Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Juris Prudence or something

Among the random offerings in my mailbox the other day was an invitation from the Superior Court of Solano County to appear at 8:00 in the morning for jury duty.  The term invitation is a very loose interpretation, however, I chose to believe they were polite anyway.  I was given the option of phoning in the night before my service date to check the status of the request to appear and what not so I did that.  And was informed my presence was not needed.  So I foolishly made plans to go visit my youngest daughter and go to the  ballet academe' (French Ya'll...all ballet is French) to watch little Mila train to become a prima ballerina with the rest of the four year olds in her class.  Simply put that was a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.  and yes, I did take a video on my phone and yes I did and do bore strangers spitless with viewings.  It is my duty.  The daughter and the adorable grandchildren and I  planned to have dinner after which I would spend the night.  This as a nod to the fact that I successfully watched someone elses kid without any serious or lasting harm.  Therefore Meg felt safe asking me to stay with her children while she scampered up to Tahoe to be with her hubby.

But I had been asked to call in at the end of the day the second day to check the status and I'll be go to hell if they didn't say right then and there on the phone that I should appear at 8:00 in the morning.  So I was able to watch the ballet and have dinner but then I had to go home to prepare for my day in court. 

Somehow I managed to get up and shower and make myself somewhat presentable and got to the court at the prescribed hour.  No mean feat at any time.  My fellow prospective jurors were herded in to a grim auditorium known as "Jury Room".  So we all scrambled for seats that were not near anyone else and proceeded to examine each other scrupulously, well I did anyway.  And my first thought was ,  "What part of that outfit is business casual?"  and my second thought was, "No mirror at your house?" and so it went.  I'm nothing if not judgemental and this was prime hunting.  So anyway then we got to watch a jury movie which I remember nothing about, then we were divided in to groups I, II and III.  I was in group I and assigned to a judge and court.  Wonderful.  So then we got to fill out some forms and mill around and I scooted off to fetch coffee, which I had to pay for.  Sign of the times...Then my group was called and 12 of my compatriots were chosen to be in the first group of folks to sit in the jury box, then an additional six were chosen to be alternates.  I was not chosen and I figured that this was all groovy and what not, but I would soon be on my way to hearth and home.  

Not so quick.  I had not counted on the myriad of excuses the initial 18 would come up with.  Although I have to say it would have been a lot more entertaining if they hadn't been so passive aggressive with their excuses.  I didn't really care except that none of this was like Law and Order, The Defenders, Perry Mason, or L.A. Law and I was rapidly losing my sense of humor about the whole affair.  I did think the religious zealot who ranted on for a good long time about Judicial Law and Biblical Law and the differences and all that and he couldn't possibly compromise himself blah blah blah and judge was like "dude, you only have to consider judicial law here and your other beliefs don't count."  I thought that was pretty good, cause I thought the religious zealot was going to have a stroke. 

Well anyway  the attorneys for the prosecution and defense went through the panel and dismissed the best liars and every time one was excused someone from the six alternates had to go take a seat in the jury box.  To make this shorter, everyone was a bad liar and sooner or later almost all the jurors were excused and the extras (me and some 18 others) were eventually called and placed in the alternates chairs and as luck would have it the judge was tired of excuses and lies and the attorneys got rid of some more folks in the box and no one asked me anything and I was chosen as juror #10.  What-A- process.

So we were sworn in and the trial began.  Again not anything like I had been TV primed for.  Real lawyers are boring.  Or at least these two were.  The plaintiff was boring and I pegged her as a liar and probably on some really good meds. for her day in court.  The witness was a git and not credible and gross.  Then the defendant, whom we all had been sizing up as a scum bag proved that to be true with the possibility that he too was a liar.  And wasn't this just jolly?  So we got to the end of the trial and it coincided with the end of the day so we went home and we were threatened with all kinds of bad stuff if we talked about, researched, used a dictionary and all this other stuff about the trial.  Do you know Steve?  He's nothing if not persistent.  But I gotta hand it to him, he didn't try to wheedle anything out of me that compromised my position.  Good boy.  But what this really meant was that we got to come back for another day!  What fun.  So then were bored spitless with endless instructions read to us by the judge, then the boring attorneys rambled on and made no sense cause neither of them had made any points worth mentioning, and we had to listen and listen and listen.  And I wondered why the defendant was wearing the same outfit as the day before and I also wondered why he didn't put a little more effort in to his appearance.  I may be shallow.

So eventually we got to go to the jury deliberation room.  And unlike what you've read in your Grisham novels and seen on the TV, there were no refreshments.  Not looking good.  Well anyway I thought the attorneys had done a piss poor job of both defense and prosecution and neither had proved anything and so my answer was obvious.  You must acquit.  Never underestimate the power of a group.  So we wrangled and some people got hot, and I said yeah I thought the guy hit the girl, but no one proved to me he did and so that was that.  We did get taken out to lunch led and followed by the cops, and when we returned we voted and were hung at 9-3 not guilty.  Awesome.  We needed a 100% accord to deliver a verdict, but we were not able to do that and the judge was a little pissy, though he said we were good boys and girls. So then the court somebody or other polled us one by one as to whether or not we were hopelessly deadlocked and we were able to agree on that and so we were excused and the whole deal was declared a mistrial.   A fitting boring end to a really boring trial. 

I am exempt from jury duty for a year now.  Praise be.  I'm glad I went through and did it, another life experience and blog fodder.  Happily it was only two days out of my so full life and though I would have liked to have come to a consensus with all of us agreeing I did make an excellent contact with a guy who does BBQ catering and managed to get some recipes.  Every cloud has a silver lining.

Squidgy, JD

Friday, April 22, 2011


I don't mind telling you that it has taken me all this time to recover from Nanny duties.  I am definitely not cut out to tend to the needs and wants, petulant or not, of children.  It's not that I don't like them, or maybe it is, but my goodness they are needy little buggers.  Like they want food.  In the morning.  When it should be real quiet like.  And they have to be taken to school.  What?  And if that wasn't enough, then they want to be picked up.  Some of you will be shaking your collective heads and murmuring, "yeah but didn't you HAVE children?"  Well the answer to that is yes.  Yes I do/did.  The offspring's recollections of their idyllic childhoods vary tremendously from one to another.  Depending on which one you talk to and whether or not they are mad at me I am either the "mother of the year" or "demon seed".   Very little middle ground there.  Ah well, I'm not going to bore you with those reminisces.

No, I'm going to bore you with what I discovered last weekend while I toiled in the sun at Ram Tap.  Not once but twice I was assaulted by two friends who wanted to let me know that I was sending them weekly spam.  OMG.  Spam.  Really?  This blog may be many things but it never occurred to me that it could be mistaken for Spam.  So,
Says I:   "did you open it?" 
Says they: " ...eww no. "
Says I:   "it's my blog and it's catching the nation by storm (or something.)  I can't believe you think it's spam.  Just read it.   You'll be glad you did." 
Says one of them:   "OK fine I'll read it."  (And then made a hasty departure.)
Says the other one (heretofore known as the humorless one):   "I don't have time to read everything that comes in my inbox.  When would I make money?"

Why does my life have to be so hard?

I am currently in Petaluma house sitting.  I have five horses under my care. I've already been here for about seven hours and nothing has broken or run away.  Pretty good so far. 

Naturally this has given me some time to view some really outstanding day time television.  Like "Cell block G;  Women behind Bars."  That was uplifting.  One of the best parts of day time television, besides the obvious as above, are the ads for what you could be missing.  Like next week when TLC will have the entire five days devoted to royal wedding stories and "insider" stuff.  Will anyone be going to work?  I think not.  Probably too, the DVR's of the nation will be in overdrive on Friday busily capturing every moment on every network of the royal nuptials.  Really?  Good grief.  Go mow your lawn.  If you weren't invited, and I am miffed, they don't want you there.  Period.  Ha ha j.k.  Of course you should watch.  It's royalty for crimenty sakes.  Like fairy tales and good over evil and the tooth fairy and Santa.  Indulge, fantasize and over eat.

Because I don't have enough to worry about with the puzzle as to where my invite to the royal wedding do is, I must also fret about not being at Badminton this weekend for the biggest horse trials in the world.  But I had this gig this weekend, so I couldn't get away.  Seriously, if you ever have the chance and you even remotely like horses, try to go at least once to this amazing show.  And if you don't like horses, there is always shopping.  A lot of shopping.  Sue and Linda are there.  If you two love me, bring me presents.  I love presents.  Linda and her husband Terry are the proud owners of a horse that is competing there.  They even have a pet rider, though she rides for a foreign country.  But we like her anyway.  Kick on!

As if that wasn't enough, this weekend, once again, all my friends are at a horse show near San Luis Obispo.  I hope you are all having a marvelous time.    And a lot of these lucky folks will then just jet off to the bluegrass state to watch Rolex next week.  Another of the truly great horse shows.  And may I just say Kelly, Tiana and Kristi?  All the best.  And Kristi?  You love dressage.  And Tiana?  You are fantastic.  Kisses to Blueberry.  And Kelly?  Just do what you do gurl.

I am getting v. nostalgic in my old age.

I'm going to post this now so Sue and Linda have ample time to shop for moi.  I'm a fan of just about anything British, but I'd really like a royal wedding mug.  And a new Barbour.  And maybe some Dewberry's.  You know little things.

Ta Ta for now

Monday, April 4, 2011

nanny- a person, usually with special training, employed to care for children in a household

It occurred to me this past weekend that some of my best inspirations for this blog come during the idyllic hours I spend shoveling horse pookie.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Shoveling right along...  Last Thursday I took myself off to whine country once again.  I was to spend two days playing horse mom.  The real mom had gone off to play with the rich and famous in Temecula for another horse show.  She called me Thursday night, but really couldn't talk because she was at a fabulous dinner with fabulous friends.  I don't know if she did that just to rub it in that I was eating deli take-out...  alone whilst she and her cronies were at a smart dinner together, or not.  sigh.

Squidgy Rides!  Yep.  So the fabulous horse show mom instructed me  to ride her new horse the beloved Kilo.  You have met Kilo in previous editions...OTTTB etc. etc. etc. OK then.   Well of course I queried fabulous horse show mom (FHSM) if I should lunge the OTTTB to get the bucks and other vile behavior out of his system.  To which FHSM replied, "Oh just get on him and ride."  Well OK then.  Cast your memory back to a couple episodes ago when I mentioned I wasn't in the shape I wanted to be.  A scant five weeks have passed since then, and while I do go to the gym religiously (snort if you like) I've certainly not reached my ideal, and impossible goal yet.  In any case it had been many, many years since I threw my leg over the back of a TB and I was sceptical of the whole idea. 

Nevertheless, since I have Kaiser Insurance I bravely just got on him and rode!  And loved every minute.  Some of that was due to the fact that I was in my own saddle which is perfect in every way, but mostly because the beast had, what is known in the industry, a good work ethic.  Yeah me.  So anyway I rode for about 30 minutes partly because it was bloody hot, but mostly because Kilo had once again thrown his version of a Manolo Blahnik and the bang up job I'd done bandaging his foot only lasted so long.  So that was all well and good and I was feeling all cheery and what not and foolishly expected FHSM to ring up and ask if I was alive and what ever - but she did not.  Hmmm.  Well anyway I re wrapped the foot and put Kilo to night night and called Shirley and said I wanted a horse just like Kilo only one that keeps his shoes on and we had a fine time slamming various farriers we've known and praising the one we loved and who are good and that was a fine time.

Round about nine o'clock FHSM texted me.  What follows is a verbatim transcript of that conversation.
FHSM:  How was Kilo?
Squidgy:  Lovely
FHSM:  Really? (like she thought I was being sarcastic or in traction or something...)  >:-(
Squidgy:  I love him
FHSM:  sends blank text, probably in shock or something.  >:-(
Then FHSM called up (remember I said she called?)  OK so I figured she just called to ascertain it really was yours truly texting away and not some trauma doc. having a go.  But as I said she could only talk for a second since she had more fabulous things to do now that I seemed to be alive.

Just for grins I rode Kilo the following day as well.  Then I waited for the farrier to come put on the Manolo Blahnik.  And waited andwaitedanwaited...Well you'd a thought someone coulda told me he'd come while I was up at the house taking a shower wouldn't you?  So I waited for an hour and a half and then discovered he'd come and gone and I had played 5000 games of Mah Jong sitting in my car for no reason other than I should have just checked.  fizzle

I high tailed it outta there because, as promised, Squidgy had another gig for Saturday and Sunday!  Will wonders never cease.  So anyway as I said I took myself off for gig II and presented myself to my new employers who were thrilled to death to see me, gave me a drink and we settled in for an evening of debauchery with the demon spirits. 

Well as is their custom, the new employers arose from their slumber at the very b*** crack of dawn, and made sufficient noise as to awake yours truly, who does not welcome the dawn the same as these half wits.  But I'd promised, in my incoherence the previous night, to arise with the chickens and them and get a quick run through as to what needed to be done to and for the six horses remaining at home while six other horses went off to go schooling cross country jumps in Paso Robles.  So I made some kind of attempt to appear if not awake, then not completely asleep either.  And Shirley rattled on a mile a minute with what to with this and that and the the other thing.  And I smiled and nodded and wondered WTF any of it meant and they loaded the horses into the trailer and loaded themselves in to the truck and off they went.  And I sat down and considered the ramifications of a nap. 

However, I am nothing if not a consummate professional and I decided to try to recall what "she" had said and managed to remember there was something about doing the stalls.  All nine or five thousand of them, at this point it really didn't matter now did it?   So I breezed through them, again with that fitness thing, then took stock of the stock (hahaha  I am still funny) 

Then I remembered that three of the horses were leaving to go to new homes.  And that various shippers would be calling to let me know of their imminent arrival and I had no recollection of who was going with who and when and any of that nonsense.  So I called Shirley and said, "who's going with who and when?"  So that got sorted out and sometime later the first shipper arrived to take Pearl with him to WA and I was Johnny on the Spot with that and met him at the gate with the correct horse and he parked his 18 wheeler in front of me and released the air brake or whatever the hell that thing is that hisses and pops and generally gave me a heart attack and Pearl leaped in the air and we then stood and stared as transport guy got out of the cab and pulled up his slinky gym shorts and made his way to us.  I smiled.  He smiled, and we agreed that this was the horse he was taking and he began the ritual of bringing down the ramp from the trailer, the top of which was up higher than my 5'6", placed the flimsy sides on the ramp, which give the illusion of barriers but in fact just sat there waving in the breeze, then down came the carpet and we were ready for Pearl to get in the trailer.  Except we weren't because transport guy had to pull his shorts up.  again.  This time I was treated to more of the pair-o-moons than anyone had any right to see.  So then we were ready and the horse went in, the shorts came down, I stared in horror, the shorts did not come up, I turned away and scanned my memory for what Emily Post said to do in these cases, discovered Emily Post would never have put herself in that position in the first place and gave it all up as a bad job and just got the hell out of the trailer.  But transport guy with white, hairy moons was not done with me yet.  Oh no.  He was a commercial shipper so now I had to answer his questions that he had to commit to paper as to the horses name?...uh Pearl.  Where it was going?  Washington somewhere I think.  New owner?   I knew that.  THEN I had to man up and sign the receipt.  Great.  So I did.  Then transport guy pulled up his pants again, I said ta ta and safe trip and all that baloney and went back to the house, put my now filthy clothes in the washer and went back to bed.  Not a bad way to make a living is it? 

Later that afternoon I arose and since I don't wake up that easily after sufficient sleep either, I stumbled around for awhile, then made my way back to the barn and did the afternoon chores which were easy breezy and feeling pretty please with myself, settled in to wait for shipper #2 to come pick up the next two horses.  Happily, and thankfully, this one had on jeans and a belt so we didn't have any of "those" issues.  And he was very proud of his new trailer so we spent some time applauding it's various features, then I loaded the horses, he closed the door and off they went.  Only three horses left...

So the next day came and I had to get my own lazy self up at the b*** crack of dawn, which I did rather more alertly since I'd not imbibed of the demon rum the night before and I got all the morning chores done then made nice with the horses who were left.  Considered riding, and let it go.  Then I decided to groom one of the horses.  Which I did and considering I used only elbow grease and Show Sheen did a pretty good job of that as well.  And feeling rather smug, went back to the house for another cup of coffee.  Then Shirley called and said they were on their way home and I could leave if I wanted.  Since I already had the check I did just that.

And now this:
Oh for crying out loud.  Are you serious here?  Whine country mom just rang up to hire yours truly for another episode at her casa.  Evidently I am such a great friend, that now she is entrusting the life and welfare of her only son to my care.  I mean really?  Many of you know me.  I'm sorry about that, but in any case...would you trust me with your child?  That's what I thought.  So the conversation went something like this:
WCM:  I have to go on a camping field trip with my daughter on Weds, Thurs and will be back Friday.  Can you stay?
Squidgy:  Sure
WCM:  Oh and by the way, little Alphonse (pseudonym) will be there and you'll need to drive him to school.  Thanks man.
Squidgy:  Are you serious?
WCM:  Thanks man.
Squidgy:  OK, are you insane?
WCM:  You'll be fine,
Squidgy:  Do I have to cook and all that too?
WCM:  Yup
Squidgy:  Perhaps I'll just call Child Protective Services now shall I?
WCM:  I told him he has to buy hot lunch so you don't have to make lunches.
Squidgy:  I always made my kids buy hot lunch.  They learned to  make their own lunches pretty early on.  I hate making lunches.  Hate it.
Squidgy:  You better have provisions, I'm not spending my wages feeding real meals.
WCM:  Oh, and Holly will be there too!
Squidgy:  What is wrong with you?  Why would you do that?
WCM:  You can leave on Friday...:-}
Squidgy:  I hate you.
WCM:  Love you man.  Thanks
Squidgy:  fizzle

Heavy sigh.  I leave Wednesday for new gig as nanny to the rich and famous.  Expecting a call from the father as he is a faithful  reader.  My life sux.