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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life's an Adventure....

Can't tell the whole story but here's what I can.

Monday was the first day back to school after spring break. I was feeling pretty good about where we were headed because we've moved into my favorite lessons to teach. I told my students where we were headed for the rest of the year. This week we would do immigration and then the growth of cities. Next week women's suffrage (which I don't really have together - having never taught a whole week unit about it - but I have done some preliminary work on it and was confident I would have it pulled together during my five preps by the end of the week). The following week is STAR testing, and my unit on the Plains Indian Wars. When we've completed that we'll do cowboys, Buffalo Soldiers and the Populist movement (a one-day lecture using the Wizard of Oz that we all enjoy). After that is two weeks of Ragtime - a research project I've put together about the Progressive Era - ending with the movie Newsies in the last full week for eighth graders. (The last week of school for them is absorbed with graduation activities).

Tuesday I had jury duty. I've already posted why I thought I would be safe sitting in the jury assembly room all day and what actually happened. In short, my name was - quite literally - pulled from a box of qualified citizens to serve a 99-day assignment on the county's criminal grand jury. This service is to be from 9-5 every Monday and Friday until July 31. And if they need us any other days, they'll try to give us five days notice. They explained that we would hear a wide variety of cases. Sometimes one case might take several days. Other days we might hear several cases in one day. Part of the adventure.

By the way, a number of friends have asked if I've been taking my stitching to work on during jury duty. First of all, no handwork needles of any kind are allowed in the justice part of the government center. Secondly, this process requires absolute attention - it's exhausting - at all times. They've warned us that there might be times when a witness doesn't show up on time or something where we'll just be sitting and waiting, but so far everything has moved very efficiently. I have school papers to grade in my bag just in case.

So, on Wednesday I'm back at school, breaking the news to my Principal and his Administrative Assistant (who is going to have to deal with this thing). I told my students that what I told them Monday is pretty well out the window and that I will have to rearrange things to see how the year will actually end up looking. I gave them a seatwork assignment so that I could plan the rest of the school year. I had to then put together three days of lessons because our first day of jury service was Thursday, the next day. Fortunately, by noon the Admin was able to tell me which sub had committed to the job (a terrific one for this job and my class). I had everything slapped together for the three days in time to conduct a meeting with the Union Exec Council that went until five, then I tied the loose ends together as best I could (I felt badly because I usually leave complete, detailed, organized plans but all I could do was leave bullet details for this one).

By Thursday morning I'd developed some concerns about what I'd left so I left the house at my usual time (7:30 am) and dropped by school. I wrote a quick note to the sub and went into the office to drop the note in the sub folder. The principal caught me and wanted to chat about an email he and I had received that morning (I hadn't opened my email because - hello? - I wasn't supposed to even be there). This mother's son is one of my least attentive, least productive and most disruptive students. I still haven't read her email but, according to the principal, she wants me to let her son pass my class by reading one chapter of some book every week. The principal thought I might want to send the kid out of class with his book every day, under the circumstances. I was astonished. I told the principal that I had no idea what she was talking about, that I had to leave right now to make it to court in time so was not going to go back and read her email but that, no, this kid is not going to be excused from the regular work of the class to go read one chapter a week from some book so that he can graduate with his friends.

At that I left (7:55 am) for my jury duty adventure.

Normally when you think of the relative distance between Camarillo and Ventura, we say it's about twenty minutes. I had no idea if there would be traffic at 8:00 in the morning but it seemed possible. As it turned out, traffic moved very smoothly. It turned out that 7:55 was a just right time, though. It took about 20 minutes to get to the offramp, about 10 more to get from the freeway to the courthouse and another couple of minutes to park. From where I parked it was about a five-minute walk to the building and through security and to a restroom.

I'm happy to say I've mastered security check. I pulled out and dusted my wonderful Binh bag to use for this duty. I made sure I put nothing in it that might set off the machine (one of my co-jurors had a fork taken away from her yesterday). I moved my ID, cash and cards out of my humongous wallet-checkbook and into my little Disneyland wallet and now move it from the Binh bag back to my purse as needed. I added a small set of papers to grade. I keep my watch in the bag (and make sure my keys have made it there, too) until I'm past security. Made it through without a hitch. (On Tuesday, the guard had to ask to see my shoes every time because my Sketchers have cute little zippers that set off the machine; now I just wear my ugly sneakers with no metal on them). Yesterday I thought there was some problem because the X-ray tech guard turned the bag around as it came out of the machine, but it turned out he liked the bag and wanted to look at the label.

After the stop at the restroom, I headed for the courtroom and made it with about ten minutes to spare. This is a comfortable time for me. It means that if I leave at 7:55 I have about ten minutes wiggle room in case something happens. I was relaxed when they opened the door and brought us in.

I'm not allowed to say anything - ANYthing - about what happens inside that courtroom. I will say that it is a fascinating experience and I am very impressed with the professionalism of everyone involved. We had a 1.5 hour lunch period. I will bring my lunch most days, If there's one advantage to this experience it is that it should help me stay on my diet. The breaks are only long enough to rush though a potty stop and there's no snacking in court. I may be able to chomp a few peanuts or some raisins on the break but other than that there is no time for snacking.

After Thursday's session I headed directly for a school board workshop meeting that started at 5:30. After an hour-and-a-half in a metal folding chair (my butt's too big for those so this is torture), during which one of the trustees blamed our current financial woes on the union (me) - again - I stopped at Jack-in-the-Box for comfort food for dinner and then finally got home.

Friday was a similar schedule. I did leave during the lunch break and headed down the street to the Green Thumb nursery to look - again - for heliotrope to put in the Fairy Garden. Again, there wasn't any in the perennial section so I tried the shade section and there were some nice gallon cans there (it grows in full sun for me so I was surprised to find it there.) I also bought two spectacular heuchera (with kind of pinkish leaves) and one more common one with the salmon pink flowers I want in the Fairy Garden.

Friday we were dismissed by 4:15, which thrilled me because I still needed to stop at Costco for a prescription refill that I had not been able to pick up the day before (don't want to do jury duty without my high blood pressure medication). Never again on a Friday afternoon. It took an hour to get the Rx filled, and although I love Costco, it's a hard place to kill an hour. I picked up shrimp (DH's request) and turkey wraps for dinner and headed home.

Things were mellow at home. DS2 had played and played with the puppy and he was pretty well zonked. Normally when I get home he's in a frenzy to say hello, then wants to play for a half hour before he'll settle down on my feet for a nap. Friday he came over and said hello - calmly. I got a sandwich and kicked my feet up on the recliner. I put a movie in the laptop (the guys were watching the Dodger game) and was going to unwind by watching a dvd. I barely finished my little sandwich before I fell asleep in front of the movie. I guess I was pretty funny as I would wake up and watch for about thirty seconds, then crash again. That's just how exhausted I was.

Yesterday (Saturday) was crop day. I was still to tired to face the idea of loading all my scrapbooking stuff up into my car, so I just grabbed a piece of stitchery I've been working on and headed over to my folks' for the day. Had a nice day of catching up with my folks and sister, then Mom took me out to her favorite restaurant for dinner where I enjoyed their fantastic tri-tip salad. Got home about nine and settled in front of the computer to catch up. Slept well (the puppy is sleeping pretty much through the night now) and was up early this morning. Already got in a load of laundry and after I finish this post will head out to plant the flowers in the Fairy Garden. Later I will need to tie up the loose ends for tomorrow and finish plans for the Women's suffrage unit for next week.


2 comments:

Greenmare said...

you are ONE BUSY lady!!! It was all very interesting, hope it continues to go well, and I soooooooo cannot believe a parent would ask you to let their child graduate by skipping the regular work and reading a book!!!!

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