Sunday, August 30, 2015

Oh my!

Greetings. I am sorry that I have not posted this week, but jury duty has taken all of my time. I cannot discuss the case, but I can tell you the following:

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1. There were 106 people in my group that were contacted for a trial

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2. The odds of me being chosen were approximately 1% at this point.
3. Then they divided us into two groups for two different trials, my odds went up a small percentage.
4. They took us into a room to see the judge, lawyers and defendant, then the judge asked questions....

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5. This increased my odds to 50-50 when he asked if anyone had a criminal record. Only a few answered the question until an Einstein raised his hand and asked if a DUI was a crime. Seriously? Hands went up.

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6. I knew that I was in trouble. Yes, I may joke about "Merlot moments" but I do not drink and drive and generally cut off alcohol consumption after a glass and half (if I am not driving).

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7. Over half of the potential jurors hands went up. I went from 1 % to almost certain to be chosen...and....

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Yes, I am in the jury...front row....learning a great deal about the judicial system and court proceedings.

I cannot say anymore because I took an oath. However, I will chat about some aspects at a later date.

Hopefully  I will finish tomorrow after the lawyers' give their closing arguments. However, we still have to agree on a about 12 angry men closed up in a little room with one bathroom.....more later.

BTW: The big kid called yesterday...he's lonely in Seattle :-(

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Jury duty

Good evening! I am writing on a Sunday night because.....

I have jury duty tomorrow!

First, a quick shout out to Wildcat who is heading down south for a month. I'll miss you kiddo! Be careful!
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OK, back to jury duty....rats...I know that everyone has to do this at some point, but I was keeping my fingers crossed that the bad guys and their lawyers would be on vacation this week. Apparently not! And so, I report tomorrow by 9am (by 8:15 if I want a parking space) and will wait until my number is called. As I am interviewed, I will hold back from saying that I have a philosophical construct that I hold dear to my heart that everyone is 'guilty'. Yep, we are all guilty of something...too much television watching.....and so on....Yes, we are all guilty. Therefore, I should be excused because I will stand up and say "guilty!"....of something.....

On to Big kid....he is doing well out in Seattle. He went to a Mariners game and watched the bullpen warm up. "Mom, they are no better than I am. I can do this...."

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OK, I like the confidence.

Yesterday, he broke some sort of record at the training facility for something or other....he explained it. I listened. It did not make much sense. But, the trainer moved his leg a bit and the ball flew out of his hand. "Mom, this only happens with a few of the guys who go there for training."

A good thing?

Yes, I believe so.

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And so, his optimism is good. He is feeling solid without pain and will stay for another three weeks. That's right. Three more weeks. His landlady has made him pay up front. So, dad sent three weeks worth of rent. I am keeping my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed as well as my wallet closed that he finishes in the aforementioned three weeks because.....well....hmmmm.... how can I put this delicately?

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It's clearance discount....full price, babeee......

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No worries. I can sell some blood or a kidney.

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Gotta get ready for jury I bring a book? Laptop? Tablet? Newspaper? Cell phone? My mom? Kashi bar....water?

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So many decisions.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Preparing for the future

Hi. I am back in town and ready to resume Pope training. I actually have a 'volunteer webinar' to attend on Thursday night. I will learn the ins and outs of Pope volunteerism and how to get in and out of the city without having a nervous breakdown or walking a zillion miles.

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let's see.....I am going to need a sturdy pair of sneakers...thick runner's socks.....water bottle....sun glasses...rain poncho....and all of the accoutrements needed to spend a day in the cards....transit pass...bottle of water or five....kashi bars..hat...sun head examined....

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On to the big kid who is now alone in Seattle....oh, there should be a movie about being alone in Seattle, doncha think?

Anyway, he finally threw the ball yesterday after a month of training and hit 88 off the mound. He was not discouraged because that velocity is actually pretty good since he has not thrown hard since March.

This is encouraging news for him, so I say: "good for you, kiddo." Keep up the good work.

As he and I continue to train for different things, I am also getting ready to go back to work. There is a back to school barbecue tonight....oye......and a mandatory campus meeting tomorrow morning.

I am not a big fan of barbecues where there is a large number of people attacking the flat, greasy, and lifeless burgers trying to swat the flies off them. I think that I will bring my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich for this one.

Tomorrow's meeting is going to discuss the state of economic stability at the university. Enrollment is pay raises for the past few years.....budget is tight....oh yeah, at the end of the year, they abolished tenure! Yep, I no longer have job security after years of working on stuff that I disliked in order to stay employed.

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OK, I didn't exactly 'dislike' all of the extra activities over the years, but I did them to assure my family that money would be coming in to pay tuition and trips to Seattle and Texas. Oh, and there is the food bill too. And now, to give the administrators full control during a fiscal crisis, they eliminate tenure. Nice....No, not nice!
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I guess that I can try to get a barrista position again at Starbucks. They give health insurance. All I have to do is learn the difference between a caramel macchiato and frapacino.....and latte and espresso...and a shot does not mean a shot of whiskey, but of something else, which I have heard only when people have ordered them.

Am I worried that I will get the 'ax' at work? No, not really. I think that I have other skills that they need...although, at my age, I have a higher salary than the newbies (which is not saying much because I work for a non profit.). Could I be eliminated and then shout 'ageism'? Maybe....maybe not.

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Hey, I have a professional background that can be used anywhere in the US in a variety of settings. I will be fine if they close my program. Yet, I know that this is not the case with departments like philosophy and perhaps religion. There are not many majors and therefore, they stand more in jeopardy than my colleagues. 

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My prediction: They will whittle away the majors that have fewer than 10 students.....eliminate assistive personnel which means that we will not have administrative support to do things like grab lunches, make phone calls, and set up appointments for us (don't cry for us. I figured out how to use voice mail long ago, but not the copy machine and printers). Perhaps I am wrong in my assessment of the future. I hope so.

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 Maybe the President of the university will tell us tomorrow that we got a raise.
In previous years, when we got a raise, I would say "Two percent of squat (my salary) is still squat."  

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The reality is that as much as I complain, I really love my job which is the reason that I have stayed so long. The people and setting are terrific as well as my work load. My job has also allowed me to teach most of my load in the fall to allow me to travel to baseball games in the spring. Yes, it would be very hard to duplicate the people and flexibility that this job has offered me. In other words, keep your fingers crossed that the sate of the university is not a state of emergency as we prepare for the impending semester.

OK, off to do some Pope training with Big Sis.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ups and downs of training

Pope training has been derailed for a bit. After walking 5 miles on the beach, I looked at the feet and there are scores of blisters on them. Did Bruce Jenner have these problems when he trained for the decathlon? Did Caitlyn?

Image result for caitlyn in heels gifHow does one go from sneakers to high heels in a matter of months? perhaps this will be another Olympic game as athletes run in their Jimmy Choo's....
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Speaking of Jimmy Choos, I looked at them once as I passed through Nordstrom. Uh, they are pretty dang expensive.

I think that I will stick to whatever is one the clearance rack with a coupon that kind of fit my big, blistered feet.

On to Seattle...someone is a very happy camper...the training is going well. The hip is strengthening and he is moving along in the process. He is also making friends and anticipates the meeting of his goals.

In English.....he is progressing and he sees being on the mound at the bottom of the 9th in the 7th game of the World Series.

I had a nice conversation yesterday with an old friend whom I have not seen in a few years. We talked about the perception that most professional athletes are nice guys. I had to disagree with her as I have witnessed a nastiness that could be likened to the last pair of red size 9 Keds sneakers on the rack on Black Friday. Those shoppers hitting and shoving to get to the sneakers with the most aggressive woman grabbing them in victory.

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Similarly, the professional athlete has a cut throat mentality. Win at all costs (within the rules of the game, of course). They have a snarkiness to them that even a professional Black Friday shopper does not have. A friend from tennis who was ranked nationally told me that she would would not even give her 80 year old mother a point if it meant that she would get off the ventilator. Now, that is competition. I would definitely use a point or 5 to get BP Grandmom off the vent. Just sayin'....
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And so, my guy is happy today and that is where I will leave it. There aren't many days when I can admit to this because his temperament is linked to his success in training. When I do not hear from him, he is happy. When I do hear from him, he is either at the highest of highs or lowest of lows needing my brand of 'mom therapy.'

This therapy often costs me a night's sleep since I have to think of the right things to say that will help him to process his angst. The old "everything will be OK" phrase is not helpful in this point, 'cause it might not be OK. In fact, it could be career ending. Therefore, I need to use the Psych 100 and 200 courses that I had in undergrad....Do I ask him how he 'feels' about his injury? Do I tell him not to 'feel' anything? Again, I have to pull out the books and do some research. After all, this long distance therapy has to be exact and helpful without being too encouraging. In other words, I have to be realistic in what is going on. He is no longer a 6 year old who wants to be a fireman. He is a young adult who wants to be in the major leagues. According to one of the consultant doctors during his sophomore year: "The chance of you making it to the majors is less than one percent. Concentrate on your studies." Ouch.

OK, doc....he has his degree with a minor...made the Dean's list a few times and has a few academic awards (yeah, my kid...who would have thought?). So, he is off trying to do what less than 1% of the people who are trying can do....make the money is on's on him as he uses my American Express card as if it did not have a limit.

OK, got to get a few things done.