"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Friday, July 31, 2009

Flat Oatmeal Cookies

I had a somewhat emotionally grueling case, this morning before one of my favorite judges. It turned out to not be all that difficult since one of the parents didn't show up. He was in the courthouse on another floor related to an eviction action and then slipped out of the courthouse without stopping by.

I don't blame him for not showing up since he'd told the court last week, under oath, that he wasn't being evicted. Sometimes timing is everything and it was probably not in his best interest to show his face, today. This was a hearing that didn't demand his presence so he won't be in trouble for missing it. But it won't help him the next time he appears before the court because the Judge will want an explanation.

So anyway, I was home by noon and managed to do a little housekeeping after returning a few phone calls. Now that my practice is well on the road to closing down, I don't have so many cases to prepare for in the next few weeks and it is odd to not rush from one job to another in a frantic attempt to try to keep up.

About a week after I made the final decision to close down the practice and notified the court, a lady lawyer in the area decided she wanted to become certified as a guardian ad litem. A mutual friend introduced us and my new friend asked if I would allow her to shadow me. Lady Lawyer has since been certified as a guardian ad litem and the timing has been perfect as she is taking over much of my practice. She was a real help on covering cases while we were in Oklahoma and when I stayed home with Pearl after she was spayed. And she is a blast to just hang out with.

I'd bought Husband some oatmeal cookies from the store earlier this week and while he thanked me for them, he said they really lacked any flavor. While I had the time, I whipped up some from scratch but they didn't rise the way they should have. I suspect the baking powder needs to be replaced. I stood there thinking that I needed to put that on the grocery list. Then I decided since I don't bake all that much, I'd just wait until we move back to Oklahoma.

It dawned on me how ridiculous that is. I can't stop buying FOOD to avoid having to toss it when we move.

Pearl's belly looks great. Check out the thin white scar:

She is full of vim vigor and vitality. Today, I was sitting in my chair typing away and she came racing into the den and leaped over the arm of my chair into my lap. She has been crawling up into my lap on a regular basis, recently. She is a little big for that but I think it is so darn cute that I have been eating it up.

While I was trying to leave the house to go to work, this morning, Evelyn decided she didn't want me to go. She was laying on our bed and refused to get off. She pressed her head down on the quilt and wouldn't budge. Well, her mutiny only lasted a half a minute or so but it was still kind of funny. Then, instead of leaving the bedroom after she grudgingly got off the bed, she tried to head off into the sitting room. After I herded her out of the sitting room, she sat at the head of the stairs and wouldn't come down. I finally just rolled my eyes at her and took Pearl outside. As soon as the backdoor opened, Evelyn came racing downstairs. Works as good as a can opener.

But it was nice to be home with the girls, this afternoon. Pearl made the most of it.

Our neighbors erected a nice tent on their deck for a family event on Memorial Day. They never did take it down and over the past week, it has been sagging. I think today was its swan song.

Here is a picture from a couple of days ago. It is not that good a photo but the models are darling.

I didn't do any quilting, today. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Girls in the Quilt Room

What a face that Pearl has.

She just loves fabric.

She has a good eye for fabric and likes to pick out some for her very own projects (which generally involve sneaking them out of the quilting room and taking them downstairs. She frequently abandons them on the stairs).

Evelyn doesn't steal fabric - she just likes to hang out with her mom.

And her sister.

She is so good with Pearl.

Evelyn is one happy dog.

Pearl is a busy puppy with a magnificent tail. I have mentioned that, yes?

It was a pretty slow day other than a few phone calls and trying to track down a parent who is MIA. I put together some moving boxes but didn't put anything in them.

Mainly, I just enjoyed my girls.

I could probably do this, all day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stitches Out

Clean bill of health. She is snoozing back on the couch.

Stitches, Germs and Faux Hangovers,

If I were teaching a class to prospective guardians ad litem, in the list of things that make situations complicated I would include dealing with people who lack critical thinking skills and self control. I’m not being snarky when I say that. One of the simplest things people could do to lower the level of melodrama in their lives would be to actually listen to the information given to them and think about what it means before acting on it.

Non critical thinkers tend to screen out what they don’t want to hear and glob on to what they do. And if you don’t say what they want you to say, they frequently will combine sentences, drop words, find alternative meanings to the words you use and in general, “translate” what you say into something that comfortably fits into their existing world view and manner of dealing with life. I’m not talking about simply not understanding “legalize” or court procedures. I am talking about twisting the simplest, most straight forward comments.

And then they immediately make decisions based on that translation as if death will occur if they don’t move fast enough.

Example: GAL – “Your child seems to be struggling with the difficulties you and her father are having communicating. My suggestion is that you the two of you consider taking a co-parenting class and perhaps taking Little Daisy Mae to a therapist to help her to work through the transition.”

Translation (as told to the father by the mother within an hour): “The GAL says you are impossible to talk to and that you are screwing up our daughter so bad she needs to go see a shrink!”

Several things are happening there – first, the mother didn’t hear what the GAL said – she only heard what she believed in the first place. Second, she raced to the other parent (and probably multiple family members including his mother) to fan the flames and try to score points. Third, she misquoted the GAL. Fourth, the father is now convinced that the GAL is unfair and feels like he has lost face so he gets defensive towards the GAL and everyone else. Fifth, chances are, the GAL won’t know what happened because the father usually won’t know how to approach the situation for fear of making the situation worse. This is one time when it is helpful to have the second parent be a hot head because those guys will pick up the phone and let you know in no uncertain terms that they will have your license because you are unfair and libeled them.


I am making mom be the heavy but it is just as often the dad.

It is hard to avoid these types of scenarios. It isn’t practical in a custody/visitation case to be able to only speak to the parents when they are both together. In the first place, that could cause a brawl. In the second, when you make home visits or have meetings with the parents in private, there just isn’t any realistic way to have them both there.

When I put things in writing, I make it a practice to give copies to both parties when I can. By that, I mean the same letter is sent to each with the other’s address clearly on it, Dear Mom and Dad, etc. Sometimes that isn’t practical or prudent but to the extent that you can do it, sometimes that helps.

Of course, if you don’t make things exactly even, you’ll still get the outrage on one hand and the gloating on the other. And it is rarely exactly even. And as a GAL, if you thought that was your role, you’d promptly lose track of looking out for the best interests of the child.

So I got a call this morning (and retrieved four messages from the night before) concerning a custody case where one parent refused to turn over the kids to the other and was in the process of skipping town.


I quickly drafted Motions to Reconsider the last Orders, rushed off to court and … the earliest date they can hear them is in late August.


I also had a home visit, today. I love home visits and always tell people I love to see the babies and the dogs. And it is true. On this visit, they met me at the door and cautiously asked me if I was afraid of dogs.

Oh get serious.

Anyhoo, to my delight they had a “puppy.” A Rottweiler puppy, as it turns out. Now, I love puppies but I have to say that this was a strange situation. I have NEVER been afraid of dogs but this one just stared and stared at me. Unblinking. I didn’t know whether it was going to attack or what. My girls have soft, sweet eyes. This two year old pup’s eyes were hard as glass.

I turned my head sideways and didn’t stare at him but then I wondered if I was giving him the wrong message. Moreover, I couldn’t see if he was going for my face if I wasn’t watching him.

The owner kept saying, “Oh, he just loves to be petted! He’ll do it all day.”

I really wanted to get down and snuggle in his face but he just looked so… hard … that I didn’t dare. I felt fear well up and I doused it down, immediately. I think dogs can smell fear. This was a completely new sensation for me. Like I said, I don’t recall ever being afraid of a dog. And I don't understand why some people fear dogs. I just don't get it. But today... hmmm.

About that time, I glanced past the dog’s face and his short, docked tail was going a mile a minute. I still wasn’t sure about getting my face down by his big jaws but felt better about it. He was sure a sweetie.

Well, now I don't feel so embarassed about my wimpy hangover from Friday night. Turns out, I wasn't hungover. Husband got hit with the same symptoms, last night. Happily, I am not a pathetic lush. I am just a walking petri dish, apparently.

Pearlie goes in to get her stitches out in about an hour. I am going to leave Evelyn at home because they’ll have to do some handling of Pearl to get her to flop over and be still, and Evelyn would likely be in the middle of it.

More later. Maybe.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Caleb's Crew

Here is a link to an article in the Daily Oklahoman with a picture of Caleb's Brothers throwing out the first pitch in his honor at a minor league baseball game.

The picture is from the article.

Aren't they precious? That is Jacob throwing out the first pitch, and the little guys are Luke and Seth. Please say a special prayer for them. They have been through so much and it will be a long time before things start feeling normal, again.

Lucky Horse Shoes

Pearl took a little nap this afternoon so I had to pester her for pictures.

This is her favorite spot on the couch.

It is where her dad sits. So of course, she wants it for herself. She has "Big Dog" aspirations.

Tell me that face isn't priceless.

Have I mentioned that she has a magnificent tail?

See the horse shoes on the mantel with open sides up to catch good luck? We have some at the Oklahoma City house, too. Whenever I see people displaying horseshoes the wrong way, I get antsy. You don't want to be around those things when they aren't in the proper configuration. If you are going to be superstitious, for heaven's sake, get the rules right! :)

Pearl is feeling great. I'm thinking of leaving her crate out, downstairs, as a time out. I don't want to change it to a place of punishment but it sure has been handy to send her to her crate when she gets too rowdy. She has to stay (usually less than a minute) with the door open. Just saying, "Pearl, do you need to go to your crate?" has had the desired effect of helping her to get her bad puppy self under control.

I think telling her to stay in her crate and having her do that even with the door open is not a bad training exercise. We generally have to escort her to the crate when she is het up but she doesn't get yelled at or manhandled. She seemed to get it. Interrupting her play is punishment enough, apparently. She is a VERY bright puppy and wants to please.

No quilting or packing this weekend, so far. I have a motion to draft, tomorrow. I don't like working on the weekend anymore than anyone else does but an emergency has come up that I need to address.

I made the mistake of stopping by the next door neighbor's house, yesterday afternoon, for "a" glass of wine. I had about three glasses on an empty stomach and that was WAAAAYYYYYY too much for me. For some reason, I called Husband to fetch me (we are about 15 steps away) and I was thrilled to death to open their door and see him standing on the porch to walk me home.

Happily, I didn't throw up on him. What a mood killer that would have been. Regardless, I noticed that he'd put a bucket by my side of the bed, just in case. That says love, doesn't it? Fortunately, things weren't that dire and I just went to sleep.

I am moving slowly, today. I am such a wimp. No tolerance for alcohol, at all. We made a run to the local brewery so Mr. Wonderful could have some kegs filled (he brews beer and wanted to check out a new refrigerator to see how it was working). I stayed in the car with the girls and tried not to smell alcohol.

I feel extremely fortunate that Pearl decided to nap much of the day instead of racing around screaming like a banshee while my head felt like it wanted to explode. I guess those lucky horse shoes did their job.