Oh, No!

I was first called for County court jury duty thirty-two years ago when I was 26. I served as a juror on a criminal trial for a week. It was a kidnapping, assault, attempted rape, attempted murder case. The guy that we convicted was a repeat offender. The judge kept the jury after it was all over to tell us we’d done the right thing. The creep had just gotten out of prison, having served time for doing the exact same crime. 

Seven years later at age 33 I was called for County court again. I made it as far as a courtroom and then we were told the parties had settled so we were thanked for our service and sent home. 

Seven years later at age 40 my old friend County court called me again. This time I phoned in for almost a week, and they didn’t need me to come in. 

I went eighteen years without hearing a peep. I got home tonight and found a jury duty summons waiting for me. Not County court this time. Oh, no, that would be too easy. This time it was US District Court, and it’s not a week worth of commitment. Oh, no, this time my commitment is for ninety days. Ninety. Days. I’m on the hook from July 12th until October 11th. 

If I don’t get on a trial, I remain on call for ninety days. I’m not sure what happens if I do serve on a trial. Am I done, or do I stay on call?  Like any jury duty summons, there’s no way out of it. I’m stuck. 

If only they’d waited another twelve years. If I were 70, I could get excused. If I were caring for babies or the elderly, I could get excused. If I was considered essential to my job, I could get excused. While I’d like to think I’m pretty important, I don’t think the court would agree. 

So I’ll have a new experience whether I want one or not. Maybe I should add blue and purple highlights to the pink in my hair if I have to report. I’d make a statement anyway. 

What I Learned About Popularity

When I wrote yesterday’s post on popularity, I wasn’t expecting the results that I got. I guess I should’ve known that the WordPress community would surprise me. Things just kind-of exploded, and it made for an interesting day.

The post (after 18+ hours) has 31 likes. Previous posts this week had 13, 9, 4, 6, 7, 10, 4, 2 and 13 likes. I attribute quite a bit of the traffic to reblogs from blogs with a much larger fan base than mine. I thank everyone for the support, suggestions and attention.

supportGiven all the comments I received, I wanted to share some of the ones that resonated with me.

Some important things I learned from yesterday’s post:

  1. Find like-minded blogs and build a core group. If you have shared interests, you will be more likely to comment on what others are posting. That will facilitate building a community of supporters and friends to share ideas;
  1. Make sure to comment on posts that you like. This increases your visibility. When commenting on posts, check out what the other commenters are saying. I liked the writing style of one commenter recently (he was really funny) so I went to his blog to check out his regular posts. I now have a new blogger to follow. This helps you to branch out and find others;
  1. Try to find an area of focus. I feel this is important for me because I tend to want to do it all and jump around in what I’m posting. The areas that are most important to me are photography (nature and wildlife), book reviews (because I read obsessively), and creative writing (because I like to capture my thoughts and ideas, and sharing my scribblings in my blog seems natural and easy to do); and
  1. Go back through old posts and find some you might want to re-post. I liked this idea a lot. The suggestion was to go back through old posts made before newer followers came along. Either clean up posts that didn’t work and re-post them or re-post ones that did work. Chances are they will get more interest the second time around. I have some posts I migrated over from Blogger. I need to wade through those to see if anything is worth a re-try.

I’ve done some other cleanup this weekend, too. I cleaned up the blog’s side bar to get rid of the clutter, I removed one of the pages across the top, and after I’d fussed with the color scheme, I set it back to something that was easier on the eyes. I love a dark background and white text, but it was harder to see and read.

One other suggestion I received was to end posts with a question. I’m not sure how to naturally flow into a question, but I’d be interested on thoughts about that. Does ending with a question successfully promote comments?

Image courtesy of Pinterest




Lady of Leisure


I’m not used to being a lady of leisure but I’ve been forced to be by my medical recovery period. I can’t drive or resume normal activities for three days so here I am.

Being forced to lay flat is boring and I’m glad that’s just for the first twenty-four hours. My butt is already numb. Most of the twenty-four has been spent sleeping. I’ve also written, read and watched TV. My house is messy, but I can’t bend over for the first forty-eight so I’ll have to ignore it. 

I’m not the best housekeeper but I hate to see things where they don’t belong. Maybe I can get them tomorrow. On Thursday I can do everything except drive and lift heavy things. Not that I’d want to do that at the moment anyway. 

I am sore today. That comes from having a healthy, strong young guy pushing down on your groin for more than 20 minutes. That sounds kinky, and it sounds like way more fun than it actually was! Nudge nudge wink wink. My stupid puncture wouldn’t clot. They said it was still oozing. Yeah, it did that here at home, too. I moved wrong (sat up without compressing the site). Scared the hell out of me to feel something running down the crease of my leg and realize it wasn’t sweat. It re-clotted, and that was enough to scare me into inactivity. 

I am not good at asking for help. I have to work on that. I’d rather do things myself. It gets done faster. When I ask for help and someone sighs out loud when I ask, that infuriates me. It was hard for me to ask in the first place. When the helper doesn’t gleefully jump to my aide, I get annoyed. Ask hubby. He said I handed him his face last night. Sorry, honey. I hope I never end up disabled and I’m sure he does, too!

I downloaded some books to read. I have homework to do. I have several chapters to read in my textbook. Maybe I’ll save those for when I need a nap. I’m sure they’ll put me to sleep! I have a small netbook I can use in bed so I can do some writing, too. I have plenty to keep me busy. It’s just the things I can’t do that call to me. 

I can’t do excessive stairs so the laundry will have to wait. I can’t bend so the cat boxes are on hold. I should be able to do them tomorrow. Let’s hope the cats agree with that plan.

The biggest hurdle for today is removing the dressing at noon. Not looking forward to that. The tape will stick and pull. I still have sticky spots on the other side of my tummy from the drape they used during the procedure. It adhered to my skin to keep it in place. My tummy keeps sticking together. I put my hand on it during the night, and my hand stuck to my tummy. After the dressing comes off, I get to shower. Good. I feel gross. I have blue soap residue all over both thighs. I just hope there’s no more bleeding when I clean up. 

It’s amazing what’s considered to be an outpatient, non-invasive procedure has such a restrictive recovery period. But then, I have to remember that the Doctor was INSIDE my heart just yesterday. Yes, okay, I’ll take it easy.  

Image courtesy of Pinterest 

A to Z Blog Challenge – T is for Tillie


Tillie was running late for work when she hurried into the school building from the staff parking lot. She waved hello to the hallway monitor as she quickly moved down the hallway towards her office.

“Good morning, Lois,” she called to the department secretary as she entered their work area.

“Hi, Tillie,” Lois smiled, “Annelise is in the small conference room. She’s been working on a picture while she was waiting.”

Tillie took a moment to hang up her coat and put her purse away. When she was ready, she joined the little girl in the small meeting room.

“Good morning, Annelise, how are you?” Tillie asked.

“I’m okay,” she said.

“My name is Mrs. McGrew,” Tillie said, “I’m the school psychologist. Do you know what a psychologist is?”

Annelise shook her head ‘no’.

“I try to help people,” Tillie said, “I listen to them when they are sad or mad or upset. Sometimes people need to talk to someone, and it makes them feel better when they do. Do you know why you’re here, sweetie?”

She nodded. “I was crying in the classroom.”

“Yes,” Tillie said, “Miss Gleason told me, and we both talked to your Mommy. We all thought you might like someone to talk to. Would it be okay if we talked?”

Annelise nodded.

“Can you show me what you were drawing?”

Annelise sat back from her drawing, and Tillie turned it so she could see it better.

“Where is this?” Tillie asked.

“The park,” Annelise said.

“Who is that sitting on the bench?”

“Grandpa Barney,” Annelise said, “He’s my friend.”

“I see,” Tillie smiled, “Is that a dog?”

“Yes and a squirrel.”

“Is Grandpa Barney your grandfather?” Tillie asked.

“No, he’s my friend and neighbor. He’s sick.”

“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry to hear that,” Tillie said.

“He won’t get better,” Annelise said in a tiny voice.

Tillie put her arm around Annelise’s shoulders to give her a hug.

“He has Alzheimer’s,” Annelise said.

“I’m sorry,” Tillie said again. “Tell me about Grandpa Barney.”

Annelise talked about her friendship with the old man who lived in the building across from her own and how they had met while Barney was sitting in the park, enjoying the sunshine. Although Barney did not speak much, he was always glad to see her. He always listened to everything she had to say with a twinkle in his eye. She told Tillie how she saved her allowance to buy Barney ice cream cones and how he liked the chocolate ones the best. She also told Tillie how her Mommy was friends with Barney’s daughter, Chloe.

“They sound like a very nice family,” Tillie said, “You are lucky to know them.”

“Yes,” Annelise nodded.

They talked about Barney for several more minutes, and they worked on finishing Annelise’s drawing together.

“I’d like to meet with you again,” Tillie said, “Maybe we could meet a few mornings each week, and we could talk about Barney some more. Would you like that?”

“Yes,” Annelise said.

“I will work out a schedule with Miss Gleason,” Tillie said.

When Annelise had gone back to her classroom, Tillie went into her office to make some notes on their session together. She gave them to Lois to type up, and she asked her to coordinate with Annelise’s teacher to set up further meetings.

Image courtesy of Pinterest