Procrastination (But I Digress)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pain, what a pain

Well it is time for tales from toastmasters. We had a speech last night about pain. The speaker made a very interesting statement: pain is a symptom that something is wrong that should be examined and yet most people live with some level of pain everyday and never seek medical attention.

My knees and my feet. Those are my areas of pain. When I lost a lot of weight, all the pain in my knees went away (but then I had terrible stomack pains which turned out to be fibroids the size of footballs which I then decided not to treat and wait, wait--there goes that digression again).

Anyhoo, weights all back, so now I have pain in my knees again. Five years ago the pain was diagnosed as due to weak thigh muscles and I was assigned to a physical therapist to build up my thigh muscles. Why should I go to a doctor now, just to hear that I need to exercise. I know I need to exercise and I do a heck of a lot more exercise now, then I did five years ago. The pain in my knees is a little different than last time. Instead of only hurting when I get up or sit down or climb a big step or climb any steps some days, now my knee hurts at rest in bed. That's new. And now I can feel my thigh muscles (I thought I had cancer the first time I felt them), so I'm thinking that my thigh muscles are not the problem here. Sure 50 pounds is a *itch, so I'm sure that's the problem, but I have a nagging feeling that the 50 pounds are not impacting me while I'm laying in bed. Food for thought.

My feet hurt. Is that really a medical problem? The debate goes on. One insurance company refused to pay for any treatment for my feet claiming that "comfort" was not covered by insurance. I asked them about that anistetic for surgery--I mean really isn't that just for "comfort", but they didn't answer. So rude.

I heard a commercial on the radio that said "feet are not supposed to hurt" come to the foot doctor right away for relief. What a concept. Feet are not supposed to hurt. I went right into the foot doctor and they made me inserts for my shoes. Pain in the you know what to remember to ease myself into using them an hour a day and then two hours, etc. But they did make my feet hurt less in the area that I was complaining about. Now a different part of my feet hurt. I remember the doctor saying something about surgery for my big toe if it got worse. It is a lot worse, but the word surgery pretty much closes me down. I'm not going back to the foot doctor anytime soon.

Pain is just a symptom. Food for thought.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Truth is a Complete Defense

This is a legal concept to defend against a libel and slander case against a public person (private individuals can counteract the truthness defense by claiming invasion of privacy, but I digress).

I love throwing that comment out, because it seems so logical and every person can relate to that being a defense. Tonight, Leon gave a speech at toastmasters about an illogical legal concept. Actual innocence is NOT grounds for a new trial or a viable legal concept to allow someone a repreive from the death penalty through the courts. WT you know what??? Scalia stated that actual innocence does not give a convicted criminal a constitutional right not to be put to death. Apparently that's just the price of living in this country and benefiting from the constitutional freedoms and due process afforded to us. (sarcasm font needed).

A new case has partially overturned this concept, but the problem is that the case doesn't follow precedent and it only goes so far. The only way to reopen a case when new evidence tends to show the innocence of the defendant is if that evidence could not have been found at the time of the original trial. They really had to reach to allow a retrial in this new case, because the "new evidence" is that the witnesses recanted their testimony (every one of them, but I digress). "Could not have been found at trial" seems like a really difficult bar to reach and only suspending reality allows the legal system to come to the correct result. Bad cases make bad law (another great pithy legal saying). [OM you know who, does that mean I agree with Scalia? Perish the thought.]

Too bad Truth is a Complete Defense doesn't translate to other areas of the law. Too bad too many in government historically have viewed the constitution as a law limiting our rights to those enumerated (not withstanding the often overlooked 9th Amendment, but I digress) and not as a restraint on law. The first amendment starts with "Congress shall make no law..." The constitution is not the highest law in the land. It is a limit on the government's right to make laws and control the citizens empowering the government. All government officials take an oath to uphold the constitution (some taking it more seriously than others, but I digress). To me, it should be that they take an oath to accept the limits on their powers as set forth in the Constitution. Just because the constitution doesn't give an innocent person the right NOT TO BE UNJUSTLY CONVICTED AND PUT TO DEATH, really doesn't mean that it is ok. Sometimes the law needs a reality check.

Shout out to Leon--don't you just love Law. [When I first went to law school, I was intimidated by the really big books with very small print. Now it's like a book you never want to end--the bigger the book and the smaller the print, the better, but I digress.]

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mouse in the House

Sounds familiar. We had a mouse in the house a year or so ago. This mouse is a little more at home than the last mouse. For the last mouse, I hired an exterminator. We got sticky strips (that Caitlyn stepped in) and mouse traps. We never caught the mouse, but it became clear that the mouse was gone, so all in all a good result.

We still have the mouse trap and I don't want those sticky strips again (although Caitlyn is older, that just makes her all the more curious--besides I almost stepped in one too and getting that glue off Caitlyn was enough to convince me I really don't want to get it on me.)

So do you realize that you have to actually set the mouse trap for it to be a deterrent. It is not enough just to have it in the house. The mouse threw down his gauntlet by pooping right next to the back door. We haven't seen him (except for the one time in the middle of the night), but there are some healthy poops right by the back door. The mouse trap is right out in the open (not set--that would be dangerous, besides I have no idea how to set that thing), but the mouse doesn't care. I haven't found any evidence that he has take up residence in the pantry, but why not--my house is very appealing.

So I have called the cleaning lady to beg her to come back. I've hired her and let her go so many times, that I may have worn out my chances, but the exterminator can only do so much with such an accommodating environment.

I want to hermetically seal the house so that the mouse will have no place to get in, but it is a very old house with lots more problems than a few tiny crawls spaces. I want to hire a contractor--show him the house and have him tell me what I can get done for the small equity loan I can qualify for. But I'm afraid he'll tell me to fix the roof and the roof is not going to solve my annual mouse problem.

Adam says that every time they clean out the brush at the cemetery across the street, we get a mouse. If that is the case, we are lucky that its just one mouse. When we first moved in there was ivy out in front of the house that I had cleared out because someone said that mice live in the ivy. Sure enough when they were clearing it, out ran two mice. So yes, there are mice in our neighborhood. No cats that I have seen--the coyotes get the stray cats, so that means a pretty open field for mice. When I yelled at the dog (not really--just you know--hey dog, why aren't you doing your job protecting our house from the mouse), Adrienne said--it's a dog, not a cat. Do you want to get a cat. NO NO NO. I almost prefer the mouse. Almost.

I'm going to go right home after work and figure out how to set that mouse trap. I'll wear big gloves. I think mice like peanut butter. Everyone does. Adam told me that his friend from Australia had never had a Reese's peanut butter cup and that peanut butter was very rare there. Who knew. No wonder the mice are here. We have a very accomodating environment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


With so many people in my house not working, I am very lucky to be teaching again this Semester. For whatever reason, the other teacher that I share the class with has decided not to teach again this year. Lucky for me.

Also, lucky for me is the group of students who have signed up for the class. They are so nice. At the last class, I asked if they wanted more lecture or if they wanted to break into groups to work on a project--they actually asked for more lecture. I love to talk--how great is that. The coolest part is that so far we have also had group work in every class. My previous several classes have been so disruptive that I wasn't able to facilitate group work as much. Lucky duck me.

We are working on the Constitution now--reading through the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments. I think that the concept of double jeopardy has been the most interesting to them so far--the idea that if you are acquited of a crime and then they find proof that you did commit the crime, you cannot be re-tried. It is a great way to show the concept of balancing the individual and society. This is definitely the fun part and we are all enjoying it. Today we are going to read the 14th amendment--not my favorite. Don't get me wrong, equal protection is a great concept and a wonderful thing, but the 14th amendment was poorly written in my opinion and as the instructor presenting the ideas, it is hard not to feel personally responsible for poor drafting.

So far I have a few stereotypical students--one who is very bright and motivated, another who just wants to sleep, another who mostly keeps her head down, until she's engaged and then she's just as passionate as anyone. Girls outnumber the guys, 8 to 1, but he's holding his own. I have three of my students from last year who want to do internships, but I'm not sure I can find three law firms to take them on. Life in the fast lane.

All in all, so far, it is a great class. I hate to let on that it is so much fun, I'd teach for free, because the paycheck comes in very handy. Lucky, lucky me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ohhh, Del Potro

And I missed it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Me. It is my fault that I didn't consider that CBS would not show the match live in the pacific standard zone. It is my fault that I only set the tivo for five hours and not ten (just in case). I even got home early, but I was so careful not to turn on the tv to see the score of the match on CBS until after I watched the doubles match that I had on tivo from espn2. Venus and Serena won--yeah!

Then I switched over to the tivo for the singles. By now, it wasn't taping and when I turned on CBS, it was over. So I watched the tivo for the men's final. Del Potro looked like he just could not catch a break. Federer owned him in the first set and seemed well on his way to taking the second up a break at 3 to 2. And then the tape ran out and it was over. Oh well, poor Del Potro ran out of gas at the final. Federer has never lost a match where he won the first set. The final rarely goes to five sets. Then I went onto the web cite to see the final score.

Luckily, the webcite had video highlights for each set, omg, it was just like the match against Nadal--Del Potro doesn't look like he's winning, but suddenly he's broken serve. The second set went to a tie breaker, so Federer barely lost. Federer won the third set and that means that Del Potro was behind the eight ball all through the fourth and pulled that out in a tie breaker. Heart break for Federer who apparently folded in the fifth. Of course, this is all conjector on my part, because I missed it.

Oh well, maybe next year I'll learn how to tape.


Monday, September 14, 2009

It Must Be Love

The US Open Tennis has had a bunch of cool graphics and vinettes that they play before each match. The overall promotion ends with a scene of Serena jumping up and down very excited to win, with the tagline, it must be love.

Well we know that love is blind. Serena and I are just a little blind, I guess. What should she be appoligizing for? She basically kicked dirt on the Ump's shoes, when the Ump made a horrible wrong call at the most important point in the game and she basically got kicked out because of it. The commentators are saying that the $10,000 fine is not enough and that she should appoligize. FOR WHAT? The ref was so completely wrong and obtuse that the ref should be appoligizing to her. Is anyone investigating the ref? No ref calls foot faults, I think because they are so difficult to call and most players are professionals, they know where they've placed their feet. So when a ref calls a foot fault, it is like a slap in the face to a player. The Chair ref can't overrule it because they are too far away to review it. They don't have an automatic photo review for foot faults. And the manevolent grin that the ref was wearing while she complained--I wanted to jump through the tv and slug her.

But Serena is a professional. She didn't argue once the ruling was made to assess her a point lose for unsportsmanlike conduct. She went over and shook Kim's hand to congratulate her on winning the match. It wasn't like Serena deliberately deprived Kim the chance to raise her arms in victory.

One of the sports guys who critized Serena's behavior and bemoaned that she was only fined $10,000, said, hey, kids are watching that. I thought of all the little league games around the country where the parents are so intent in the game and the Umpires are so abused. Yeah, poor kids have never seen anyone yell at a ref before.

Now I admit that it was unprofessional and I admit that it was over the line. If it had been me, that racket might very well have hit the ref, accidentally (on purpose), but I digress. Her penalty was that she lost the whole match. Does anyone really believe that Serena serving was going to lose that match point--the odds are that she would have saved it. Further, given Kim's propensity for fading at the big moments, Serena still had a pretty good chance of winning the match. She was the favorite to win the US Open. The game was really close, but it was not over.

So she was kicked out of the game. That's what happens for a flagrant foul in basketball. That's what happens to the baseball guys who kick dirt on the umpires shoes in baseball--"You're Out of Here". They might also have to pay a fine. Serena has to pay a fine.

I though her statement was great. As a lawyer, I admire how she didn't actually apoligize. But the commentators want her to be suspended. Well that would actually help Serena and hurt the sport. Good call. Serena gets a rest and is fresher and more fit for the next tournament and all the little tournaments that depend on the big names in tennis to appear for revenue lose out. I think the penalty fit the behavior and it should all be over with.

However, I seem to be the only one who's rooting for Serena. It must be love.

P.S. That's not to say that I wasn't absolutely thrilled that Kim won--she looked like she was struggling all through her match with Wozniacki, but she pulled out the clinch shots and probably would have beated Serena anyway, the way she was playing. Very cool. It was wonderful to see her win. Now I can't wait for Serena and Venus to win doubles. And do I dare root for Del Po? Federer is scary good, but Del Po beat Nadal so handily. Maybe...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rain Delay

Well here it is--the promised response to the comments on my blog called Privilege. I was in Washington DC (of all places) for a training. It was a wonderful trip, but the internet was not free and I'm kind of miserly that way. A great shout out to my sisters who did a great job representing.

I heard a pundit describe the disconnect between liberals and conservatives in this country as both sides believe that 2 + 2 = 4 and that the other side believes that 2 + 2 = a duck. It is hard to compromise with someone who thinks that 2 + 2 = a duck. That's the best description that I have ever heard. Still it is hard to wrap my mind around the concept that there are people out there who think that I think 2 + 2 = a duck. To my mind, that is where the shouting comes in. My response to someone who acts like I think that 2 + 2 = a duck is to scream--"it's a 4 you *explitive*"

Shouting doesn't make a better argument, but it does release some of the frustration.

Uncle John had an illuminating comment. He was absolutely correct. I was speaking about health care and the legislation is about health insurance. But I would think that a conservative would approve of a public option for health insurance, because it is, in effect, a use tax. You can choose not to pay it and to have your own private insurance. It is not mandatory like medicare tax or social security tax. Are conservatives calling for an end to medicare and social security--both socialist programs and both slated to be seriously short of money over the next 20 years such that the "tax" will not cover the cost? [Uncle John, thanks for the e-mail with the link to specific problems in the health care bill--I wish that I had time to go through all of the points, but all I can do is hope that my congressman does. My impression of a bill in congress is that it is made up like saugage--it's not perfect. My feeling is that these provisions come from other legislation that works, like medicare or a state plan, but I don't have time to research it further.]

I agree that the health care bill is not perfect and before the President's speech I believed that anything short of a bill including a public option was fatally flawed. But health care is in crisis and we must address it. [I debated sharing my own horror stories of dealing with the complexity of obtaining health care and my own insurance woes, but I think Gretchen highlighted the issues really well in her comment.]

Yes, Aunt Pat, I am so in love with President Obama, but my eyes are wide open. I am wise enough to understand that my adoration is the result of excellant packaging (gosh, he's cute and so smart!). I fully expect some terrible flaw to be revealed, because we are all human beings, no matter what expectations are built around us. I hope the terrible flaw is not a sex scandal--I've become somewhat of a prude in my old spinster age. I do hope that the terrible flaw will be a money scandal--that's as American as apple pie.

Human beings, I must keep reminding myself are not perfect. There's good and bad in everyone. Keep talking. 2 + 2 = 4. I'll try not to shout and I'll try to back up my statement with facts. The President's speech did that. He laid out concrete reforms that are needed. Yes, they are not free (he's leaning toward a plan with no public option, but that requires all of us to purchase insurance--I have no idea how uninsured people can possibly afford that), but our choice of doing nothing or doing a little bit at a time is not a realistic choice. I'm not willing to sit in my ivy covered tower while other people suffer. This is not really altruistic, I know that I am one illness away from being bankrupt and uninsurable myself under the current laws. My health insurance is very expensive and it stinks. Adrienne had a blog about dealing with health care with no insurance. My own experience with health insurance wasn't all that. It is time to act congress.

Meanwhile, I'm holding my breath for my Nadal. I hope he is so rich that he doesn't need to worry about health insurance. Gonzo is enough of a threat. And who will I root for between Kim and Serena. Maybe a little rain is not so bad.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


That is the only tape that I have in my room (I have only a vcr in my room), so of course if Caitlyn gets in there that's what she wants to watch. We know the whole movie by heart and I often can't stop myself from saying the line before the character. This morning Caitlyn surprised me by correcting me if I got the line slightly off. Smart as a whip that girl.

But spoiled too. I try to set boundaries and be a good influence, but she's so darn cute and I see her so little that it is very hard. She has a new tactic (did I mention how smart she is) when I won't budge from something she has to do (like get dressed or pick up her toys)--she races out of the room straight to mommy or grandma. Mommy or grandma don't know what the problem is, but Caitlyn is so darn cute that she is soon appeased and she's handily gotten out of what I wanted her to do. Smart as a whip that girl.

I got us a big blue book of stories such as Put Me In The Zoo and Go Dogs, Go. She almost knows them by heart, but not quite. She wants to read them by herself, but she gets frustrated because she gets to a page and she knows that there is more than she remembers, but she doesn't want me to read it to her, she wants me to remind her and then shut up. If she is really tired she lets me read it to her, but if I don't add the little sound effects that I sometimes add every time, well I'm in big trouble with Caitlyn. Smart as a whip that girl.

She started pre-school last week. I asked her how school was on Tuesday and she went into a long rant about how she hates school and everyone is mean and the teacher doesn't like her. I was a little distressed, so I tried to ask what she did and what other people did to make her feel that they didn't like her and she sighed and said it was fine. Then we got interupted. The next day I asked her how was school and she said it was fine. I asked a few more questions and I could feel that she still was not too happy about school. Then Adrienne (her grandma) came in and asked how was school. Caitlyn gave a big sigh and said it was fine. Getting tired of being asked that question and has a stock response. Smart as a whip that girl.

When I was in first grade, for whatever reason, I did not fit in. I could tell who the popular kids were right away and I was not one of them. For years I wondered what I could have done differently to be a popular kid right off the bat in first grade, because the same kids who were popular in first grade continued to be popular all through to high school. [As adults, different story, but I digress.] So I think about Caitlyn not being happy in school and I wonder what I can do to make it more positive--to make her more popular. This morning her mommy laid out shorts and a grey tee shirt. These are great, serviceable clothes if you are going to play hard at the park or build mud pies, but they don't make my baby look cute and adorable. Caitlyn loves to wear dresses so that when she twirls around her dress flies out. She reminds me of a fairy princess. I want to play fairy godmother and dress my little Cinderella. I want her to be happy going to school, because in case I haven't mentioned it, Smart as a whip that girl.