William went to an orientation today. He got his schedule, and he and his mother walked the halls to his various classrooms.
He threw up in the hall.
William is headed to middle school this year. The school is over the bridge from our house, on the other side of the Conewango Creek. To put it mildly, William is concerned about this change, because this year, WILLIAM. HAS. TO. CHANGE. CLASSROOMS.
I was surprised that so many of you hated the thought of jury duty. I have only had jury duty one time before, but I actually found it very interesting.
It was a federal case, and required me to drive an hour and a half to get there. I could have been put up in a hotel, There was a lot of discussion about sequestering us, but in the end, they decided that it wasn't necessary. I like my own comfortable bed and my own husband in it, so I made the drive to and from each day.
You can read about the case here.
The most interesting thing about the case was that Buwlis was serving as his own lawyer. During the opening statements, he said, speaking of himself in the third person, "You must decide if Mr. Mohammad is guilty of a crime, or if he is guilty of civil disobedience."
My eyes bugged a little when he said that, because he was wrong. Our decision was to decide if he was guilty, and he had just said that he was before the trial even started. (Abraham Lincoln made the statement that a man who represented himself in court had a fool for a client. His point was valid.)
Mr. Mohammad seemed to think that he was a very clever man, but he wasn't. His cross examinations lacked direction and sometimes even a point. The witness would make a statement and he would stop and turn to the jury triumphantly. 12 of us, and 2 alternates looked back and tried to understand what he felt had been proven by his questioning.
Probably the most difficult thing for me was that at lunch time, I went out for a walk. That first day, one of the other jurors walked with me. There was some sort of festival going on. The woman I was with began to rant about how things like this drew black people to her beautiful town and she hated that. She didn't stop. She went on a great length about her feelings about black people.
Our man on trial was black.
I cut my part of the walk short and headed back to the jury room. She went to have a cigarette.
On the way up to the jury room, I thought about our conversation. My biggest fear was that this was a big trial in our neck of the woods, and there were lots of reporters there. If a reporter had heard any part of this conversation, it could have turned into a criticism that the judgement was biased due to prejudiced jurors. I was also very nervous about the fact that I had been so dumbstruck and said nothing at all. I was afraid my silence would be interpreted as agreement.
"Listen," I said, and I told the two other jurors about my walk with the little Italian woman. One juror said, "We were asked specifically whether we had any prejudices that would preclude a fair judgement. She should have said she did. She would have been excused." The other juror said, "Keep your mouth shut. We all know that he is guilty. It doesn't matter."
The case continued after lunch, and I couldn't stop worrying about the possibility that our discussion had been overheard. I drove home that night fretting about it. I discussed it with Tim who helpfully said, "You know what needs to be done."
So the next day, I left a half hour early. I got to the court house and spoke the man who seemed to be in charge of the jurors and the jury room, and getting our lunches and the like. I waited to see what he would say. Immediately, he said, "The judge will need to speak with you. This is the basis for a mistrial."
I waited miserably to speak with the judge. He was very kind, and he said, "Well, you were right to report this. I'll need to speak with the prosecuting attorney and Mr. Mohammad . If he wants a mistrial declared, he's got the grounds to do it."
I waited in the jury room with the other jurors, not saying a word. In the end, the court official came in and called two names, the name of the lady I had been walking with, and the name of the woman who had advised me to keep my mouth shut. They did not return.
The court official came back in and announced that the two alternates were now official jurors, and the case went on. I don't know why Mr. Mohammad did not request a mistrial. Maybe by that point, he knew that it didn't matter. The trial went on into the second day. The evidence was really pretty conclusive. The prosecutor had his ducks in a row. He rested his case late that afternoon. Much to our surprise, Mr Mohammad stood up and told the judge that the defense rested as well.
The following morning, we returned for closing arguments and Mr. Mohammad's closing argument was just as rambling as his opening statement. The jury received some careful instructions, and we recessed with lunch to deliberate.
I had wondered if anyone else had caught the 'guilty of a crime or guilty of civil disobedience' remark in the opening statement. The answer to that was 'yes'. Everyone had. There was very little debate about the charges. The evidence was very well presented, and left few questions in our minds. The fact that it was so clear cut meant that my conscience was not troubled I stood to say, "Guilty, your honor".
So...no, I don't mind that I got called for jury duty again. It is not a federal case, but I expect that it will still be interesting to see our legal system at work.
An online acquaintance was talking about the texts and e-mails he gets from "lonely women" looking for a guy just like him, and thanks be, they have finally found the answer to their prayers, and so to him, and only him, they send him provocative photos, as praying women (preying women? women?) tend to do.
Anyhow, he got yet another racy picture. This was a little different. The leader of the lonely hearts club wanted him to download an app. He was invited to an exclusive group. "Lonely women looking for good sex."
Hal, being a bit of a wag, sent an e-mail with his hopeful query. "Might there be a few there looking for bad sex?"
He's received no answer as of yet.
I remember another on-line friend, a white haired bearded fellow. We were discussing a political thing, going back and forth in a group. Suddenly there popped in a beautiful stranger. She had seen Bud's profile picture and was taken by it. He had a lovely smile. (His profile picture is a serious looking bearded Bud. You cannot see his smile at all, actually.) She asked him to send her a friend request. Bud responded, "Oh, that's very nice of you to say. I will send you a friend request." Much to the horror of everyone else in the group.
I shot off a quick response. "BUD. DO NOT SEND A FRIEND REQUEST!"
He responded with "Why?"
So as a group, we educated him. The 'woman' was horribly affronted and kept telling us all to mind our own business, and we kept up our education of Bud, and finally she got very vulgar and sent out an all caps response about what we could all do with ourselves, and we responded with a half dozen laughing emojis.
Most fun any of us had had online in some time. I said, "Gees, Bud, aren't you glad you didn't get tangled up with that? She's got quite a temper on her."
And then we settled down to the business at hand.
Yesterday, I got home from work to find some official looking papers spread out on the table. "What's that?" I said, setting down my work bag and headed to the fridge to begin supper.
I've been summoned for jury duty.;
Today, I was working. My desk tends to get pretty cluttered with work debris during the day. At the end of the day, I tidy up, but during the 10 hours at work, it accumulates stuff. Anyways, I noticed a large dark object. I happened to be wearing dangly earrings with beads of brown and amber on black wires and so my first thought was 'How on earth did my earring get way back there?!!' and I grabbed it up, except that it wasn't rigid like you'd expect....
...and then I realized that I was holding a very large, very dead spider.
To my credit there were no shrieks, but I did think of Weaver's post about a spider in her toilet paper roll.
Ten hour days...and today they announced mandated overtime on Saturday as well. The good news is that they finally have gotten permission to hire some more people.
Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani is vowing to return to Afghanistan.
Ghani was elected president in 2014. He quietly began to fill his cabinet with Taliban figures, to include the Butcher of Kabul, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who vowed to stop fighting and to work with the new government. He said to Ghani, "Let's end the war, live together as brothers, and then ask foreigners to leave our country."
For his part, Ghani said that to unify his country, the Taliban had to be included in the new government.
Now the Taliban is in the presidential palace and Ghani has fled the country.
Interestingly, Ghani's brother has pledged to support the Taliban government.
I say this: If Ashraf Ghani returns to Afghanistan and is not killed immediately by the Taliban, the one thing that we can know for sure is that he was part of it from the beginning.
Who's to blame for this debacle? The bipartisan finger pointing has begun. Here are the facts.
There's enough blame to go around, but I think we would be wise to stop fighting with each other and pay close attention. Before it is all said and done, I believe that the finger will be pointing at the shadowy Afghan government as well.
I have a feeling that we've been scammed.
It has been such a strange weekend. It doesn't help that I'm just so sad about this world. I imagine that a big part of it is that I'm simply tired. Working mandated long hours has me to a frazzle. We have 10 hour days again this week. Catching cold in the middle of it didn't help either.
It has been raining heavily. The water is high here. Our little creek is twice as high as normal here, and the Kinzua Dam output normally ranges from 1800-2000 cubic feet per second. Due to the rain and the heavy rains coming down the mountains and into the reservoir, the output has been increased to as high as 9850 cubic feet per second. That water has raised the river level by two feet and the current is fast, the water brown.
Yesterday, Tim left camp early to go up to Levi's. One of Levi's hobbies is that he rescues old horse drawn haycutters from their quiet rusting away and restores them to working order for his Amish community. Tim found one down the road from camp and went to ask the property owner if he was willing to sell it. He was willing, and Tim was anxious to tell Levi the news. I knew that Maddie would be up to her ears in garden produce, and so for a special surprise, he was picking up five pizzas. He wanted me to go, but I was reading a book, nearly done with it, and to be honest, I just wanted the quiet.
Tim took the dump truck and left, and I sat quietly finishing my book. The thunder rumbled getting closer and closer and the breeze felt soothing. Once again, the rain came. I waited it out, sitting inside. When it tapered off, I collected my vegetables and headed home for a date with my food processer. 10 miles down the road, I was astonished to see that it hadn't rained at all.
On his drive, Tim discovered that it hadn't rained at all until he got to the bottom of the dirt road that takes you up the hill to the dirt road that Levi and Maddie live on. It poured down rain the whole way up that hill, until just before the intersection. Then, inexplicably, it stopped just as suddenly as it began.
Levi and his sons were pulling benches into his house. They were having church services at his house Sunday morning. They were tickled to death at the pizzas. Tim and Levi sat and talked business on the front porch for a half hour and then Tim headed back home with a loaf of bread from Maddie. That intersection I referenced earlier? It is in plain sight of Levi's porch. Tim reached it and headed back down the hill and was shocked to run into the same deluge he had come up the hill in. Yet not a drop had fallen at Levi's.
Tim got home as I was shredding zucchini. It is too hot for baking bread right now (unless you're Amish, I guess), so I shred the zucchini, set it to drain for an hour or so, and then I measure it out in two cup increments for the freezer. When it gets cold, it is nice to have the oven going. I can pull out a bag of premeasured zucchini and throw together a batch of zucchini bread in no time.
A two year old girl was swept away by that high and raging river Saturday. They searched for her all day Saturday, finally finding her body today.
Cara and Colin are fielding phone calls from frantic colleagues trying to get out of Afghanistan. One of the teachers at the university was trying to get to the airport with his wife and child. He was teargassed with his toddler in his arms. He and his wife returned to their home. They expect to be killed when the Taliban finds them. Colin and Cara are making calls on their behalf, as well fielding phone calls from the others still trapped. I told her that I am grateful they are in a position to try to help. I, myself, can do nothing but throw money at the problem.
Today, I stuffed zucchini and got it prepared for tomorrow's supper. I got the house to rights. I got my laundry done. Tomorrow I will work 10 hours. I'm the top performer in my group, my scores 20 points or more ahead of anyone else's.
The world is full of sad, sad stories right now, but unfortunately, I'm only good at the things that make no difference at all.
I've been watching the world around me this week, and witnessing the anguish of so many people, in so many places has been difficult for me.
I've always been like this. I don't know why. I'm rarely in a position to make a difference to anyone, but I grieve terribly.
In the midst of all of this, I suddenly realize that I don't believe in God anymore. I'm not sure what has happened. I just don't.
It's midnight. The alarm will be going off in less than five hours. I'm wide awake. I lay there in bed for a couple hours with my mind running off on a mess of tangents. Finally, I got up to read some blogs for a while.
Over at Gnat-Bottomed Towers, Aril wondered about "Mayday!" How did a spring day turn into a call for help? Turns out it is from the French 'm'aidez'.
And I wondered why I never wondered about that before.
This week is a four day work week for Tim and I. I took Friday off and we will be traveling out to Iris' 3rd birthday celebration.
I've been packing and getting things set up for the trip, because I don't have a lot of time to get things accomplished. One of the things on my to-do list was to swap reader/prayer leader duties since I would be gone next Sunday.
I'm sitting there in church looking around me, and realize that there is no one to ask. There isn't a single reader in church. Not one. Dang it. That meant calling around, which added to that to-do list...
I turned my attention to the service, and the priest said, "Please be seated for the readings."
So I sat down along with everyone else.
John, down the pew from me, looked at me and cocked an eyebrow. I looked back at him. He made a motion with his hand.
Hell's bells! I suddenly got it. I was the reader! I got my Sundays mixed up!
And I headed up front grateful that I didn't have to call around trying to find someone to swap Sundays with me.
Last Sunday, we went to look at a trunk on an online market place. It is covered with pressed tin in different patterns. The wood strapping is all intact. I need to polish up the hardware on it. I want to line it with a pretty paper. Tim is having a fit because he believes that will reduce the value. I want it to be pretty. I have a plan for it. I'm going to consolidate all my Christmas decorations into place. It will fit nicely under the clock in the upstairs hallway. For $25, it was a bargain.Northsider? He had one of those teapots that your wife collects. He wanted $8 and I was sorely tempted, but studying, I noticed that it was pretty plain. Just a little thatched roof cottage. Not knowing her tastes, I decided against it, but I could be persuaded to run back and pick it up...just say the word!
Tim spied something tucked away in a corner that caught his eye. "What's that?" he wanted to know, and the man said, "Well that's a lightning rod. He pulled it out of its corner, went to a box, unwrapped a glass ball which dropped over top of the rod. He said, "The special thing about this is that I've got the weather vane as well," and he went to another box to retrieve it.
After 25 years, I can read the man like a book.
I could tell the man was pleased to discover a pair of customers(suckers) like us, alright. He let us know that the local town was having a sale day the following weekend, and that he'd be setting up outside with a lot more things.
This morning, Tim got up and said, "I want to go back to see what he has..."
And so we did.
Tim spied, with his little eye, another lightning rod/weather vane combo.
This one was smaller,
Just the right size for a green house.I have another General Electric Telechron in my collection with a bakelite case (see above, not my picture so you can better see the details of the face), so I recognized what the brass clock was as soon as I saw the red dot on the face of it (before the days of battery back up, this was used to let the owner know that there had been a power outage and the clock would likely need reset). I grabbed that heavy clock up and said, "Does this work?" And the man said, "Bring it over and plug it in."
Tim knew right away that clock was coming home with us.
After 25 years, he can read me like a book.
There were other small things that we picked up stopping at the different sales.
Two books, two DVDs, a collection of burlap sacks, a new camo coat, a pair of brand name sunglasses. some saucepans for the camp, a cast iron nutcracker, a tiny little brass bird to hang on the wall, a clock from a school building for Tim's garage, a old traffic sign (also for his garage) and miniature porcelain copy of my gentleman rabbit that stands on the steps of the greenhouse.
We came home, happy with our finds. We did some finishing up work on the garage. We are a half dozen battens away from being done. Well. That and installing a lightning rod.
I spent just long enough in the garden to pick cucumbers and squashes, but there was no time for any other work, I am sad to report.
Tim and I have gotten into a bit of a habit. We generally eat out on Fridays after I get out of work. Tim likes a small little restaurant about 20 minutes from the retirement property. It is also a pretty busy place so it is fun to people watch.
Tonight we saw something we have never seen before. A Mennonite woman with a sweet face came walking in. Her headcovering and long dress gave her away.
Mennonites are different than the Amish. They have electric and indoor plumbing. They have cars. Most sects require the cars be black.
This couple carried their motorcycle helmets.
I wonder how she managed her skirts? And yes, the motorcycle was black.
Iris is going to be 3.
Whenever I go there, one of her favorite thing is to play tea party. She rushes to get a tiny little tea set that I gave her last year at some time to play with. She gets her little dolls (she calls them 'guys') and we play tea party for ever. Tea party amounts to: "I will fix you some tea, Ama!" and I say, "Thank you Iris!" and then I ask for cream and/sugar. She loves that and will pour tea over and over again and giggles every time I drink the tea with much smacking of lips and a hearty, "Iris, you make the very best tea!"
Her mother sent a picture of little Miss Iris chugging her tea out of one of the black stone ware mugs. They were having a tea party. The ordinary mugs were understandable. Her mother has a lovely set of china that was a wedding gift to her mother and father some 35 years ago, and they are much too treasured to have tea parties with her three year old.
I was looking around Goodwill and I saw a sweet set of china cups with matching saucers. I even got the matching dessert plates, I found a red table cloth that matched. I got white napkins embroidered with red hearts in the corner. I even found a pressed glass vase that had a heart design on it. The tea pot was a bit of a predicament. That's the thing that will cause the problem, being too heavy for little hands to manage. I could see the top falling off, or the spout crashing into the cups and chipping them which would upset her, but I found a silver colored plastic carafe that will work nicely. It still looks fancy but is likely to do less damage. Plus the top screws on.
The set is sweet and everything goes together so nicely. The beauty of it is that it is that even if she does drop something, it doesn't matter. Another matching cup and saucer can be found in a pretty pattern. It won't matter a bit.
The last thing I needed was a picnic basket for these treasures. I put an ad on line, and within five minutes I had a lidded picnic basket!
I cannot wait for her to see them! On her birthday morning, we can get out her little card table and put on the table cloth, and set the china and pick a bouquet of wildflowers for the vase on the table. I know that she will be tickled pink with a tea party breakfast!
Two things: I don't believe that my aunt's idea about the scammers using a group directory to engage people to get a conversation that they can splice together to use in other scams holds water. In my case, there is not a lot to be gained from a short conversation that basically amounted to "who the hell is this? You're either fucking nuts or this is a scam. In any case, take your proof to the police. I'd sure as shit be interested to hear what they have to say about it."
Another member of my group got "I have a security system on my house, and you need to stop drinking from my water hose." She does walk a lot. She also is a nurse who wouldn't dream of drinking from water hoses. But what frightened her is that when she hung up the landline, her cell immediately rang from the same number.
When we reported it (for informational purposes only), the police officer asked if we knew a lady by the name of '------'. I told him no because I didn't recognize the name.
Another member of the group said he got a call from someone pooping in his yard, and apologized saying next time he'd use the bathroom before leaving the house.
At that point, I realized we belonged to the same group. I got out the directory and there was the name that the police officer had asked me about. I called him back to let him know the link.
A friend contacted me because he'd been badly upset by his phone call. He did not tell me what was said but he was disturbed because they knew his area. His long time partner died and I think that things are tough for him right now. The phone call seemed to upset him.
Another friend said she'd gotten a call that the government was changing her birthday because too many people were born on the same day.
Soooooo....It seems as if they were trying to engage you in conversation, they would not be using such ridiculous lead ins (although three of the conversations did make people nervous.)
What exactly is going on remains to be seen.
Thelma. Your clock is now two chimes ahead. If I'm understanding you it is now ringing 10 times at eight o'clock. So. What you want to do is stop your pendulum and move the hour hand to whatever hour the chimes just rang. Set your cell phone or a timer to remind you to start the pendulum again two hours later. I must not have understood what you were saying or your mechanism is different (I can't believe that would be the case.) Let me know how that works though. You've got me intrigued.
We spent a very nice day yesterday. I dug all the volunteer potatoes, the stray things that pop up all over the place from a potato that got picked up and moved, probably chopped up too by the big tractor tiller in the spring. My cucumbers are going great guns, and I spent a lot of time in my tomatoes which are heavy with green tomatoes. Nothing red yet. I've got two different patches of them. My peppers are just beginning to produce peppers (except for the chile and the jalapenos). I'm going to have some nice canteloupe and the carrots, onions, and cabbages are doing their thing.
I'm up to my ears in squashes. I was at my sister's and I asked my niece if she needed a couple zucchini. She said she would love some. Right away, my sister said, "Hey, I've got plenty of zucchini!" I said, "I asked her first, so she's taking mine!" I still came home with five large ones. Tim is quite happy and wants me to make stuffed zucchini again this week. I'll probably make some zucchini bread today, and grate some extra to throw into the freezer in 2 cup packages to make zucchini bread after the season. My daughter-in-law has begun dehydrating hers and storing them a large jar. She'll scoop them out and add them to soup come this winter.
Another thing that I've got is pumpkins. My gosh. They keep climbing out of their patch and into everything else. I hacked some back from the peppers last week, and was surprised to see that the pieces of vine had continued to grow. They rooted where they were thrown and this week were covered in blooms and even one small pumpkin!
We spent the rest of the day finishing the work on the front of the garage. We'll have it buttoned up for winter by next weekend...weather permitting of course.
Today is the day of housework, laundry, picking up the groceries we need for the week. Basically getting ready for the work week. Another week of 10 hour days.
(plus there may or may not be a little side trip to pick up a dome topped antique steamer trunk that someone is selling for $25.)
But other than that, life plods on as usual.