Thursday, February 25, 2010

It Is Over

And I am tired, which seems silly because all I did was hang around the hotel for three days. DOB is tired, too, for the record. He seems to have enjoyed it.

The kids are all still here and intact. We brought the older two the wristwatches DOB had purchased for timing while taking the bar. D2 immediately was going around announcing, "Hey! It's 37 o'clock!" Once they got minutes and hours straight, they found it very frustrating that time moved so slowly.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In My Spare Time

I'm trying to find the best way to track the whole variety of resources I use with the ducklings, both for my own benefit (after all, in four years I'll be teaching another class this age) and for general use.

I've found it hard to track down lists of really good books with geographic themes aimed at the younger age group. So I'm starting to track them, along with websites and project ideas, on Squidoo. We'll see how it works, but here is my first try: Around the World in 80 Books. (I hope no one will think that title is deceptive, when I've only got eleven up so far, but I haven't even started on any specific continents yet--by the time I create a lens for each continent, I should have plenty.)

Oh, and if you like it, I'd love to get feedback, links, or ratings! (If you don't like it, I won't be so thrilled.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bar Prep

It's all bar, all the time around here, but the only parties are those to the lawsuit, plus of course those insidious Third Parties that are always confusing matters. (I hardly ever even get invited to the First Party, let alone the second and third.) When LD takes breaks from typing up outlines and essays, he watches crime shows and courtroom dramas, where we pause to analyze whether the evidence is really admissible and what steps in laying a foundation were skipped for the sake of the movie audience. It's more fun than it sounds.

My role is keeping the kids quiet, which usually means far, far away. We've spent a lot of time over at the farm, basking in sunshine, getting beds ready in the greenhouse and garden, and thinking fondly of our friends in Ohio buried in a couple of feet of snow. We tried visiting playgrounds on Sunday, but they were all closed for the season--then we tried sneaking into one and discovered the reason was that they were underwater. So instead we went to a forest, where DOB had gotten lost the week before, but fortunately D4 has a better sense of direction than all the rest of us combined, and he got us back to the car safely: "Rar! Way!"

When everyone is settled down for naps, I've been trying to outline some subjects to speed things along, handle all the auxiliary details like packing, and plan foods that can be cooked in a crockpot in a hotel. The whole undertaking seems far more involved than when I took the bar exams--or DOB took his last--but then, we didn't have kids back then. I know from my first exam experience, when my aunt and uncle fed me, drove me, and stocked me with game boys, that having support staff makes the whole exam much easier.

Reviewing this stuff reminds me of how much of the general law I still remember, and how much of the specifics I've forgotten. The Washington Bar is considering a rule change that will mean I don't have to retake the exam to reactivate my license; I'm going to wait to see how that comes out before I apply.

But that's all irrelevant. Because there is no life After the Bar.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Call a Doctor

So the oldest two ducklings and the youngest two cousins decided to play doctor. After some discussion, it became apparent that they all wished to be the doctor.

I obligingly volunteered to be the patient, and lay down upon the couch, coughing piteously. (The effect was enhanced when the twins came and sat on my chest.)

Whereupon the four doctors fetched four sheets of paper and four pencils and started peppering me with demographic questions: "How old are you?" "What is your name?" "What is your address?"

By the time the forms were filled out, they had lost interest in the game.

Clearly, they have mastered the key concepts of modern medicine.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Brandywine Books has a comment on how the whole "dragons are really good, just misunderstood" theme has been done to death. Which makes me think that there must be other supposed "twists" that have long since ceased to be twisty and have just become dull. The "spunky-girl-rebelling-against-female-stereotypes" comes to mind. What are your nominees for "twists" that have long passed their sell-by date?

Thanks to the way our brains transfer the difficulty of completing a task to the underlying subject matter, it is just as boosting to one's confidence on taking an exam to think of a few reasons why one will pass, or many, many reasons why one will fail. (After all, if it's hard to come up with so many reasons against it--it must not be so likely after all.) Similarly, spouses have greater marital satisfaction after thinking of a few reasons why they like their spouse, or a whole lot of reasons why they don't. That ought to make for some fun marital counseling sessions. So, to DOB: I'm sure I'd have a hard time coming up with twenty things I didn't like about you.

Monday, February 01, 2010


The Bar Exam is This Month.

We have had the warmest January on record, by half a degree. Apparently the rest of the world is cold and snowy, though. Sorry, folks. If it's any comfort, we've only had a few glimpses of sunshine.

Last night there was a need for an emergency bath, and to my distress I discovered the bathtub was completely plugged. I knew I should have been keeping it cleaner. I sponged off the child in question, removed the drain, and proceeded with a round of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water--another round--another. Nothing went down at all. I poked with a hanger. Nothing.

DOB went out this morning and bought Drano. I poured the whole bottle down the drain. Nothing moved, although the chunks of goo from the night before dissolved. Finally His Majesty brought home a plumbing snake, tried to force it down, noticed a completely solid barrier . . . and flipped the drain plug switch.

DOB and I are applying to work for the census while DOB awaits Bar results. Um, that's infiltrate the Census Bureau, since everyone we know thinks the Census is evil and intrusive. But we hope they pay us for infiltrating.

I got a perfect score on the initial test (we'll next try to get approved as supervisors). Good thing they didn't test plumbing maintenance.

At the dinner we attended the other night (for which I felt properly attired), a judge recounted various amusing stories from his legal career. One was of a threatening letter sent from one lawyer to another: "If this case goes to court, we will go for the juggler!" To which the other firm replied, "Well, if *you* go for the juggler, we'll go for the magician *and* the dancing bear."

He also said that a judge in the county--but not him--had instructed the jury to retire and consider their verdict "in the guilty room."

The twins have discovered books. Rather too enthusiastically. Indeed, if he's not heading outside, D4 wants to sit in my lap and read. It doesn't take much plot to entertain him: "Car! Car! Animals! Apple! Car! Car!" (Skip all the other pages, begin again, with even more enthusiasm.) D3 prefers *The Carrot Seed* and *Goodnight Moon* and such with at least a glimmer of plot. D1 and D2 fortunately enjoy reading to them. It's a great symbiotic relationship, except that they can no longer agree on whose books are whose.