Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Rocky Horror-monal Show

Hormones ~ what the hell are they really, and how in the world can they wreak such havoc on someone’s life?  I remember during my teen years, when innocence gets replaced by a tsunami of hormonal upheaval, trading hopscotch for cramps, Chinese Jump Rope for headaches, and the monkey bars for a face full of breakouts ~ it doesn’t seem quite a fair exchange.

Later, after I had given birth to my daughter, my hormones just seemed to be pissed off.  Of course, there was still the steady supply of bloating and achiness, but now they were accompanied by an incredible 3-day migraine that became a permanent monthly fixture. They were also accompanied by blurry vision, nausea, you know, the whole enchilada.  Then came the night sweats (luckily I didn’t have too many hot flashes, like my best friend, Virginia, who always exclaimed she was going to tear off her clothes and run down the street naked ~ and I’m sure she made good on that exclamation a time or two.)

But probably one of the worst things, and the one thing most misunderstood by the innocent bystander (usually the men in our lives and our children) are the mood swings.  These moods swings would randomly and without any notice, show up and have me crying, depressed, grouchy, and definitely not a pretty picture to be around. They were accompanied by more drama than a daytime soap opera. My then husband (lord help him) would collect my daughter and patiently take her out for Chinese food, or anywhere, just to have some peace for a short time. He would give me what he hoped would be ample time to sulk in my own misery before calling to make sure the coast was clear before they headed home.

Now 25+ years later, and I’m still dealing with it.  It seemed I had broke through, rounded the corner, that I was free for awhile.  But no, recently I woke again with night sweats, and those familiar pounding headaches.  And, they’ve been lasting three days. 

Hormones are not something that we only have to deal with periodically.  They are here to stay, fluctuating and changing their minds on a regular basis. Sometimes they get out of whack, go into hiding and then reappear like a game of hide and seek.  And they always jump out from around the corner and scare the hell out of you. But taking hormone replacement therapy scares me even more.

So, here I am now with what I hope to be some good news.  I just discovered something called seed cycling and have just started doing this.  This is new to me, I have no idea how long it has actually been around, but I’m guessing a long time.


Seed cycling integrates different seeds into the diet at different times to support optimal hormonal balance.  Basically, you eat a tablespoon daily of certain seeds for two weeks, and then the same amount of different seeds the remaining two weeks of each month.  The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release and metabolism of hormones.  Different seeds contain different types and amounts of lignans (a chemical compound) and essential fatty acids.  Lignans help our body bind up excess hormones, whereas fatty acids help with our hormone production.

I could tell you all about it, but I think if you just Google it, you’ll find much more than I can offer. I will post one link here where you can go to read up on this practice. The author knows a lot more about it, is clear and precise, making it easy to follow. Seed cycling ~ oh yeah, I’m all over it.



Saturday, June 21, 2014

The art of merging

I've mentioned before that I do have some what of a superiority complex. I don't deny it, and I actually will admit it, especially when I'm behind the wheel of a car.  I've always loved to drive, even before I actually had a driver's license. I remember taking my Dad's old El Camino out for a spin, stopping by to pick up a friend, and zooming around the neighborhood. There was nothing like the freedom afforded to you when you put your foot on that gas pedal, turned up the AM radio and rolled the windows down. I never had any fear of driving, of going fast, of traveling to the unknown. It seemed as natural to me as walking.

So, for those reasons, I find it very hard to understand people who drive, but really don't know how to drive.  They don't know how to keep up with the speed limit, they don't know who has the right of way at a stop sign, especially a 4-way stop sign, they definitely can't figure out the rhythm of the round about and worst of all, they don't know how to merge onto the freeway.


Why is it that so many drivers think that the time you need to increase your speed is once you've climbed up the on ramp and are now on the freeway?  This drives me crazy.  Speed it up, people!  You should be merging with oncoming traffic at the speed that they are going.  That is why you MERGE ~ seamlessly, you don't cause everyone else to slow down or almost come to a complete stop because you can't quite figure out how if you should go faster to get in front of the oncoming car, or slowly slip in from behind.

And the art of merging also applies to the drivers that are already on the highway and driving in the slow lane.  Give the guy who is trying to merge some room.  Or make a courtesy lane change.  This really is a team sport, with all of us being on the same team, though you wouldn't know it the way most Americans treat the highway, like a war zone with every other driver being the enemy.

There is an art to driving and it is an art that needs to be practiced and perfected.  It is not something that you should be learning on the job.  It is much too important.  Driving today isn't as leisurely as it was in my childhood days, where you could ride without seat belts, hang your head out the window, or sit on the edge in the back of a pick-up truck.

No, in this day and age of faster speed limits, heavier traffic, and people in a hurry, driving has become a much more dangerous game, and one of the key moves is perfecting the art of merging.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's really not a lot to ask for, is it?

If a genie appeared before me right now, on this early June morning, 5:00 am, and granted me three wishes, I believe I would ask for things I've already had, but have since lost.  I don't have any dreams of grandeur that need to be filled, my wishes are much simpler, but just as difficult to fill.

For starters, I would ask for my 20/20 vision back and that I keep it for the rest of my life. This is definitely the thing I miss most from my youth, and would pay handsomely to have it back. Not by laser surgery or in the form of some stylish glasses, but really have it back, naturally.

The second thing I would ask for is to get a good night's sleep, consistently. This one I probably gave up right around the age of 29.  Having a child keeps you up a good portion of the night, and this starts while they are still in the womb and doesn't end until they move out.  And even then, there are many nights that you lie awake, thinking about them, hoping they are okay. The mind seems to get more active the older you get while the body takes a back seat, a little too stiff and sore to keep up.  It's hard to turn the mind off and for some reason it really likes to kick into full gear around 3 or 4 am. I've tried many different relaxation techniques, meditation, not drinking any liquids at night, reading books and all the other tips found in every newspaper article and women's magazine, and still, no success.

And my last wish would be to have my family back, all intact, all in the same town, all together again. To share more than just holidays, but our everyday lives. This one I haven't had since around the age of 20, so it has been a long time coming.

If that old saying, "be careful what you wish for" has any validity, and if miracles really do happen, well then, you never know.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and restlessly waiting for my Genie to appear.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Home ~ Carry it in your heart

Summer ~ the season everyone waits for, makes plans for, takes vacations, attends June weddings, and celebrates the red, white and blue, is here. But I've never really liked summer. It ranks #4 on my seasonal scale of 1-4.  It is noisy, too bright, too busy, no cute jackets, no awesome boots ~ I much prefer Fall, when the quiet sets in, the earth begins to rest, and it's okay to go slow, to read a good book, bake an apple pie, indulge in Dungeness Crab and sourdough bread.

November is now my new favorite month.  In the past, October held that title, but with the weather changing and getting warmer (last October we had days that reached 90 degrees in this little seaside town) I have had a change of heart. I am now cozying up to November since that seems to be the month when the cooling truly begins.

I also favor November because it is the time of year that brings the excitement of the holiday season and with it comes renewed faith and dreams of a blessed future. Hope shines as bright as the white little twinkle lights and the storefront decorations that pop up on a daily basis. There is soup on the stove, cookies in the oven and a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream waiting.  Life feels like you fell into a Norman Rockwell painting, momentarily, even if you've never experienced it, you can imagine yourself right there at the dinner table, with the entire family, all smiles and saying grace.

It's the time of year that makes you want to hunker down, stay in, keep warm in your old flannels and Ugg boots.  Decorate, relax, sink deep into the soul of who you are.  You want to nest in the bones of your own home.  Home ~ that familiar place, with loved one's photos on the mantel, your favorite quilt on the bed, candles burning next to the little chipped porceline creamer you inherited from your grandmother.

I've been homesick. For a place to call my own. Not just a house, but a place, a connection, that when I get there, I know I am exactly where I am meant to be. We need this place to rejuvenate, to gain strength. And if we go without it for too long, we lose our bearings, our equilibrium is off.  Looking at all of my possessions piled on top of one another in a storage unit, crammed together, begging for breathing room, these boxes have become a mystery. They have been packed away for over two years now, and I'm sure that just like a good friend, they can be gone a long time but once you see each other again it's like you never left.

But sometimes the feeling of "home" gets attached to a certain house, a certain place outside of ourselves, certain people.  What happens when the house, the place, the people, for whatever reason, are no longer there?  Is our "home" then completely obliterated?

We have to store all of these things in our hearts and in our heads, and sometimes that's a lot to carry around with us.  Sometimes we just need to unpack.  To put it all back where it belongs.  The smell, the feel, the sound, the heart. The heart of who we are, what we value, what we represent. But until then ~

The feeling of home should always be stored and protected in the heart ~ where like a safe deposit box, we keep these treasured things under lock and key. It is where our true home lives. Like James Taylor sang "Home, build it behind your eyes, carry it in your heart, safe among your own."




Friday, June 13, 2014

Wind Beneath My Wings

Mother's are our biggest fans. If we are lucky enough to be born to the right mother, which I was. Mine has always been, stealing a line from Bette Midler, the wind beneath my wings. She definitely gave all of her kids the glory while she was the one with all the strength, watching, beaming, proudly.

When I look back, growing up, I'm still amazed at how kind she was, how she never really criticized, how even when I managed to mess up, (things like getting a small tattoo, coloring my hair with some spray in lemon sunshine, which really looked a tad green) she managed to find a little bit of good in my bad judgement.  

I remember coming home with the tattoo. I was 18 and quite an independent spirit.  This was back in the early 70's so tattoos weren't as commonplace then.  They belonged mainly to the Hell's Angels and the women who loved them.  Anyway, when I came home from my appointment with "Biker Bob" I showed her the poorly designed and garishly colored butterfly on my upper hip, and her response was "It's kind of pretty, if you like tattoos." I'll never forget it. How generous of her. How loving. It was plain ugly, and she knew it.

But this is her MO, putting kindness and love before all else. I've seen it demonstrated time and time again, with all of her children and beyond, to her siblings, to cousins, to friends. 

She has been following my blog since I first started writing it in 2010 and always sends an email after she reads it.  Usually telling me how much she loved it, or asking if it was true, or if I really feel that way about the subject matter.

I had put my blog on hold, since I became involved in so many other projects, but decided to join the NaPoBloMo for the month of June, posting daily for the 30 days. When we were talking on the phone the other night she told me how she didn't want June to end, because she looked forward to my blogs so much, and she knew I wouldn't be writing them as often.  It hit me right then, that if there was anything I could do for my Mom, to give back a little something, it would be to continue to write for her. So I will. Gotta make your fans happy. Love you, Mom.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

When Two Become One

So this might not be news to anyone out there, certainly not any major network breaking news, but I think I have figured out one of the main problems when trying to build and maintain relationships.

It hit me like a lead balloon recently while I was sitting at my gate in the Portland airport waiting to board a plane. An older couple was seated across from me and as the woman was rummaging through her carry on I heard her sharply ask her partner "You put your pills in here?" It was more of an accusation than a true question. His response to her was a grouchy "Well where was I suppose to put them?" Obviously annoyed, there was some huffing and puffing, a bit more muffled bickering back and forth, as each was determined to get their point across.

I started thinking about how easy life is when you spend it with your best friend. No bickering, lots of laughing, some sarcasm but more just good wit, tolerance, understanding and never ending support.  We make allowances for our best friends shortcomings and would gladly put their pills in our purse, or whatever else they might need us to carry for that matter. We give and take. True best friends don't keep score. The key to having a best friend is that we remain two very separate individuals, we are not trying to meld into one. There is no ownership involved. No "ball and chain." 

Two become one. How horrible really. Somewhat of a disappearing act. Why can't we be in a relationship, but still be two? We can take care of ourselves as far as packing our own suitcase, gassing up our own car, buying our own toiletries, can't we? We don't have to take care of each other's every need. It is impossible really. The idea of marriage is that we are expected to meld, or rather melt into the same pot. To blend perfectly, no curdling, no separating, hard to tell where one spice begins and the other ends. And while this might work in the culinary world, it does not translate as well when it involves two individuals. 

Most of those around me are couples. Long-term couples.  I observe the bickering, the intolerance, the fade, the let-down of the happily ever after.  It has now become more of a working relationship, one which runs on autopilot. We become such a reflection of one another, our actions become their actions.  So we are always on top of things, making sure the other doesn't mess up, because it makes us look bad. There is no line in the sand anymore, no distinction between the two.

Okay, so reverting to my first paragraph. I guess it wasn't me who figured out one of the main problems with relationships ~ it seems other's figured it out long before I had my epiphany at the airport. From Khalil Gibran ~ exquisite and perfect ~

The Prophet on Marriage
by Khalil Gibran



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Control Freaks

Why as humans, do we constantly question our purpose on the planet? Why is it that we have to create, build, discover, learn, explore, finish, manipulate, regulate, control and decide the roles of every living thing on earth? Did this all come from the Bible, the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita, the I-Ching, and all the other religious texts? Where did we get such a superiority complex?

Other life forms just seem to be content to live in the natural world, to exist, satisfied by a good meal, a good nap, a litter of little ones to take care of, just kinda taking it easy. Then of course, there are those  issues like finding food and surviving their next "around the corner" predator, but hey, that's pretty much things we have to deal with too.  Our finding food, actually comes in the form of finding the money to afford the food, and our survival, well, we all know that our biggest predators are our very own brothers - as in humankind.

Another school shooting becomes just another news story, good for a couple of days, maybe drag it out for a week if there are enough deaths or injured. Actually, the dead and injured don't really count that much, we like to focus on the killer, the whack job, the mentally ill, the sick bastard (or sick bitch) in some cases. Write a book about it, better yet, see the movie.

You start losing faith, you start to fear sending your kids off to school, you start skipping trips to the mall, you feel nervous and scared walking in your home alone, and it doesn't even have to be dark.

No, this isn't a fire drill

I don't know the answers. But I do know, that with all the good humankind does, and I'm not discounting all the good we do, it gets overshadowed when this kind of thing happens. This post isn't about gun control, or knife control, or how too much sugar and weird chemicals can poison our bodies ~ no, I think it is simply that we're not as grand as we think we are.  We are not as evolved and civilized as we think we are.

They say in nature that an animal only kills when he needs to eat or is defending himself from another animal who needs to eat.  He doesn't usually just get pissed off and take out a few of his fellow breed or any other animal, for that matter. Unless of course, there can be rare cases of mental illness, which has happened, especially when we use them for our own entertainment, taking them out of their own habitat and enclosing them in one of ours.  Yes, I'm talking SeaWorld, with their small enclosures and forced training, tearing them away from their families; Circuses, where we make them perform and jump through hoops; and Zoos ~ nothing more than animal prisons. And we, nothing more than control freaks.

Animal cruelty on display
This morning all kinds of things are going through my head - and I'm sick of hearing about all of this gruesome behavior from my kind, as I'm sure you are.  I am pretty sure that of all the animals on the planet, we are the most messed up. And with every dreaded news story, with another tear shed in front of the TV screen, I can't tell if it is my numb mode or my survival mode that is being kicked up another notch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Searching for Buried Treasures

  • I've walked many beaches, and as most of us do, bring home a pocketful of assorted treasures with each outing.  Shells that have been discarded by their inhabitants, unusual rocks, interesting looking pieces of driftwood, and if we're lucky, some colorful pieces of sea glass.


    I've always thought of sea glass as nothing more than litter, mainly bottles that have been tossed by some irresponsible or drunken individuals. My assumption was that the glass was truly only garbage that had been made pretty by the sea. Tossed around in the ocean, the waves and currents breaking it into smaller pieces, giving it smooth edges and polishing it to an iredescent hue. 

    At dinner the other night with friends, I noticed our host had quite a collection of sea glass. Blue, green, white, and come to find out, the rarest color, orange ~ and more interesting, a book on the history of sea glass.  

    According to the book, in addition to all of the garbage that has been tossed overboard, the ocean floor is a rich cargo of ceramic and glass which is the result of shipwrecks, piracy and foul weather. The book detailed how to determine if the glass you find is nothing more than a Bud Light bottle or a piece of fine china from the Titanic or some other historical find. This bit of news sure makes searching for sea glass much more exciting, just like an old-fashioned treasure hunt.

    Now, with each piece I spot in the sand, I pick it up, run my finger around it's edges to check for smoothness, making sure it's had plenty of time at sea, and then slip it in my pocket. Taking it home, I'm not sure where it's come from, but I like the feeling that I'm bringing home a little bit of someone's history.













Monday, June 9, 2014

State Street Prophet

When I was younger I thought God lived in the mountains and made his home in the pine trees ~ I knew when I inhaled deeply and smelled that fragrant pine and could hear the crunch of the cones beneath my feet, that I was in his home.

Last December, with the chill in the air and the Christmas lights sparkling, God was walking down State Street. Michael and I had taken a spontaneous trip up to Santa Barbara to buy a piece of furniture we found on Craigslist. But with the holiday spirit beckoning us to stay in town a little longer, we decided to go have a drink. We entered the Canary Hotel ~ ended up at the Chase, dining on Chicken Piccata and Caesar salad. The streets were pretty empty, being that it was a Monday night and colder than usual in Santa Barbara. But there was something magical and surreal about the night, you know, like a holiday Christmas movie. The only thing missing was a light snowfall.



We were walking back to our car and crossing the street when Michael saw something in the sky, high in the sky, bright red and green. He called to me to come see. I walked into the middle of the street, not even looking to see if there were cars coming from either direction, and looked up.  It was as if the world had stopped, everything was in slow motion.

I could see the bright colored object in the dark cold sky. All of a sudden, we were joined by a man, a black man, Carl, who at first glance, you would easily peg as homeless. He held a plastic bag in his hand and wore a bulky coat. He wanted to see what we were looking at. Of course, when he looked up into the sky, it was gone. He laughed and accused Michael of trying to get us killed by a car, looking for UFO’s. As we walked back to the curb he came with us. He started saying to me that Michael was a keeper.  That he had a childlike way about him, that he was authentic and real. He told Michael to stay that way, and informed him that that was one of the things I loved about him. He kept telling Michael how he was so real, and authentic and was original with his childlike wonder. He reminded me again, that he was a keeper. He told Michael that I was still analyzing him.

He then turned his attention to me and was quite insistent. “He is not them” he stressed “Quit testing him, he did not do it” ~ he told me over and over again. He went on to tell Michael that the men that had been in my life before had been intimidated by me and warned Michael not to control me. I burst into tears. He had hit a nerve. How did he know anything about us? And how did he know anything about my past or present relationships?

Carl kept saying he had to go, as if he were in a hurry, like he had somewhere important to be. But as soon as he would start to cross the street, he would turn and come walking back, to tell us “just one more thing.” And one of those things was, that he was delivering this message from God. 
Carl might have made me a believer.




Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Shoemaker Brothers

Friday night we decided to get out of town and go down to Ventura, which is about 20 miles south of here. Just wanting to enjoy some different scenery and find someplace new to have dinner, we ended up having a cocktail and appetizers at an upscale restaurant bar. We weren't that impressed with  the food or the setting, so we ventured off down Main Street to find some place else to land.  

We'd only walked about a block when we heard this incredible music coming from inside one of the Mexican Cantinas, and it stopped us in our tracks.  There was no room to sit, so we  just leaned up against the entrance and watched, as these two extraordinary musicians kept us mesmerized. Come to find out, they are the Shoemaker Brothers, originally from Washington State, and now make their home in Southern California. Actually, the band consists of four brothers, but only two were playing this gig. We ended up getting a seat and enjoying a full set of theirs ~ which was fascinating to watch.  

Nothing moves me like the violin. I think it might be my very favorite instrument of all ~ it can make such sorrowful sounds, aching, wailing, such desperate sounds, which can speak to me more than any words ever spoken.  


video

Friday, June 6, 2014

October Stands Still



November’s exhausted leaves
Brittle and stained red 
Like tiny little bird bones
Detained under my feet
I feel the crunch
But I don’t avoid them

December lights
Multi-colored and twinkling
Like gasoline from overfilled tanks
They sparkle and mesmerize the city storefronts
While mine are all white
Distant stars out of reach

And time keeps running
A little faster it seems
With each lap
I tear off another calendar sheet
Inked with reminders and birthdays
And events I didn’t bother to attend

October has the heart of me
It’s been that way for over fifteen years
Slogging through cranberry bogs
And looking out rain streaked windows
Of high speed ferries
Trying to recall if I was there
Many years ago

Out on a lobster boat
Up on a widow’s walk
Serving beer in the local pub
Locked behind bars for intoxication

So much history
And such a part of me
Even though it’s been minuscule
The time I have slept under down filled blankets
While a nor’easter unforgivenly raged
taunting overconfident placed shingles

October stands still
Holding vigil
while making its bed
In my overabundant flesh

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea" – Isak Dinesen

Fly like an eagle
In a little over a month from now our "team" will be back on the rough waters off Alaska, fishing for the 11th or 12th year (I can't remember for sure) for those beautiful King, Coho and if necessary, occasional Pink salmon. Every year as I fill out the required papers and my fishing license application, literally signing my life away, I always have second thoughts before I sign my name to the release of liability form. There is one paragraph in particular that makes me swallow hard, and causes me to reconsider if the salmon, halibut, bear, eagles and whale sightings would be worth my life. Here is how that paragraph reads:

Trip Activities & Risks: As part of your Trip you will travel by small plane to and from the resort. You will use steep ramps, cross what are often wet slippery docks; load and unload yourself and gear onto and from small planes and boats; fish in what can be rough water; and come within close proximity to wild animals. You may also choose to hike on the trails near the resort. These activities and those not specifically stated entail risks including, but not limited to: slipping and falling; water hazards; drowning; exhaustion; hypothermia; prolonged exposure to cold water; boating and/or navigational hazards; cold, heat, sun, snow, rain, fog and wind; guide misjudgment; negative reaction from air or waterborne bacteria or virus. In the event of an accident, there could be prolonged delay in obtaining medical assistance. Due to the remote areas in which the resort operates, evacuation to medical facilities could take 24 hours or longer. We could also experience communication failures and breakdowns or faulty equipment. Please understand that the description of activities and risks is not intended to be a complete listing of all possible activities and risks, and we ask you to acknowledge that the Trip may include other risks that could result in property loss or damage, physical or emotional injury, or death.


Death? Did they say death? I know they legally have to cover their ass, so listed are the remotest of possibilities. But if you are a somewhat paranoid like me, you must admit, they are possibilities! Yes, yes, I know that driving my car is much more dangerous or drinking the local tap water, but still, when you see it in writing it just does a little number to your nervous system.


But still, there is something about being out there, on that open ocean that makes you want to come back for more, risk it year after year.  It is truly a cleansing experience, a baptism of sorts. So, with only a moment's hesitation, I take a deep breath, exhale and grab my pen.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Alright, Eleanor!


I understand the premise behind this.  I guess after the big scare, you get a rush of adrenaline, a feeling of accomplishment, and an "I did it" to add to your experience belt.  A feeling of being alive.  Because there is nothing that can make you feel more alive that coming close to death, or at least thinking you were coming close to death. The lure of the amusement park roller coaster.

But I don't like being scared. I have never been a fan of horror movies, I was always afraid of the dark, always thought something was under my bed (probably stems from watching horror movies!) and I have fancied safety in my life.  Yes, I have been following Downton Abbey, if you're wondering about the Englishy way of speaking. 

The scariest things that I do would have to be my annual fishing trip to Alaska and the occasional visit to a WalMart when I am forced by a friend to accompany him to purchase some jeans or soap, or some other item that you just can't beat the price of. For the past 10 years I have gone fishing in Alaska.  We sign waivers, signing away our right to sue if anything should happen.  Like dying.  Yes, dying.  There are scary things involved.  Float planes, bears, fishhooks, massive halibut that can pull you overboard, and having to pee in a bucket. But you come home with a year's worth of salmon and a lifetime worth of stories.

So, I guess what might even be scarier than signing that waiver, would be staying home, playing it safe, and reading or watching about other peoples adventures. I've always admired the brave and brilliant Eleanor Roosevelt, and I'm not about to question her now.






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Privilege to Serve?

I received a jury summons awhile back and had to report yesterday afternoon for service.  After sitting in the small, dimly lit jury orientation room for over 2 and a half hours, and feeling quite claustrophobic, the court was finally ready for us.  Being treated no better than a common criminal, we were instructed not to use our phones, no texting, reminded of our duty to be here, the privilege it is to serve, and informed of what we would receive if we were selected to serve.  If you've served lately in California, you know you get a whopping $15 a day and .34 cents a mile, and that only applies once you begin your second day of service.  The mileage only applies to your one way trip to the courthouse.  For some reason, they don't feel it necessary to help pay your gas to get you home.

As we all marched over across the street to the courthouse together, single file, with our bright purple badges prominently displayed for all to see, I felt like we were being led back to our cells. When we were all finally seated, the judge introduced himself, the defense and prosecuting attorneys and the defendant himself.  He then went over all the "rules" which took him much longer than necessary. He couldn't repeat them enough, and kept saying, "you're going to hear me say this again and again." I kept thinking, "this dude really loves to hear himself talk" as well as, "if we are really this stupid and need you to repeat this stuff to us over and over again, are we really intelligent enough to judge this person and the outcome of his future?" Scary stuff.

Anyway, of course we didn't get a jury selected and we need to come back.  He said it could take four or more days just to select the jury. Big "ugh" here. I do realize in our democratic society that it is quite a privilege to serve on a jury, and heaven forbid, if I was in that situation, I would like to have that privilege bestowed on me.

But, seriously, can't the government see to it that the people are paid a wage that makes some sense?  Many of us don't have government jobs or work for employers that will pay you your regular wage.  Many of us are on our own and $15 a day is quite a deterrent when it comes to our willingness to sit on the jury.  Everyone seems to be scrambling to find an excuse, an out, and I can see why.  I myself kept creating scenarios in my head that I would present to the judge, hoping he would let me go.

It is a hardship to give up a week or two (or more) pay and it just seems to me that with what the government spends on everything else, they could at least reach in their pockets and lay a little of the green stuff on its jurors.

Treat jurors with the same respect that you want the jurors to provide the courts and then maybe this could work and be more of a win/win for everyone.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Making the commitment

Commitment ~ why do I have such a hard time with it?  It seems the minute I say, "Of course we'd love to come to your party on Saturday" or "Yoga class next Sunday morning? I'll be there!" ~ I am immediately thinking of ways to get out of it.  Doesn't make any sense whatsoever. And obviously, one of my shortcomings that I need to work on.

So a few days ago I made a "commitment" to participate in this month's NaBloPoMo, one blog post everyday for the 30 days of June, and on the very first day, I missed it.  Was I too busy?  Did I forget?  Was I just plain lazy? Or did my subconscious remind me that I had made a commitment and I needed to find a way out?

Well, I am determined to fulfill this commitment, even if a day short, so to get off on a good start, I will post two today to catch up. And then, hey, no excuses.