Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orts of the Court

Orts:  bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.  This week they're related to my court appearance fighting a traffic ticket.   Background: The citation I received was back in March, on my first day at my new job, coming home and getting off the freeway, one mile from my house.  It was for failure to stop at a red light/stop sign and the fine was $490.   My last ticket was over 28 years ago and I have never set foot in a courtroom except as a prospective juror, so it was all new to me!

This picture has nothing to do with this post but isn't it a pretty view of my beach town?
  •  I arrived at the traffic court, which oddly was being held at the juvenile court facility the next town over, half an hour before the before the scheduled appearance time.  There were several women in the waiting area and another woman showed up later.  We all had questions about why the list of cases on the wall next to the courtroom didn't have our names on it.  One lady had driven from Bakersfield (120 miles) so was especially worried.  While we waited, the involved officers began to arrive; mine was among them.  There went the "maybe he won't show up and I'll get a dismissal" theory!  We were all a bit nervous. Several men later filed into the waiting room as well.
  • The bailiff finally opened the courtroom doors 25 minutes later and we all filed in, the officers taking places in the jury box.  The judge issued instructions, did a roll call, administered the truth oath, and then allowed five minutes for evidence to be brought forward such as diagrams, photos, witness statements, etc, including from the officers.  Ms. Bakersfield's officer came right up to her and showed her his diagrams and was talking to her about the signage, etc, and how fast she was supposed to be going where.  Then the judge came back and stated that, similar to a criminal trial, anyone could plead guilty before their case was called and receive a reduced fine.  Ms. Bakersfield and another woman raised their hands and were sent off with their paperwork.
  • The next two cases were for speeding.  The officers spoke first and gave many technical details about signage and their experience at estimating speeds and use of radar guns, etc., which was a bit intimidating. Then the citizen had their chance to ask questions and give their statements.  Both the older man and young woman lost their cases (the young woman was completely ineffective--spending most of her time gesturing, and then admitting she never looked at her speedometer). Then it was my turn. Gulp.
  • My officer recounted his 12 years of highway patrol service, position on the road at the time he observed me (allegedly) fail to stop, then drive on the shoulder and pull out into the same lane as another car.  On my part, I told the officer that I was surprised when he gave me the citation for failure to stop since I didn't recall him saying that during our conversation (the officer's first words to me were that he pulled me over for driving on the shoulder, "which is every CHP officer's pet peeve").  I asked if he had recorded the conversation and if I could see a transcript of it.  He peered over at me and intoned, "That would have to be ordered".  The judge repeated that any tapes would have had to be requested pretrial.  "Oh", I said, "I didn't know that".  I told the judge that I did stop at the light, I distinctly remembered because it was my first day of commuting to my new job, and that I had stopped behind another vehicle on the off ramp.  The judge said, "Oh, you stopped behind another vehicle?"  He went over the law about having to stop behind a crosswalk or limit line before pulling up further to look for cross traffic, confirming with the officer that it was a limit line and not a crosswalk in my case.  The judge asked me if I stopped at the limit line.  I said I didn't know, I may have been over.
  • The judge then found me guilty but said my fine was $185--which was a lot better than $490 and definitely worth taking the time to go to court!  I got my paperwork and then left the courtroom.  I headed down the hall to use the restroom before going downstairs to pay my fine.  A security guard had me sign a clipboard before she would unlock the restroom door. As I turned from signing my name, my officer suddenly appeared, wanting to talk to me.  He told me, "You should be really thankful because the judge almost NEVER does that.  He almost never does that."  Thinking it was really odd that the officer was talking to me outside the court and wondering what on earth he expected from me, I said, "Well, I really appreciate that".  The officer went on, "Because I know that fine is really expensive".  Again I said I appreciated it.  Still he was standing there.  So I stuck out my hand and shook his before turning back to the waiting security officer, an older lady who shrugged her shoulders at this interaction and said, "Whatever!"  My sentiments exactly :) 
  • So maybe the officer felt singed by the judge?  Maybe he had Little Man Syndrome?  Maybe no one has challenged his tickets before?   Or maybe my telling the truth really worked!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Design Wall Monday--May 27th, 2013

This is the first DWM I've joined for weeks!  Since starting my new job any progress in the sewing room has slowed to a snail's pace. But I did sew yesterday and plan to sew today, yay!

On the design surface this sunny morning are the pieced border segments for the Greenpiece quilt. 

And here is the latest wool applique block, also for the Greenpiece quilt.  I still have many more wool applique blocks to complete but have been taking them on my bus commute and feel good if I get even a few stitches done.  This apple needs some wee seeds added.  That is going to be a challenge!  Maybe I should just embroider them and skip the teensy wool pieces, you think?

Off the design wall and out of the hoop is this embroidered pillow I've been making for DD Elaine and hubby Chris. On the slow bus ride south on Friday afternoon through all the holiday traffic, I got the last stitches done.  Saturday night I washed the backing fabric and then when I opened my ironing board, it broke!  So 9 pm on Saturday night I went to Target and bought a new one.  Dedicated crafter, here. 

 A simple envelope back for the 12 x 16" pillow form.  I bought a nice feather filled one.

Here it is in its new home.  I drove it the mile or so over to Elaine and Chris' and when I pulled in their driveway, noticed that Elaine had texted me to say they were in the jacuzzi.  You can see her wet footprints on the patio and rug, hee hee.

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  A peaceful Memorial Day, everyone!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Some Mentionables

Last month when DD Erica was in town she surprised me with an early Mother's Day gift.  I was flabbergasted to open it and find a red Nikon 1 camera, in brand new condition, that Erica had scored (dear me, I hope she paid a small fraction of the list price on this link!).  She claimed my little GE point and shoot "makes people look fat"--plus, she knew how important good photos for the blog and my archives are to me.  I was thoroughly  chastised, therefore, when I showed up in Arizona at her graduation without the new camera.  My claims of lack of time, traveling light and not having a camera bag were not accepted.   Oops.  But I am very pleased to have such a wonderful gift to explore and get to know.

Not to be outdone, son Nick and The Marrieds, Elaine and Chris, surprised me at our belated Mother's Day brunch last weekend.  I was flabbergasted once more to open a box--and find a Kindle Fire.  Just the thing to keep me elevating my legs as I am supposed to, yet able to blog and surf the net, and of course, read, play games, or watch shows. Sweet!

So here is a photo of my Kindle taken with my Nikon.  The red case completes the theme, I suppose :)  Thank you very much, Erica, Elaine, Chris and Nick! I'm very grateful to be spoiled in this way by my kids!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Marked Absent

I've missed far too many days of blogging roll call.  I don't know how other crafters/bloggers who work full-time manage their time but I've obviously missed that lesson plan!  Part of the issue is my feet and ankles. Since I started my new job doing both more walking and more static sitting, my feet and ankles have been very swollen and painful.  I'm supposed to elevate them (which isn't possible at work) and have begun wearing compression socks, but the recovery is dragging.  That means I avoid my computer and my sewing machine in the evenings, for the most part, and I miss both!  Some stitching time on the bus is still happening, though.

I found this piece of chartreuse yellow linen in the remnant bin at JoAnn's and snapped it up to make a small pillow for DD Elaine's house.  She and Chris have used this color in their living room to good effect, but their side chair needed something.  I have one more row of "ribbon" to backstitch with dark brown floss.  The batik for the backing I picked up in Phoenix when my sister-in-law Laura took my mom and me to a nice shop called Quiltz.  She found lots of wonderful Asian prints to inspire a return to quilting.  I'll do a simple envelope style for the pillow form I already purchased.

A knock on the door from our neighbor with some misdirected mail brought an eagerly awaited package--I won a copy of this issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects from Lynne Hagemeier of Kansas Troubles Quilts, with her lovely quilt project called Friendship Garden (with Pam Buda--who did a wool version).  Lynne is very generous with frequent giveaways on her blog and has recently opened a brick and mortar shop in Bennington, Kansas called KT Quilt Shop.  Sales and service of Berninas, an emporium, and also retreat space.  Sounds wonderful!  Someday I'll go on a retreat, I hope. 

Tomorrow we're hosting our annual Mother's Day brunch, which got bumped back a week due to Erica's graduation. Right, now I'm off to conquer a long list of to-do's, which includes sewing time this weekend for sure--I'm having withdrawals!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Doubly Proud

Wednesday was the first proud moment, when my husband conquered his nerves and actually got on a plane for the first time in over a decade.  It turned out to be no big deal after all, thankfully!  Accompanied by two of our offspring, off we flew for the short trip to Arizona to see our third offspring graduate from college on Thursday, at Arizona State University's West Campus.

After being slightly roasted in the morning's hot sun for the pomp and speeches, finally the graduates made their way across the stage.  I blindly managed to catch this blurry pic of Erica shaking the Dean's hand.   We made plenty of noise for her, along with her aunt, uncle, and grandparents.

Here she is with her Arizona parents, my brother Ted and his lovely wife Laura.  We were so grateful to have Erica close to family during her school years.  They were very generous with their love and care.

 Happy graduate!  Summa cum laude, no less, with a bachelors degree in Sociology.

Here with her two older siblings, Nick and Elaine, just as proud as her parents. It was wonderful to be away for a few days with the family and enjoy the celebrating! Erica even arranged for the weather to be only in the mid to high 80s during most of our visit, though she stated she did have to pull some strings :)  Thanks, Erica! 

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.

  • Biggest story of the past week in our county was the Springs Fire, which started just after dawn on Thursday and quickly, with the aid of low humidity, very dry brush due to serious lack of winter rains, and hot East winds we call Santa Anas, caused many people to be evacuated when the fire raced up the mountains to housing tracts abutting the Santa Monica mountain wilderness.  The plume of smoke visible on Friday morning was incredible--10,000 feet high.  We're about 20 miles away from where the fire burned but were nervous for friends and relatives who live up the hill. Due to some amazing firefighting crews, pilots dropping water and retardant, plus a little help from Mother Nature with a return of humidity and even a bit of rain, the fire is now 85-90% contained.  No lives were lost but some property and vehicles were destroyed, and I think one house. The cause of the fire is unknown but arson was ruled out.
  • That new garden area we planted a couple of weeks ago?  I've already managed to half-kill the new plants by forgetting to water and not reminding Grant to put the sprinklers on.  Sheesh.
  • Remember that traffic ticket I got my first day at my new job that was $490?  I have a court date the end of this month since I contested the citation--I didn't run a red stoplight.  Wish me luck!
  • Traffic Rant:  Drivers who text and web surf.  Stupid, careless, dangerous. Get away from me, please! 
  • Walking to work from the bus these last two months I've gotten to see spring arrive.  The other day I was admiring new blooms on the jacaranda trees when I spotted an unusual shape in the branches. 

I could have used this umbrella on Monday but it was gone.  Guess someone else needed it!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mod Circles Baby Quilt

My DD Elaine was worried the Mod Circles Baby Quilt we collaborated on was not going to get finished by her deadline--Friday--but Mom came through and got it finished!  Here it is all quilted, using my favorite simple design, the wavy line.  I think it is a good contrast with the circles and modern enough to suit the overall feel.

Elaine co-hosted a shower today for her friend and mom-to-be, the lovely Allison, and obliged me by getting a photo of the quilt with its new owner during the shower.  Thanks, sweetie!
The yellow polka dot binding we picked out really looks great, if I may say so myself :)  Since I finished the quilt at 10 p.m.--with a label even!--and Elaine whisked it away soon after, I'll have to ask to borrow it back for a photo shoot.  Allison and her husband chose not to learn the sex of their baby so we will all be surprised in a couple of months.  Welcome Baby!

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...