Procrastination (But I Digress)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Billy Joel is my guide

When I was in law school, it was downtown Los Angeles. The streets are nuts downtown with some going under tunnels with no entrance to the freeway and about six freeways intersecting all at the same place going in illogical directions. If there was construction or if I had to go to a seminar away from campus, I was really at a loss as to which freeway to get on. Finally, I figured out that Figeroa was one way to a freeway entrance I liked. From then on, I could always get myself onto Figeroa and onto a freeway I knew. Of course the first time I didn't know which way to go on the freeway. I lived in West LA at the time and my choices were north and south. I got so incredibly and miserably lost going north, that it was ingrained in my mind thereafter to go south. It became rote.

Fast forward to after I am a practicing attorney in Glendale (far, far away from West LA). Little by little that first year, I learned how to get to all the courts downtown and how to get on the right freeways to get back. But alas, once I was at a bankruptcy hearing that took place deeper downtown. I found myself on Figeroa and rejoiced. I followed my nose, but alas soon I was going toward West LA and not Glendale. How did that happen I asked myself. I know that Pasadena and Glendale are east, but of course my choices were north and south. So in the words of Billy Joel, I repeated over and over, "Don't go south." Such directional messaging has served me well.

A few weeks ago, I was in the Federal Court house downtown. The address of the courthouse is on Spring Street, but that is a one way street going away from the direction I am coming from. So I always enter the court on the other street to the rear of the building. If I had a lot of time and a map, I would of course know that it is Main street, but in my usual rush to court and rush out again, I find myself staring at the elevator buttons. My choices are S and M. Which floor did I come in on??? A few weeks ago (after looking like a fool the week before going back and forth between floors, because nothing looked right), it came to me "Down on Main Street, down on Main Street." I should have known Billy Joel would steer me in the right direction.

Friday, January 27, 2006

But I can explain

Put yourself in my shoes. Adrienne is the emotional one, and I am the voice of reason. I like being the voice of reason--I think I'm pretty good at it. I don't jump to conclusions. I logically access a problem and come to a reasoned decision. So my class was grousing on Tuesday that their lunch was cut short because there was a big fight at school. I said, it wasn't that bad, it's not like there were any guns or anything and one kid said, there will be tomorrow. Flashback to living in the condo and learning that the house next door had a gun and the teenager cousin could take it whenever he wanted with little supervision. Flashback to right before Ris started at Hoover when there was a shooting there--a freshman who thought he needed a gun to protect himself. But I calmed myself and told myself, that will not happen and the school has a lot of security and Adam will probably be far away from any altercations. Reason and logic--I can do this.

So I race back to the office after class to pick up my big box that I am preparing for trial on Wednesday--my first big trial in a long time and I race back home to make dinner and spread my trial prep all over the dining room table. I'm deeply involved in the nerveracking exercise of reading six volumes of very boring depositions to make notes for direct examination when Adam says, here's the video of the fight on Monday. I look up and there are three or four kids in white tee shirts beating the crap out of other kids in a free for all brawl. That's at your school I ask frantically. "Yes," Adam says, "the guys in the white shirts are my friends--they are the good guys." "What??!!" So Adam tells me that he and his friends eat their lunch on the third floor and that some other kids threw a slurpee onto a group of armenian want to be thugs who looked up and saw Adam and his friends and thought it was them. So for the past few days, they've been shoving at them and that sparked a fight. Adam says, unfortunately, he was already walking away when this fight happened and he just missed it. I say, you stay away from fights--it is your job not to get into that situation. He says, if they shove me, they're getting punched and I said then you better walk really light on your feet and work like hell not to get shoved, because it is your job not to get into that situation.

Five minutes later Adam says, here's a picture of the cops that were on campus today. What??!! Oh, yeah there were about fifty cops on campus today (tuesday) because some kids jumped the SRO security officer. [So that's why lunch was cut short.] There was a picture of cops in full riot gear, batons out, right in the quad.

In my defense, I was pretty wound up about my trial already.

Next Adam says he got a e-mail from his friend who's last name is at the beginning of the alphabet that they got a recorded message from the school on the phone that school was cancelled for Wednesday. He says I don't believe him. And I said, neither do I, because we'd get the message too. An hour later and many e-mails or whatever way kids communicate in real time over the internet such that Adam's been sitting at the computer talking to a bunch of people, he says, ok now I know school is cancelled tomorrow because there's people who I know won't make this stuff up saying it is.

I can't drive him on Wednesday, I'm going in early to court for trial. Finally at the latest part of a very long, stressful day, I say, ok, you don't have to go to school tomorrow. And he didn't. And it wasn't cancelled. I got an e-mail (first thing Thursday morning) from the PTA president saying, don't believe the rumor that school was cancelled (talking about Wednesday). Tensions are still high, but the principal is handling it very well with suspensions for students who run toward a fight to keep emotions down. Thursday there was another fight and the fifteen students who ran toward the fight were suspended as well as the five or six (all girls) who were fighting.

This morning, I had to call to excuse Adam's absence and they said "it was personal?" and I greatfully said "yes." My personal lapse in reason and logic.

And this isn't even the worst thing that's happened since Adrienne's been gone. When are you coming home? [Don't worry, it's darn close to the worst thing, but there are a few other things that if I wasn't a such a calm, rational person I might get pretty emotional about.]

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thar She Blows

Saturday was cleaning day at our house. Adam finished tearing out the cupboards in the garage and broke down all the soaked wood and put it in piles in the driveway to wait for bulky pick up. We cleaned the house from top to bottom (not your room Adrienne) and the trash cans were overflowing to say the least. Melody cleaned like crazy and I made some comment that it was very Van Houten of her, but in fact, it was so Gordon. Anyway, the house was clean, but the back porch and driveway were full of overflowing garbage and wood debris. That's ok, it's only til Tuesday.

Sunday night we started to hear the wind pick up. We live near hills so when it's windy, it's really extreme. 30 to 40 mile an hour winds. We brought the chair off the front porch into the house and learily watched the pile of wood debris flapping around in the wind. Wet wood is heavy, right? Then the power went out at 10:55 p.m.. That's ok, I was ready for bed, but Adam and Melody, not so much in the dark. So we all stayed up til 12:30 playing cards. We started with Rummy (Adam will not learn euchre), but soon we were playing scat and then spoons by flashlight. Finally, we were too tired to go on and went to bed. At 2:15 a.m., the door bell rang and all the lights in my bedroom came on (I had forgotten to turn them off), so I was up, but everyone else slept through the return to power. The wind was so loud, I was sure that we were having the first known tornados in Glendale.

This morning the wood debris was still pretty much in the driveway and magically the trash was still on the back porch. There were trees down all over the neighborhood, but everything seems ok. Of course I haven't looked in the back yard yet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

And the Winner is...

A few weeks ago, the president of our Toastmasters club was trying to get me to commit to going to the installation the following week (the day of cookie training) to no avail. Last night I had to make it to Toastmasters to get witnesses for Mock court for my high school class (we don't have enough students, so I've recruited some of the folks at toastmaster to be our witnesses). I was not surprised to have won an award (the President had been a little obvious a few weeks ago), but I was surprised at the award. I've given six speeches at the club in the last six months and I won Best Speaker. That's like the highest award and it's based on who won that award most during the last six months. Which means that out of my six speeches, I won best speaker more times than anyone else in the club. I have won Best Speaker in individual meetings at least three times that I remember, but there are about forty people in the club. Three times was enough to win the overall award? Hot damn.

The real fun part was that the topic of the evening was the Bill of Rights and I had just been teaching my high school class about the right to privacy, discussing the 9th and 14th amendments. No one at Toastmasters appeared to have any idea what the 9th amendment was and they were a little misguided about the 14th, so I was able to eloquently add to the topic and won the best Table Topic award of the evening. Toastmasters is too much fun.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's cookie time (almost)

I have been Glendale's girl scout cookie chair for several years and I have it down to a science--I could do this in my sleep. Unfortunately I did fall asleep on the job. I have two long time cookie chairs who refuse to go to the training. I'm not worried about them, they could do this job in their sleep, but one is now the leader manager who (with my permission when I was apparently asleep) told all the other leaders that if they've ever done cookies before, they don't have to go to the training. This stuff changes every year. Now granted, I don't know what the changes are until I actually train the other leaders (because I've slept through the cookie chair training that I try to blow off every year), but at least I see it when I train the other leaders. More than half the leaders blew off the training and when I trained the new leaders there was a lot of new stuff. I am in deep trouble. It looks like nine troops have not picked up their materials, so I'll need to track them down and the official sales date is only a week away. Life in the cookie lane.

Adrienne is off to Michigan for her big vacation. Caitlyn is going to miss her like crazy, but she's pretty young--I'm thinking she'll get over it. Adrienne however is not so young...

I'm reading Tim's blog and getting inspired to clean up our garage. There has to be something a college graduate can do to solve a major leak in the roof or at least contain the problem or at least take the cupboards off the wall before they fall on my car. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

AOL doesn't like me

Every once in a while, when I sent out a mass e-mail for girl scouts or ABWA, I get a few back that say undeliverable and I figure a few people have changed their e-mail since I made my list. I have one person whom I can never, never send e-mail to--it just won't go through, even when I hit reply. I can live with one person that I can't reach by e-mail--I've lived most of my life without e-mail.

However, last week I could not send e-mail to a client. I tried calling and got an endless ring and I literally couldn't reach him instantly which is absolutely what he expected me to do. That was scary. Since then I started to notice that any time I sent e-mail to someone on aol, it was rejected and not sent, so after several rejections, I actually read the error message. It told me to go to a postmaster webcite, which I did. It required an IP number. I have no clue what an IP number is. I tried by e-mail address. I tried my password for my computer. I even tried my password for my bank (I know that was a long shot--but they are all on the computer). I got back a message that stated in very convoluted language that the number would look different--lots of numbers and dots. So I asked my office manager. She gave me a number that had letters in it and I told her, I don't think so. It did not work. Then we found the book from when we had originally set up DSL in the office. Sure enough, there was a series of e-mails printed out and one of them referenced our "IP numbers". Yes, plural. So I put in the first one and aol kicked back a message "success" you are reverse something. It's not fixed, they just agree that I can't send to aol. Well actually reading the first screen (rather than pushing all the links without reading it, like I did the first time), revealed that someone has reported me as a spammer and therefore, aol will not deliver any of my e-mail.

When success didn't really mean success, I threw my hands up and we're calling an expert. We've left a message and they'll call me back. Meanwhile, after 16 rings, my client's machine picked up and I left him a message a day late--then I actually ran into him in the mall--is that spooky, or what. My next client that I couldn't reach, I ended up leaving a message with someone at her home. I sure hope she gets it. Who knew e-mail would become so necessary.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Soggy New Year

If you watched the Rose Parade then you know that we are having real rain in Sunny California--it's pouring. Feels like February. A few years ago I put all new gutters on my house and had the roof refurbished (the closest I could get to fixing it up without actually replacing it). But I'm sorry to say that the roof is leaking buckets full of water--in the detached garage which I didn't want to spend any money on. It's like a waterfall in there. I'm sure that that's a really bad thing, but I don't know nothing about fixing no roofs. Baling water--I can do that.

Our dog has been having problems of late--no doubt jealous of the new baby in the house. She was limping around, walking really really slow and then she started with the crying and moaning. It got so bad that I allowed her in my sitting room (she's not allowed in my sitting room, but it has a heater and it's carpeted). Well Aunt Mary to the rescue, for Christmas she paid for us to take Lync to the vet for xrays and treatment. First Lync had to have stinky medicine for an infection on her back and then because she immediately began to lick the medicine off, she had to have a cone around her head. Pitiful--that dog was absolutely pitiful in a cone. At first she stood perfectly still for hours and then ever so gingerly she figured out how to sit down. When Adam tried to take her outside to pee, the dog refused to walk. She's a big dog, so Adam had to push and pull her along. After a few days, she had figured out how to lick her back even in the cone. After xrays confirmed that the dog is suffering from arthritis, we got medicine that Lync gets to take in a piece of pepperoni--talk about a spoon full of sugar. Long story long, now we have a very different dog--it's like she's in her second childhood. She runs or should I say gallops, through the house now and begs a lot more--so spoiled. She even peed in my sitting room, because she didn't want to go out in the rain. Bad dog, but at least she's not so pitiful anymore.