Glenda and Jan took me to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater to see My Fair Lady for my birthday. Every time I go there, I wonder why we don’t do it more often. It’s such a great evening. They serve a delicious buffet meal and deliver an excellent performance. I had a wonderful time with my two special friends.

Thank you to everyone who sent me happy birthday greetings. I can now legally order off the senior menu at Denny’s. Life is good. 😉

I was called for jury duty last week, and was selected to sit on a criminal case charging child molestation. Now, I am aware that many people claim to hate jury duty, but I have to tell you, I love it. I find the legal system and court process very interesting, and certain kinds of cases – fascinating! The one I was on certainly was. My new employer only covers three days of wages though, so I worked some early morning and weekend hours to make up my full paycheck. It was a tiring week.

About twenty five years ago, I served on a child molestation case in Tucson. The case was ground breaking in that the judge had allowed the testimony of the child to be video taped rather than making her come into the court room. The defense argued the defendant’s rights were violated, in that he was supposed to be allowed to face his “accuser”. The story hit the media and several jurors heard about it. The judge was forced to declare a mistrial. I was SO disappointed! After hearing opening statements and a day of testimony, I didn’t get to see the end of the story. (I later heard the man was acquitted. It was his ex-wife who had brought the charges against him during a custody battle for their little girl.)

This week’s case was really intriguing. And appalling. The little girl’s parents had an “open relationship”. They were swingers. The mother met a guy online, developed a relationship, and he came down from Washington state to move into their tiny two-bedroom apartment with them. He shared the bedroom with the wife while the father slept on the couch. The mother worked nights; the father worked days; the boyfriend didn’t work, so he took care of the two children during the day while the mother slept. After approximately five months of this arrangement, the mother discovered he had molested the daughter.

The little girl testified, and she was one of the sweetest and most precocious four year olds I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, she did not seem to be too traumatized by the event. I think she was young enough to not quite understand all that had happened to her.

The most interesting testimony of the case was the expert witness. She was a specialist in forensic interviewing and juvenile counseling. She described it as assisting children in identifying a situation. She was not familiar with this case at all. She was simply there to give us information that would help us determine the facts and validity of the testimony we were hearing.

I was the jury foreperson. We deliberated for six hours. In the end, it came down to whether we believed the child’s word or the defendant’s. We believed the child.

After the trial was over, we were allowed to meet with the attorneys and ask questions. It was then we discovered this was not the defendant’s first conviction. He was a registered sex offender from an offense when he was a juvenile, but that information was not admissible in court. Now the guy is going to prison for 10-25 years, and he’ll NEVER be allowed around children again.

Many of you may know that Carrie is working on opening a school/rehab center for special needs children next fall. A ton of work has gone into this already, and soon it will be a dream come true. It’s called Lauren’s Institute For Education, or LIFE.

While we were doing the fund raising events for Lauren’s transplant, several media outlets picked up the story and publicized it for us. Scott McGhee, a reporter at Channel 3 News, took a particular interest and gave us a lot of coverage.

Carrie called him this week to see if he would be interested in doing a follow up on Lauren two years post transplant, and also see what is happening with the new school. He was very eager for this opportunity, and met Carrie and three of her partners/staff at the site yesterday to film the segment. It aired last night, and is posted online today. He did a great job with the piece, as did Carrie and of course, Lauren! Check it out.

I came home tonight to cop cars and yellow police tape at the intersection in front of my house. It’s always disconcerting to drive down your street and see cops in front of your house.

Come to find out, this afternoon there was a fire in the house across the street from me, and after seven fire trucks responded and got the fire put out, they found a body in the back. Apparently, the woman who lived there did not die of smoke inhalation, so there is an investigation going on.

I didn’t know them at all, so I can’t even speculate. I’ll watch the news like everyone else. Here’s the initial report. See my house in the background?

I’m not sure what to call what I’m doing to my laundry room. It’s not remodeling, because no construction is taking place. It’s not redecorating, because you don’t really “decorate” a laundry room. I guess I’m giving it a face lift — new paint and flooring. It has never been redone since we bought this house 21 years ago. I pulled everything off the shelves, pulled up the old tile, and started painting last weekend. Today, I got the rest of the painting done, and half the new tile laid. I’m putting in the same that I used in the bathroom.

But that’s not what made it a good day. That was a lot of work! I’m tired out tonight, and still have more to do tomorrow. No, it was the overtime win against Stanford that offset all that wearying work. What a game! Up by 19 points early in the second half, and we let Stanford come back to tie it up with six seconds left. I think if six of their players had not been suffering from food poisoning, we would have had our clocks cleaned. But in the end, we pulled it out and got the “W”. That makes 20 going into the conference tournament, enough to get us into the Big Dance.

Diamondbacks spring training has begun. With Randy Johnson back, but Gonzo gone, it could be an interesting year.

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