The Actual Ethics Test

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Gentle Reader,

As you begin your weekend, I thought I’d give you a little preview of mine.  Because, TOTALLY RIVETING.

First, P and I get to go to the happiest place on earth-the Uhaul place on a Saturday morning during prime moving season.

Then, we get to go get 50 cases of wine out of dry storage, and drive them as quickly as we can to The Ranch (so we don’t make very expensive vinegar due to the fact that the back of the truck isn’t air conditioned and it’s approximately 1,498 degrees here now.)  and then, in a lovely bit of symmetry, we get to unload 50 cases of wine.  (Maybe 49, depending on how bad the drive is.)

Tonight’s aside: when I was inventorying the vino to prepare it for storage, I found THREE BOTTLES of 1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia.  One of my two favorite bottles of wine in the world (the other being the 1997 Joseph Phelps Backus Cabernet)  And we thought we had drank our last bottle several years back.  And we weren’t really keen on getting it at auction, because it might have spent a lot of time on top of someone’s refrigerator (WORST PLACE EVER to store wine, in case you are new to the wine of the non-Boone Farm variety) or rolling around in the trunk of someone’s car in June while driving up steep mountains.  So we had resigned ourselves that we had the memory, and the company in which we shared the wine, and both of those were sufficient for us.  BUT, when I found the THREE BOTTLES, did I quickly and quietly stick them in my dresser drawer and not tell my family?  No.  I promptly RAN to them, crying a little, bottle in hand, didn’t say anything, and when daddy read the label and finally figured out what he was looking at, he asked, “how many did you find”?  And I said “Three, including that one.”  SO THERE-you can take all the ethics exams you want, people, but you can only know about ethics when you are confronted with decisions in real life.  I passed.  (I am resisting the urge to be kinda bummed I didn’t find any surprise 97 Backus, because three bottles of the Insignia was a total GIFT and I don’t want karma to come and take those away from me.)

After that, we get to drive the Uhaul back to the same store (apparently they are hip to the one-way rental disaster, and now do “in-town” moves only on the weekends).  So-more symmetry there.

And then, I get to go see some of my favorite-est people ever, and take care of their kiddos for the evening and get some good quality baby snuggling in while I’m at it.  And apparently babies and toddlers don’t really dig the whole late night television thing, so they go to bed early, and after the girls go to bed, I get to do the happiest thing on earth-Watch online CLEs.  (I know, you are jealous that my life has become so jet-set and fabulous.)  (My “how to be fantastic in every way” self-help book is coming to bookstores near you soon.)

After they get home, I go back to my house, and if it isn’t too late, I’m going to be doing some Lifesavers business “paperwork junk” that never seems to happen during the week.  The clients are seriously getting in the way of my business getting organized.

Sunday, I get to go BACK to my favorite-est people and watch their baby while they take the toddler to see her first big screen movie.  I’ve asked them to wait and let me experience her first time seeing “The Sopranos” and “Dexter”.  Somehow, I think they’ll honor that request, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon, since she is just over two.

So, in sum, wine, infants, and CLE.  Just like P Diddy or whatever he calls himself today does every weekend.  OH!  And I almost forgot, I got called for jury duty.  In criminal court.  And so we’ll see if my streak continues.  I am always chosen to be in the venire (the large group that goes into the courtroom to be questioned by the lawyers) and I am ALWAYS in the first two rows (or “the splash zone”, as an attorney friend of mine calls it) and until last time, I was ALWAYS picked for the jury.  Even knowing what I do for a living.  So I apparently look appealing to both sides, or not dangerous enough on which to waste a peremptory challenge.  So, I got that going for me.

And I’ve been told by my Lifesavers mentor that it is Friday night and what am I doing on email when there is vodka still available in the metroplex.  (I just wanted to make sure I sent him several questions that I will need answers to, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to do the work once I figure out what the work actually is, and so I like to start my worrying early.)  But I’m nothing if not a super mentee (despite dragging him into a quagmire from which it is entirely probable that we will both lose our minds) so I’m going to sign off now, but first

This is one of two of the baby zebra we had at The Ranch this spring.  We originally had three, but there was a tragic accident and it resulted in both the death of a baby zebra and an adult female zebra.  But isn’t he just adorable????  So, so mean, tho.  It’s sad.  Because his nose just begs for a little rubbing.



What Now?

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Gentle Readers,

If any non-exam takers are still reading, we will resume the chronicles of my daily existence tomorrow.  This weekend, we’re moving wine out of dry storage and into the wine “cellar” (we don’t have basements in Texas because of the nature of the soil, so it’s a giant room on it’s own cooling and humidifying system…I figured “cellar” would be an easier term…) so you know, that should be exciting for you.

Anyway, I’m up early because I have been taking plenty of vitamin D, per It’s Almost Naptime’s advice.  (  I don’t even know why we bother with doctors anymore what with the google and the blog world.  Anyway, she was right-ENERGY TO SPARE.  Three of the tiny ones every day.  I think that adds up to 1,500 of those tiny little vitamin units I can’t remember right now.  But I’m glad I got up early because LOTS TO DO.  Anyway, wanted to offer you just one more little bit of advice, and then, as promised, I will tell you when you can panic.

First things first, you are under no circumstances to “go check your answers” to any of the questions.  The hay done got put in the barn, and you can do NOTHING about it now, and some of you have to live with this fear and terror until November, or even December.  I kept my review books.  They went into my storage unit the very next day after the exam, because I hate that shade of green now.  I paid six strapping firefighters to move all of my crap, erm, valuable possessions into the World’s Smallest Apartment, and that included the box of review course books.  It FELL APART DURING TRANSIT.  So the six strapping firefighters getting paid by the hour had to carry in those awful green books in BY HAND.  And then I threw out the “question” books.  I kept the outline books and the mini-review book.  I still refer to them.  But you are not to refer to them to check your answers on a test that is already in Iowa somewhere getting graded by anonymous people.

You will find yourself rudderless once you wake up from your nap and have coherent thoughts again.  It took me a week and a trip to Vegas to decompress.  Your days of studying all day every day are now done (until you sign up for a second bachelor’s degree when you are 33)  (and trust me, when you do that, you will MISS JIM SCHUTTER…financial aid?  A maze.)  (if you really want to know about this second bachelor’s degree and why it is that I am GOING BACKWARDS, just message me, we’ll talk…)  (Ann, I thought about it, and think this is the way to accomplish what you and I talked about early last year.  I realize I’m doing it “wrong”.  The stubbornness comes from the Sumner side of the family.) anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, rudderless.  Enjoy daytime television for a little bit if you have the luxury.  And then, if you have a job, go do that.  If you don’t?  Seek out the Lifesavers Aid organization in your large metropolitan area.  They will welcome you with open arms, and honestly, I have learned nearly everything about the technical aspects of the practice of Lifesavers from their mentors.  Plus-two words.  FORM.  BANK.  Ours puts on educational programs (that are REALLY REALLY GOOD) almost every month.  That’s how I got some of the certifications I have gotten, and as long as you take a case, they’ll usually let you do the program for free!  Plus, you meet lots of other Lifesavers in an actual practicing setting, rather than at the Young Lifesavers Association mixer/hook-up market.  I’ve gotten referrals from people I didn’t even know were paying any attention to little ole me.  And from referrals come either clients or jobs.  Both of which hopefully pay actual money.  So-until real job comes along, do Lifesavers Aid.  They’ll love you, teach you, and grow you, and you’ll learn a lot and won’t have the script of every episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” memorized.  Plus, if you don’t (and I speak from experience here) a sense of inertia will set in, and then you’ll decide that nobody is hiring, and it’s too hard to start your own thing, and contemplate returning to school so you can continue the fun schedule you are building of sleeping all day and then memorizing TV Land’s late night lineup.  (“Hot In Cleveland” was hilarious.)  Plus, you’re now broke, so, it’s not like you can go shopping with your days.  So-“ro mono” is a good thing and if you have the luxury, do that now, develop that habit.  Keep it your entire Lifesavers career.

And now.  When can you panic?  The day before results come out.  That’s when you can panic.  I told you there would be a time.  That’s it.  Panic is a useless emotion.  (trust me-I am an olympic-level panicker, so I know these things) So employ it at a time when it doesn’t need to do anything.  Here in the Great Republic the whole “pass” list is put up at once.  On the interweb.  If you check it once, and your name isn’t there, it isn’t going to be.  We will discuss this possibility MUCH later.  I don’t know what your state does.  But the day before.  That’s when you can panic.  My sweet mama, who for reasons known only to herself and God, gets up at approximately 2:30 in the morning (give or take fifteen minutes) to start work.  The day of the results, she pulled up the website (if you recall, I enlisted lots of helpers to “refresh” the website for me…) as soon as she got up, just to check.  And my name wasn’t there.  She checked again.  Not there.  She went in and woke up my dad (who does NOT get up at 2:30) and told him.  We’ll save his sage advice for closer to the actual results.  But mama decided to check ONE MORE TIME.  And it was then that she realized that the list posted was from 2009.  And no, I did not pass the 2009 exam.  I hadn’t taken that one.  And since my mama really actually did get the brains in the family, she wisely chose not to tell me about that hilarious little snafu until AFTER we had seen my name on the 2010 list.

So, with that, my Lifesavers advice is at an end until closer to results.  Expect a return to things boring and Labrador-related tomorrow.

Have a terrific day!

Almost There!

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Gentle Readers,

Today, you stared down The Lion.  You slayed The Lion.  I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IT’S DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If today was your last exam day, go and celebrate.  You have earned it.  More “what now” advice coming after all of the exams are over.  I know at least two of you still have one more day.  And therefore, you get the bulk of my time, love, and attention today.

About the MBE.  If it didn’t go well for you, DO NOT LET THIS GET INTO YOUR HEAD.  Thursday is a totally different test.  New day, new at-bat.  Hit it hard.  KEEP GOING!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, you DO know this stuff, despite what you might think after having taken the MBE.  If you are certain that you got 10 questions right on the MBE, you are 9 questions ahead of the number I was certain I got right.  That’s just the way the test goes.  It’s crafty like that.  You did get more questions right than you think you did.  I know.  If the MBE went well, rocked your socks, and you want to take ANOTHER ONE, have the hotel concierge drive you to the nearest psychiatric in-patient care facility, posthaste.  But know that I am SO PROUD OF YOU, for rocking that MBE, even if you are now doing group therapy via finger painting.

This is when it’s getting REALLY tiring.  I know.  You can’t sleep, but you’re exhausted.  Tomorrow, if it’s a full day for you, I want to prepare you.  Hit the morning stuff HARD.  Be your finest Lifesaver self.  Expand the universe of Lifesavers knowledge-cite cases, make the grader understand that YOU should be grading THEM.  Come up with creative argument and advocacy that will one day be commonly taught in Lifesavers Schools across the land.  It’s going to be fantastic.

And then you’ll go to lunch.  And that, ladies and gentlemens, is when the anvil will fall upon your head.

After lunch break tomorrow, you will not care.  You won’t “remember” anything, and you won’t care that you don’t.  All you want is for the clock to tick by and for 5:00 to finally arrive.  You might or might not contemplate reading the remaining questions intently, and then writing essays about your first crush, your favorite party in college, and why it is that you would in fact be the perfect tightrope walker in the circus.  And even those essays wouldn’t be in coherent, cogent sentences.    So, your strategy for the afternoon should be to survive.

While I normally do not advocate the studying of anything during the lunch, I’m going to make one suggestion.  If, as in my state, by process of elimination, you will know the topics tested in the afternoon, go back through your little pre printed outline for those subjects.  Put the vocab words, and any MAJOR topics (the “mule moments murpetuities” is NOT a major concept…in fact, if that subject is one of your afternoon subjects do not try to put all those rules back in your head, just focus on the vocab words for the subject that rhymes with “moperty”) back in your short term memory.  Do NOT focus on the definitions, just remember the words.

“But, Wordie, we’re not going to be asked just to list the vocab words.  I need to study definitions.”  NO, lambie.  No you do not.  Because you won’t remember them, and even if you could, you will be too tired to really give the concepts proper treatment.  Now, now is the time for a bit of a survival technique.

For your afternoon exams, unless they are the subject about which you are an expert and can therefore talk about in your sleep, your essays aren’t going to make much sense anyway.  So spend a LOT of time organizing the essay-more than you did in the AM, when you were fresh and raring to go.  Make sure you follow the formula that the review course that all of you took gave you.  To the letter.  The last afternoon is NOT the time to go rogue.  This is not a test of creative writing.  Formulaic and filled with vocab words with little analysis is about the best you can hope for in the last afternoon essays.  Make it easy for the grader, that’s going to be your afternoon path to victory.  Give them a conclusion (hopefully the right one, but that is an aspirational goal), give them complete sentences that are filled with words that you do NOT hear from The Bieber, (cannot stress that part enough…), and give them vocab words.  This will accomplish two things:  1.  The grader will know you don’t quite understand or remember the whole thing, but you paid at least enough attention to know what the concepts are, so that when this topic hits you in the real Lifesavers world, you’ll know what to go look up.  and 2.  It won’t pis, erm, make the grader mad that he has to read a wandering rambling essay which confirms, without a doubt, for him that you both don’t know what you are talking about and you don’t know how to efficiently get the information you might need to speak to a client intelligently about said subject.  And that you don’t care about the grader’s time and overall job satisfaction.

To give you a real world example, my last essay was about the subject that rhymes with “moil and mass”.  I know NOTHING about “moil and mass”.  Still don’t.  This is fine because it never comes up in the Butter Rum section of Lifesavers Rabble Rousing.  I used the formula, I used the vocab words, and filled in the space around them with complete sentences and multisyllabic words.  I am pretty sure that most of my sentences were in english, but I’m not 100% certain.  I do know that if the grader took time to read my essay in detail, it would have been a true highlight of his day, perhaps going up on the Wall of Shameful Essays that I’m pretty sure they have down at Lifesavers Headquarters.

So, that’s your strategy for the afternoon of THE LAST DAY OF THE EXAM!!!!!!

Until you take a three-day bar exam, you cannot know the level of exhaustion.  Sure, it’s only one more day.  (Or so you two day-ers think.)  But it is a LOT of “only” one more day.  I have been there.  I know what you feel.  My only advice is to just keep plodding along.  I will tell you that it eventually will be over.

After tomorrow, this will all be a distant memory.  I promise.  I KNOW YOU!!!!!   I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!!!!!   YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love and Belief,


Variations on the theme of “Keep Going”!!!!!!!!!

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Gentle Readers,

I don’t know how today went for you.  If today went AWESOME and you feel GREAT, KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!  I’m doing backflips for you!!!!!!!!

If you feel that today was not your strongest at-bat ever, if you feel like that exam beat you up, killed you, resuscitated you, and killed you again, I still know you.  YOU ARE STILL AWESOME!!!!!!  YOU ARE STILL THE SAME AMAZING, BRIGHT, TAKE-NO-PRISONERS LIFESAVER THAT YOU WERE BEFORE TODAY!!!!!!!!!  Today changed NONE of that.  The thing you have to do (and I can say this now that I am on the flip side of the exam!) is not let this get to you.  Do not let today get inside your head.  So do whatever patching up you have to do (WITHOUT THE ALCOHOL…), call me, call Oprah, whoever.  Tomorrow, you stare down The Lion.  The MBE.  In order to do that, you must KNOW, beyond ANY doubt, that you are bright, you have done three years of VERY HARD Lifesavers School, harder than this silly multiple choice test, and come out better for it.  The Lion you face is in fact a paper lion, in both senses of the word.  I KNOW, beyond ANY doubt that you are bright, that you have done three years of VERY HARD Lifesavers School, harder than this silly multiple choice test, and you have come out better, stronger, faster, and prettier because of it.  I know you.  YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!

For those of you that are lucky enough to take two-day Lifesavers exams, tomorrow will be it.  Wordie here had to take a three-day exam.  And she was honked off at the “I’m free” status updates of her two-day friends.  So if you have nothing to do after tomorrow, great.  Wordie will post another post of encouragement tomorrow, and will follow that with her “What now?” advice.  (“Advice”)

For all of you, tonight, NO MBE work.  Watch reality television, cry (if you need to), call me (if you need to), eat a good dinner (if it was cooked in a deep fryer, in whole or in part, it is not a good dinner) and GO TO BED.

Love and Belief,


AHEM, If you are reading this, you should be in bed.

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Gentle Reader,

Not that you are going to sleep much tonight.  I woke up three times the night before the first day of my Lifesavers exam with screaming nightmares.  At that point, I decided it was just easier to stay awake.  But try.  Try for Wordie, okay?

Tomorrow morning, you’re going to get to the exam site very early.  I know you.  You are going to have 47 pencils and 56 pens, in your allotted ziplock bag.  Check them all.  It will make you feel better.  Check to make sure that you have your drivers license and admission ticket.  Check for the 3,598th time that all info on both things matches.  It will make you feel better.  And then, I want you to take a moment (heck, you’ve got an hour to sit there and stress…).  While you’re scared, while you are wondering what is going to be written on those pages, I want you to remember what got you here.

Remember your first year of Lifesavers school.  Remember that night before your first classes.  When you had the largest pile of books you had ever seen. (Unless you were a history major, and in which case, the pile looked kinda tiny.)  When you read the first reading assignments, and had to stop and look up every third word because CLEARLY THESE BOOKS WERE NOT WRITTEN IN ENGLISH, and WHY NO PICTURES????  WOULD IT KILL THEM TO AT LEAST GIVE ME A PICTURE OF THE SUBJECT OF THE CASE?  You read cases now without having to stop every three words.  In fact, you read them FAST.  And you’re going to get faster in your reading of them.

Remember the subject that rhymes with “Mon Maw”.  (RIP, Professor Baude.  I remember you Every.  Single.  Day.)  Remember the dread that set in when the case for the next day was a plurality opinion?  Remember when you read the cases that rhyme with “Mamdi” and “Mamdan”?  And you had to make the chart just to keep the names straight?  And then another chart to figure out which Lifesavers Board Member agreed with which and which part of the opinion they agreed with in part or in whole?  Now, pluralities don’t scare you so much, right?  (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pray for them.  But, and here’s where I can be honest, I no longer skip over reading them simply out of fear.)  You can kind of keep these things straight in your head.

Remember LRW?  And that AWFUL first memo?  Now?  You do it in your sleep.   Your blue book?  Well loved.

You have climbed a mountain.   This is the last push to the summit.  You have it in you.  Look at ALL YOU HAVE DONE.  YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!  I KNOW YOU!!!!!   THIS IS YOUR EXAM!!!!!!!!!!  Go in there and TAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!  I believe in you.  Call me if you get scared and need someone to talk you down.

Love and Belief,


Weekend Wrapup-Oatmeal, Crickets, an Hilarious Misunderstanding, and a dose of pep.

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Gentle Reader,

As previously reported, I spent the weekend cooking.  My brain is righted, my soul is calmed.  (Almost wrote “clammed” there, which, in keeping with the theme, would make sense, but clams really are the only bivalve that I just really have little care for.  Except SOMETIMES, if I’m in the right mood, chowder.)  (Once you dissect something, it loses some of its magic.  Thank HEAVENS I never had to dissect an oyster.)

What you see in the middle there are what are known as “Noonday Onions”.  As a half-Georgian (I know, my dirty secret is revealed.  My family tree reaches beyond The Great Republic.  Blessedly.) I was previously committed to the Vidalia onion.  Purchased IN Vidalia.  Because otherwise, you could be getting a cheap knockoff and not the real thing.  And as anyone who has viewed my purse collection can attest, I don’t do knockoffs.  BUT, Noonday is a “town” near The Ranch, and they are justifiably famous for their onions.  They are AMAZING.  I am a convert.  (Vidalia, next time I’m there, I’ll buy some of yours, too.  I don’t abandon the ones who brung me.)

So the soups, as mentioned in the last Public Safety Announcement/Post, were vegetable based.  One of my recipes that I found was for a “barley minestrone”.  Confession:  I’ve never cooked with barley before.  I opened the box, and mama commented, “It looks like oatmeal.”  Prescient.  Very.

So in cooking this soup, the vegetables took FOREVER to cook.  And the barley, prepared as directed, added exactly when the recipe directed (you know how I feel about recipes, so this is significant) began to disintegrate.  And eventually, took over the whole mess.  What we had made, really, was oatmeal with some vegetables in it.  It tastes good, it’s seventeen kinds of healthy, but I’m just not sure I can eat vegetable oatmeal.

After cooking the soups, it was bedtime (seriously, those veggies, for something so in-season, took FOREVER to cook), so I scooped up Scout (WE ARE LABRADOR PEOPLE, NOT CAT PEOPLE.) to head in to my room with me, to help me get ready for bed and hopefully get a little snuggling in.  (I’m a sucker for the purring.)  (WE ARE LABRADOR PEOPLE, NOT CAT PEOPLE.)  And we had a demonstration of the “Law of Unintended Consequences.”  Every house around us at The Ranch has a cat.  To keep the bugs, mice, lizards, and other assorted non-cute fauna at bay.  So Scout, (WE ARE LABRADOR PEOPLE, NOT CAT PEOPLE.) had her role pre-cast.  So we were in my bathroom, and I noticed a lot of pouncing going on.

What you see here is Scout attempting to fill her role as Ruthless Killer.  Of a baby cricket.  It took five minutes.  I can’t say it was a quick and painless death for the cricket.  I hope their central nervous system is a simple one.  The reason for the delay?  Well, it seems like we thought it was a good idea to get her de-clawed.  And this took away her means of inflicting a swift demise on her victims.  (I am TERRIFIED but REALLY CURIOUS about the first time she catches a lizard.)

After dispatching the cricket, (note-I do not advocate animal cruelty in any form, except for spiders, who deserve it, but I was too busy taking photos to intervene and put the cricket out of its misery…) Scout revealed her inner Kevorkian.

First she buried the cricket under my bathmat.  As is proper.

And then she promptly exhumed the cricket.  For further dissection.

It was clearly time for bed after that.

Also, mama told me an hilarious story about Scout and our Ranch Vet.  Apparently last week, the Vet showed up at like 5:30 in the morning to pick up Scout for her minor procedure.  And as the last time he saw her, she had yet to be named (well, she was Finch, but then she became a girl cat, so we had to change that…) so he asked mama (at 5:30) about her name.  Mama replied, “Scout”.  And he looked at her quizzically, and so mama explained that I am a Lifesavers Rabble Rouser and she needed to have a Lifesavers-appropriate name, and so we named her after the girl in Harper Lee’s famous book, the Cliffs Notes version of which has been read by countless generations of high school English students.  And so he seemed to understand.  Lifesavers-appropriate name.  Got it.  (At 5:30)  When Scout was returned, sans weapons, she was delivered with an invoice for the procedure.  And at the top, as with most vet invoices, was her biographical detail.  (For instance, Cooper’s invoices all say, “Cooper, Labrador, Black, Male, Neutered”).  (WE ARE LABRADOR PEOPLE, NOT CAT PEOPLE.)  Scout’s invoice said, “Scalped, Cat, Black and White, Female, Intact.”  (We will be spaying her just as soon as the Ranch Vet deems it appropriate…)  So I am a bit honored/confused/tickled that he thought that the most Lifesaver-appropriate name that we could come up with was “Scalped”.  And I thought the whole event was hilarious, and now that I’ve typed it all out, please lie to me and tell me you thought it hilarious, too.  (Especially if you know what it is that I really do for a living.)

And that really sums up the weekend.  Except I did organize the toilet paper that is in my undersink cabinet.  Surely I deserve some kind of recognition for that, right?

Anyway, Lifesavers Exam peeps?  Now is the time for you to go “into the bubble”.  (No, you cannot panic yet.)  Now is the time that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS IN THIS WORLD.  You must absolutely tune people out.  (Except me.)  People have a way of saying unintendedly stupid things, which get in your head, and might affect your performance.  Ignore them.  Even your parents.  Maybe especially your parents.  Explain that you love them, but you cannot interact with them until after this is (blessedly) done.  Significant others are NOT significant until after the exam.  You can, however, play with your Labradors.  They somehow understand the Lifesavers Exam process and know not to say anything dumb.  They just snuggle you and ask for ear rubs.  Start scaling down your studying.  You know it by now.  (YOU KNOW IT BY NOW.)  (I know, you read that and thought, “well, other people might know it by now, but not me.”  Trust me.  YOU KNOW IT BY NOW.)  If you do any studying between now and the actual exam, make it MEMORY WORK ONLY.  Do not try to fit anything else in your head.  You KNOW THIS BY NOW.  Watch television.  I think my penchant for “Gilmore Girls” and “Raymond” last summer was well-documented.  Sleep, if you can.  Do not take sleep aids, unless you already do so as part of a doctor-approved and managed medicinal scheme.  You do not want to mess up anything like sleep patterns or habits.  (Let’s face it, they’re already completely messed up, and it’s going to be several months before you fall asleep before 2 AM again, and a few more months after that before you give up your afternoon nap.  It’s like being a newborn again!)

YOU KNOW IT BY NOW.  I don’t care what your practice exam scores are.  YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe you know that for a few years, I sold (“sold”) Mary Kay beauty products.  I love that company, I think that much of what they do for women fills a very needed role in the employment market.  My National Sales Director signed every card, email, or letter the same way.  I’ll borrow that now, because it is VERY MUCH TRUE.

Love and Belief,


PS-I KNOW YOU!  YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We Interrupt This Weekend…

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Gentle Reader,

I’m very sorry to interrupt your weekend of sitting inside, trying not to melt.  But I have an important public service announcement that I just do not feel can wait.  I have been cooking today.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve really done anything in the kitchen, and cooking kind of sets things right with my soul.  So, since it’s 523 degrees outside, I naturally decided to make soup.

Two soups.

Two vegetable chopping intensive soups.

And when making soups that require tons of chopping, I use my mandolin.  (Boys, go to a cooking website and look it up.)  The mandolin that comes with the handy-dandy “food-gripper” thing that provides a handy barrier between your hand and the (very sharp) exposed blade.  (Boys-helpful analogy.  Think about if you flipped your lawn mower upside down and used that to chop veggies.)

I eschew the handy-dandy “food gripper” thing, because frankly I am neurotic (Was anybody surprised?  Didn’t think so.)  and I HAVE TO SEE MY FOOD AS IT IS UNDERGOING THE PREPARATION PROCESS.  GE?  Thank you for making the oven light.  The “food gripper” thing makes it impossible for me to see the carrots, cabbage, and zucchini as it is being sliced, and OH MY WORD HOW THIS BOTHERS ME.  It bothers me so much that I am willing to risk life and limb (or, just digit) so as not to use the safety feature.  (It’s like “Mythbusters” only WAY less entertaining and in “Mythbusters” when they dismantle the safety features, they stand behind plexiglass.  I think we both know THAT didn’t happen here.)

Two big cuts, some super glue, two bandaids, and two sets of rubber gloves later, I still eschew the handy-dandy “food gripper” thing.  Fortunately, no body parts ended up in the soup.  Yet.

Safety first, my friends, safety first.

Have a great weekend,