Sunday, September 27, 2015

Zen Cats, Karma, and Coloring Books

Friday - Let's get this day started, shall we?

I have to work myself up to walking downstairs, although it is Friday and my new iPhone is due to be delivered. As with everyone else in the Known Universe, I have things to do, and for reasons known only to the chemicals in my brain, that simple fact rattles my cage. Too many notes, perhaps.

My garden is just about finished for this growing season, sad to say.  The okra plant, which grew to be taller than me, has given its last pods, which I gratefully incorporated into yesterday's briami.  The tomato plants are still chugging along, but slowly, slowly.

I continue to engage in some zen coloring. Ridiculously soothing; no wonder I was so happy in kindergarten (well, except the time I got hold of some scissors and cut a hole in a classmate's dress sleeve.  I got sent to the cloakroom for that.)  Finished one, started another. Ommmmm ....

And now from the "karma is a bitch" department ...

A number of times during the past 6 months, I've made references to the suboptimal courtroom conditions that exacerbated the physical and emotional issues I've had to deal with because of the fibromyalgia. I have alluded to the source of those conditions, but have held back naming names and giving details. Partly because of my innate respect for the Bench, but mostly because I was still employed by DCF and did not want to create any impediments to a proper resolution. So I waited ...

... and that's all I had to do was wait. I promised all would be revealed in the fullness of time, and that time is now. Forgive me if I start to ramble, but I have been holding back for six months and I want to savor these moments.

A little background - I practiced in dependency court, what lay people think of as child abuse court. I practiced juvenile dependency law for over 23 years, 15 of those as an attorney for the state agency (HRS, DCF) and the remainder as a parent's attorney. Over the course of those years, I appeared in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Hillsborough, Polk, and Duval counties. That adds up to a lot of judges, and almost across the board I have had positive experiences. There were four exceptions, two in Orange County (but those were short term appearances, thank the good Lord) and two in Osceola - one was bearable, but one was not. This one. Never in my entire legal career, and that includes my cases in family, criminal, and delinquency court, have I ever had to deal with someone so unreasonable, so disrespectful, so totally convinced of her own rightness, and so completely out of touch with the grim realities of social work.

Side topic - and this is a shout out at all you Circuit Chief Judges - why must you send so many brand new, green-as-grass, never-set-foot-in-dependency-court-before, didn't-study-this-crap-in-law-school,  lives-at-the-complete-opposite-end-of-the-Ninth-Circuit judges to Osceola County? Do you think that little of us and the children we serve that you would saddle us with a terrified, resentful newbie?

Of course, we have occasionally been blessed with a newbie who rises to the occasion, self-educates, sets a professional tone, and leaves us with good memories of his term, but someone like the Honorable Keith Carsten is a rare gift to the judiciary and to all in his courtroom. And then there were those halcyon days - years, actually - when I was privileged to appear before The Best Dependency Judge Ever, the Honorable Daniel Dawson.

I could go on, but let me throw out a couple of links about the judge I consider to be the proximate cause of the 6 months of hell I just barely managed to live through. It's not my nature to be mean, so I am going to erase some of the other stuff I typed and stop here.

Here are the links, duckies - I report, you decide.
Osceola judge faces misconduct charges
Notice of Formal Charges
Fiery judge's campaign riled legal community

As my friend Kevin would say, alRIGHTY then!  Let's see - I saw my office peeps today and it did my heart good.  Lots of hugs and kisses and I was able to deliver those European Union Brownies (big success!) Oh, how I miss them all. Terry had a big bag of homegrown Florida avocados for me, and I even got some good news about some of the kids on my (former) caseload. My office, which is still not completely emptied, still has my name card up and Raquel taped up a picture from a long-ago adoption, when I was a redhead. That story had a tragic start, but a happy ending. I don't think Raquel realized how that case consumed me for five years before we got to the adoption, and is probably the case I am most emotional about. My plan is to go back there this weekend with Rob and finally clear out the shrine. Hard for me, hard for the peeps, but it's time.

The iPhone 6s arrived while I was out and about. So cool, Siri is voice activated now.  Although the AT&T folks did a great job activating and moving data from my terminally ill iPhone 5, it's still going to take a while to download apps and generally fix it up the way I like it. But you know what? I'm retired now and have the time to do it, while wearing flip-flops, no less.

No cooking today.  I started to prepare the Scotch eggs, but after cloaking them in pork sausage and dusting them with flour, I had to leave the frying for another day. Tomorrow is another day.

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