Jury Duty

santa-ana-5

I had jury duty last week. I had jury duty two weeks ago (It’s taking me forever to get this post out. Ack.) It was weird and kind of fun. I learned a lot about our justice system. It’s very laborious and monotonous and painstakingly thorough with just enough criminal craziness to make it interesting. However, I’m glad it’s over and I can get back to my regularly scheduled life. Phew!

santa-ana-4

It was weird going to court every day like it was my job. I got dressed up (sort of, I put tights and shoes on instead of my usual leggings and slides). I had a regular 8 am commute in traffic (a ride from Payam because my car was in the shop).

santa-ana-2

I packed a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for my hour lunch break. I sat by a fountain and listened to birds sing in the dilapidated civic plaza that was probably amazing back in the 70’s. It was very strange for this freelancer who hasn’t gone to “work” since 2003.  I think the hardest part was being stuck in a squeaky chair for hours with nothing to fidget with. I never realized how many “breaks” I take during my work day, and by breaks I mean, going to the bathroom a million times, stopping to wash the dishes and the whole kitchen between tasks, playing with my dogs, stepping out for a bit of gardening etc etc… I have a pretty flexible schedule usually and I guess I get up and down a lot more than jurors!

Thankfully the case was interesting. I learned a lot about credit card fraud. Did you know criminals steal cards and then re-write the strips on the back with different information? It’s a whole racket. Our guy was career burglar with bolt cutters and a change of clothes in his backpack and everything.

It was really sad. I felt terrible for the defendant’s pregnant girlfriend in the audience. It wasn’t an easy case. I was going to share the whole story here but it was a lot of typing and in the end I still don’t know that we ruled 100% correctly and I’m not sure I could handle anyone weighing in on what went down.

It was one of those decisions that could go either way, depending on how you define a certain word. We were not allowed a dictionary or any expert advice on the law outside of what the lawyers and judge provided us. This meant we were left to discern using only our common sense as a group. Common sense among twelve people can mean a lot of different things!  We haggled over it for hours. I thought it might even end up in a hung jury but in the end we were able to persuade the last straggler to one side and we all went home and got on with our lives.

I wonder how the defendant will go on with his life. We were not part of the punishment decisions. Will he rot in jail? Will he change his course? Will his girlfriend be okay? I have no idea. But I do know that we really tried to do the best we could for him.

santa-ana-3

On one of the days we had a three-hour lunch break. The judge had a prior engagement that was really important so they scheduled court around him. This was great for me because I love exploring. I was left in downtown Santa Ana with no car so I walked all over. I visited the old courthouse. I had coffee at a quaint little coffee shop.

santa-ana-1

I walked up and down the streets, ogling the piñata and fancy quinceanera dress stores while women in carts tried to sell me cut up pieces of melon and mango. It was pleasant.

santa-ana-7

On the last day Payam and the girls came and picked me up and we decided to have dinner at a diner that I had seen on the commute. I mean, how could I not want to go to a restaurant that has a cute kawaii heart in it’s name? It actually turned out to be really good. The menu was extensive and since we were the only customers anywhere in sight at 5pm, we had great service. It was the cherry on top of my fun little excursion into a town I never go to. I should go back and finish exploring all the places I saw but I probably won’t. I tend to keep to my own neighborhood, sadly. So until next time Santa Ana!

Redlands with the Girls

redlands-sign

I happened to schedule a visit to my tax guy during Spring Break. Not smart on my part. I spent the first part of the week adding up receipts (the exact opposite of my idea of a vacation) and the last day taking a trip to Redlands where my tax guy works. I would have much rather been in Paris but well, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

On the upside: I ended up taking the girls with me to Redlands and we found this cute little photo op in downtown Redlands called Orange Alley. Nothing like a photographer with a new camera and two cute side-kicks! Bring on the instagrammable moments! Bug just bought herself a new dress so she was happy to oblige and Joon is just a good sport.

girls-in-orange-alley-1

Orange Alley is where it’s at. It’s not a huge tourist attraction or anything and you can walk the whole stretch in less than two minutes but it’s a nice little spot. I really appreciated who ever thought this art installation up. Way to brighten up an otherwise dreary downtown!

orange-alley-2

Pretty, right? I wonder what they look like in a rain storm.

taking-photos-of-hannahs-wings

Joon especially loved the “Hannah’s Wings” painting since Hannah is her real name after all. I’m not such a stickler about protecting their names anymore now that they are old enough to have their own online presence and embarrass and exploit me all they want. Believe me, they do. I have a whole gallery of fat arm photos in Bug’s instagram feed. Turn about’s fair play I guess.  I actually don’t mind. It’s kinda cool to see what I really look like. I have such a distorted version in my own head.

hannahs-wings-1

There she is. Just touching down for a minute before she flies off to grace some other place.

graffiti-wall-girl

I was desperately hungry so we went in search for a restaurant that everyone could agree on. This is no small task. Sometimes I think the girls set their parameters on what is acceptable and not acceptable to eat based on how much resistance the other will guarantee. I guess there’s an easier way to say that. They are opposites and will fight to the death over it. If Bug wants Mexican food, Joon wants Italian. If Joon wants pizza, Bug wants hamburgers and never the twain shall meet. Rinse and repeat until you are clawing your eyes out and eating your arm off in starvation. Of course I could just put my foot down but that would be like parenting or something.

Anyway, we found a fondue restaurant that we all liked and had a glorious afternoon eating bread with long stringy pieces of cheese hanging off them and delicious strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Not the cheapest lunch but I wrote it off for business since the whole reason we were stuck there was because my tax guy lives in Timbuktu aka Redlands. I really need to get a new tax guy. Too bad I like this guy so much. And guess what guys? He told me he wished all his clients were as organized as me! *bats eyelashes and feigns false modesty* This is a new high from the girl who hates math. Did you hear that? I’m organized! I have spreadsheets! Who knew! Turns out I’m a lot more left brained than I thought.

good-is-the-new-gangster

Then we stopped into Bug’s new favorite store, Nectar. She is obsessed. Every time we go there she tells me that she wishes the whole store was her closet. At least she’s easy to figure out these days. She loves muted colors, all white walls and plants. Plants, plants, plants! I love plants too so I’m super happy about this latest trend.

plant-mom

She bought herself a pathos and carried it around in her backpack all day with the leaves hanging out the back. She calls herself a plant mom. Heart eyeballs!

And then we went home and lived happily ever after. Sort of. Until next time!