Call schmall - mayhap I shoulda hung up

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'll admit to an avid curiousity about our judicial system from a juror standpoint. I've actually been summoned twice before, but had to ask for a deferment both times. Once was in the middle of my reconstructive surgery, and the second was the first week of my student's senior year and there were no substitutes for interpreters at the time (now I have one). Well. Suffice it to say that said curiosity has, most assuredly, been satisfied.
The first thing they do is to "call the roll". We were relocated en masse to a judge's chambers on another floor to be separated into four jury pools (one for each courtroom). While waiting for the clerk to complete the lists, we watched the morning's entertainment *cough* excuse me proceedings. A young woman standing before the judge had apparently stolen the wallet of a customer at a convenience store. He had [foolishly] laid it on the counter and moved away to point out a specific item for purchase to the store clerk. Apparently at that time, Miss Stickyfingers LaRue opted to pinch said wallet and flee the scene. When the judge asked her for a plea she said, "It was an accident, Your Honor." Wow. Really lady? That's what you're going for? An accident? The judge (who had about the same reaction I did) raised his brows and offered the video surveillance tape for her viewing pleasure. Duh. That seemed to put a different spin on it for her, and she decided perhaps she would go for a guilty plea then (gee, ya think?).
After the divvying, which took quite a while considering there were close to 400 people there, the judge dispatched several officers to "go have a chat" with those that did not show up for service (uh oh). Mostly sure said chat involved handcuffs and a free ride. Then it was off to another courtroom, followed by (I hope I hope) early dismissal for those not selected to serve that day. You know, sometimes you can kind of tell by the way the wind blows how things are going to go for you. *sigh* The attorney that spoke and asked the majority of the questions (known as voir dire) informed us that the case was a medical malpractice/wrongful death [of a fetus] suit and extremely complicated. With each question that sought to eliminate bias in the jury, I would surreptitiously glance around the room to see hands going up everywhere while mine stayed down. Oh, man. When the questions were finished, it was with a sense of impending doom that I listened to them call out the list of jurors in alphabetical order. As they filed one by one into the jury box, I felt overwhelming relief when that last seat was filled. Well ha, ha. Guess what? I forgot all about #13 (gotta have an alternate). Oh yeah, it was me doggone it. *sigh* The alternate, however, is not the last person called. Gonna be a long week.
That's exactly what it was, too. A solid week. Talk about crime and punishment. Instead of leaving work at 3, I finished at 5 with a head chock full of medical terminology, conflicting testimony, and ache (ha). It's funny how handy past experience can be. I was a legal secretary back in the day (third party defendants) and am still a professional patient so between the two, I really didn't have any trouble with the verbiage although I do remember entertaining a couple of duct tape fantasies early on. I'll be honest with you - I had to really struggle not to hold the plaintiff's attorneys against her. Talk about obnoxious! I saw more eye rolling in that courtroom in one week than I see in a month at school with a bunch of 12 year olds. Every time the defense cross-examined a witness, those two lawyers sat at their table looking at us and rolling their eyes at every other word. An embarrassment to professional women everywhere, if you ask me. Not that you did. *grin*
By Wednesday afternoon I was ready to BE done. I took copious notes interspersed with the occasional sentence in shorthand (usually along the lines of "shut up already; we get it" or "I really don't like you; obnoxious heifer"). So much of the testimony was tediously repetitious, that by week's end I was on to silly alliterations and such on the perpetual pontifications of the plaintiff's counsel:
Redefining the various and sundry forms of the verb "be" -
 belabor, beleaguer, beset, befuddle, bewilder...BE QUIET and then I swapped to the H's (because ha,ha, ha these people are making me crazed ;o) and:
harping, harangue, harass, harrumph, headache...HUSH  I'll add that I don't think the judge appreciated the conduct of plaintiff's counsel either, based on the fact that he actually had to go so far as to say, "Look at me" one time because she was off on a ranting tangent. Wow. I will add that the judge was extremely nice and informed us that he was also serving as the bailiff because, "As you well know, the state of Alabama is broke."
Well we survived the week (barely). Closing arguments wrapped up late Thursday, leaving us just enough time to elect a foreman. (and golly, you'll just never guess how that one went). *sigh* It was decided - unanimously - that we all go home and reconvene Friday morning as we were all fried. Before we dismissed, however, I asked for a quick poll to see where everybody was as far as a verdict. Split; almost right down the middle. Dandy. I am fairly sure that between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning I uttered somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,347 separate prayers for wisdom. It took almost all day long Friday, but we finally got there. Opinions were strong and tempers growing short on both sides (so enter Jen with her stupid one-liners and silly statements just to try to ease the tension). We were ultimately able, by sifting (and re-sifting) through the evidence to find in favor of the plaintiff (no thanks to their lawyers, I can tell you). It is a very surreal experience to have a judge ask you if the jury has reached a verdict (felt like I was in a movie - weird ;o) I can also tell you - with utter certainty - that I NEVER want to be a diplomat, mediator, or anything else along those lines. Ever. Now I'm really ready for some horse therapy.
Okay, I'm sure that's more than enough of me for this week. I'll sign off here, but I did want to share two photos that I thought turned out pretty cool. Looks like I wasn't the only one enjoying the morning's spectacular sunrise :o)
Have a blessed week everyone!

Dramamamas, Digital Dreams and the Call of Duty

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To say that the natives are getting restless would be a definite understatement. More like the proverbial angry mob. For whatever reason, our spring break is much later than usual this year and everyone is sick. Sick of school, sick of schoolwork, and sick of each other. Tempers are in short supply, and sixth grade girl drama is at all time ridiculous high. I feel as though I have spent the week in the trenches for a Hollywood tabloid more than an elementary school. The phrase, "So and so is ruining my life!" coupled with shouting matches, shrieking hysteria and boatloads of tears have cropped up almost as many times as the political phone calls this week. I'm telling you; it's enough to send a grown woman into hiding under the first available desk. Between the two I'm just about ready for the loony bin. Even the normally level-headed kids have gone 'round the bend. Help!
Perhaps this is apropos, as it puts me in an appreciative frame of mind for jury duty next week. Criminals? Bring 'em. I'm ready to hang out in a saner, more peaceful environment. *sigh*
Not long ago, I stumbled across an interesting post (on a blog I can't remember the name or location of) about a handy little site called Clipix. Filed the information away to scope it out later, then forgot all about it. Big surprise there. Well. Finally remembered it, managed to check it out, and I love it! Although I did the Pinterest thing, I didn't really care about another community deal and sharing stuff with the world so much as keeping track of it for me and that's the whole point of Clipix. Too bad I didn't clip that blog - then I'd know just where to find it. I've been using it mostly to collect horse articles, free crochet patterns and craft links. You can choose the display photo for your board from whatever pictures are on the site page, which lets me use a shot of the finished project and makes patterns a million times easier to sort through. Yay.
At the moment, I'm all over headbands. I wound up altering one of the headband patterns I liked and then splicing my favorite flower from the 101 crocheted embellishments book. What do you think? Cute? It has a tie, so it's nice and adjustable. Here's a link to the  pattern I used; it's from the Crochet and Crafts blog (don't forget I changed it slightly though!) I'm working on a different headband for infants; I'll let you know how that one turns out. I'm still looking for just the right flower pattern. Picky. Picky.
P.S. No stuffed animals were harmed in the shooting of this photo (Thanks for modeling it there, Nala ;o)
I also signed up for Shutterfly this week - the offer of 50 free prints was irresistible. Of course now I'm uploading like crazy and agonizing over which digital prints to order - I only have 30 days. So many choices, so little time....eek.
DD finished a little storage unit for one of the teachers at school this week and brought it. It was to replace a rickety old metal cart full of brightly colored drawers that was ready to collapse at any given moment. Since there was nothing wrong with the drawers, the teacher asked DD if she could make her something that would hold them, and this is what she made. Did a good job, didn't she? Not the best photo though; I think the camera lens on my cell phone could use a good cleaning. Meh.
On the day she delivered it, she got stopped on the way home by the local police. She had left a few minutes before me, and although I saw the flashing lights I didn't see who it was that Johnny Law stopped until I had already gone by (there was a big truck in the other lane blocking my view). Awful feeling to see DD's snappy little red pickup pulled over in the rearview; gave me heart palpitations, let me tell you. With nightmare visions of a $500 speeding ticket (and other such awful thoughts), I went back to make sure everything was okay.
Being careful to stop where I was easily seen on the opposite side of the median, I asked the policeman if he needed me to interpret anything. Now color me paranoid, but many misunderstandings have happened between deaf drivers and police; most do not end well (like the teenage boy who got shot because he went to get a notepad out of the glove compartment and could not hear the cop yelling at him to freeze). Now DD has great speech, but you just never know. Anyway, are you ready for this one? Must've been some bored cop. She was pulled over for driving too slowly. Yep. He wrote her a warning for doing 50 in the left lane of a 65 mph zone. The fact that there was a yellow intersection sign nearby with 45mph on it didn't seem to be an issue for him. Go figure. No ticket though, whew!!
Last but not least, was the almost jail break bright and early this morning. Thankfully, I was still outside waiting for the boys to finish eating and playing with the camera. I heard the pop and clank of chain and the subsequent squeal of the girls' gate swinging wide. Right on the heels of that were two very loud simultaneous whinnies emitted by Rina and Bella. I turned around to see both girls eyeballing Taya like an adult would an incorrigible child. Sometimes it doesn't take any thinking at all to translate horse speak: "MOM, Taya opened the gate!" in stereo. So funny; of course that's only because they didn't actually venture out. Yet again, I say "Whew!"
Little Miss Tootie Patootie looked completely crestfallen when I closed the gate back and wrapped the chain around the post so wouldn't be able to open it again. Just look at that pitiful expression (the heifer).
Oh my, I think I've talked too much this time. If you actually read this entire post, thank you (and have an appreciative hug). I'm so glad you stayed with me to the end. Éirinn go brách to those with Irish in their blood; have a blessed week everyone! :o)

"T" is for two...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

...and T is for trouble (and let's just make that a capital T, shall we?) I had a nice little visit with my friend Sandy the other day on the way home from my workshop. Somewhere amid all of our catch-up chatter, she mentioned that she was in the process of leasing a booth at an area antique mall. Well you know how much I love poking around piles of stuff: "Oh, how FUN!" *bounce*bounce*bounce* "Can we go see it now now now?". We shot out the door like we were going to a fire - which we were - though I did pause long enough to fling a "Right back" at DH over my shoulder *grin*. How exciting! Do you like those sprawling Antique places? I love them! Of course Sandy asked me if I had anything that I might want to sell in said booth (a question that I found hysterically funny considering the jam-packed storage state of our guest bedroom; although she didn't know that). That's Lucy, by the way. Is she not the cutest little thing? She's Sandy's inside dog and comes complete with her very own "I did it" face and an impressive - albeit terrierfying - wingspan (okay, that was bad sorry ;o) 
So now I'm spray-painting an old book rack for my cards and wondering if I've lost my tiny mind. Of course you can't lose what you don't have, now can you. *laugh* Have you ever tried painting anything made of wire? Whatta pain. Of course it's black and I wanted it white (just to keep it challenging, you see). I decided to use Epoxy Appliance Paint, because it was the best finish and the most durable. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to read the directions until after I'd already started. Duhhhh. Re-coat within 30 minutes or wait one week. A week? Seriously? That meant I was still spraying and respraying as it was getting dark trying to hurry and finish (hence the lousy lighting in the photo). It also means that a) I went through nearly two cans of paint trying to cover all that blasted black; and b) I have an actual blister on the tip of my index finger (and are you kidding me? *rolls eyes*) I thought about one of those handle attachments, but nixed the idea because they always clog up quickly and make a mess. 
So. Now we wait a week.... I hate waiting...*sigh*
We had an Elwood sighting at suppertime this week (Taya spotted him first). Wanna know the best part? Harvey was there too AND I managed to get a shot of those two capricious conies in the same frame (love those alliterations ;o) Grant you, they're sitting at opposite ends of the frame but I don't care. They are never right together; I'm thinking that's probably instinctive (preservation of the species, don'tcha know). For those of you new around here; Harvey and Elwood are two little wild wabbits (hee) that live just up the hill behind our house. For the longest time I thought I was losing it, because I didn't realize there were two. How could one bunny get from point A to point B like he did? Beam me up Scotty? I'd dubbed him Harvey (after Jimmy Stewart's invisible pal) as I almost never saw him until I'd all but stepped on him, and then WHOOSH he'd be 50 feet away and then suddenly pop up again somewhere else altogether. Anyway, the lighting is not so hot (getting dark). But now that the time's changed, we can have lots more for our picture taking day. Yay!
Guess this is why I never can sneak up on those two...and move over Lucy - 'cause wow. Kinda lends new meaning the the phrase, "I'm all ears", doesn't it? Hahaha *snort*
Elwood opted to lounge around the demonstration area for a bit:
Harvey hopped up the hill a ways to enjoy some yummy grass:
I tried to catch him with his mouth full, but that stuff sure did disappear in a hurry!
A sudden clunk followed by a thud behind me was the end of the cute bunny photo shoot. Seems Bella was sick and tired of my excited exclamations over a pair of silly rabbits and decided to prove her superiority by rehanging her bucket on the top slat all by herself.
Maybe it's just my imagination, but she appears to be just a tad exasperated with me. Wouldn't you say? Here's a sky shot (one more step to the left and it would have been perfect ;o)
Kinda neat though, eh? Looks like the sun, but it's actually the moon over my neighbor's trees. At least now you can see by the lavender color of the sky why everything was blue in the previous photos. As always, thank you so much for reading this far and have a blessed week everyone!

'Scuse me, Phil?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Umm... You might want to reconsider your prediction there, little buddy. I'm sorry, but highs in the low 80s does not an extended winter make. You have left us all extremely confused with your 6 more weeks forecast you twerp. Mostly because I am wearing T-shirts and watching stuff bloom. Like, say, oh I dunno - this Daffodil, for example? It's a little darker than what I was going for, but I was in the middle of the woods after all. I made my annual trek again not long ago to get my requisite CEUs (20 hours of continuing education units) for interpreting. Shocco Springs is tucked in the foothills up in North Alabama and is just beautiful. Of course you know I just had to stop and take some some pictures to share with you :o) I drove DH crazy with my "oh-oh-oh STOP"s! jumping out of the truck to photograph something else. It was worth all that grumbling I had to listen to though. Wait until you see my happy accident - I saved it for last.
And what about this guy? Helloooo? Aren't you yet another [other] sign of spring? Little booger refused to turn around and look at me. Bet he's miffed too. This photo was extremely disconcerting to take, as he was literally in the treetop. The reason I was able to shoot him straight on is because we were on a winding vertical road that wound its way down a very steep hill alongside said treetop; eek.
The water was so pretty with the morning mist rolling back across the lake. Doesn't this make you want to sit down and soak up some of that tranquility? It was a little too nippy outside for that though. I could stare at the water all day; it's sooooo peaceful and pretty, isn't it? :o)
Funny how the sun changed the color of the grass slightly, and the water quite a bit. Both of these are straight out of the camera on the same setting. This one is a little more to the left of the previous photo, and I took it later in the day. The little brown strip of land on the right stayed the same. Weird, isn't it?
Ready for my happy accident? Maybe I should call it an unexpected bonus instead. I mean I was aiming for Mr. Tree Squirrel, but he was too far away to see clearly and I wasn't expecting quite what I got [Boo-yeah!]:
As always, thank you for reading this far and have a blessed week everyone!

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