Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diamond and Putter

I have been very lax in talking about my cats. They are rescue babies and we have had them since 2003. They don't like dogs. But they love to tease them.

First, let me introduce them.

This is Diamond.

She is bright and feisty. She likes to sit on the stairs and wait until the dogs want to use the stairs. Then she will hiss and scream. But she won't move.

The dogs have learned that they can whine and bark but they can not get any closer to her.

Only Zelda has gotten close to her without threat of harm. Zelda doesn't whine at her or bark. She just wags her tail.

Then there is Putter.

She hides. She likes the top of cabinets and the underside of beds. Closets are favorite hidy-holes. I have learned to leave closet doors slightly open so she doesn't get trapped.

Putter HATES Zelda but really likes LadyBug. Don't ask me why. LadyBug is the whiner and will go crazy when she sees ANY cat.

So, there has always been a cat area and a dog area in our homes.

Dogs have outside access. Cats do not. Dogs can go in the kitchen. Cats can not (don't lick my butter, Diamond!_Dogs have their own crates. Cats have their own room.

Yup. A Cat Room. Just for them. Litterboxes, Dinner Table (a real table), Cat Trees, Cabinets (I do store things in them but the purpose is for comfort in high places) Lots of cat beds and blankets and toys.

They are not spoiled.

Not at all.

Oh, the cabinet reaches right to the heater vent. Very nice on a nippy night.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Idiot Point Game

I realize that the name of this game is not politically correct. But today I won so we are going to talk about it.

I didn't just win the game.....I won by, at least, a mile. And I was still pulling away from the pack.

You see, my daughter and son-in-law give me idiot points for the following:

1. momentarily misplacing my keys (must cause at least a 10 minute delay in leaving)
2. passing the exit I was suppose to take (must be cause of at least a 10 minute delay in arrival)
3. momentarily misplacing my State Bar Card and ID (must cause exclusion from jail visit after arrival at said institution)
4. momentarily misplacing my debit card and/or credit card (must cause one day delay of purchase OR embarrassment at checkout)
5. leaving necessary items behind when traveling (must cause otherwise unnecessary purchase)
6. any other sign of general loss of mind while appearing sound and sane such that telling my spouse would result in constant mocking by said spouse until the end of days (his or doesn't matter)

I have had days where I get a few points. The keys and the cards usually lead the way. So much so that my daughter has purchased pouches for me to keep them all in so I can't leave the house without noticing that I am missing them. It has worked fairly well.

But today, I won the whole enchilada. The entire shootin' match.

I had my keys. Check
I had my cards. Check
I wasn't driving so missing an exit wasn't my problem.
I had double checked the packing of my little suitcase. I had makeup, underwear, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, medication.....check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check. All there.

So off to Santa Barbara we go. I have parole hearings in the morning and a court appearance in Lompoc in the afternoon.

We go to SB every week and we stay in the same motel. I make a reservation as soon as I am assigned cases.

First point......I forgot to make a reservation.

Santa Barbara at this time of year can be crowded and they don't save rooms just cuz you usually have one.

I call at quarter to 6 to ask if they still have room at the inn. Hallelujah, I am saved. Jake, at the desk, just laughs and laughs. How could I forget to make a reservation? Cuz I was busy?

Anyway, we get to the motel and my lovely daughter says, "where are your clothes?" as she looks in the trunk. I blithely reply that they are in the back seat. She says "well, I hope you don't have to wear that tomorrow" referring to my jeans and sweatshirt.

I walk into the room with my suitcase in hand and it hits me. I have won. I have won, big time.

My very clean, nicely pressed suit, is hanging in my closet at home. Along with the very nice shirt that I pressed to go with it.

I have nice, shiny dress shoes to go with my dirty jeans and sweatshirt.

That, my friends, is the Idiot Point Game.

Macy's LOVES the Idiot Point Game.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Here We Go with the Animals AGAIN!!!!

Sorry, but I just can't help myself.

When you are all prepared to lose your best friend of 15 years and then you get them back......well, I tend to go a bit nuts.

Yeah, LadyBug is a dog. An American Cocker Spaniel. There are two other Cocker Spaniels here.

Mohawk waiting for a lap

Zelda-the Imp

And two rescue cats by the names of Diamond and Putter.


The cats don't get a lot of public attention. They like it that way. They hide under the bed or on top of the cabinets. They sit in their cat trees and tease the dogs. Then they go back to sleep. Mostly they eat, tease the dogs and sleep. It is not often I can get a picture of them.

But the dogs are different. They like to hang with people. When someone described Cockers as "merry" they were right on. They are generally happy creatures. They just want food and attention. And a little more food.

They love to sit on your lap and sleep. Comfort is number 3 on the list of needs. Food and attention being 1 and 2. And not necessarily in that order.

So when LadyBug began her recovery, we took nursing her very seriously. We watched her. We held her. We fed her (even when she didn't want to eat).

And as she gets better, we are making absolutely sure that she is comfortable.

What can I say? PetsMart had a sale on little pink dog beds.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dressed to Kill

I have to go to work dressed in a suit or something close to that. When I first started in this business it was a SUIT--replete with tight skirt, silk shirt with floppy bow tie and jacket. Oh,  stockings and heels. BIG HEELS!

I remember the first time that I witnessed a female defense attorney (from San Francisco) wear PANTS into a courtroom for trial. The courthouse was scandalized!!!!!!! Everyone was sure that the jury would be so upset with her form of dress that her client would suffer the consequences. It was also rumored that judges would expel her from the courtrooms for being a "distraction".

Please remember this was in the 1980's--in Kern County where and when the racial and social divide was akin to the 1940's. Heavens, women were barely tolerated in front of the bar in a courtroom!

Fast forward to 2011 in San Luis Obispo County. I have been in practice for over 25 years. I have tried over 250 felony jury trials and innumerable misdemeanor trials. I am well seasoned and damn good at what I do. I earned the appellation "Bitch" a long time ago and I wear it with pride. I work hard and I don't care what people think about me in a courtroom. The courtroom is MY home, MY place, MY universe.

And I will dress as I see fit. Well, ok, I still wear suits. But no skirts, no silk shirts with floppy bow ties. I do wear the jacket. I wear flats these days. And I wear SOCKS.

My kind of socks. Cuz it is MY universe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ain't work fun

I am often asked how I can defend people. Usually the question goes "How can you defend a guilty person?"

I am really tired of the question.

Not because I hear it so often but because it shows a complete lack of understanding of our Constitution and our judicial system. Somehow we forgot that the idea was to protect the individual from the power of the government and make the government the hand of vengeance.

We forgot to educate ourselves that the reason for a defense is not to PROVE innocence or DISPROVE guilt, it is to PROVE guilt. It is not to use the word justice as a euphemism for vengeance or retaliation.


1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
1. bring to justice, to cause to come before a court for trial or to receive punishment for one's misdeeds: The   murderer was brought to justice. justice, act or treat justly or fairly.

Justice, as a word and a concept, does not apply until guilt is determined. And that is not done, by anyone, under our Constitutions, until IMPARTIAL PEOPLE have looked at the facts and made a determination.

Until that time, there are freedoms to be protected, rights to be enforced, and facts to be determined.

That's my job. That is what I do. I do it for those who can pay me and those who have been marginalized. And I do it with all energy and zeal that I have. Because I took an oath to represent my client's to the best of my ability.

So it was with great interest and foreboding that I read a blog called Public Defender by Gideon. When we educate ourselves maybe we will have educated the judiciary as well.

Here is the link:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

If I may be allowed one more post about the saga of LadyBug. (Well, ok, I will probably do more. But I thought I should apologize for being a bit "Motherly" on the subject)

As per doctor's instructions, we kept LadyBug lightly sedated for about 48 hours so she wouldn't be so freaked out about the world spinning. Try to remember your first drunk and then imagine that you didn't know you really existed and all that you knew was that what you knew wasn't there anymore. In other words, think like a dog who is really seasick and drunk.

Anyway, we had to give her water and food through a feeding syringe because she 1) didn't want to put anything in her stomach (she was seasick, 'member?) and 2) she couldn't figure out how to lick when the world was spinning cuz she didn't know what to aim her tongue at.

But yesterday she started lapping water if you put the bowl right under her nose. And she started walking (staggering, sorta) in a straight (more or less) line. Last night she licked peanut butter off my finger.

I was ecstatic!

So this morning I put some soft dog food on a plate and put it under her nose. She took a lick and then another. She waited a bit and then she licked some more. She ate about a quarter of a little can.

I was really excited!

Then tonight Mel reported that she scarfed down half a can and wanted more!

We are on are way to a full recovery.

Her head tilts to the right and she hates to have anything on her left but she is beginning to run and she can make it up stairs.

Tomorrow we will try for down the stairs.

She may be 15 years old (that's somewhere between 76 and 96 depending on what doggy year calculator you use) but she has some tricks up her sleeves!

The biggest one is NEVER GIVE UP!

Oh, did I mention that the first lick she gave, even before the water, was to my nose?

Some dog!

Friday, May 13, 2011


She came into our lives when she was 8 weeks old. She was the runt of the litter and came with all the other puppies that had already been purchased by loving homes. She came with the one that we had purchased. Mohawk was 8 weeks old, too. Well, to be honest, he was 9 1/2 weeks old. He was born on August 1. Lady Bug was born on August 10.

They aren't related. Well, there is a great-great grandfather in common. But they hadn't met until the trip to California. He was big and husky for a Cocker Spaniel. She was tiny and spry.

They all stopped at our house for a backyard break. Fourteen cocker spaniel puppies running loose. Most ran for the water bowl. She ran to my feet. Then to Mel's feet.

But we already had a dog. There was Mohawk.

So she went off to Lancaster with the 12 other puppies. Still hoping for a home.

I left for Lancaster the next morning. She ate her way out of the box on the way back to Bakersfield.

I let her out in the backyard with some food. She started to eat. Mohawk came wandering up.

Who knew that such a little thing could make such a big noise. Without moving. From deep in her throat.

Yup. We knew who was boss in that group!

That was 15 years ago.

Then yesterday happened.

We woke up at 5am to find her walking in circles (to the right), her eyes wild, her face twitching, and her back legs giving out. We knew she was having a stroke. And we knew that old dogs don't recover from strokes.

So I took her into the vet as soon as they opened. Only her regular vet would do in this case.

I cried all the way there. We had all said our goodbyes. We were as ready as we could get.

In walks the vet, takes one look at her, has me put her on the floor to watch her walk and says,

"Geriatric vestibular syndrom. She will be fine in about 4 to 6 weeks."

I didn't know I could cry that hard, again.

She still walks like a drunken sailor and always to the right. Her head is tilted to the right and her eyes are still a bit glazed. But she is going to be fine.

If you have ever had a dog......well, you don't need me to explain it to you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Messin' around

One of my methods of distraction are jigsaw puzzles.

This year I gave up on anything over 1000 pieces because I just didn't have the time to do them AND those are usually really tough to sort by color or size or little lines or however you want to do it.

And to be honest, I don't have a big enough table.

But I have found that there is still some challenges out there. Some real nasty ones.

This one took me about 3 weeks.

Please note that the pumpkins are the same color as the corn and the walls are all the same color. Oh, the tomatoes are the same color as the apples and the potatoes match the yellow part of the field. And just to add interest, the pieces do not interlock.

I really think I am nuts. I relax by concentrating as hard if not harder than I do at work.

There is a lesson there but I am not listening right now. I am opening a new puzzle.

Mother's Day

From the first day that I thought she could understand, I told Melodie not to get me anything for Mother's Day. I did not want to celebrate that day.

I told her to start with that I celebrated being her mom every day.

Later I let her know that I really was pissed that Hallmark was making a fortune by making up a holiday and selling it.

For years she respected that. So did Melvin.

Then, as I got older......well, as I realized I was getting OLD, I got a little conservative (AUGH!!!!I SAID THAT WORD!!!!) and I told her that a little card wouldn't be out of line.

We were sitting in a restaurant in Las Vegas (I think). She was laughing so hard that tears were running down her face. I left for the necessary room and when I came back there was a paper napkin on my plate.I opened it up and it said:

Per your request

Happy Mother's Day

Melodie and Jed

I still haven't quit laughing.

She still doesn't send me a card. (Thank, the spirits!)

But Melvin, occasionally breaks the rules. He says it is just cuz I like things like this.

And this

And I really do.

And it is such a privilege to be in the lives of my Mel's. I don't need Hallmark to tell me that.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Offices and Such

In our old office, Melodie was right outside my door.

The door was usually open and we could hear everything that the other one was saying.

If the door was closed (like I had a client or something nefarious like that) I would "bellow" for her if I needed her.

It was very convenient but a bit close for comfort at times.

But the new office is VERY different.

We are separated into different offices on different floors.

This makes BELLOWING really BELLOWING and most embarrassing for the receiving party. Thus, alternative methods had to be developed.

Well, it turns out that there is a thing called "Talk" on Google that creates a private chat. It works better than bellowing and it has a little chime that lets me know that Melodie has sent me a message.

So today, she BELLOWS at me, "Turn down the volume. I can hear your computer down here."

I threatened to turn the chime into a duck call. She threatened to quit.

I turned down the volume.

Yeah, I run my own office..............

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bigger Fish to Fry

Yup. It has been one of those days.

I read with fascination about the death of a terrorist.

I go to work at the courthouse and do my usual thing. I got a case dismissed. I got a guy into a mental health system that he really needed. The usual.

And I come back to my NEW office.

Now we are talking BIG stuff here. Less than a week ago my office looked like this:

One short week later. (And one hellish weekend) resulted in the following:

Now you have to admit that looks a tad bit better. Minor problem. No phone yet. Problem fixed--we have INTERNET!!! Minor problem. No network. Still can't do much work. But as Maynard G. Crebs said---


A little paint. A little elbow grease. A real live window. Makes all the difference in the world.
I think I got bigger fish to fry today.

Sorry, Osama, I just can't worry about you today.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Moving: Reprise

Moving an office is a ROYAL PAIN. I do believe I repeat myself.

Moving is a pain in the ***.

What is really bad about the whole thing is not the packing. Although that has its major drawbacks. Nor is it the actual loading of the truck by others (I shall explain in a bit)

It is the unpacking and getting the office up and running as if nothing happened over a weekend when no one else is working so when the internet doesn't connect and the phone doesn't work you are.......well, you get the picture.

Other than no internet and no phone-which means new clients can't reach me and old clients think I ran out on them. (No Mrs. Smith-Jones-Harry, we just had a few technical difficulties during our move. Remember, I told you about the move. I realize you didn't think it would affect you but unfortunately.....)

But back to the others loading the truck. We have a company in SLO called Meathead Movers. I always loved the name and the business model. They are former jocks from the local university and they hire jocks. They train them and demand that they stay in shape. So they grab boxes take them to the truck and jog back to grab the next thing. All day. Running. Young, cute, personable and built like .......well, I digress.

The point is they had three (count them, 3) law offices transferred to the new digs in 5 hours. Files, desks, computers, everything. Oh, the new digs are upstairs. And so were the old digs. Those guys were moving. (Like that pun?)

All that was left was the unpacking. Melodie and I are still at it. By 5 today it was beginning to look like a real live law office. Empty banker boxes were disappearing into the home garage and I actually got some research done. Using a book, for god's sake! A book!

Where's my internet?

Stay tuned for the further adventures of moving at law!