Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My husband and I found ourselves with a free Saturday and decided to call my aunt and uncle to see if they were doing anything. They were, my aunt was going to her high school reunion and my uncle was going to the Pitt football game and he had extra tickets!! We arranged for the little girls to spend the night at their grandma's and then went.

We met a group of old college friends at a tailgate party. It was a lot of fun to see everyone and catch up with them. We saw the Pitt Band march by and I saw Tim (my nephew). I recognized a man at the tailgate next to ours and asked him if he had been in the Pitt band. It turns out that he was a senior when I was a freshman and is friends with my sister and her husband.

The game was terrible. From the very beginning the Panthers played horribly. It was pretty embarrassing, how the quarterback kept throwing the ball to our opponents. (we are wearing blue,not white..ugh)

Oh well, it was a fun night regardless of how bad the team played. At least the band was good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Juror #8

I had my first experience with jury duty last Thursday. I took the subway into town and arrived about 8:00am. I walked about 2 blocks to the court house. I entered and had my bag scanned and then took the elevator to the 3rd floor, where the jurists meet. There were about 100 of us waiting to be interviewed. The room was pretty nice, they had free coffee and tea, vending machines for other snacks and drinks , comfy chairs and restrooms . They gave us a free pen, discount info about restaurants and shops and a discount pass for those who parked at the chatham parking garage.

There was a woman in charge of us, who told us what to expect. There were 2 cases that required a jury that day. She then had us rise, said a speech that started with "hear ye, hear ye..." and then the judge in charge of the jurists came in. He was very entertaining telling us how the amount paid to potential jurors had not increased since the 1950's. The legislature keeps talking about an increase but the amount of money it would take is so large that they end up saying that it is our civic duty, so the amount stays the same. ($9.00 a day plus mileage)
The judge also told us to not be too disappointed if we were not chosen because it is hard to guess what the lawyers are looking for. He then relayed a story about how he once didn't choose a man because he looked like an uncle that he didn't like.

After the judge left we waited for the lawyers to be ready to pick us. We were given a questionnaire to fill out. I had a cup of coffee and chatted with some ladies while we waited. When the first case arrived the first several rows of chairs on my side of the room were vacated and we had to stand against the wall while they called our names in a seemingly random order. I was the 21st person called. When they said my name I said "yeah" quietly. They then read the charges against the accused, rape, incest, indecent assault of someone younger than 13 years, corruption of a minor... I was in shock!! The person that I took to be one of the lawyers was actually the accused.

When it came time for me to be interviewed I walked up handed the defense attorney my questionnaire and sat down. I was then introduced to the accused and the defense attorney and the prosecutor. The defense asked me about my degree (Industrial Engineering) , the sex of my three children and a lot of questions about my husbands job (geologist). I don't think that had anything to do with the case. Maybe he was just interested in what a geologist does. The prosecutor had no questions for me and I returned to my seat. I told the young woman sitting next to me that I would never be chosen because with three girls I doubted the defense would want me.

How wrong I was!! I was chosen. I was really surprised. They called about 6 of us out of the room and we were taken to a waiting room upstairs of the judges office for the case. We were told that the case would start Monday and most likely be over on Tuesday. We were then free to go. It was about noon, so I went to lunch and then went to Macy's. I bought 2 pairs of awesome shoes (they were buy 1 get 1 free, so I had to get 2 pairs, right?) and then I went home.

On Monday morning I again took the subway into town only later because we didn't need to be there until 9:15am. I met my fellow jurors. 7 men and 7 women made up the jury (12 plus 2 alternates). We had to wait a while before the trial started, but they brought us coffee or tea for which I was one of only three people who took any. There was a smattering of conversation but mostly we sat there bored. We were then lead down to the courtroom in order. I was #8. (did you figure that out!)

The trial started with the judge giving us (the jury) instructions. Then the prosecutor gave his opening statement and off we went. I think that this is a good time to mention that the prosecutor is a very attractive man. One of our jury members seemed quite taken with him. She commented on how the sun was shining on him through the window and he looked "holy, like an angel." That didn't bode well for the defense, who in all fairness wasn't bad looking himself although he didn't have the sun-thing going for him.

The young girl who was the alleged victim was the first witness called to the stand. She is now 14 and the crimes against her happened when she was 10 and 11. It was difficult for her to tell her story and when the defense attorney asked her questions she seemed to be confused about dates and what order things happened. I thought he was pretty hard on her and can you really expect a girl who was traumatized at 10,11 to remember all those details? After a break her mother took the stand and then the detective who interviewed her. They both were good witnesses. Because the alleged crimes took place a long time ago there was not any physical evidence. We then were recessed to go to lunch. We were to be back at 2:00pm.

After waiting for an extra half-hour the judge came upstairs and told us that the case had been settled. The defendant plead guilty to the 2 lesser charges and the other charges were dropped. They felt that the girl hadn't done that well on the stand and decided to offer the deal. I was disappointed that we didn't get to "decide the case" ourselves, but understood. We took our checks down to the treasurers' office to cash them and then I went home.

I thoroughly enjoyed my jury experience. I thought the process was interesting. I was soooo glad that I was chosen even though we didn't get to deliver a verdict. I cannot be chosen again for county court for three years, but I hope that I will be given another chance to serve someday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Last night was the completion of sorority recruitment at Pitt. I am an advisor for Kappa Delta. Even though the week has been exhausting it was also really fun. As an advisor my job is to be there for membership selection meetings. Really it is mostly to provide moral support, although I also need to be there in case of an emergency. (which there weren't any this year, thankfully) The parties during the school week cannot start until 9:00 pm so they won't interfere with night classes. This lead to long nights where I didn't get home until after 1:00 in the morning. Of course, the long nights are no problem at all for the college students.

The KD's did very well this year receiving quota-plus-one pledges (a lucky 13), so that brings them to 2 members over ceiling . The ceiling at Pitt is 60 members. 8 out of 11 sororities made quota, so this recruitment was successful for Pitt. The recruitment chair for KD was a pleasure to work with and had everything very well organized. She and her committee did a great job.

Now I can return to normal life. I definitely need to catch up on my sleep and find out what is happening with my other girls.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


My daughters wanted to see a movie last week, their last week before school . They chose the movie "Stardust." We all absolutely loved it. The story is about a young man, Tristan (played by newcomer Charlie Cox, at least new to me) who is in love with the beautiful,yet shallow Victoria (Sienna Miller). She seems to have little to no interest in him, but he tries to win her heart by promising to bring her a fallen star. He enters a magical land and finds that the star is actually a girl who was knocked out of the sky by a necklace. The girl (Yvaine, played by Claire Danes) is in danger from several sources, the evil witch (played by the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer) who with her two sisters wants to cut out her heart so they can live immortally and young and the princes who are trying to recapture the necklace and be the new king of the land.

One of the most amusing parts revolve around the princes. The 7 brothers are killing each other in various manners so they can be the last one standing to become the new king. The dead brothers are shown to be ghosts, who cheer on and cringe over the antics of their alive siblings.

Tristan and Yvaine go through many adventures and I think that the ending will be very satisfying to everyone, although it is a little predictable. I think that predictable can be a good thing sometimes. There are some great moments with characters played by Robert DeNiro and Ricky Gervais.

I think that "Stardust" is a very entertaining movie and would be a really good for a date. It kind of reminded me of "The Princess Bride", which I think is high praise. So, check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Best Day

Today is the first day of school for my girls. Usually they start before Labor Day but since there is a lot of construction going on in the school district the start was pushed back. I like it when they start sooner because they are excited about the first day and in June they will be ready for school to be over as soon as possible.

One day last week my eldest daughter commented to her sisters that "next Tuesday is our first day of school" to which I replied "that will be the best day of my life." The little girls were confused by that statement. Laurel said that I need more excitement in my life, which of course is true.

I have decided that today would be a good day to make resolutions. It seems like a better time than Jan. 1st. I have decided that I will try to do some exercise and at least one bit of housework every day. The exercise is really needed to get off the pounds I gained this summer from going out to lunch with the girls far too often. The housework, well, um, well, I just loathe. So I have decided if I try to do at least one householdy thing a day perhaps it won't be so overwhelming when I have to clean for an event.

I have already, unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up the breakfast dishes and payed bills. The exercise, I haven't decided about yet. Maybe I can do a few sit-ups while I watch tennis. I know what you are thinking, is this really her best day ever, cleaning , exercising and watching tennis? Well, probably not but there is definitely something to be said for a few hours of quiet to do what ever I want.

Are any of you making school-year resolutions?