Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 things I learned at jury duty

1. Don't wear a belt. Because then when the security alarm goes off, you have to take off the belt and walk back thru. And then put the belt back on. And then you feel like you're getting dressed in the courthouse, which isn't really a good thing.

2. People will clip their nails in the courtroom. I find this both disrespectful and kind of gross so I wouldn't recommend it. Besides, how did those make it past security? But there was a prospective juror clipping her nails in the courtroom. Eww.

3. Real lawyers aren't like tv lawyers. Some talk just like me! I guess I expected them to talk like they were reading off a great script (or an average script) but they weren't all that eloquent. And some look like a kid playing dress-up. Or maybe that's because I'm getting older.

4. There are a lot of messed up people out there. And I'm not just talking about the ones on trial. I'm talking about the jurors and the experiences they talked about that were related to the trial. I have had a cushy life and it's good to be reminded of that and to not take it for granted.

5. Jury duty isn't as scary as you think. It is something I have been dreading because I would have to go by myself and had no idea what to expect but they explained everything thoroughly and I began to really get interested in the court proceedings and watching the lawyers decide who to let go and what questions to ask. It's fascinating for someone who likes to analyze human behavior. Then they would dismiss someone and a new name would be selected and I'd start sweating a bit, wondering if it'd be me and what they would ask me. But my name was never selected and both sides were happy with their jury so I was home in time for lunch.

I remember my dad taking me to the courthouse when I was younger - 5th grade, I think? - just to see a trial. The judge was funny and kind of sarcastic, very matter of fact. I was remembering that experience today and how much more interesting it is to actually be there instead of just reading about it. You begin to understand the implications of the whole court process and that it affects real people. It's definitely something I want to do with our kids. One more field trip to add to the list for our school year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our summer

Tori rides the Huckleberry Railroad with Shelby

Rachel and Seth with Owen and Josh behind them

Brendan gets to drive Uncle C.R.'s tractor at Pines of Paradise

Brendan was asked to play on the all-star baseball team for the tournament. I won't lie, that was pretty cool. They lost the 1st game, won the 2nd and then lost the 3rd.

Blake, Brendan and Travis on the train

Rachel and Owen ham it up for the camera

Tori also gets to drive Uncle C. R.'s tractor at the resort! He is a brave, brave man.

We spent a week at Pines of Paradise in Carp Lake, MI, and had a wonderful time with family. Even though it was crazy hot (northern Michigan should not be that hot - ever!) and the mosquitoes were out in full force (my new favorite t-shirt came from up there and it says "Vampire of the North" with a picture of a mosquito on it), we had a great time boating, swimming, jumping in some crazy waves in Lake Michigan and getting to know our family again. I love seeing my kids running off with my cousins kids and knowing they're making memories of their own to exchange at future reunions.

Later in July, we borrowed a camper from our friends and camped with Josh's family at a really nice campground in Otisville. It's a small town close to Mt. Morris, which was hosting the Warrior Dash this summer. The Warrior Dash is a 5k race with obstacles - just little things like running over tires and old cars, through a mud bog, climbing a ridiculously high rope wall, and jumping over fire. You know, no big deal. Josh and his brother Jake thought it sounded like *fun* (this is why I am generally skeptical whenever Josh has a suggestion of something *fun* to do - I also am skeptical if he says something is not spicy - there are certain things we will always disagree on). I will give them this - the race was fun to watch! The campground was great - nice biking trails, a small, shallow lake for the kids to play, lots of shade, and some chiggers to bite our ankles and make us scratch like crazy. Ahh, camping. :) We also discovered that the campground was only 15 minutes from Birch Run! That made up for the crazy chiggers. And we discovered a new bar and grill that had just opened and they weren't scared off at all when we walked in and said there was 18 of us and more than half were kids. I believe the name of it was Otie's. Best BLT pizza I've ever had!

Okay, that is a brief update on what we've been up to. Other big news this summer - my little baby brother got married! It's hard to believe he's that old. Their wedding was beautiful. It was neat to see Brendan as a junior groomsman and remember my brother as the junior groomsman at my wedding. I have one very big regret - I didn't make sure my camera battery was charged and it died Saturday morning with no spare and no charger with me. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures that others took and hoping to get some copies from them. The best part of the day - watching Rachel dance on the boogie bus we rode after the wedding to the reception! It was so out of character for her. She was a dancing machine and didn't care who was watching. It was a special weekend for all of us.

And now, we're starting our school year! But that will be another post.