Saturday, April 9, 2011

Knitting with Roast Carrots

Slackford Studio

As if I didn't have enough WIPs all over the place, I just fell in love with another pattern, and it is only sheer laziness that prevents me from casting on.  Silly me, checking out the current edition of  "Knitty" and clicking on the patterns link and seeing a photo of Fallberry fingerless mitts and really, the only thing stopping me is not laziness, but the fact that I do not have any sport yarn in a color that even comes close to the perfectly named "Roast Carrots."  There is the ad up top - I can't make these things up.  I guess if the economy gets any worse, I can eat the mitts.  Really, what a beautiful color ... excuse me while I indulge in a little yarn envy.

This really ticked me off:

"School board members would work without pay, save for a $100 per-meeting stipend, under a proposal the Legislature is taking up on Tuesday.

The bill by the Senate education committee would do away with school board members' salaries for anyone elected, or re-elected, in 2012 and beyond."

But here is the gravamen of the issue: 

"Wise could not be reached for comment Monday. Last year, he proposed cutting, but not eliminating, board members salaries so they were the same as lawmakers, about $29,000."

I've got a better idea, Senator Wise.  How about all of you give up your salaries?  You know, all you state senators and representatives up there in Tallahassee.  Then we can look forward to filthy rich crooks like Governor Voldemort being the only people able to afford public office!

Part of my pique comes from my long-term friendship with Osceola County School Board Member Jay Wheeler, one of the hardest-working elected officials around.  Jay sends out a weekly unofficial School Board Update, which is often controversial, but always informative.  Jay pulls no punches, and also has no problem in operating completely in the open, in the true spirit of Florida's Sunshine Laws.  I get exhausted just reading about all the activities he engages in as a School Board Member. 

This reminds me, just a bit, of back in the day when I was in private practice, and was under contract to provide legal defense to parents who had children removed by the Department of Children and Families.  Originally my contract was with Osceola County.  Based on my areas of expertise, I was one of three attorneys who represented indigent defendants in dependency and delinquency courts.  I was paid an hourly fee for dependency cases, and a flat fee for delinquency cases.  The hourly fee was about one-third the average rate for my private cases, but there was considerable volume and that made up the difference.  Because of the nature of delinquency proceedings, the flat fee was entirely fair.  I worked hard, but I worked happy. 

Then the state took over the conflict/contract attorney system and all hell broke loose.  Besides the boondoggle of having to request payment from the JAC (Justice Administration Commission - now THAT'S an oxymoron!) in Tallahassee, rather than simply submitting a bill to the county office ACROSS THE STREET from the courthouse, we were faced with continual attacks on the amounts we were paid.  They wanted to pay us a flat fee for dependency cases, which, when taking into account the number of hours we had to put into each case, meant that after the first three months or so, we were working for free.  Since the average successful dependency case lasts close to a year and a half, you do the math.  Look, I suppose there are always going to be people who abuse the system - in this case, certain attorneys who padded their time so as to earn a hell of a lot more than anyone else thought reasonable - but the cure is to weed out the abusers, not punish those of us who play by the rules.  There were a number of meetings to address the issues, and at one such meeting, it was suggested by some of the people in charge that since attorneys are expected to do pro bono work, it was not unreasonable for us to donate most of our time working without getting paid.  My head still hurts thinking about that.  I always did my share of pro bono representation ... every one of the nine years I was in private practice, I had several clients who received legal services without having to pay for them.  Anyway, in time, I sought a job returning to work for the state as a Department employee.  I could no longer afford to pay my staff, and but for the fact that my husband and I shared office space in a building we had bought years before, I would have had to start working from home.  Today, three years after I left private practice, I cannot help but notice that many of my defense colleagues are doing without staff of any kind, and/or having to give up their offices.  And I will bet you real money that if you consider the salaries of the bean counters up at the JAC, and the salaries paid to the newly created Office of Regional Conflict Counsel, plus all the expenses associated with maintaining their offices, staff, etc., you will find that it cost the state a lot less under the old contract attorney system.

There is no involuntary servitude in the State of Florida and no one should be expected to work for free. 

Off my soap box ... for now, anyway.

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I am too frelling tired to go to Publix, and if something is going to get cooked, it is going to be from ingredients already present in my house.  Since my pantry is the size of my first apartment, and I have two big refrigerators, that still leaves a lot of room for culinary creativity.

To start, I have put together a big batch of Mom's Barbecue Sauce, which I will be using sometime this weekend to grace the contents of two large packages of meaty pork spareribs.  Treif, it's what's for dinner - not tonight, though, we're heading to Bonefish Grill with friends.

Along with the barbecue treif, I am planning on risotto, and decided to use up the box of defrosted chopped broccoli in my refrigerator.  What I have in mind calls for pignolas (pine nuts), olive oil, sweet butter, and a whole lot of garlic.  Check tomorrow's food blog, it will be there.  And I am going to prepare those rutabagas if it is the last thing I ever do.  Besides, they will be an awesome side dish for the ribs, since the boys have already inhaled all of the lamb shanks, resorting to eggplant rollatini as a side dish substitute.  They're not complaining.

Cook like there's nobody watching, and eat like it's heaven on earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment