HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART!

Today Madison turns 7. I cannot believe it.

Time just flies – and more so the older I get. She
was a big surprise to her parents and her presence in my life surprises me every day! So much so, that it’s hard to imagine what life was like before she got here:)
Happy Birthday, Madison. Grandma loves you!
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And Bears, Oh MY…..

Sorry – couldn’t think of a good title for this week’s fun and frolic:) It’s been Sunday since I’ve written anything and a few things have happened.

Monday, the TPR continued and we were able to get in evidence of abuse. The State rested their case and now we have another few weeks until the parent does his. Tuesday, I had a hearing that went fairly well – we settled it, DSS agreeing to hold off on filing the TPR Petition and giving the meanie a few more months to perfect his act. (Oh dear, I guess I’m sounding a wee bit sarcastic here…) Then off to the office to get paperwork in and then the dentist.
Funny thing – there wasn’t a heck of a lot of serious pain that afternoon, although I did come out feeling like I had Homer Simpson mouth, LOL. I was given a number of painkillers, a mild antibiotic and some stronger painkiller “just in case.” Not being shy about using what I need, I was able to stay on an even keel as the very very strong novocaine wore off. I was actually more worried about shots to the front of my face than I was of losing the teeth, having had shots in the face before. But the dentist numbed that topically first and then used a machine that seemed to pump the novocaine into the area. Not only was my upper jaw numb, my nose, cheeks and bottom eyelids were numb, LOL! When I finally left, I had to fill the prescriptions, and had a half hour to kill while I waited for them. So I got a couple of little things at a store nearby – notions I needed – and I noticed the cashier was looking pretty grossed out. I realized that there was blood on my “teeth.” Ew. I felt like a vampyre! But so gothic:) And at my age!
Wednesday morning, bright and early (after a bit of tossing and turning the night before), I had another hearing – exceptions to the Master’s recommendations filed by moi. We won. Great judge (of course:)). Wednesday afternoon: a visit to Harford County and then to Good Shepherd Center (a residential treatment center for girls) to meet with another client who is finally beginning to do well, then late for EfM. Did not go out to see my sister – and she was too busy to notice, LOL. I was ready for bed and some more ibuprofen by then!
Today began quite early – 8:30 CINA workgroup meeting, 9:30 TPR status conference, 9:45 CINA docket, went home to do some banking and have lunch (I am eating peanut butter, egg salad, and….. well, not much else, LOL! ) 1:30 back in court for three more hearings.
By 3:00 I was done – and had learned that a foster mom of one of my disabled clients, a lovely human being who had been battling cancer for as long as I knew her – died. The wake was in a funeral home just a few miles from court. The least I could do was to pay my respects. Her husband, Phil, and her family were there. Phil had something interesting to tell me – and it seems I hear these kinds of things so many times after someone dies. Seriously, I can’t not believe that we keep on after death. Anything else just doesn’t make sense to my mortal mind.
Anyhow, the night that Wanda died, Phil and some other family members were sitting with her, telling stories about her, some funny, some not. She was smiling and gently passed into the next world. Someone noticed that she had stopped breathing. No sooner did that happen but the fire alarm went off, and the lights flickered. OK, no biggie, right? But here’s something else. Destiny, their foster child who is my client, was with her nurse. Destiny, who has CP, is legally blind, and a host of other problems, along with severe to profound mental retardation, has this laugh that she only has when she sees Wanda. Upon no one else is this special laugh bestowed. Destiny has been with Wanda and Phil for about 10 years – since she was 2. Well, out of nowhere, Destiny starts this laugh. And not just once. Wanda must’ve had to pass through that room to let Destiny know she’d be OK. Probably telling her what a nice time she’s going to have in Heaven!
I said a prayer at the casket, bid my leave of Phil, with a promise to come up and see Destiny soon. Then on to another visit.
After that, it was home, answer some e-mails, then get on the phone to try to talk with a client for tomorrow’s hearing. Instead I got a 15-minute harangue from his mother. Good LORD……
And that’s a case DSS wants to close!! No comment.
Then choir.:) But even that was not a lot of fun – my mouth was really starting to hurt and the vibrations weren’t helping. My cheeks and upper lip are still a little puffy and I’m getting used to looking REALLY scary in the morning!
As for knitting, well, I have done little dribs and drabs of it, but nothing worth posting a pic for. Sorry folks. Maybe I’ll get caught up sometime before I die.
Tomorrow is court in the afternoon and a walk afterwards and a birthday party for a friend in a local pub. Now things are starting to look UP:)
Sometimes it’s nice to be even a little bit Irish! Who needs food when you can drink a little?
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What do you get when you cross your son’s moving weekend with trial prep

INSANITY! OK, it’s almost 4 PM and in about 3 hours, most of our kid and two grandkids and two in-laws are coming to dinner. Of course, I am being ever so efficient by writing to this blog, right? Oh well, it won’t take long to clean up a little and throw a lasagna into the oven:) And when all is said and done, I figure it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up on the NY Times Book Review and crossword puzzle. After all, news, what’s news? Let’s get down to the important things. After a few glasses of wine, a good dinner, the dishes done and the kitchen clean (uh huh….) it’ll be time to take in the most recent episode of “The L Word” a Showtime series I love. Don’t ask me why – it’s kind of like Sex and the City – a lot of fluff and nonsense and a total escape from the reality of everyday life, right?
Cool thing today – after church, a bunch of us met with Nancy and a fellow named Munchnik (I think) about the feasibility of starting up a chamber orchestra that would have St. John’s as its base of operations. Exciting, heady stuff. But can we do it? Hope so!
Tomorrow it’s back to day 5 of what looks like it”s going to an 8-day TPR trial. Only the last three days will be in the middle of April. So, after tomorrow, I’ve got a little bit of time to regroup and think over how I can supplement the State’s case. Always a good thing. Stretching this out too far is not, however. I think the time frame is just right, though. So keep yer fingers crossed! In the evening, there’s a music committee meeting – about the changes the new rector wants (ALREADY??@!!!!!) in the music program. Yorg…..
Tuesday will be a permanency planning hearing for two little guys who should really be adopted by their Grandma. Their “father” is my least favorite – batterer type who should NEVER be allowed to procreate, IMHO. I’m pretty well prepared for that one, too. After court, I’m going to the dentist to get four teeth pulled (the only ones left up top) and get a denture put in. Believe it or not, I think it will actually look a lot better than the zig-zag goofy tooth look I’ve got going on now. It is a scary thought having to rely on anything non-biological, like glasses and fake teeth, but whaddya gonna do? Besides, I’ve had to rely on some serious antibiotics in the last twelve months and it will be nice to remove yet another cause of infection, n’est-ce-pas? Hopefully I won’t be in too much pain.
Wednesday is another hearing and mediation, then a meeting up in Harford County with a teenage client and her social work team later in the afternoon. And my lil sistah is coming to town – she’s about the same age as most of my kids, LOL. She’s a DJ – goes under the moniker of Empress and has already put out a Drum & Bass album. She’s made quite a name for herself in the US and abroad and travels a bit. It will be nice to see her and catch up. The kids will have a blast, too (my “kids” are 21 and over, LOL – probably should call them something other than “kids”). I also have EfM on Wednesday – but it will be a late night with Christina (a/k/a Empress) so I should head to Balto after it’s over. Should be fun Thursday for court, LOL. groan…. I am really showing my age now!
Friday is court and again, I have to be two places at once. And the client really really hates us:) Don’t you hate when that happens?
My biggest wish for this week is to be able to take a walk on Friday after court. With Nancy, with John, by myself, I don’t give a you-know-what. (Well, actually, I do a lot more moving and laughing with Nancy – sorry John – although I think I’m more John’s type, LOL) I just need to get some oxygen, sunshine and fresh air and get close to nature. For physical, mental and spiritual health.
Knitting? Well, I did get a little bit done on Madison’s sweater – the cable thingie – and started casting on for the cardigan I want so desperately to do – so where am I now? Project number 4,583? I think a very good goal for the balance of this year is to FINISH the projects I have started. Remember that UFO August blog? Boy have I ever backslid:) And loved every minute of it!
Here’s a pic of Madison’s sweater front – have decided to do bobbles on the front and not do them on the back. I really don’t like a lot of bobbles in a pattern – and they’re kind of a pain to lean on, so anyway…..

It’s getting there, bit by bit. Looking at this, it makes me realize how it will take probably ALL of this year to finish those projects. What a delightful thought:)

Well on to my chores:) Thank God I have someone to do them for:)

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TPR HELLLLLL!

I am in the middle of a TPR (termination of parental rights) trial – and it shows no signs of ending any time soon! I represent five small people, but cannot disclose much more about the case for fear someone out there will recognize the history. My clients generally have so little in their lives, privacy is one thing they deserve and I am mandated to preserve! Suffice it to say it has been an emotionally and physically draining day – especially after three of them spoke with the Judge today.
Don’t get me wrong, on some level I am so used to abuse and neglect and hearing about it so much that it sometimes ceases to have any meaning. That sounds so cold, I know – but days like this sometimes shake me out of my defenses. When you hear these things up close and personal, it makes the reality so clear. We represent small, defenseless human beings – vulnerable human beings. And we better get it right.
However…. if I were to think about the reality of this every day, I doubt I’d be able to function effectively for the client. If I think about trial as a chess game, (a game I cannot play, LOL!) where the rules of evidence and a winning argument and a good cross exam come into play, I don’t freeze up and then I’m doing a good job for my clients. But if I do that too much, I run the risk of losing my humanity, don’t I?
About ten years ago, I worked at a wonderful place called Heartly House. At Heartly House, they advocate for, provide shelter for, and provide therapy and other services for, victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of intra-relationship violence. I loved working there. The victim advocates and I had a great relationship and worked together so well. And where else can a lawyer win a protective order for a client, go back to the office and get a big hug?:) How cool is that? I swear, that place ruined me for “regular” law firms, LOL! It’s as if taking the big pay cut in the beginning filled me with so many far more valuable blessings in my career, that it paid for itself a million fold over the years.
Anyway, as one can imagine, an issue with which we often dealt was secondary trauma – pain and suffering caused by witnessing – second-hand – the trauma of others. Hood College actually had a conference on that very topic. Since then, I have often asked friends and family what they do to take care of themselves. I have often wondered that of John and also my daughter Dori, who works 911/police dispatch. Perhaps I should ask them that question. …
Getting back to trial, we have three more days of testimony and it looks like the trial will not be over, so then on to a scheduling nightmare. Such is life. The main thing is to get this right. I’ve just spent the past four hours or so prepping the direct exam of a mental health expert and a fact witness and interviewed two witnesses. So although the DSS attorney will be doing most of the questioning, I’m no potted plant.

Knitting? I pack a little project with me – but not happening yet. Priorities, people!
And good night Angels.
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Got this from a terrific blog

48 Things You Could Care Less About
1. FIRST NAME? Patricia
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My mother
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? This evening on my way home from court.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes yes, sometimes no way
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Real turkey breast (lots o mayo) but not that goopey stuff
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Sure, I’ll try anything once.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? my blog?
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yep – jury is still out on whether THAT was a good idea!
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No [expletive deleted] way.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? cinnamon Toast Crunch or Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I’m really bad about that!
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? No, I am pretty weak physically, but I’m somewhat stubbon if you REALLY piss me off.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate almond
14. SHOE SIZE? 8 1/2 or 9 depending
5. RED OR PINK? Pink! Red! Both!
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I could write an entire list here, but lets go with lazy
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My mom
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Now who would that be?
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black skirt, black top, black stockings, black shoes. And I’m not a goth chick!
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? oatmeal bar thingie
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the refrigerator humming and the youngest two puttering around upstairs getting ready for bed.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Periwinkle or sky blue
23. FAVORITE SMELL breath of a newborn babe
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Left a meassage for a co-worker but that’s not actually talking with a person. I spoke with a fostermom about a client.
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Voice, emotion, eyes hard to say…
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I don’t know her, but I like her blog.
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Red wine – cabernet sauvignon
28. FAVORITE SPORT? spectator or participant? spectator – baseball maybe; participant – volleyball
29. EYE COLOR? blue
30. HAT SIZE? I think its big, but I haven’t got the exact measurement
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No – reading glasses
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Everything dammit!
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings – or meaningful ones:)
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter. I can’t stand being hot.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs and kisses
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? chocolate cake cheesecake
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? no one
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? see #38
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? got an hour? A gazillion – Sue Grafton’s “S” is for Silence, another detective novel, and a bunch of others I’ve put down and will pick up again when I have a life.
41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? I don’t use a mouse pad
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? the L Word
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Baby’s cooing, baroque music, good choral music
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? PUhleeze! Beatles:)
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Germany
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I can knit? Sometimes can sing and carry a tune in a bucket or flute
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Oceanside, NY
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I stole it from the furryterrier.com blog

Ok, I know, I know, it’s been awhile:)

Danny’s MIL sent us pics of a Buddy Jackson film shoot:) OK, OK, I know, I’m a foolish fan. He’s my son. Did you really expect me to be objective? After all, I knew him when he was a short person whom I loved to toss up in the air to the tune of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” So humor me already:) The weird scene with the pretty blue-eyed blond is Danny with his wife, Tori. Really kewl. Reminiscent of Martin Landau and Ms. Baine……






They look so professional:) Who knew?
They are having a good time and want to be a part of the DC scene. I hope they have all the success – they certainly are working hard enough for it!
Wow – last time I wrote, it was Sunday after that snow storm. Well, we had a week of Spring weather and now today yet another little snow swirls around Maryland- or at least my part of it!
I’m writing this tonight to finish up so I can get ready for tomorrow’s hearings and maybe even get up early tomorrow. Now THAT would be a minor miracle:).
Last week (tuesday), in the midst of the insanity that is currently my life, I got to go down to Annapolis and file a response to a motion a colleague filed in an appeal. New experience for me, but we won, so it was fun:)
I parked in the Naval Academy parking lot and was able to have a pleasant enough walk to the Courts of Appeal Building (first two pictured above). I stopped by the Department of Natural Resources display on the way, LOL. It was a nice little field trip, but not one I’d care to repeat for a single motion. It was worth the trip for the client, though. However, I still have a brief and argument to do in that case. More when that happens!
Wednesday and Thursday of last week were one long continuous day because I went to bed at 5 AM Thursday morning and was up at 7 for court. Stayed up until 11 because choir prx was until 9:30 or so. Friday after court (and a decent night’s sleep), I did some more walking with Nancy – it was a beautiful springlike day (so unlike our snow today, LOL). I did my share of huffing and puffing, but it was worth it. Now if only I could keep a lid on the carbs! Again, gotta be a grownup!
Madison and Ruby spent Friday night with us when Dori went out to a friend’s birthday party. Apparently Donald went, too. He actually got a leetle bit tipsy and spent the night for a while at our place, too, LOL. Good news – he’s moving back in! Let’s hope a little therapy and working through things will make it work this time! I’m very happy for both of them and glad we didn’t burn any bridges through this process.
Phew! thank God for that:)
Knitting? What’s that? I got through almost half of the back on Madison’s sweater. I think it’s turning out to be quite nice. It’s fun knitting an Aran piece in acrylic – and I really love the color:) It’s so cheerful! I have some yarn I am dying to work on a sweater for, but have to finish that baby blankie and Madison’s sweater and something for a friend’s birthday. Oh well, sometimes you just have to be a grownup:)
Sunday consisted of choir and church and a mentor service and luncheon. I am mentoring a high school studen named Maura (her father plays in the bell choir and sings in the choir when he can and her mother edits the church newsletter) who wants to take part in music ministry. She plays the flute and also plays in the junior bell choir. She is a really sweet girl and we found we agree on politics, left-leaning liberals seem to run in her family:) She talks about political discussions in school the way Sabrina does. Well, I’m not much of a musician, but we’ll figure something out. Maybe she can see the argument at the CSA. I’m not above making a total fool of myself in front of a high school student, wouldn’t be the first time – ask my kids, LOL:)
Later, the Maryland Boy Choir performed at an Evensong and Concert. They were amazing. I was hoping to have Madison come, but she was spending the day with Daddy, so it was not to be. I did sit with some friends from choir and EfM, which was a blast. Nancy did the readings and hosted it (as the Music Director). Rennie sat behind us and seemed to be enjoying himself, too. It was nice to see them having fun – gives me hope for the future, LOL.
Well, tomorrow is court, meeting up with a client and Choir and Friday is another fun-packed day of court. This weekend I’ll be visiting clients and preparing for the TPR taking place most of next week and one day into the next. Rah:) My to-do list is getting longer than I am wide!
Speaking of which (work, not my width), I’m getting back to work so I can have a decent night’s sleep tonight for a change! G’night!
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