Random thoughts, ideas and pictures of a multi-tasking, yarn-addicted Lady Lawyer

Yes... I really DO have 5 kids

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Post PA Primary musings

I have never been prouder to be a Pennsylvanian than I was last night. I was at my polling place by 6:30 a.m., left at 8 a.m. to do nine preliminary hearings, came back around 1 p.m. and stayed until closing (8 p.m.) and vote tallying (around 8:45 p.m.). In the meantime, my husband, sister and oldest daughter were texting results to my cell phone because at the polls and at the GOP after-primary party (where 3 glasses of cabarnet were probably a bit much on an empty stomach), we didn't have political TV access -- we had access to the Flyers game .

My rant last weekend about politics was dead on politically. Voters in PA came out in record numbers (25% of GOP voters at my poll turned out for a completely uncontested race; 77% of the Democratics were out). Despite the 2 Democratic committee people being overtly for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton having no one to speak on her behalf and no literature at the Democrats table and attempts by the Obama camp to have them vote for delegates committed to Obama rather than to Clinton, the vote was tied between them on the machine balloting (he won by seven votes on the absentee ballots). The Catholic, working class Democrats came out after work, bypassed us Dirty Republicans, ignored their own committee people (who were trying to harass every voter into their camp), went into the polls and gave Senator Clinton a victory in Montgomery County. It was the same ALL over the county which had been trending Senator Obama's way for weeks in the polls.

Late deciding (within the last week) voters were overwhelmingly for Senator Clinton -- Obama's comments offended them for exactly the reasons I stated over the weekend. The national media (specifically CNN and MSNBC which were my daughter and sister's channels they were sending me information from) refused to call the race for Clinton until almost 10 p.m. Fox called it around 9:05 p.m.) By 8:30 p.m., it was obvious she had beaten him and done so badly. In my district alone, before 5 p.m. and knowing who had and had not voted, he should have won by 100 votes out of 489 potential Democratic voters. By 7:30 p.m., I saw the reaction of the late voters and knew she was going to come close Obama had lost overall in the Commonwealth.

Not that I get a say in this because PA is now done and I'm from the other party, but someone needs to remind the Super Delegates of how a President is selected in November. It's called the Electoral College and it's arcane and ridiculous, but it's what we got. I couldn't sleep last night because I was overtired so I looked at the electoral math (I know... I'm a geek) and not counting Florida (which I think is a moron move for the Democrats), Senator Clinton's states vs. Senator Obama's states electors is an interesting number. In fact, I heard a new poll this morning that shows Clinton ahead of McCain in MA, but Obama losing to McCain. Perhaps the solution to this delegate quagmire should be that each state's Super Delegates must vote for the person who won the state -- sorry Senators Kennedy and Kerry, but your voters chose Clinton, not Obama. Ditto to Senator Casey in PA. In the Fall, every state is "winner take all" and, by the way, Obama is NOT going to win in Montana in November.

It's fascinating being on the outside edges of this thing -- watching it but not participating. Pundits are dumb because they do the same thing I accused Senator Obama of doing -- telling people HOW to form decisions rather than listening to how those decisions are actually formed. The voters get to do the interviewing, not the candidate. The only math that counts is in the electoral college in November.

But hey... what do I know? I voted for Govenor Huckabee .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

Note: The pictures are completely irrelevant to this post -- it's Jenny in October of 2007 (at about 14-15 months) in her Penn State cheerleading outfit after she learned "Jenny... do Eagles touchdown." The 2 pics are sequential and taken one after another.

This is a LONG, LONG post -- I have some venting to do. Read on if you dare....

The life of a lawyer can be crazy. The life of a mom can be crazy. The life of a political volunteer can be crazy. The life of a knitter can be crazy and projects do NOT always work as planned. When all of those "hats" that I balance are worn in a stack on top of my head, they are bound to topple over eventually. I suddenly had a mental image this morning (or was it late last night) of the beloved Dr. Suess character taking hat after hat off his head, revealing a bunch of little cat helpers to clean up a pink spot and spreading it everywhere around the house and yard. If you remember the book from childhood, the image describes this past week. If you don't remember the book, re-read it... it's fun.

The lawyer hat started out of control and got worse with each passing moment. I walked in Monday morning to a voice mail FILLED with messages from my client that makes me crazy. Finally, by Wednesday, I found the three hours I needed to write a 4 page single spaced letter to him/her, explaining AGAIN the status of his/her case. When I went into the office yesterday (Saturday), there was AGAIN a long message (left at 7 something on Friday night) asking the same questions answered by the letter (which s/he acknowledged receiving). I wrote and mailed a three sentence letter saying "what part of 'you need to communicate with me in writing' was it you don't understand? All information has been provided to you ad nauseum." The letter didn't put it QUITE that bluntly, but it came darn close.

The week also involved dealing with an opposing counsel who thinks her client is a perfect individual and my client is therefore evil. Never mind that her client is a deadbeat parent, refuses to follow court orders and cares nothing for the child involved other than at his/her convenience. Never mind that the lawyer thinks she is God's gift to the court system and it is apparently beneath her to answer numerous letters and emails. Monday of this coming week is going to start with me filing a petition or two that basically plead to the court that I've had it up to my ears with the lawyer's and her client's holier-than-thou attitudes -- I have enough ammo lined up to bury both of them and my patience is gone. I tried to be nice. I tried NOT to bring this case back to court, but apparently this lawyer is more interested in billing her client than she is in watching out for the child's best interests or negotiating on her client's behalf. I can play it either way she wants it, but I think she will be sad when I'm done with her. I think her client will be sadder. I think the child will be better off.

This is a non-stop frustration for me in practicing law. It is completely counter-productive to refuse to work with the opposing attorney in the long run. On a criminal case, if I have discovery in a prompt manner, I can analyze the strengths and weaknesses, decide what to file by way of pre-trial motions or IF such motions are appropriate and negotiate a plea if one is appropriate. No..... depending on which ADA is assigned, I need to chase down discovery, be lied to by young ADAs, have promises made regarding pleas that aren't put into files before the young ADA goes away on a vacation to Puerto Rico and then I need to spend HOURS with the (very nice) ADA who knows nothing about the case. In family law, the frustrations quadruple because the vast majority of domestic attorneys are more worried about their billable hours than about the most expeditious way to finish a case.

The political hat was a mild distraction as far as time, but a HUGE distraction as far as where my brain kept drifting. I'm a PA Republican so I am not part of the insanity that IS the PA primary. I had a quick meeting on Thursday night (right in the middle of my knitting group, of course) to pick up signs and handouts for April 22nd. I have to be at the polls for 13 hours on this coming Tuesday when MAYBE 10 Republicans (out of over a thousand registered) will bother to vote because we are completely uncontested. I'll be able to knit all day.

I did, however, watch the debate on Wednesday night and am flabbergasted by the reaction to it by the media in the days that followed. I'm sorry... at what point did it become "unfair" to ask someone who wants to lead this country who he hangs out with??????? I am a moderate Republican (and more importantly, I am EXTREMELY opposed to continued U.S. presence in Iraq). There are a lot of moderate Republicans and Independents and conservative Democrats and undecided voters who have never once seen Senator Obama questioned in a debate about that horrid minister, about a 70's era terrorist who is apparently friendly still with the Senator, about comments he made which call people "bitter" because they believe in the 2nd Amendment and God. What would the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses (held on my birthday by the way) have looked like if the debate this past Wednesday had been held on January 15th?

I repeat: I am a moderate and I want our soldiers and marines OUT of that quagmire in the Middle East. That being said, while I would absolutely consider voting for Senator Clinton on the war issue alone (I have other problems with her, not the least of which was her Bosnia "misstatement"), the debate showed me that in the Fall, I will have no problem voting for Senator McCain if Obama is the candidate. It isn't that I believe Obama to be a bad person because quite the contrary is true; it is that I think Obama (and the media) believe HE gets to decide what is or is not important to the voters he wishes to represent. I am offended by the very concept of that attitude.

Keith Olberman, Dan Abrams, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Howard Dean (loser in 2004), John Kerry (loser in 2004), Ted Kennedy (loser in 1980 and we won't even DISCUSS his affiliations over the years; Game of Bridge, Senator?), Jimmy Carter (loser in 1980 also) and Donna Brazille (who is apparently allowed to re-define words like "fairytale" into a racial slur and who claims to be uncommitted as a Super Delegate.... snort!) do not get to tell middle-class America what issues SHOULD be. I could care less WHO the question came from about Obama's terrorist friend. I am not at all perturbed that ABC News spent half the debate on "non-substantive issues" or "the politics of personal destruction." To the contrary, after 15 months, this was the first time I saw anyone in the media ask these candidates hard questions about issues that will be important to voters like me in November. I have watched every debate for both parties since last year. There has not been a single point where Obama has articulated a specific plan for how he will address MY issues.

I've checked Senator Obama's website (and Clinton's and McCain's) because I really WANTED to drink his Kool-Aid. A choice between Senators McCain and Clinton would be difficult for me -- a true "undecided until the last minute" scenario. A choice between McCain and Obama is no longer difficult for me -- you don't get to insult my Commonwealth, disregard real middle class concerns and continuously try to gloss over serious issues with "hope and change" instead of concrete solutions. You also don't get to wiggle out of questions about the details of your economic plans that might very well raise my taxes -- I pay enough already. You don't get to tell me that you sitting in a church for 20 years with that minister and exposing your children to his hatred (or the potential of that hatred) shows good judgment. You don't get to tell me that your relationship with William Ayres is the same as your relationship with a GOP congressman -- the terrorist was instrumental in starting your political career; the GOP congressman was not; the terrorist said after 9/11 that he wished he had done more to blow things up -- you still are "friendly" with a person like that?!

Oh wait... that isn't supposed to matter because this election is about "change". Dear Senator Obama: it matters to me and I was more than willing to vote (not decided, but willing) for you until 2 days ago. How DARE you tell me what "should" or "shouldn't" matter? The President and all other elected officials (including myself because I am on the ballot as a low-level committeeperson on Tuesday) answer to the people; not the other way around.

Like I said... no actual time, but lots of emotional time on that one.

There was also the Knitting Nightmare... Jenny's pink sweater simply didn't work out as planned. She grew, the pattern had problems so I ended up ripping back the whole neckline, crocheting a scalloped border as a neckline so she can wear it and casting on a new sweater (in purple). I didn't cast that sweater on until I spent HOURS measuring her, combining patterns, doing math calculations to create my own pattern calculator and knitting several swatches. That being said, the purple sweater is turning out wonderfully well -- the yoke is done, the sleeves are on holders and I'm knitting down the body. It fits over her head beautifully (which is where all was wrong with the pink sweater) and she's watching me make it, knowing it's for her (because I keep putting it on her). I also got a new crochet book called "48 hour afghans" which holds some promise.

Finally the Mom Hat... the baby is still suffering from a nasty stomach virus which came on VERY quickly on Friday morning, in the car. I had court at 8:30 a.m. and her sitter was fine with her being there. By last night at 5:15 p.m., she had a 102 fever and by 8:20 (with Motrin only 3 hours in her), the fever was 104. We called the doctor who said to keep cooling her off and pushing fluids (which keep coming up and out) and that 105 would be the tipping point when she needed to go to the emergency room. Her fever is mostly gone today and we've gotten some applesauce into her, but we are EXHAUSTED and she is cranky.

We did have a nice dinner with all five kids last night though. The older boys were both home from college and eldest daughter came over too. It's really rare we have the whole gang without others -- I love my daughter's boyfriend and all the other assorted people who come over for holidays, football games and birthdays, but once in a little while, it is really special to just be the 7 of us!

I ran errands for hours yesterday and need to take one of the boys back to college this afternoon. The upcoming week is going to be nuts. I need a long weekend away with my hubby, my knitting and the soundtrack to "Braveheart" !!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Laziness

Today was delightful. I took Jenny swimming and there was a bang of thunder about 15 minutes into class (and yes... they clear the indoor pool) so I took her to the Healthy Kids fair they were having at the YMCA, got her a banana to eat and a new beach ball, came home and was a SLUG for the rest of the day.

Let's see... I worked on Jenny's pink sweater (it's almost done which is good since it won't fit her for much longer!), took pictures of my UFOs (unfinished objects for those of you who aren't crafters), updated my Ravelry pages WITH those pictures and listened to a big chunk of "Deception Point" by Dan Brown (the unabridged version) while knitting. GREAT book to read/listen to.

I also took video of Jenny playing outside -- she's so darn cute! The Human Monkey Child has learned to climb the ladder on the swingset and wants to go down the big slide by herself. Problem is that it's a steep slide and she gains LOTS of velocity so hubby needs to grab her! She's a menace.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Warm, Dry weather -- AT LAST

I love Springtime. My allergies don't love the season, but there is nothing I enjoy more than that first day where the weather is warm enough to go sleeveless and the sun is shining. The aforementioned allergies kick in like clockwork on March 15th and last through mid-June. I've had severe allergies to Spring grass (and other early blooms) since I was 2 so I manage them and accept that they are what they are. HOWEVER, there is nothing more irritating to me than to have sinus pain, itchy skin and watery eyes and NOT be able to sit outside with the kids or to have to wear a coat (and I rarely wear coats). If I am going to be dealing with allergies, it needs to be warm and dry outside.

Yesterday was THAT DAY... the first one after the sniffling starts where I can change out of my business suit into a gauzy dress, where I can pick the baby up early and change her into a new tie dye sleveless dress without a sweatshirt, where my husband and I can after an after-work "coffee date" on our back patio while the baby gets muddy in the back yard and plays ball in the driveway with my next door neighbor (who has lived next door to me since I was 7; the kids call her "Aunt Kay"). That day where I forget to re-apply my moisterizer with sunblock and end up with a pink nose the next day.

This week started with me feeling pressured, overworked and unappreciated and ended with an afternoon in the sunshine and a new knitting group (1st meeting was last night) that is minutes from my home and an incredible group of knitters, crocheters and spinners -- people so talented that I would have felt completely inadequate except that no one in this group would ever make me feel that way.

It's amazing how one warm day can change a person's outlook.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Very Long Week

Some Mondays, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. This has been one of those weeks. I'm tired, I'm emotionally drained, I've had little time for crafting and I have seven hearings, a committee meeting and a long drive tomorrow. I want to just go to sleep for three or four days! And I sound this tired AFTER a mental health day I gave myself today.

I spend too much time driving (Jenny doesn't love the driving either as can be seen from the picture taken Monday morning -- she really IS only 22 months old!). While I drive, my mind always wanders to what yarn I want to be playing with. I also sing -- Jenny only knows my bad voice so when Chip comes home and sings correctly, she gets mad at him.

I DID however hit the Sock Yarn sale at my newest favorite place -- Crafty Me Yarns. How perfect does it get...? Reasonable prices, beautiful choices, three blocks from my baby sitter's house and a wonderful owner who gave me tea when I really needed it on Tuesday afternoon. So the week wasn't unbearable (quite), but it was definitely LONG.

Need to go prep hearings now... THEN I can knit.