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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Occational Irony of Justice

I woke in the wee dark hours of the night, and could hear bad people clamoring outside my bedroom window. I hunkered down in my bed waiting for the worst to happen. Not too worry, shortly thereafter I really woke up. I'd had the b'jillionith 'anxiety' dream I've had since early December when I became a juror in a criminal trial, a murder trial.

Earlier today I tallied up the votes of 11 jurors and myself and felt my heartbeat surge when we came in anonymous in our agreement of second degree murder. Mind, I'm guessing that all of the jurors believe the defendant is guilty of murder in the first degree, but unfortunately, the trail & its evidence as presented to us was so cold and so full of hearsay, we couldn't say so within a reasonable doubt. Were the vote strictly based on gut feelings I am sure we would have gone with first degree murder.

Later, in the courthouse halls after the verdict was read aloud in court, we all had a long chat and got to hear the REAL story from the District Attorney himself. Finally we got to hear what happened leading up to the trial that ended today. Turned out this was the defendant's second trial; the last one ended in a hung jury. The hung jury resulted from just one juror who refused to find the defendant guilty of any crime at all. My jury thinks that former juror must have had her head up her but for now justice prevails.

A few years ago I was on a civil trial and at that trial's end I hadn't learned the name of even one other juror, but for this heart wrenching criminal trial I learned all eleven names and formed respect for everyone in the group, much the same as if were all survivors of a bus crash. We're hoping to get together for a reunion dinner some time in the future.

I must say, nothing like a jury trial to fill you full of patriotic feelings of justice, fair play and such. As stands, the defendant will receive 17 years to life. Here's the rub; the defendant incited, lied and cajouled 2 others to do a brutal murder for him. Then, because the other two individuals (already tried and sentenced) were honest and truly remourseful, they were given long and brutal sentences. But the lying, unremorseful, unrepentant clown we made judgement of for today? He got the shortest sentence of the three of involved in the murder, even though the murder had been solely his idea. The other two were just ignorant, drug addled fools - abeit violent fools - going along with someone else's plan. That so totally sucks.

And of course, the real victims in this are the family and friends of an 18 year old man-child who died in a pool of blood in a city park rest room because he had the bad luck to piss off a very clever and very bad man.

Monday, January 21, 2008

They're baa-ack.....

Bandit Birds

On Sunday afternoon before heading home, Barbara she had a look out the living room picture window, taking a little time to admire the Hawthorn tree, which is currently festooned with bright red berries.

"Are there berries all the way to the top?" I asked.

"Nope," she said.

"YAHOOOOOOO!" said I. They're back... back at last!

The yahoo and general celebration was because when the berries disappear at the top of the Hawthorn tree, it can only mean one thing - they have returned, i.e., the Cedar Waxwings are back!

Measuring His 'Belly to Berry' Ratio


Those fawn colored birds among my favorites of mine. They are not only beautiful, but I need them to help keep my hawthorne tree under control. As you can see in the photos above, the Waxwings stuff their greedy little gullets with the Hawthorn's red berries which means less berries fall to the ground to sprout into annoying baby Hawthorn trees. Now, how incredibly helpful can a bird be, eh?

Do the Yellow Feathers Make My Arse Look Fat?

Double Neck Twist

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mini Mini-break in the Wine Country

The Friendly Arches in Grass Valley don't come with Fries

I took yesterday off because of my achy knee - I can walk without the crutch now, but it aches and I want to lay off it for a bit. Friday night my friend Barbara drove up from Monterrey (Castroville, otherwise known as Prunetucky for its uh... 'quaint' & sometimes toothless inhabitants).

Haven't had Barb up in ages! On Saturday we drove to Grass Valley to visit Fran for a luncheon date. To our surprise - and delight - Mark was around. Most times he's busy putting in long hours at the Nevada City Winery where he's the little old winemaker (OK, not so old, and not so little, and yes - I am bragging about knowing a gen-u-wine wine maker). Anyway, we invited Mark along and we had a great afternoon of it. Barb and I were supposed to be the benefactors of the meal, but Mark sprang for the check at Tofanelli's and we 'ladies' got to feel genteel, cared for and all that good junk - thanks again Mark!
After lunch we decided a walk down the main drag couldn't do us or our waistlines any harm. I love roaming Grass Valley and/or Nevada City with Fran and Mark, between Fran being a 3rd grade teacher there, and Mark working at the Nevada City Winery, they seem to meet people and kids they know wherever we wander. Apparently that's what living in a small town is all about.
Window Shopping

Didn't get much walking in before I made an Imperial Decision, that dessert was going to be necessary, so we hit the Truffle Shop. Um.... lovely, truffly treats, all delish and most about 100 proof. I a Black Tulip Truffle bitter chocolate and Remy Martin Cognac. *hick*

Hum... maybe there was too much liquor in the truffles - you think?

We ended the day at the Nevada City Winery. I had meant to taste and purchase some wine but by then my knee was achy and I took a pass on the Zinfandel. And speaking of Zin, there was a wee bit of a din next door at the Miner's Foundry which was holding a wee Robert Burrrrrrns celebration. Bagpipes and kilts filled the air - that is there was bagpipe music in the air, not kilts, though the latter would have been just fine with me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I bitched about having no knee, tilI met a lady with no thigh

Tonight I was on the light-rail, and was just about to disembark, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very nice looking, well dressed gentleman. In a sudden fit of womanly pride, I decided "I don't need to hold on to any stinking banister!" So, without doing what I normally do - cling to the banister and lower myself out of the damned train, much in the same manner as the Sir Edmund Hillary ascending Mount Everest. I'm not exaggerating here - mountain sheep have broken their necks climbing down out of the light rail train. Really sad too - the ones left behind bleat for days.

Where was I? Right - no hand rails for an agile, nubile, young thing like moi! Results? I plunged down the stairs, landed my foot and practically dislocated my left knee - OUCH.

I yelped. The nice looking, well dressed gentleman had also come off the tram. He saw me grimmacing in pain and said, 'Don't you hate when that happens?' He then smiled and purposefully strode off to his car, leaving me standing there, afraid to put any weight on my left knee - #$&% gentleman.

Long story short, I crept back to my car, saying every word of my increasingly extensive of swear word collection. I hate it when my primitive, girly brain stem clicks on, causing me to do STUPID things to prove my I am a limber, young thing and don't we all know that ceased to be true about 20 years ago - Ok, 25 years ago. Oh shut UP.

Anyway, when I managed to get home I was totally chock full of self pity. Me - single, alone in my ikle house, hobbling about trying to take off my shoes and bring in the mail - pathetic. I wound up sitting on the couch, bemoaning my lost youth. The phone rang.

It was my friend Diane from Yakima Washington. On the way to the bus stop two days earlier, she slipped on ice, that was buried under a layer of new-fallen snow. She couldn't stand so she pulled herself up onto a snow drift and waved down a passing car, the driver of which phoned for an ambulance.

Diane was calling me from a recovery ward of a hospital. She had broken her femur (the thigh bone), had to have the bone operated on. It was such a bad break she had taken EIGHT PINTS of blood! Our bodies only hold ten pints of blood! I was horrified - I mean, she'd bled internally and had she fallen where no one passed, she could have gone into shock or she could have bled to death. Anyway, bottom line, here I was, brooded over my sprained knee, only to hear about Diane's temporary debilitation and hospitalization.

Knee problems? Me? Uh...no, not really.
UPDATE: Diane is doing well. She had 60 stitches from the operation and will be at the rehab facility recovering and having physical therapy for six to eight weeks! She said she decided she is NOT in rehab, but is instead at a really cool spa. I had a glass of wine tonight and toasted Di's 60 stitches and her spunk. Way to go Diane! *slurp*

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Night Out with the OTHER Girls

Last night, I dragged my friend Jeannie off to see the musical La Cage Au Folles at the Davis Musical Theater Company.

No - let me make this perfectly clear - last night I dragged a kicking and screaming, culture resistant, potentially 'ex' friend Jeannie, to see a musical.

Despite her efforts to maintain a stoic mind set and gloomy disapproval, the girl actually enjoyed the musical! True, she grumbled that I had dragged her off to what she called a 'he-she' spectacular, but still, she laughed and even managed a bit of applauded now and again - that is, when she couldn't retrain herself. Jeannie normally only enjoys movies, and only those in which things blow up and people get shot.

Anyway, after the play I was surprised to find out Jeannie had not only never been to a musical, but she had never been to ANY type of play - eh-vah! Not even one of her two kids, dressed up as a dancing carrot in a kindergarten play. What is our culture coming to?

I've decided the next time Lion King comes to town her entire family is going. Honestly, I figure if Jeannie enjoyed such a low key, non-professional performance, she'd likely really enjoy one of the splashier Music Circus or Convention Center productions - especially a guaranteed crowd pleaser like Lion King. Hum... who knows, maybe someday I'll drag her arse off to see Les Miserable! Dare I dream?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bad Egg Juju

Bugger. I swear - every time I decide it's time to clean up and declutter, the exact opposite happens. Stuff leaps out of drawers and closets and spreads itself around. Sometimes it gets worse as other aspects of my life wiggle out of control. So far this week I've dropped two eggs (on two different days). Then I made hard boiled eggs only they ended up soft boiled - very messy to open a 'hard boiled' egg and discover rampant runniness. So to say the least, this week my 'egg juju' really sucks.

And that's not all folks - the effing Governator just decided to revive the ailing state budget by closing a lot of State Parks, which includes the State Indian Museum where I've been a docent since 1999. EFFING GOVERNOR!

Hum... I think I'm going through a wee bit of bad luck just now. Am I concerned though? Hell no. I know my luck has already turned around. A few days ago I woke to a pungent odor - happily it didn't come from me, but still, the house smelled - uh... pungent. I got up and discovered the stove was on from the previous night when I baked a chicken. 'No big deal', I thought, and turned off the oven. That evening on closer examination I discovered a tea towel, burned to a crisp, on the stove top! So, since the tea towel burned up but managed to not turn my house into a towering inferno, I can assume my luck has taken a turn for the better. Yeah, probably - I haven't dropped any eggs in days.