is key to this. I am still having a bit of a struggle over "X unless Y" but I made Tutor text me an example and I have it saved on my phone so I can check it often. And I do.

Tutor has been great. He sent me some good advice and he is very encouraging. He has developed a great rhythm with the class and he is very dedicated, even when I think he should just leave the people who come late and leave early. How serious can you be if you do that? But he might be a better man than me.

I was talking with a classmate today and she, like others, think I am worrying too much. But I know why I worry. I really don't feel as confident as I should and I realize I really want to go to law school. If I don't get a good score to get into a good school and get some funding, I feel like I wouldn't be able to face John. 

I don't know how I can look at him and tell him that I might need to re-sit the exam in September. I know I shouldn't even be thinking about re-sitting but I have to be realistic as well. I will have to pay the exam fee again, but I will be able to take the course again for free. But I feel just having to tell him that will cause me so many problems: the money; the time away from the family; John having to do more; a stressful summer with Pie that should be carefree and fun.

I also realize how much I want this and I'm so worried I might not get it. 

I also went to have a look at New York Law School today. I went to NYU last Friday for an IP seminar and will be going to Cardozo on Thursday. I lined up two terrific recommenders from home. After Thursday, my focus will solely be on the LSAT. I pounded out a draft of my personal statement before I started the prep course, so I have a board to jump off of when I'm done with the LSAT. New York Law also requires a second statement but I can worry about that later.

After the LSAT, I am going to sit and write a post comparing the six schools I am going to apply to. I'm really looking for a good fit for me and my foray into copyright academia. Until then, I'm working on "X unless Y".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

the lsat chronicles - realizations

Today, I realized that I need to step up my game in order to be ready for June. I don't think I have been slack, in any way, but I feel I should be further along than I should be. This hit me when Tutor gave me back a Feedback Exercise with a comment "you know this" on one of the questions. I took that more to heart than the other exercise with all the praise written all over it.

I feel very confident about Reading Comprehension. I consistently get whole questions right in that section. But that is one section out of 4 scored sections. I can get whole games right, but I also consistently find myself guessing through 2 games in a 4-game section. I am also not where I should be with Formal Logic and Logical Reasoning.

Good things? RC, definitely. Being able to identify questions types across the board. I'm very confident about that. I like matching and both kinds of grouping games. 

I am also making some silly mistakes. Like in "except" questions. There are so many more what must/could be true and must/could be false questions that I find myself locating the wrong answer in an "except" question. It's stupid and frustrating.

So I feel I need to crack it harder. I am going to spend more time doing pacing and review. And no more days off. I've been taking it light on days I have workshops, so no more of that, either. 

I'm trying not to feel too down. I hear my classmates talking about waiting until September because they don't feel they are ready for June. LSAC also changed the deadline to change your mind so after April 25, you're locked into June. If I had it my way, I'd wait until Sunday (which is Test 4) and see how I do and use that as a gauge for June or September. 

But September is only an option for me if I don't do well in June and I want to do well in June. September isn't a fallback or anything like that. Plus, I don't think John would forgive me if we have to shell out more money to pay for another round of exams. I might qualify for Kaplan's do-over policy if I am unhappy with my score and be able to take the classes over for free, but, again, I do not want to think that way. I know they're there, I just don't want to dwell on ways out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the lsat chronicles - logic games master class

I attended what was probably the best workshop I've ever gone to. We didn't actually do questions, but went through all the different types of rules that could come up in the four game types: sequencing, matching, distribution and selection. 

The teacher was just blow-mind. I adore Tutor, but as far a subject-specific session can go, this woman was just best.

I admire how much work has gone into creating the Kaplan method. This woman has taken it one step further and actually came up with math-type rules to answer questions. I feel like I shouldn't be posting this, it's such a huge tip. But, then again, who reads this, anyway.

She got into some nitty-gritty with the rules that I have been having some trouble with. Sometimes, I wonder if something HAS to be included based on the wording of the rules. She really took the guess-work out of that.

She did it so well that, when the class was almost at the end, I noticed a mistake about a previous question and called it. Even I was impressed! It didn't look right and I couldn't move onto the one she was discussing. Finally, I had to raise my hand and call her back to it. I would have felt really dumb if she told me I was obsessing over something that was correct. But it was wrong and  I felt pleased that I was learning something.

Many people came up to her after class and thanked her personally. I've never seen that. I thank Tutor all the time. I could email Steve all day and thank him for his online coaching. Teaching is really thankless. A good teacher should be thanked well and often. 

At the end of the class, the teacher and I discovered a shared love for stationery and shared our pencil sharpeners with the class. It was funny. She gave me 2 pencils and promised more. She is teaching a Formal Logic Master class next Monday and I am so there.

This LSAT thing could be coming together, after all.