Welcome to our exceedingly messy, beautiful life: "a big world is OUT THERE WAITING for us to live in every day. Outside, you will find, there is love all around you... It's a beautiful life & it's a beautiful world & it's a beautiful time... to be here!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

I pulled up to our house today and the sun is sparkling the the crystal blue sky and it is making the daisies on our slope very happy. They are wide open, sunny-side up to bask in the golden rays and it is SO pretty!

This eye candy was particularly delectable today because I was so delighted to be FREE from Jury Duty! I thought I would be trapped in the dreary courthouse until at LEAST 5PM and possibly tomorrow as well, but instead, I was dismissed at 11:30. So I was even more appreciative of the sunshine and the blossoms.

Check it out!

front slope
back slope
Purple & White

Jury Duty of 2010

I had Jury Duty today for my first time EVER.
I wasn't sure if I should be committed to my civic duty or if I should be prepared with excuses (which I have in abundance: work, kids, etc.) and reasons that make me unfit ("I can tell he is guilty just by looking at him! Look at those beady eyes!" etc.)

I thought perhaps the mere fact that I would be clutching my Bible (that I would bring to do my Bible Study to pass the time) might make them not want me (the defense attorneys might fear an "eye for an eye" thought process while prosecutors might cringe at the thought of all that New Testament "mercy and forgiveness" stuff).

However, when I arrived at the courthouse at 7:20AM (25 minutes early - ugh!), I realized I had FORGOTTEN my Bible! So now I not only had not tool of getting excused but I also had NOTHING TO DO! (Maybe God didn't like His Word being used to get out of Jury Duty???)

Of course they did not start on time. About 8:30 they began. Announcements, rules, thanks, etc. The first case is announced. it is a TWO MONTH case... it should be done by mid-June!

It is not voluntary. It is mandatory unless you have a pre-paid vacation already planned or an impeding surgery date already scheduled. So I get in line. A LOT of people did not. (I was mad at them.)

I eventually got up to the front and the lady asks me "Do you have any reason you cannot serve?" to which I responded "I don't know".
So she asked how many days my employer paid for jury duty.
"I am self employed," I said.
"Didn't you listen?" she scolded "Self-employed people do not have to do this."

I went back and sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.
Eventually they called a random group.
We were sent to a courtroom on the 9th floor (I have been bad about walking this week, so It took the stairs - MAN, was I huffing & puffing when I got up there). We stood around for quite a while. Then the bailiff came out and announced that we had a break until 11:00 (it was 10:15).

We all went back down to the 3rd floor to kill 45 minutes.
I got a cup of coffee. I tried to go our onto the balcony (who knew how long I would be trapped inside), but apparently, that was the smoking area and even though it was outside, it was clouded in a dense smoky fog. So much for fresh air.

I eventually returned to the 9th floor (via stairs :)
While waiting, I chatted briefly with a woman next to me and she told me, described through a thick accent (maybe Indian?) about her excruciating foot pain on both feet and how it appears now to maybe be neurological and how she hopes she can be excused for medical reasons.

We were eventually led into the courtroom where we were seated and the judge thanked us for being there. He told us the case was criminal and he apologized for making us wait so long but told us it was because at the last minute the defendant pled guilty to Life in prison with possibility of parole (attempted murder and torture with a knife). He dismissed us back to Jury Assembly room.

We sat back down and then were told to line up again. We lined up and waited in line for quite a while. Eventually, I got to the front where my parking was validated and I and was given a "certificate of jury service" and told "You can go home".

They didn't have to tell me twice!

Gramm-ie = Sixty-three

To celebrate Grammie turning 63, we quickly squeezed in a dinner in the 6 days between her long Europe/Asia extravaganza and going to Gram & Pop's during gram's surgery & recovery period.

We went to MiMi's.

It was fun to see both Grammie AND Grampie after they had been gone for 3 weeks. And of course, they brought home little treats for us (beanies from Poland, painted egg from Poland, kalamata olive oil from Greece, Korean doll, Greek jewelry, and other fun items!)

Not posed. Quite candid. (haha)
I forgot to take photos of her gift (vintage silverware garden markers), so I borrowed these from the website. Hers were actually personalized though, which is kinda fun!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

D's Big 4-0 (+2)

This year was birthdays 40 +2. (Last year was 39+1.)
This year D owns his own business.
Last year, he was still working for Caesar's.
This year he worked all day on his birthday.
Last year, he took his birthday off (first time EVER!).

His birthday was Thursday, so he got a 40th/2nd bday dinner (turnabout deserves fair play!!!)

We just invited a few friends (and a few other friends dropped by too!). We catered from Tutto Fresco (yum!) and I made a few hors d'oeuvres and sausages & peppers (Darren's friend Andy thought that meant that I stuffed them into casings and everything - heehee!)


Grampie & Grammie were out of town but we used their lovely (and large) home. (You know what they say about "the cat" being away.) Grammie has the BEST set up for entertaining: zillions of folding chairs, wood toppers for tables - to make them bigger - enough plates, cups, and silverware to feed an army, plus BOWLS, tongs, supplies... everything! ~ ~ THANKS Mom & Dad!!!!

Lando asking God to bless the dinner and the Birthday Boy!
Dinner time

Birthday Boy starts the buffet
One of the tables
Birthday wishes
The guys
Mmmmmmmmmm... cakes! (and Suezi's cupcakes for Jaxon's 13th!)
Serving cakes

Playing pool

Karaoke (Suez & Shel)
More karaoke (Elle & Em)
Enjoying the serenading
A "thank-you-for-my-party" kiss (maybe it wasn't so terrible after all?)
It was a great evening. Shelly (our official event photographer) summed it up well when she emailed "Last night was a total blast! We really hated leaving... Great friends, great food, great fellowship...great

singing!!!! :-0"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Big Bear Date Weekend

The Runyons offered us their FABULOUS cabin in Big Bear for the weekend - and all the kids were either not ABLE to go (Miss M had mandatory rehearsal, Jade had a friend in from VA for the weekend, Lando had a show) or did not want to (Deevs wasn't particularly interested in being an only child for the weekend).

So D and I went ALONE for a restful and romantic (and virtually FREE) weekend together!

We kinda thought we would ski/snowboard (and even brought out stuff... but we didn't. We rented 3 movies and watched them all (and then - on the way home - we stopped by a theater and saw Shutter Island) - wow! that was a LOt of cinema!!!

We ate at 3 different Big Bear establishments. 2 which we found on Yelp.
Sweet Basil's (yummy)
The Himalyan (adequate and disorganized chaos!)
And one which we did not.
Teddy Bear Cafe. I wrote a Yelp review and a manager contacted me and apologized. He said they got new (clean) blinds and told the servers to clean the floors better. He offered me free meal tickets as an apology... very nice & generous! I was pretty impressed!!!!!

We also went snowshoeing 2 different times. Neither of us had done this before and we both really enjoyed it. Even though it was freezing we worked up a good sweat and I even took my jacket off.
Snowshoeing together
Mom showshoeing
Check out that beautiful scenery!
Crossing a bridge

VIDEO - Snowshoeing

We had a great time. We wished the kids had been with us... but at the same time, it was some much-needed R&R for us as a couple. We rested and napped and played and ate and watched movies and enjoyed nature... JUST what the Dr. ordered!

VIDEO - The drive home was SNOWY!