Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's in a name?

I find it amusing how you can learn about someone's personality simply by viewing the way they decorate their office space. . . and in the case of my office, even the name plates on the door.

Door # 1

Door # 2

Door # 3

Door # 4

Door # 5

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jury duty - take 2

It looks like I'm going to get a second chance to see that justice is done. Just found out that I need to report tomorrow morning at 9:00 for jury duty, round two.

I'm not sure what the trial is going to be. I have no idea what type of juror they're looking for. We'll see if they like me.

I know that the attorneys' reasons for selecting one person and not another out of the masses have way more to do with their legal agendas and much less to do with their personal feelings about how fabulous or atrocious they think we (as prospective jurors) are.

But I can't help but have that nervous feeling of a ten year old kid, standing on the playground at recess, hoping she's not picked last for kick ball.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jury duty - Day 1 update

Okay, today was pretty uneventful.

I sat in the jury holding cell waiting for my section to be called for questioning and was finally informed at 10:30 AM that my group was free to go.

Apparently, the case that we could have been assigned to was settled that morning, as the judge informed us is often the case.

It's possible the defendant realized that his case was not radically important (e.g., he's mad because he got a speeding ticket in a school zone in the middle of the night . . . frustrating, but not an issue that should actually go to court), and he took the plea bargain. We were told after being sworn in that sometimes just our presence in that room is enough to move court cases through the system. So it wasn't a shock to hear that I've been dismissed for the day.

In a nutshell, I'm still on-call, and although I won't have to return tomorrow, I'll call into the hot line tomorrow night to see if I need to show up on Thursday.

It may be that I never serve. The good news is that I still get paid for today and for every day that I'm called in. So far, I've made a whopping twenty-five dollaroos! Hold me back, I'm in the money now.

(Sigh) . . Oh well. I don't know if I'll ever see the inside of a court room. I came close today, but so far I'm still just a potential juror, waiting to see if I'll get to have my 15 minutes of fame.

Stay tuned for more . . . .

Jury duty

I've always felt extremely blessed and grateful to be able to live in the United States, where all citizens are granted (in theory) the same freedoms and rights by nature of our birth. To live in a country where, if accused of a crime, in the eyes of the court you're considered innocent until proven guilty. And where you are given the opportunity to defend yourself in a courtroom of your peers, who will hopefully help the judge reach a fair and unbiased decision regarding your ultimate judicial fate.

It's likely that in the course of every American's life time, each person will be called to serve in this role at least once.

But when I received my first jury summons in the mail a few months ago, my first thought was, "Crap, how can I get out of this? Maybe I could say or wear something that might make the attorneys feel that I'm not a good fit for their panel? Because goodness knows there are so many other important things I need to be taking care of. I don't have time for jury duty."

And I made a call and postponed this assignment as long as I could, reschueduling once to accommodate a work trip. But the day has crept up again, and as a dutiful citizen of Cobb County Georgia, I showed up for service as scheduled.

As I sat in the first court room this morning getting sworn in by the judge, the magnitude of what I'd been called to do started to hit me. I realized that it's quite possible that I might be called to serve on a criminal case and actually have some influence over the outcome of the trial. That my vote could make a difference in determining whether someone accused will be declared innocent or guilty in the eyes of the law, and also determine what his or her 'punishment' should be. That's pretty powerful stuff.

And my attitude is beginning to change about my participation in today's activities.

I'm currently sitting in a large room with over a hundred of my peers, and I'm no longer thinking of ways to appear apathetic to the judges and the attorneys who will be asking me questions. Now granted, I'm not going to appear over eager either. There REALLY ARE a ton of other things I need to be doing today.

But for now, I'm here. I'm listening and paying attention to what's going on, and I'm using this opportunity as the learning and growth experience that it truly is. And can I give kudos to the Cobb County courtroom for allowing us free wireless Internet? That is going to make all the waiting around I have in store somewhat bearable.

Now, if I could just find some coffee . . . .

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A breath of fresh air

Sometimes getting away from it all can be good for you, and this week we have chosen to do just that.

When I was looking for places to take the family for vacation, I initially considered a number of popular American tourist beach-front locations, which mostly would have put us along the coasts of Florida or South Carolina.

But I decided that this time, it might be nice to do something a little different. Go somewhere a little bit more low-key, not a place covered in tourists and flashing lights and animated cartoon characters, and Jekyll Island seemed like the perfect place to go.

The kids are on fall vacation, so rather than do what we always do and stay home chilling and grilling, we decided to given them a late summer beach trip, and I'm happy to say we made a good decision. They're having a ball.

It's currently the middle of the off-season, and so in some ways it almost feels like we have the island to ourselves. There are a handful of families here and there, but it's been nice going to any restaurant of our choice and having absolutely no wait. Going to the pool and getting to choose any lounge chair you want. And although most of the waitstaff in the dining establishments are operating on island-time (i.e., they're not in the greatest hurry to bring you your food), they're super nice and make you feel welcome with their southern charm and their welcoming smiles.

This hasn't been a week full of activity, but I think we're all enjoying doing a whole lot of nothing. Internet and phone service is scarce, but the trade-off is being able to walk along the shore, stroll the fishing piers, observe the lighthouses, see dolphins right from the beach and being able to find those little mom-and-pop seafood dives with outdoor dining options and bottle of wine specials.

How often do you get to watch your kids pull nets in from a shrimping boat? Not every day, let me tell you. And it was cool to see they held their own. We'd joined a group of high-school kids on their 4H field trip (hey, we got a discount), and we spent the morning trolling along the ecological shores and historic marshlands, seeing more dolphins, sea birds and learning the history of the island. And the teen group got to keep whatever was pulled off the boat to help feed their animals.

And even though we didn't catch much, Maya was brave and touched everything that came out of the net.

All in all, I'd say we're having a great time, and this will be a place I'm sure we return to in the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Much ado about nothing

I started a blog several years ago, and I swear I was addicted to writing all the time, even if I had nothing remotely interesting to say. It didn't matter. I’d use my blog as an opportunity to just get my thoughts out, to share whatever funny events were going on in my day (or at least funny to me), and it was cathartic to just write. Even if I knew the audience who would read my thoughts consisted of only about five or six people.

Then I joined Facebook.

And all of a sudden, I had whole different arena for sharing my thoughts. And what’s more, I only had to share a sentence or two. It was painless. It was quick. It was easy, and I received feedback and comments and saw the thoughts of my friends, too. Even friends I hadn’t seen or spoken to since the playground at recess in second grade. How cool was that?

It was different from Twitter I reasoned (and have since vowed never to join). I really don’t need one more outlet for social networking that calls and beckons me to spend more idle time. Plus in many ways, I pretty much considered my status posts on Facebook to be enough “sharing.” I can post pictures in minutes, which incidentally has killed my desire to scrapbook. Instead of taking the time to write an elaborate journal entry for my pictures, I simply type a quick caption and I’m done. Almost like when my kids had a bottle for the first time after months of nursing, and must have thought “Man, you’ve been holding out on me Mom. I could’ve been full and satisfied in 5 minutes instead of 20, all I have to do is suck down this milk and I’m good to go?”

But I will say, I’ve missed the experience of just writing for the sake of writing. Having a thought and looking at it from a variety of angles – well, actually just one angle, my own. Even if no one read it, that fact didn’t matter. I’d purged my brain of something, exciting or not, and it’s that experience I miss the most.

So here’s my first blog post in ages. It’s about nothing important and nothing interesting. But I knew if I didn’t start somewhere, I wouldn’t do it. This was totally more for me than for the pleasure of any of you who happen to have lost three minutes of your life reading this boring drivel. But I don’t apologize. . .it felt good to write again. Even though, at the end of the day, I’ve said absolutely nothing.