October 2007

I’m in pseudo-costume today. A memo came out to all employees of the Superior Court, as Human Resources sends every year, forbidding us to be in costume if we have to deal with the public (darn, we’re in the middle of another trial), and ordering that if we ARE in costume, it has to contain no dangerous objects (I had to put my porcupine costume with real quills back in the closet), no weapons (there goes my idea of raiding the criminal exhibit closet for murder and assault weapons), and the costume can’t interfere with our job functions (had to nix the costume of being a giant tomato cuz it won’t let my arms stick out more than 2 inches so I won’t be able to reach anything or type).

Therefore, I am here today in a fitted gauzy black top with shoulder and arm cut-outs, hanging sleeves, black pants, and accessorized with my Celtic trinity knot bracelet (the symbol on the Book of Shadows in the show “Charmed”) and an amulet of a dragon holding a 5-pointed pentagram, with a blue topaz stone at each of the 5 points (it’s a Wiccan protection amulet).

No one has said anything about my attire yet (except for my bailiff, who thought I look cute). Either it’s really subtle or it’s expected of me.

See and read about my first Halloween here.

This is a memo sent to all employees, and I’m posting it as my public service announcement for the year:

~ * ~
This is to remind all employees that Daylight Savings Time will occur late this year on Sunday, November 4, 2007. Normally, the time change takes place the last week in October.

If not accomplished electronically, please ensure that all necessary security/fire alarm systems, access control systems, building management systems, telephone systems, PDAs, cell phones, etc. are adjusted appropriately.

In addition, employees are reminded to adjust their personal watches, clocks, and alarms so to avoid delay in reporting times.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Saturday was my old bailiff’s wedding. He and his new bride are so cute together, as they have always been. They were grinning from ear to ear and glowed all over the place. Neither looked stressed, there were no tears, and they seemed to genuinely enjoy their evening.

At the wedding reception, the MC pointed out the beautiful designer floral centerpieces over each table, and asked who would like a centerpiece to take home. A lot of people enthusiastically raised their hands. The MC said the way to resolve this, is to play a little game.
“First, we need one person from each table to donate a dollar.” Nobody was moving at our table, so I asked Mr. W to take out a dollar from the cash he was holding for me for the night. “Okay, now everybody who’s donating the dollar, stand up.” I stood, very uncomfortably. I’ve learned to not trust wedding games. “There’s just a little something you have to do,” he continued. “When the music starts, pass the dollar bill to your right. And the person who gets it needs to keep passing it to the right until the music stops.” The music started and the dollar bill went ’round and ’round. And stopped with the man sitting on my right, who is a bailiff in the building here with his girlfriend.
“Now, everyone who is left holding the dollar bill, stand up,” the MC said. The bailiff stood, also uncomfortably. “There’s just a little something you have to do,” the MC stated. “Turn to the person on your left, and get very, very close.” The dollar bill was dropped in front of me as the bailiff said, “Uh…YOU better do this one, Cindy.” Mr. W is the person to my left, so I took over the duty, which was a good thing, cuz the MC continued, “Now look that person to your left straight in the eyes, and I don’t care who it is, you tell him or her, ‘I LOVE YOU.’ ” I stared Mr. W in the eyeballs and said indignantly, “I LOVE YOU.” Thinking this is over, the dollar-holders were delighted they won the centerpiece. But no.
“The music is going to play again, and this time, I want you to pass the dollar bill to your LEFT.” ‘Round and ’round the bill went again, and this time, it stopped at Mr. W. He was told to stand up, and get very, very close to the person on HIS left, who happens to be my judge. Uh-oh. “Now, the person standing up, there’s just one little thing you have to do. Lean down to the person on your left, and I don’t care who it is, whether it’s a man or a woman, a stranger or a friend, but you KISS that person on the cheek! Go! Right now!” Mr. W looked around the table and commanded, “NOBODY TAKE ANY CAMERAS OUT.” And he leaned down, and kissed my judge’s upturned waiting cheek. That was one of the more bizarre moments in, uh, everyone’s life, I’d think. Everyone shrieked in delight and some mixed horror.
But it still wasn’t over. “Pass the bill to the LEFT again!” the MC said in ominous pleasure as the music blasted. He let it go extra long this time, and it stopped with my judge. “The people holding the bill? YOU…are the WINNERS!” the MC announced. Cheers went up around the room. “But there’s just one little thing you have to do,” the MC said in a voice of dread, and everyone laughed. “Pull your chair out a little bit, away from the table. Good. Now, winners, stand up on the chairs.” My judge gingerly, after his few glasses of wine, got up on the chair, along with everyone else who are also apparently the “winners.” “Turn around, and turn your backs to each of your tables.” What was the MC having them do? Guests looked around at the chair-standing people curiously. “Now, lean forward slightly, with your backs still to your tables. That’s it. Good. Now, shake your tooshies back and forth and say, ‘Nyanny nyanny nyah nyah!’ ” Everyone laughed as my dark-suited judge, along with everyone else on chairs, did the ha-ha dance at us “losers” for being the “winners”. “Congratulations! You people on the chairs have won…the DOLLAR BILL!” the MC yelled and everyone on the chairs froze as the seated crowd laughed and jeered. “The REAL winners of the centerpieces are the doofuses who DONATED the dollar!”
Why, that’d be li’l ol’ me!
“THAT’S NOT FAIR! I had to KISS THE JUDGE! I should get this!” Mr. W wailed.
I had to get up on a chair and shake my rear and SHE takes away the prize!” my judge wailed. “Where’s the JUSTICE?”
I didn’t know what they were complaining about. Seemed just to me. I took the beautiful centerpiece home and gave it to my mother the next day.

This morning was my friend Edgar’s birthday champagne brunch. I was looking forward to the event, as it would be a reunion of sorts with people I hadn’t seen for years — high school friends, college friends, friends of friends. I was also looking forward to seeing the birthday boy’s cousin, who attended UCLA with me back in the day, and whom I used to hang out with in the group here and there. She was the last to arrive, and got there a good hour late. We were all seated and eating already, when she came in and said hello to people at the long table (twenty guests), and went to give her cousin Edgar a hug hello. I waited for her to look up so I can greet her, but she was busy hopping from person to person and didn’t see me. Finally, after she got to the end of the table to her seat, I did get the opportunity to catch her gaze and I waved. Her eyes opened in surprise, and she smiled in recognition as she said, “Cindy! Hi! I totally didn’t even see you! You’re half your size!”
I responded jokingly, “Hey, that’s offensive. I wasn’t THAT big before!”
She didn’t reel from it at all, or bother to correct it. We exchanged a little small talk across the table; she asked whether I worked in the same place, I said I did. I asked whether’s she’s still with her first law firm. She said she was, going on 8 years, and that she’s up for partner next year. “Congratulations!” I said.
“Well…I’m UP for partner, I didn’t get it yet,” she said.
“You’ll get it. That law firm knew what they were doing when they hired you — they put you in the driver’s seat from day 1. You never did the typical first year stuff, no running around, no paralegal work.”
“No, I didn’t,” she agreed. I thought I was being damn supportive.
Then Edgar asked me about my ring. I told him that I’d been meaning to call him, but yes, Mr. W and I are engaged. There were a few “congratulations” said around the table. The same cousin I was talking to earlier said to another guest near her, “It doesn’t count unless she actually GETS married.” Mr. W was taken aback by her comment and said something discreetly to me about it, but I defended her statement with, “Well, at our age, a lot of people just get engaged in their relationship cuz it’s expected, but when you break up in the natural course, the engagement is called off, too.” But seriously, WTF? Just what is she implying here? She is NOT helping the lawyer cliche reputation. Or maybe it’s a female cattiness thing.

Kristine (you know her on my blog as commenter ‘k’) and I were IMing earlier, and she asked what I ended up doing last nite, whether I ended up seeing Mr. W. I told her that no, I hung out with my buddy Dwaine (see post below) and that Mr. W did not return my call yesterday. She said, “I hope you aren’t fighting!” I told her that no, with Mr. W, if I send him an IM or email or voicemail without an actual posed question, he doesn’t see a need to respond. Like if I were gone for a week and I see him online when I return and I IM him with “I’m back at work!”, I’d never get a response. Then if I called him about it, it’d go something like this:
Me: Did you see my IM?
Him: Yeah, you’re back at work.
Me: How come you didn’t respond?
Him: I didn’t see a question, what was I supposed to respond?
Whereas the rest of us non-socially-challenged people would’ve written back, “I see! How was the trip? How is it back at work? Is it busy?” etc.

Kristine laughed and agreed, saying that’s how her male buddies respond, too…or rather, don’t respond. And all we’re asking for is an acknowledgement of some kind, like “Welcome back!” or something, anything. And then I said, “Watch, I’m gonna do an experiment right now. I’m gonna IM Mr. W with some random statement that doesn’t have a question posed.”

And then I opened up a dialogue window with Mr. W and typed him, “It’s cold in here.”

I told Kristine what I did and IMed her:
me: A concerned boyfriend would ask if I want to borrow a jacket or something. Or if I know how to adjust the thermostat.
dum de dum…nothing.
on the other hand, I’m gonna send Vanessa “It’s cold in here.”

I did so, and within seconds, here’s how Vanessa’s dialogue box looked:
me: It’s cold in here.
Vanessa: I think the air is on high everywhere because of the smoke
But courts are normally cold

I told Kristine about this, and she said, “Haha, see? Vanessa is normal! Or at least considerate!”

I told Vanessa what I was doing, and she said:
Vanessa: Interesting!
I am going to type Jay it
Hold on one sec
see, it’s a GUY thing!
Vanessa: He was just writing “How’s ur day going?”
And I wrote
It’s cold in here
And then nothing
from him
Vanessa: 🙁
I can hear crickets in that conversation
me: we EACH have an IM window open w/our boyfriends which say:
‘me: It’s cold in here.
Sent at 10:20 AM on Friday’
and then NOTHING

We talked about other stuff for a couple of minutes. And then:
Vanessa: He seriously has not said anything!
I am shocked
We were having a conversation back and forth and now nothing

I gave the results of our 2nd lab rat (Jay) to Kristine, and Kristine couldn’t resist adding a third lab rat, her ex, namely, TBG.
kristine: I broke down and sent it to T…i’m sooo curious! ha ha
ooh..this is what T sent:
me: IT’s cold in here
T: whining is for weiners

Ick. :/

Vanessa took the experiment a step further.
Vanessa: So I decided to write something else which I was thinking anyways,
“You have the cutest smile”
And no reply
Maybe he is busy
oh…wait a minute
He is typing back
“Thank you”
me: he only acknowledges compliments?
maybe I should try that next.
Vanessa: Should I type back It’s cold in here?
me: HAHA, I don’t know!
Vanessa: I did it
let’s see if he replies…
You would think a guy would think of nipples geting hard and say something along those lines…
“Jay: Do u hv a sweater or a jkt”
me: so extra prompting or poking got him to respond.
Vanessa: Yup!

She made a joke about writing the notation in the lab notebook, “species responds to enviromental comment once they get a compliment”, and I added to her imaginary notebook, “my base hypothesis is thus formed that the male of said species is vain.”

Right around then Mr. W actually called me from work and said, “Why is it cold in there?” So I considered it a redeeming response and I love him again. 🙂 Little does he know how close he came. j/k! I told him over the phone about the experiment, and about TBG’s response to Kristine in the experiment, and he said, “That’s probably what we’re ALL thinking except some of us has just decided to stay quiet about it.” 😮 How rude.

And then a last lab rat in the experiment, the IMs between Vanessa and her boyfriend Jay:
Vanessa: Thank you for participating in the social experiment
Please stay tuned to Cindy’s blog for results
Jay: I have a bad headache
Vanessa: You do Bay?
From the smoke?
Or from the stress?
Jay: Neither but thank you for participating in my social experiment


That’s what I call him in my head. He doesn’t know that.

After a few days of phone tag, Dwaine and I finally caught up to each other yesterday evening. Turned out he was “on the field” all day yesterday instead of caged in his office, so after his last client visit (7pm, now that’s a long day!), he came by my house for a visit. Despite his telling me at 4:30 p.m. that he’d “just eaten” so I should have dinner without him as when he arrives after his last client, he’s going to be “really full,” I had 4 pieces of toast and an orange. My psychic and deduction skills told me that at 8pm, he just MAY be hungry again. Sure enough, “I DO want to eat! I’m hungry!” he told me on his drive over.

We went to California Pizza Kitchen in the Brea Mall. I actually can’t remember the last time I saw Dwaine in person, so as is natural for a friend I’ve had since age 12 who is like me in some respects, the food was more in the way of our excited chatter than an activity we wanted to be doing. Why does food have to be going into the same hole in the opposite direction our voice has to come out? What a pain. Good thing Dwaine and I are close enough friends that we can communicate without words sometimes. For example, when we were perusing the menu, I mentioned wanting something with protein as I hadn’t had meat the entire day. Just then, the waitress came and Dwaine asked her, “Is there anything on this menu that’s high on protein?”
She suggested, “Um…the lettuce wraps.”
Dwaine and I exchanged a quick sideglance at each other.
“What about a popular dish that people order a lot, that’s high in protein?” Dwaine tried again.
“Oh okay, um, the Margherita pizza, the Mediterranean salad…” She went on and listed a few more non-protein-heavy entrees.
Good lord. I randomly picked the new mango chicken tandoori pizza. And she left.
“WHAT the heck was she TALKING about, lettuce wraps?” Dwaine said incredulously as I cracked up. Margherita pizzas are tomato and basil, and the salad is “A chilled salad of cucumbers, red onions, fresh tomatoes and Greek olives tossed with crisp Romaine leaves and lemon-herb vinaigrette, served on a bed of hummus. Topped with Feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and our homemade Tzatziki sauce. Served with pita bread” according to the CPK website.

After dinner, we came back to my house and Dwaine popped open the best pinot noir I’ve ever tasted (and I’m not a red fan) which he’d brought along as a 6-year belated housewarming gift, but really, he just wanted an excuse to try this new wine that was recommended to him. So the rest of the evening was spent catching up (his love life, my health life, old friends), debating traditions (bachelor parties, yes or no?), and bagging on pathetic people on Taxicab Confessions (who raves about themselves being so hot they HAVE to model in one breath, then in the next breath, tell a stranger they just met about their childhood molestation?). As for learning about ourselves, I learned that I cuss a lot, rather uncontrollably, with pinot in the tummy. I learned that Dwaine doesn’t even bat an eye to that, but WILL take offense if I tell him “shut up” or hang up on him, both of which actions effectively terminate our friendship. In the past 19 years, I must have done neither.

After two weeks or more of having cut lunches, working through lunch to meet some crazy demand of our jurors’, staying so late on the record into lunch that it wasn’t worth the drive anymore, getting shocking news from the doctor to drain my energy and motivation, and having the women’s locker room closed yesterday, I was beginning to think I was fated to not work out anymore. Today, my third attempt to hit the gym this week, I FINALLY got to work out.

Maybe it’s because of the weeks off, maybe it’s because I actually went grocery shopping for the first time this year and had dinner last nite, but I hit the weights with a vengeance. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t dispirited and drained after every set and I didn’t have to break up my supersets in order to rest. I was gonna write it off that I was just getting old, but today disproved that theory. I did the first two sets of my exercises at slightly elevated weights from what I’d normally use, and on the third and last set, I increased all the weights about 25% and hit reps of 10 instead of 15. I figured I’d train to failure, except I never failed. This shocked me, and is making me wonder whether I’d been weight-training waaaay below where I should be. My isolated lat pulldowns today went to 55 lbs per arm; I did single-legged squats with a 12-lb dumbbell in each hand; my supine chest presses were completed with a 20-lb dumbbell in each hand. And I could’ve pushed out more than 10 reps altho I hadn’t the time to test and see what my “failure” point is. I didn’t even get dizzy or light-headed, which usually happens when I’m PMSing (due to low levels of iron). And I am PMSing. When I took my bra off I could actually feel the weight of my bloated boobs pulling on my collar bones.

This is an interesting turn of events, and very inspiring. I’m definitely capable of cranking up the workouts, then. If my gym trainee reads this post, she’d tell me, “I’m scared…”

Since my doctor told me last week to schedule the operation within 6 months, I figured doing it in 4 months would hit it right in the middle toward the latter half of that time frame. Four months would take us to…February. No sex for the entire month of February. And then I almost burst out laughing.

My jury came back with their verdict today, after being told this trial would take 3 weeks and being here today for the 32nd day. I began reading the 20-page verdict into the record at 10:30 a.m., polled each juror as to each question (to make sure every question on the 70+ question verdict has no bigger voting split than the mandatory 9-3 maximum), and by the time we were done, it was 1pm and we’d worked through most of the lunch hour. The judge ordered the attorneys back at 1:45 p.m. to start the punitive damages phase of the trial, and with less than 45 minutes of lunch break permitted, I missed the gym for the second week.

I was really looking forward to starting a new workout regimen with my gym trainee, too. In the last 2 years we’d been working out together, I’ve brought her to be at my level (or better, depending on the exercise) for resistence training, which means she weightlifts what I do, or more. Her cardio is much improved, and she’s able to pull off supersets without needing breaks in between exercises. Our current regimen has us doing a 10-minute cardio warmup, then 3-4 weightlifting exercises hitting all the major muscle groups (legs, chest, back) in 3 supersets of 15 reps each, then a 10-minute cardio cooldown. She’s done really well with the added cardio and has lost a significant amount of body fat, so now I think we need to step it up. The plan is to really strength-train, i.e. hit only 1 body part a day and max it out at 6-8 reps of many exercises for that target muscle group, do different body parts each day in the week, and cardio on Wednesdays and weekends. This should tighten up our muscles and raise our metabolism from the extra muscle density. Not to mention the extra strength! (Don’t worry, contrary to non-weight-training girls’ beliefs, we are not going to turn into our Governator — women don’t have enough testosterone in the body to get muscular-bulky. And we’re not gonna take steroids or enter ourselves into Miss Olympia pageants.)

I was thinking I’d go to the gym today after work, but life is SO luxurious hanging out in my clean, vacuumed, candlelit living room with my cat, watching “Two and a Half Men” on TV and playing Bejeweled on my laptop, that I believe I’m developing sores on my ass from my leather couch. Oh well, tomorrow is another lunch.

Mr. W and I attended a coworker’s daughter’s wedding on Saturday. The coworker had the reception for 200+ people in her home, and the spacious backyard was decked out in strings of light and rustic hand-made decorations that made it look like a fairyland. The mom of the bride went all out — there was a dance floor and DJ at one end, clothed tables throughout the house, yard, patio, front yard, garage-turned-recreation-room, catering from a local rib restaurant, commercial heat lamp torchieres, fancy flushing port-o-potties, a free photo booth, and shuttle service between their home and the church. I don’t know if scanning a long strip of photos would turn out for the purposes of posting, but the first strip of 4 photos Mr. W and I had, we did the cutsie 1) smile at the camera; 2) him kissing my cheek; 3) me kissing his cheek; 4) him doing a goofy expression with a peace sign as I stuck out my tongue. And then I had the brilliant idea of acting out a word with each of the frames, and then seeing if people could guess the word. Our words were 1) suspicion; 2) innocence; 3) horror; 4) exhaustion. As soon as I saw the photos, my formerly “brilliant idea” shattered and I announced my new revelation, “We’re dorks.” =P But other guests at our table thought our idea was brilliant, and they took our list and did the same thing, so we got good laughs passing around each others’ photos and seeing others’ interpretations of the words.

Sunday morning, we again got all dolled up after hitting the gym for a 4-mile run, this time to attend my old friend Edgar’s 31st birthday party. When I say “old,” I mean simply that he and I have been friends since we were 14, with a stint of maybe 4 years in college of being “best friends.” We were excited to see the champagne brunch location, a hilltop venue called Coco Palm, because it could be a wedding possibility for us. We were SO excited, in fact, that it turns out we got there super early…
At the front hostess stand, we were informed that there was no reservation for a party under the name of either Edgar or his girlfriend Ruby, who I know made the reservation. I stepped outside to call Ruby, and looking at my cell hone, it hit me. Edgar’s birthday, and thus appropriately his birthday brunch, is next Sunday. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s a good thing Edgar has proclaimed long ago to not like blogs, or I’d surely not hear the end of this one. Ack. The venue is indeed exotic with flowing water, waterfalls and koi fish (and a pair of parrots named “Ricky” and “Lucy”), and I think it could be a beautiful place to host our wedding reception.

Brunchless, Mr. W and I sought out my parents to see if they had lunch yet. I knew that they were out fishing at Redondo Beach with relatives visiting from Minneapolis this weekend. Mom said they were on their way back for lunch, so Mr. W and I killed a little bit of time having great pastries and coffee at a new French patisserie I’d stumbled on some time ago, Vanille, and were so impressed by the creative fondant cakes on display that we think we may have found our wedding cake makers.
Lunch was at a muslim restaurant where I enjoyed the kosher dishes but had to choke down what tasted like rancid goat meat soup. The relatives’ two young sons were very well behaved at the dinner table. I thought about how when I was their age (approximately 6 years or so), if I decided I was done eating, I’d be under the table annoying my dad’s feet.

After lunch everyone dispersed and Mr. W and I went back to his place to watch some more “Buffy” and “2 and a Half Men” on DVD.
Halfway through our viewing, we noticed huge yellow-brown smoke plumes covering the sky when we look out the window. And then we flipped to the news and saw the Southland on fire. The dry, hot Santa Ana winds this weekend was apparently too much for some arsonists to resist lighting some fires, and even now, schools are shut down and hundreds of thousands of acres, and hundreds of homes, are burning and destroyed in Canyon Country, Malibu, Orange, and San Diego. The wind changed direction at one point and the brown smoke rolled over Mr. W’s area, making me gag as I ran around his house trying to figure out where the smoke was entering from. Turned out it was the chimney flue. Today, I excused one of plaintiff’s two attorneys from having to come in for trial because her home was ordered to be evacuated this weekend being 100 yards away from the Malibu fire and in the fire’s path. And today’s her birthday, too.

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