Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nachos Flambe

My dear cousin Lisa (who never seems to learn where these things get you) asked:

"What? I need to know about the Nacho Fire Incident! Sounds… eventful!

Do tell."

So I had no choice but to respond:

Oh ... it was a doooosey!

We had my friends' daughter with us - Talen was babysitting .... We went to Fallbrook and played and played ... thought we'd heat up a pizza when we got home. Then it turns out Sven had eaten the pizza we thought was in the freezer so we settled on nachos.

A big, 9x13 inch pan chock full of nachos ...

So I put the nachos in under the broiler about the same second that Bella asked for help with the knitting she was trying to get started ... (yes, cue ominous music) I went to help her and of course it had to be completely re-done ...

After only a few minutes (I swear!) of undoing, I asked Noah to check on the nachos.

"Mom. They're on fire."


"On fire, mom. Like with flames."

Crap! I jumped up and ran for the kitchen to find, sure enough, a 9x13-shaped fire in our oven. The chips were completely engulfed and had flames about 6-8" high curling up and out of the oven. Our really high-tech fire alarm starts blaring. I realize we have about a dozen sprinklers in our apartment about to go off and destroy everything we own.

I thought, "Fire needs air." and shut the oven door.

I opened the door to check. Apparently our oven isn't really airtight (especially with the door open) because that fire was burning along merrily.

So I grabbed a dish towel and thought to smother said fire. I also thought, "This isn't very smart. What if the towel catches on fire?"

THEN it occurred to me that we have fire extinguishers in the hallway. So I pull it together like a crisis-trained lifeguard: "Noah, run down the hall and get a fire extinguisher." Yep, assign a task to an individual (Do I have to ask Talen to call 911? No, not yet.) and get them on their way. It's the Lifeguard Way.

Talen arrived in the kitchen a moment later. I say in my most authoritative voice, "Talen, you go with Noah. Help him hurry." She runs.

As the door shut behind her, another thought crosses my mind: "Water puts out some fires."

So I grab a 2-Quart Batter Bowl (God Bless the Pampered Chef) and head for the sink. As it starts to fill (rather slowly, I think to myself over the rather incessant screeching of the fire alarm) I realize that if I toss this bowl of water onto the nachos that are burning away quite happily in my Pampered Chef 9x13 Stoneware Baking Dish (the one with the fabulous French Vanilla finish on the outside) it will probably break.

Now, that wouldn't do.

But we have spray bottles under the sink. I open the cupboard and try to recall which of them are empty, which are filled with (flammable) cleaners, and which might have water. Luckily I had my plant water spray bottle right there with it's happy little green and yellow top. And it had water in it. So I picked it up, turned around, and spritzed a few squirts of water onto the by now burnt-out wreckage of cheese and tortilla chips.

Ahh. I pause a moment.

Oh yes.

The kids.

I open the door to the sight of Talen running frantically down the hallway, fire extinguisher in hand, Noah right behind.

And I yell, "Water! WATER puts out fires!"

Talen stopped, turned quietly, and returned the fire extinguisher to it's cubby.

Crisis well-managed, I'd say.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wrappity Towels!

Laying it all out and making patterns ...

Results in - well - patterns.

See that one that looks like a bib? It's just about right for Ricochet, Kalani, and the other babies. This week at least ... then they'll be ready to upsize! (The other ones are folded in half so they just LOOK smaller!)

A few quick zips around with the serger and here we go ... ready for a fitting!

Legal Advice

Ha! Not really ... I am NOT a licensed attorney!

I think this page does a good job really outlining some different perspectives on legal careers.
Even in a saturated market, there is a demand for quality attorneys with specific experience: patent, medical malpractice, and bankruptcy are always in demand. I can't imagine working BK, but that's just me.
Then it's easy enough to run the mathematical calculations: Most law students and beginning attorney's I have worked with graduate with $120k in loans. They aren't really able to work much to offset their loans because the internship requirements are so stringent. Starting pay for our superstars ranged from that $30k average (that's the CA stat: first year attorney starting wage) up to $72k ... but that $72 k took a year to come along, and in the meantime he was clerking for $20 an hour. So you're also looking at 3 years of school plus up to a year for a decent job offer.
Paralegal programs run about $6500 and take 14 - 16 weeks. You can graduate, work in legal field for $45k - $60k (I have received offers in that range so know it's reasonable in today's market.) Paralegals are in high demand. Working as a paralegal not only gives one experience in the legal field but also will help you get the better jobs after law school, allowing one to rise to the top of the new market field.
I suppose it's worth mentioning that law school does NOTHING to prepare one as to how to be an attorney. It doesn't even get you ready for the bar exam. It simply marks you as qualifed to take the exam ... just about everyone takes a Bar Exam Prep Course in order to actually pass the thing (chalk up another $5k.) In Jim's office, he took 3rd year law students who were the top of their classes and taught them how to actually get the work done as an attorney must. Students who graduate with a less spectacular intern experience are simply not ready to practice - that's why that starting salary is so low ... they simply aren't able to do much of anything that first year without proper experience!
You can see how that paralegal experience would certainly help increase employability ... as man have said, it's how they learned to practice law because paralegal programs are oriented to teach HOW TO ... law school focuses more upon the historical WHY.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How To Knit: The Beginning

If you want to try knitting, might I suggest borrowing a good beginners book from the library: Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting or Knitting for Dummies are good.

Then get some basic needles and some worsted weight yarn in a light color. Don't get too caught up in choosing - your local craft store should have Lion Brand Wool-Ease or Paton's Classic Moreno. Get needles in a size 8 or 9 ... either will work. Also, don't worry about wood vs. metal ... it's all personal preference. They should be around $5 per set ... if you're really curious, then buy one of each. If you're not only curious but also clever, buy them in different sizes so you can see the difference it creates in gauge.

Then just follow the book, cast on 20 stitches, and knit back and forth until you are ending up with an even product. Then throw in the purl stitch and go until it's comfy and even.

Then start looking at projects, because you're on your way!

Happy Knitting!