Saturday, June 30, 2007


I've been sitting on the deck reviewing all the explanations for the simulated MBE from yesterday, when I heard this odd whirring noise very close by. I looked to my left, and a hummingbird was hovering within five feet of my head. Scared the bejesus out of me, but once I got over my initial startle - cool! Of course you know what this means - I'm going to have to add "hummingbird feeder" to the list of things to get and do after the bar.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:20 PM
Friday, June 29, 2007

Made It Through the Mock Exam 

I parked at the hotel where The Girl and I are staying the night before the exam and the night between the two days, and walked over to the World Trade Center - took about one-half hour, so weather permitting that will be my plan on exam day. We had a nice little NESL reunion, and a bunch of us sat together for the day.

There were two sessions of three hours, with an hour for lunch in between. They let us know in advance that they'd make an announcement at the 15 minutes left mark, and after that no one could leave their seats until time was up. I managed to wrap up each session prior to that, so I wasn't stuck there waiting.

I just finished scoring my exam and categorizing my missed questions. I'm doing just fine, and my errors were pretty evenly spread across the categories.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:22 PM

Simulated Exam 

Last night: In class, five essays, three hours. I finished in two. It wasn't because they were easy, it was because I couldn't think of any more shit to make up.

Today: At the World Trade Center, where the actual exam will be, a full mock multistate (the first day, 200 question multiple choice national exam).

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:18 AM
Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Love Our House 

I'm sitting on the back deck doing online bar review questions through I'm using one of the comfy adirondack chairs Middle Sister and Boyfriend gave for graduation, with the windchimes blowing, the birds singing (oops - I initially typed "signing" - we spent three days on contracts this week) and occasionally stopping by the birdfeeders (one of which I got with my Westlaw Research points) and the sun shining. There are no other houses or people in my line of vision or hearing, only the woods.

I love this house.

Oh, and the goat next door apparently was with an overnight guest, and they have all now left. I'm trying to imagine that conversation - "Thanks for the invitation. We don't want to leave little Billy home alone, though, so would you mind terribly if he came along?"

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:20 PM
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Getting By With a Little Help From... Everyone 

...but especially The Girl.

Even though I had sworn up and down that I would handle the lawn mowing, and even though The Girl had never before mowed a lawn in her life, she got out there on two consecutive days last weekend and got nearly the whole thing done.

This week we engaged my brother-in-law's landscape company to mow our lawn on a weekly basis.

My laundry has turned into a frightening monster. The other day I asked The Girl if I could borrow a particular shirt from her, and the look she had, in combination with her silence, told me she was trying to think of a valid reason to say no that wouldn't hurt my feelings. I called her on it and told her she could just say no, and she replied that she was just afraid that the shirt would wind up n the horrible laundry pile that's taken over my half of the room and that she would never see it again!

The next day she went to Old Navy and picked up some new shorts, shirts and a pair of pants for me.

This morning we bagged up all my laundry and she drove it to a fluff-and-fold to get me caught up. She has also hinted that she might help me out with it once this backlog has been erased.

My Mini Cooper was a few hundred miles overdue for its full servicing, and a warning light had been coming on intermittently. The Girl took it up to the Mini dealer (about a 45 minute drive without traffic) last Saturday (in lieu of golfing!) and spent several hours in the lounge there reading and listening to her iPod while they serviced the car. At the time they couldn't reproduce the warning light, so they said to call if it happened again. On Tuesday they called back to say they had communicated with Mini engineers, who recommended replacing the entire transmisssion. The thing's still under complete warranty, so cost wasn't an issue. The Girl gave me her Subaru Forester, drove the Mini back up to the dealer after work Wednesday and drove a rental Jeep Compass for the rest of the week. She then missed her cardio kickboxing class on Friday night to sit in summer weekend traffic after work and picked it up for me.

My brother and his family gave us a lovely tree/shrub (silver willow) for graduation, but we don't have a shovel and I just don't have time to go buy one and then do the necessary other stuff involved in planting. Middle Sister volunteered to get instructions from Brother-in-Law and take care of it for me, which she apparently did sometime yesterday, as I noticed today (after looking in the general area a number of times while watching the neighbor's newest addition - a goat. Yes - I said "a goat") that the tree is nicely planted in the spot we had selected.

I told some bar review friends about the laundry, and they totally understood. One of them said, "Oh god - I haven't done laundry in weeks! I just keep going to Marshall's and buying new stuff. I'll probably have 40 pairs of new underwear by the time we're done!" Another had already been recommending that we get a landscaper (although she did urge that I should acquire a shovel after the exam, as every homeowner needs a shovel).

We then all agreed that we're all going to owe everyone big once this is all said and done.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:09 PM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

barbri and essays 

So the bar review course provides tons of essays and model answers. But the models aren't consistent. For two very similar questions, one will go into great detail on one particular thing while another will lightly touch on the collateral items and focus on the important one. On two separate freedom of speech questions that both involved some level of regulation, one model answer listed all the different ways that speech could be regulated and then focused on the one at issue, while the other just mentioned that the government may regulate in "certain conditions" but only mentioned the commercial speech exception, the one at issue. What are we supposed to do?

One thing the model answers and the related lectures have been consistent on is leading off with a statement of what law governs the issues in the question (US Constitution, MA Criminal Code, common law, 14th Amendment, etc.). They've pounded this in - do this every time!

We handed in our first essays for grading last week, prior to actually having detailed instruction on the essays, and we got them back last night. I think they deliberately time it this way so that we get crappy scores on the first one and then are amazed at how much barbri helped us improve the quality of our essays. When really it's because they give us crappy instructions and give the graders instructions to be crappy graders, and then we've got nowhere to go but up.

A classmate's grader circled her introductory statement about MA criminal code and case law governing the issues at hand, and wrote "FLUFF" in the margin! Mine hardly wrote anything useful at all, other than the points I didn't earn. From the grumblings I heard, this was other folks' experience as well.

But "FLUFF" on the one thing they had in every single model essay and which more than one instructor told us never to forget to do? WTF?

Second hand in essay tonight. We'll see what the grading brings next week.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:27 AM
Sunday, June 17, 2007

True Colors Tour 

The Girl and I ventured into Boston last evening for the True Colors Tour, organized by Cyndi Lauper. I of course was thinking more about what I wasn't studying, but The Girl figured that out at one point.

"You're not thinking about studying are you?"
*sheepishly* "Yes."
"No! Enjoy the moment! Present living! You can study all day tomorrow after yoga, and I'll come pull you away from your desk at 9:30 tomorrow night!"

With that out of the way, I really tried to enjoy the show. Really, I did. There were just too many distractions. Among the many:
  • The drunk woman whose friend left her half passed out on the seats next to us so he could get her a bottle of water while she proceeded to puke on the floor. When he finally returned, he finally figured out that he should get her the fuck out of there. Fortunately, intermission was only a few minutes later, and the Bank of America Pavilion staff quickly sent in their bodily fluid strike unit armed with cleaning implements and bleach, and all was right with row GG.
  • The enthusiastic but aging club boys in the row behind us who periodically wacked my head with their elbows while jamming out to erasure and exclaiming how hot the lead singer is.
  • The problems with Cyndi Lauper's earpiece monitor. She was looking quite annoyed and as if she had an inner ear infection as she kept pulling and pointing at it and calling out instructions to the techies. I think her very cool violin player was having problems with her violin pickup as well. Sounded great when it was active, though!
  • Gossip (the band, not the activity) - good, but something was set too loud so that the sound was getting muddy over the huge amps.
  • Rufus Wainwright - I love the man's work and was cheering enthusiastically, but they had these odd outfits on, with stripes going every which way and I thought I was being led into a trance state or something. Plus his selections were bordering on the snoozy. But he did have a french horn player - how cool is that? (FYI - I played french horn in high school, including in the marching band. Yeah, I've been a cool kid from way back...)
  • Debbie - I'm sorry... Deborah - Harry - she looks great, her pipes still rock, but she looks like a really cool country club mom who's doing Debbie Harry at the air band fundraiser. Her moves were definitely stiff and "oh, my back doesn't move that way anymore." Plus with the coiff and earings and particular makeup - I spent most of the time thinking how much she looks like Debbie Reynolds, and how she should look into getting the lead in her biopic. Then when she was singing/shouting, "Don't touch me - you're too hot!" over and over, she suddenly morphed into Polly Bergen. You can imaging the many levels of disturbing that brought on!
  • Cyndi Lauper was fabulous, but unfortunately by that point of the evening I was just really tired and wanted to go home.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:22 PM
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pencil Candidates 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
Next up - pencils!

With 200 bubble sheet responses over the course of six hours (three hours each, morning and afternoon), I need something that will fill in the bubbles with minimal effort but without coloring outside the lines, and that won't reduce me to cramped up paws by the end.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:44 AM

Bar Essay Pen 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
The Winner!

For anyone who cares to try out my winning pen, it's the uni-ball Signo Micro 207.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:42 AM
Friday, June 15, 2007

Bar Review Quote of the Week 

From the Wills instructor, last evening:

"Ours is not to wonder why,
Ours is just to apply the damn rule."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:19 AM
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Marries Equality Foes Voted Down! 

On a historic and very tense day today, Beacon Hill lawmakers voted down the proposed constitutional amendment that would have enshrined discrimination into our state constitution. The ballot initiative, which was approved once by a small margin, needed 50 votes out of 200 today to make it onto the ballot in 2008 for voters to cast ballots on whether to take away a right that had been in place for the last three years. Last time they got 62 to make it to this round, this time they got 45.

Ding-dong, the amendment's dead. Long live marriage equality!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:27 PM

Better Feeling on Essays 

The high point for me of last night's bar review class was when the instructor talked about the PACE program (the study schedule with specific things we should be working on each day), and said, "By now you all know one thing - the PACE program is superhuman."

He got that right. I told my friends that I'm going to need a PACEmaker by the time this is over.

Last night we handed in an essay to be reviewed according to bar standards. The book with the questions also has model answers, so after you write you can review the model answer for comparison. After I did my first one a week or so ago, I was so disheartened upon reading the model answer that I just put a big X across the whole page of my scrawling. I felt a little better on reading the model answer for the one I turned in, but not a whole lot.

But after last evening's Essay Writing Workshop I, I'm feeling more confident and able to organize and present a coherent response in a format that won't make the graders hate me. I need a better pen, though. He recommend getting 4 or 5 brands of the micro-est point available and using the one that's most comfortable, as the micropoint opens up more space on the page and makes it easier for the graders, who in turn will be less likely to hate us. One of my classmates had a very nice one I tried out. Sounds like a trip to Staples is in order! TCU, I know you want to come along!

P.S. - notice the change to the blog title?

UPDATE: The results of pen shopping:

Most are 0.5 mm micropoints, but one pack is "Superfine" at 0.3mm. Now I just need to test drive them on some practice essays.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:32 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bar Review Dreams 

I was doing practice questions in my sleep last night. They had a Star Trek theme, though, which was a nice change.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:53 AM
Saturday, June 02, 2007

All Bar, All the Time 

Weekdays: Go to work, Go to bar review class, Go to sleep. All commuting time includes bar review lectures on the iPod. Lunch time includes bar review books or iPod.

Weekends: Study for the bar. If mowing the lawn or cooking, bar review lectures on the iPod.

I do have graduation pictures, but have not yet loaded them. I will, I promise.

Barbri (the bar review class) is Monday through Friday, 6-9:30 or 10:00 pm. Then they recommend an additional 5-9 hours studying per weekday plus 10 on the weekend. They also recommend taking time off from work if at all possible.

It's not.

This past week: Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Agency and Partnerships, plus some introductions to the multistate (the multiple choice exam that everyone takes) and the essay (the state exam on the second day).

This week started on Wednesday.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:00 PM