2018 Health Check 

The healthiest I have ever felt was when I was pregnant with Colt. Mike and I were eating well, my pregnancy was going well and overall I had only gained a bit more than 10 pounds.

I quickly lost the weight I had gained, plus some, by breastfeeding/pumping over the first year after Colt was born. Again, Mike and I maintained a pretty good diet. And as Colt began to eat solid food, I would spend my weekends steaming and blending all sorts of foods for him to eat.

Once Colt became a toddler, things got a little more tricky. Always a good eater at school, by the time it was time to eat dinner he was no longer hungry and therefore quite picky. We got used to convenience foods. Still not a lot of processed foods, I would still agree he gets pretty good meals, but still not awesome.

I found myself not eating great over especially the last year. But since all my clothes still fit, I assumed it was balancing out. Somehow. I did start noticing that occasionally my stomach would just feel like crap after dinner. I assumed it was due to drinking too much pop again. For a good while, I gave up soda, and I was trying to eat better. And I did feel better.

Go figure, I let that slip during the holidays. Eating too much Halloween candy, snacking on too much Thanksgiving pie, and indulging too much at Christmas. I didn’t think much of it. Again, my clothes still fit.

Last Thursday, I was at work on back-to-back conference calls when I heard the boys talking about going to Buffalo Wild Wings. Having just missed a lunch date there earlier, I was interested in going but couldn’t get off the phone. Brad offered to bring some back for me.

About 2pm a pain started behind my shoulder blades. By the time I was driving to get Colt at 4:30, it was worse. And by the time we got home, it was almost unbearable. The pain had moved around and was now in my right abdomen just under my rib cage. I kept trying to lay down but I just couldn’t get comfortable. Unlike labor, the pain was constant, and I knew I wasn’t coming home with a baby. I had to laugh about it.

I laughed and joked pretty much all night. From the trip into the ER, with the nurses and other medical staff, even with the pharmacist after getting released. It is such a common ailment, and a routine procedure, I really couldn’t feel scared.

I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon the next day. He reviewed my ultrasound, and agreed, there were stones so he wanted to go ahead and remove it. Sooner rather than later. We went ahead and scheduled it for the following Friday.

I spent the week watching what I eat, or more like fearing every food that could possibly cause another gallstone attack. Which basically meant that I ate saltines for 3 days and then started to be a little more brave. I have felt pretty good up until today, Thursday, but I think I am just being overly cautious.

Tomorrow morning I am due to have the surgery. I will take Colt to school and then my mom will bring me to the hospital. Mike will be available to pick Colt back up. And then over the weekend I think Colt will spend some time at my mom’s.

I am hoping that this will be a needed change in my diet going forward, and that it can be a reminder to encourage Colt to eat healthy. Go figure this is how I get to spend the start of 2018.


Happy New Year! 

As 2017 comes to a close, the house is quiet. Mike has had a bug keeping him in bed all day. Colt has been in bed asleep for a few hours now.

I look back at photos and videos of Colt from this time last year and I see so much growth. It’s not many of the big documented achievements, but more he’s grown into his personality. Every day we have new conversations. He tells me stories; both about his experiences and from his imagination. He sings songs. He reads his books along with me. And I think he even tells jokes (in the way that an almost 3 year old does).

Playing with Colt is still very much on his terms. He dictates what he wants to play. Right now, he’s obsessed with the show, Fireman Sam, and so we do a lot of pretending to put out fires and rescue people from mountains. He also loves to pretend he’s an engineer on a train. He frequently pretends hooks the couches together like cars and drive them. More recently, his Aunt Jessie got him a train costume, so he pulls a laundry basket of toys around the house.

I guess you can say we had one big achievement. Colt was potty trained and we have had a nice 6 months diaper free. It’s even been a while since he’s had an accident. If I can just get him to go on his own more often without me…

Colt and I got to do some traveling. He got to ride in a plane, a train and a bus. Mike also took him out on Grandpa’s boat a few times, letting him stear. Colt loves all kinds of transportation. And farms! I’m glad we were able to get out to Cook’s Farm Dairy a few times. 

Colt is doing really well at school. Sometimes I worry about him not sitting still long enough to do his lessons, but pictures from daycare seem to prove otherwise. He’s learning his letters and numbers. Starting to learn how to trace shapes, circle pictures and “draw”. He’s got a really good memory. It still makes me laugh how he’s come up with a name for the street that leads into our sub, “Bumpy Trees”. 

Oh, and we’ve entered the world of “Why?”. I enjoy, so far, answering his inquiries. I usually try to do the best I can to answer him correctly, completely, and honestly. Though, occasionally, he stumps me at the end of a long line of whys.

Mike and I are still doing pretty well with parenting in a similar way. We’ve had a bit of a hard time lately with Colt wanting me to do things and not Dada. Mike was gone for quite a few evenings taking care of his dad and so I was the only one tucking Colt in at night. Add in that I generally get him up, fed, dressed and to school. And picked up. And I bathe him and brush his teeth. Mike says he feels like he has to be the bad guy. I feel like I am the “bad guy” five days a week. On the weekends I try not to pick fights with Colt if I don’t have to.

I’m grateful this year that I have really come to be better friends with Brian and Jessica. I am forever indebted to Brian for all the nights spent at Doons talking about everything and nothing. He explained it perfectly last year, to paraphrase, he said he liked my (and Matt’s) friendship because it’s easy and drama free. I appreciate that so much. And in Jessica I have a friend who is passionate and free-spirited. She inspires me to let down my guard and speak up.

I am also very grateful for another year spent close to family. Another year of grandmas and aunts who can take care of Colt when I need an extra hand or a break. I got a few good visits in with J and Ronnie and hope to continue to have many more. I hope this year can be a year I spend more time with my cousin Kelly and her sisters. I have also been digging further into my family tree and hope to add many more stories. 

My wish for 2018, is to continue to be a good wife, partner, mother, friend, sister,  daughter and colleague. I have heard a few people say that 2017 was a year for women and I agree that it was only the beginning. I will continue to raise my son as a feminist. I will continue to educate my family on ways to be more inclusive. I will find a more productive use for my voice at work.

I raise my glass to 2018! 

Charles Rowland Jackson 

The below is an oral history that was written by an unknown grandson of Charles Rowland Jackson [Sr.] and copied and sent to various family members.

Above the hearth, centered on the mantelpiece, was a model sailing ship with masts and full rigging, mysteriously inside its bottle showcase.

Grandfather Jackson told how it was carved and rigged to lift the masts once inside its container. So simple to explain the mystery, but it took skill to make it and mast it inside its perfect enclosure.

Then he picked up a piece of darkened metal, a copper cube less than an inch to a side, fingered it, and said “I could draw a mile of wire from that – – the finest wire in Canada”.

When he sat back in his rocking chair and I asked for stories of the past, he said simply, “I’m sorry, but my memory has failed and I cannot recall what happened yesterday”…

And so, let me tell you what he did say, in bits and pieces conversation that I have treasured for nearly sixty years.

He was a little man sitting there, not quite 5 feet tall when he stood. his face was somewhat long, find featured, a heavy mustache, and a noticeably high forehead. There was an air of tranquillity about him. Peace and quiet prevailed in all he said and did.

“Least said, easily mended” was one of his mottos. Clear-voiced, his words bore traces of a good Lancashire background. But he could speak with perception, sympathy, and intelligence on man a matter, and well he knew Canada (Ontario and Quebec), the USA, east and west, and Britain.

What was his story?

We went for a walk from his #8 Humberside Avenue home, over to Keele Street and the houses beyond the tracks.

“I know I’m slowing up. A young couple passed me the other day, and I’ve always been a good walker”. “In the plant (Canada Wire and Cable Company) I went to pick up a roll of wire which was out of place and I could not lift it”.

I’ve lived to see five men doing my work”. His work had been foreman (and wire drawing expert), and when the plant moved to its Leaside site he went every morning early by street-car across the city, into his 80th year. How could such a quiet little man be a boss in so big a factory?

We passed some freight cars on the siding known as “the junction”, a busy industrial area made famous in J.E.H. MacDonald’s painting by that name. “We started here”, he said, “in a freight car – – materials at one end and a bench and tools at the other. One day the owners came to me and said to lay the men off as there were no more orders.”

Charles Jackson said “No”. “We’ll keep them on, and I’ll keep them busy, if it’s only sweeping the floor. Then when you get orders we’ll turn out quality products, and your business will grow. This will be best for you, and for the men, and for myself. I’ve trained them, and we need them.”

(A plant manager of RCA Victor once commented on this, “We don’t get that type of person nowadays”). What then went into the making of this man?

Born in Kentucky, September 5th, 1857 at Newport, Kentucky, USA., Charles’ family was apparently engaged in raising horses. Young Charlie was tiny, agile, and bright, and it was thought what a great jockey he might be. (In later years he went to the Woodbine Rate Track in east Toronto to enjoy the horses and racing).

Kentucky must have been a good place to live as a child. The name has been said to mean ‘Land of Tomorrow’ — (Iroquois). Kentucky’s motto is “United We Stand — Divided We Fall”.

‘Kentucky thoroughbreds’ were raised on its ‘Blue Grass’. In the east and west of the state, coal was mined for new industries. Agriculture flourished and in particular tobacco was grown extensively on plantations.

Kentucky was therefore a “slave” state, but did not secede in the Civil War. In 1861 it was occupied by both Federals (north) and Confederates (south).

The story is that when the shooting began from both sides of the valley, the Jackson family packed and moved back to the safety of England. As a southern Virginia friend said, “The best place to be then”.

The more generally accepted meaning of Kentucky is ‘dark and bloody ground’, from conflicts of Indian tribes.

The Civil War was to far exceed anything in the past, a symbol indeed of modern war’s long , drawn-out stalemate and great loss of life.

As he fingered gently the little copper ingot, one noticed two fingers missing. “Lost in a planer in early days in California — could not play the piano well after that”. But he could sing with a good tenor voice, happy with the old songs, popular in their day. ‘Juanita’ was a favorite. “Nita, Juanita, ask my soul if we should part, Nita Juanita, lean thou on my heart”. Southern songs often had lyrics to appeal to the tender and best sentiments.

But we should review the years in Manchester, growing into England’s second major city.

My mother would say how well he did in school, finishing the curriculum of those days before legal quitting age, and that he had to repeat three times before graduating. One can imagine a gifted child perhaps helpful to the teacher, perhaps a problem.

Adolescence then was an invisible line passed over as one went to work, and into the family business of wire-drawing.

The family included brothers and sisters, all to be looked after, and striving to fill an adult’s role in the great industrial society of Lancashire in the later 19th century.

From a friend of the family I’ve been told that Charles married, wanted to return to America, but his young wife was afraid, dreading the sea and ocean voyage.

The ship then on the mantelpiece was a symbol of journeys, family ventures of earlier days, and others to come.

When his wife died, Charles was free to go at last, at 28, in 1885.

His goal was adventure — to reach the Golden Gate, San Francisco, California.

The log of his sea and rail journey gives interesting views of the immigration and travel — some beauty, some distress, friends, strangers, and newcomers all a-mix, seen though the eyes of a young man eager and hopeful.

(see attached ‘The Log of Journey from Liverpool, England to San Francisco, California, US’ Liverpool March 14th, 1885)

How long he stayed in California we know not. But it always remained a part of him, and at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge, mighty cable strong, seemed to symbolize the best in progress, across the bay and great harbor, linking San Francisco to the more northern parts of the west coast.

He had missed the California earthquake and Great Fire in San Francisco, but more particularly he spoke of escaping (missing? surviving?) the Johnstown (Penn.) Flood, a natural disaster in 1890.

(By this time he was back in the eastern states).

It was only on reading of that tragedy (the Johnstown Flood) that the connection seems relevant. A broken dam, (clay based), let a man-made mountain lake (20 million tons of water) tear through the valley.

Woodvale got it next, and got no warning. It was prosperous, new, and the pride of the Cambria Iron Company, a sort of model town. It was connected to Johnstown by a horsecar line that ran along its main thoroughfare, Maple Avenue. At the western end of town, the end almost touching Johnstown, sood the huge Gautier Wireworks, A terrific geyser of soot and steam when tup when the water hit the factory’s boilers, and then everything simply slid off with the wave. The streetcar shed went, with eight-nine horses and thirty tons of hay. When the water had passed, there was not a tree, not a telegraph pole, not a house, not a sign of the railroad. About a thousand people lived in Woodvale. The figure for its dead would be set at 314.

The wireworks contributed miles and miles of barbed wire to the mountain of wreckage and water that had only a few hundred yards to go until it struck Johnstown. it was now not quite an hour since the dam had given way.

Most people in Johnstown never saw the water coming; they only heard it. It began as a deep, steady rumble, then grew louder and louder until it became an avalanche of sound. Those who did see it seem to have been most impressed by the cloud of black smoke from the Gautier works that now hung over the front of the wave. It was talked of as “the death mist” and would be remembered always.

Charles Rowland Jackson was married in New Haven, Conn. USA on May 11th, 1887, at Grace Church by the Rev. Elihu Sanford, to Alice Dyson, born June 15th (?) at Biswick, Manchester, England.

In the Family Bible their children were recorded as follows:

  1. William Thomas, born Sept. 18, 1888, New York, D. Nov 18, 1899, Astoria, Long Island.
  2. Charles Rowland, b.Nov.22, 1890 New York
  3. Margaret Emma, b.Sept.10, 1892, Lachine (Montreal), Quebec.
  4. Elizabeth Alice, b.Aug16, 1895, Turcot, Quebec, d.Aug.1, 1897 Montreal
  5. Albert Yarwood Dyson, b.June 14, 1899, Motreal
  6. Robert Wilson, b. July 30, 1902, Montreal, d.Oct.5.1910, Toronto, Sick Children’s Hospital.

—–The family story continues with the move to Montreal and work at the Northern Electric Company.

Margaret Emma (my mother) was born September 10th, 1892 at Lachine, Montreal, Quebec.

Elizabeth Alice born 1895, died at Montreal 1897.

Albert Yarwood Dyson was born 1899 in Montreal. He grew up there and Toronto, and went to Detroit in the automobile industry, and was active in labor relations.

Robert Wilson, born 1902, died in Toronto 1910 after a long illness with a ‘rheumatic heart’ condition.

Charles Rowland Jr. joined the Toronto 48th Highlanders. His name is entered in the Honor Roll in the Edinburgh Castle, died June 17th, 1917 after serving in the trenches of France and Belguim.

A book at Grandpa’s was “On the Side of the Angels” (I beleive) which told of soldiers’ experiences, and the spontaneous truce and carol singing in “No-Man’s Land” the first Christmas of the war.

Grandpa, C.R. Jackson served in the Home Guard, and factory work. All others who could went overseas.

Mother married (April 1915), and went with my father, returning to England. he was R.S.M. in the 1st Canadian Contingent, and was back on recruiting business.

Mother’s diary of 1916 tells of family in Manchester, and many friends from home in the services mostly station, or in hospital, or on leave in the south of England.

In their family days mother recalled how her father took the children to Church and she would practise her short-hand recording the sermon. Her mother would be preparing dinner at home.

Grandmother Alice (Dyson) Jackson died February 10th, 1920, after a kidney stone operation.

—-Let us now continue our last long walk, begun on such a lovely day.

We looked in on an Orthodox Chapel, a small sanctuary near Keele Street. It was candle lit and icon bright. Then we went over to the parish Church of St. Martin in the Fields. In the garden-like surroundings was a life-size Calvary. Grandpa recalled the ritual riots when the first surpliced choir appeared back in Manchester.

—-Then one final day, when he grew weaker, I was called.

For some time he had been unable to go to the plant to see the men and lend a hand or give word of encouragement.

This now was his final hour, and the Rector administered Holy Communion. Grandpa seemed so still, until the “Our Gather” of thanksgiving. Then his lips moved in cadence with the Lord’s Prayer.

Peacefully, he went to his Rest in Christ.

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life. Until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The writing is well, not the greatest, and the facts a little vaug, but all in all a little part of the Jackson Family history. 

Crafty Time

One of my previous blog posts centered around how I didn’t know what to do with the time I had while Colt was down for a nap or to bed for the night. Sure, if Mike or someone else was available, I could run errands or go out and see friends. But there are a lot of times when I’m the only one home, or I just don’t feel like going out.

About a year or so ago I started toying with the idea of making cards. Like holiday/greeting cards and such. Some of you reading this may have been lucky recipients of those attempts. I’m still just doing this as a fun hobby. But playing around to see how many I can make.

So far, I have made cards for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Halloween. There have been a scattering of Birthday and Sympathy cards as well, and one bridal shower. And a few just because. Oh, and Valentines for Colt’s class. I’ve been trying to post them to Pinterest when I remember.

While I am still learning what techniques I like best, I do seem to enjoy using Distress Inks to watercolor my stamped images. I also like to do some watercolor backgrounds, though that is not my strong suit still. Another thing I like to do is more of the die-cutting and paper piecing. Just recently I die-cut and assembled little treat boxes for Colt’s classmates. They look like little haunted houses. That was probably the most amount of die-cutting and assembly I have done so far.

I recently made a video of the process it took to create 25 Halloween cards that went out in the mail last week. Please feel free to check it out, here. If you are interested in being on my mailing list, leave me a comment!


Potty Training PT 4

Blog Writing Fail… I started and apparently never finished this post… so let me do that now.

All last week I sent Colt to school “commado” as recommended in Oh Crap! Potty Training. He wore pants with elastic around the ankles in case of any accidents. I was super nervous dropping him off the first day, but his Teacher seemed positive and supportive. It wasn’t great. Even though they were regularly taking him to the potty, he was still having accidents. And I think only once or twice actually used the potty.

Unfortunately, I think one of the biggest problems was that his classroom has a near full size potty. I know he will eventually get used to it. But I was surprised considering that the one classroom below him has an appropriate size toilet, but they don’t focus on training. I hope that down the line, the new management (who happens to have a son Colt’s age) will change out the toilet.

Anyway, at home Colt was having about a 50% success rate. He was still having accidents but would occasionally make it to the potty. You could tell he was still holding it and wasn’t communicating until right at the last second. We still stayed focused, even though I thought about quitting.

So that was back in August… 

Colt has been diaper free during waking hours since the first week of August. Shortly after that, we stopped putting diapers on him at night and during naps at home, and he was doing so good, that when daycare ran out of diapers we just called it done. I would still say we have a 75% potty trained kid.

Colt is pretty gosh darn good about going number 1. He let’s us know when he has to go, most of the time, but he still needs a bit of prodding now and again. I attribute this to him just getting too focused on what he’s doing to want to stop. So we do still have moments where he’ll start leaking a bit before he’ll cave and go. He’s even pretty good about going in public. In fact some days I have to tell him that we are not going to the potty for the 3rd time while we are out. I am hoping that doesn’t come back to bite me, so far so good, knock on wood. 

The only issue we really have is with going number 2. Colt dislikes going poop… it seems, in general. I understand that is a thing that some kids go through. It pains me to hear his little tummy grumble, to smell his little farts, to see the look of panic on his face when he squats down to play with something or sit on a chair. Once we get him to go, he’s fine. But he holds it for so long some times. We’ve cut out bananas and cheese at the house, and upped the amount of applesauce he can have until he gets more comfortable going. He gets rewarded with M&Ms. I know he will get it soon.

But otherwise, Colt really is doing well with the potty training. He goes longer and longer without an accident.

The Jury Duty Experience PT 4


After spending a week plus on jury duty and then not getting a chance to hand over a verdict, I was really disappointed. A few times, I have gone onto the county website with a hope of finding out somehow what the verdict of the re-trial, if there was one.

Today, I decided to email the Prosecutor’s office and just see if I could find out. I was surprised to learn that my email was forwarded to the Prosecutor and she responded personally.

The Court set a new trial date the following week.  At its conclusion, the jury convicted both Defendants of Possession with Intent to Deliver Fentanyl… and Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine…  They convicted Defendant 1 additionally of Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin…; Possession of Ammunition by a Felon; and Maintaining a Drug House.  They acquitted Defendant 1of Possession of Oxycodone and Possession of Marijuana.

Defendant 1 was sentenced to 18 years to 40 years in prison as a Habitual Third Felony Offender.

Defendant 2 was sentenced to 6 years to 20 years in prison.

Names were redacted**

I am so glad to hear that the next jury was able to come to the same conclusion that I think the majority of my fellow jurors would have come to. Justice seems to have been served!

Potty Training PT 3

When I last wrote about potty training we had put up a sticker chart and were on our way to earning a toy tractor. It took just more than a week but he got his tractor. Going with that success, we started another chart, this one ending with a new book. And admittedly, we didn’t do as great. Colt was not going consistently in the mornings, and during school was hit and miss. With our vacation to Boston coming up, I decided to slow down again. 

Once we were back, and knowing Colt was creeping up on 2.5 years old, I went back to a post I had read on Lucie’s List. I had remembered that she recommended a book and I went looking for it on my Kindle app. Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki is a hilarious read that really does break down potty training into simple blocks. 

I started reading the book during one of Colt’s naps and I am glad I did. A few things that I had thought I was doing “right” wasn’t harmful, but wasn’t helpful either. Thankfully, Jamie has a chapter on starting over. I set a date, and started clearing my mind and trying to get any insecurities gone. I had to go into this with patience, understanding, and positivity. 

Today (Saturday), Mike and I got started. We picked up the rug, conveniently ran out of diapers, and encouraged Colt to be butt naked. It started a little rough, it was a cool morning and Colt really wanted pants, but after a while we were playing trucks on the living room floor without issue. 

We had a pretty good morning. Colt started to pee-pee on the floor twice, and both times we were able to get him to finish on the potty. Dada rewarded him with M&Ms. He ate a pretty decent breakfast too, (which was an added bonus). Around 11 he asked for a snack that started to become lunch but after a few bites, he asked to take a nap. I put a pull-up on him and he dozed off pretty quick. 

When Colt woke up, I rushed into his room, maybe too quickly, hoping to get him on the potty before wetting his diaper. Unfortunately, that just lead to a cranky kid who had already gone pee. Oh well. I decided to go outside for a little while, so Colt put on his sandals and we brought his potty out back. We had a popsicle and blew some bubbles but he wasn’t too excited about it so we went back inside. 

It was very obvious that Colt needed to poop, but he did not want to sit on the potty to do so. He was farting pretty bad and every once in a while after he’d been squatting down to play with his trucks, he’d hop up and sit on the potty or jump in my lap. Mike’s mom stopped by for a few minutes, but he was still not going to go. I tried to let him have his privacy, but he’d come running after me. He finally told me one of the times that he was scared. 

I let Colt watch The Minions Movie for a while, hoping that would relax him enough to go. Unfortunately, it didn’t. And after, while Mike was making dinner, he had a pee-pee accident, and when I turned my back to clean it up, he had a second. Just another reminder why it is easier with two people. 

During dinner, Colt was uncomfortable in his booster seat and finally I was able to get him onto the potty where he finally went poop. Yes, you stop eating shrimp and scallops,  no matter how good they are,  for that. We were all kinds of excited and happy and Colt was super interested in his poop. He was a big boy who dumped it in the toilet and flushed it. Mike let him have an ice-cream sandwich, and he still ate all of his hotdog. 

Colt had asked earlier in the day if he could go to grandma’s and feed her dogs biscuits, and I had told him we could if he went poop in the potty. So once dinner was done, I slipped some pants on him and we drove over real quick. I didn’t want to be away from a potty for too long. He enjoyed the little outing and stayed dry the whole time. Once we were back home, I took his pants back off. I wanted to get one more pee in before putting him back in a pull-up, jammies, and bed. It took a bit of time, but we succeeded. 

I reflected on the day to both my mom and Mike after Colt had gone to bed. Both agreed that it had been a successful day and that we did pretty good. I was pretty exhausted. It’s definitely a strain on my patience, but mainly because we’re also dealing with a toddler that wants to jump on the couch as well. 

Sunday, we got up around 7. I told Colt first thing we had to do was sit on the potty. He was pretty resistant at first but Mike brought him a smoothie and a Nutragrain bar and he settled down. After he finished, we went to the living room and had a juice box while we watched Sesame Street. Mike made breakfast again a little while later, and Colt had still not peed. I knew it would be coming soon. 

Colt didn’t eat much for breakfast, and I was starting to wonder if he needed to poop again. We were playing with trucks in the living room when he had his first accident. I got him on the potty while Mike cleaned up the puddle. Colt asked for M&Ms, but we told him that was only for when he didn’t have an accident first. He seemed OK with that. 

A little while later Colt was starting to do his poop routine from the day before. Of course the few times he rushed to the potty, he didn’t go. He had another pee-pee accident, at least this time we got him on the potty in time for him to finish. I was starting to think I was missing his queues, and was getting a bit upset with myself. But I was good not to show it, and promised myself to pay more attention. 

Mike had to leave to go to a quick side job. I didn’t really want him to go. But knew I had to knuckle down and just focus on Colt. He was running up and down the hallway when he came barreling into the room yelling, “I pooping, Mama!”. He sat down on the potty and I held his hands and he pooped right away. We took the bowl into the bathroom, flushed the poop and I rewarded him with some M&Ms. 

Before lunch, we had one more near miss accidents. We got half the pee-pee in the potty, but we had made quite the mess getting there. Even with the potty within reach it is almost always facing the wrong direction. Colt helped me clean up and then we watched some Chuggington until it was lunch time. He ate pretty well this time, and I told him he was to use the potty when he was done and then he’d take a nap. I read him a book while he sat, and he went pee-pee in the potty! We cleaned up and put a nap time pull-up on and I tucked him in bed. 

Colt woke up from nap with a slightly wet diaper, sorry, pull-up. According to Jamie’s book, we don’t need to be concerned about if he’s dry or not after waking as it’s more important to focus on the day hours, unless we were going to also attempt night training. I considered it at first but decided against it since we also have daycare to contend with. We headed back out to the living room and played. This time I was really watching his face intently. 

We waited. I watched. Minutes turned into hours. I offered Colt a cup of water. And still nothing. I double downed and gave him a juice box. I think it was a good 3 hours before he finally broke the seal. And then we had two accidents where we caught him quickly and got him on the potty, but then he didn’t finish before insisting he was done. Of course, then we started dealing with the over energized toddler who hadn’t gone outside today. We finally got him to sit down on the potty and he finished emptying his bladder. 

After dinner, Colt was again running around the house and challenging authority by jumping on the couch. Mike finally had enough and sent him to his room for a time out. I snuck in behind him and left his potty with him and told him to use it if he had to go. After a minute I decided to check on him as he was being pretty quiet, and low and behold Colt was sitting on the potty! “Are you going potty buddy?” “Yeah” he said as I came around in front of him. He pooped! Without saying a word, he sat on the potty and pooped! I made a huge deal about it and Mike came into the room. Many high-fives were given. He proudly took his poop to the bathroom to flush. Mike gave him some M&Ms and took him outside for a “tractor” ride. 

I have to say we had a really successful second day. I don’t think it will be an instant end to diapers. And I know that we have plenty of accidents to come. Not to mention, we need to work with daycare who seems really relaxed about it. Colt will be out of school and home with me again tomorrow for one more day to practice. I’m really proud of my big boy. 

The Jury Duty Experience PT 3

I can’t believe I forgot to mention the closing arguments in PT 2.

The Prosecutor had a power point presentation and spent a lot of time on the definition of the various charges as well as reminding us what evidence proved those charges to be accurate. It seemed pretty open and shut to me. 

Unfortunately, Defendant #1’s attorney wasn’t done with his theatrics. He proceeded to pretend that he was the 2nd Defendant and act out the day. He pretend to be driving the car where some drugs were found. He pretended to get a message from one of the other 2 men found in the house. He pretended to run from the cops and to throw his pretend drugs around the room. Even his client covered his face and shook his head at the display. To me it just made me feel like the Defense wasn’t taking anything seriously. 

The second Defense Attorney made much less of a spectical. However he implied that in his so many years of working for both the Prosecutor and the Defense, he’d never been on trial with another Defendant that he was trying to prove to be the guilty party. He stated that they were helping along the Prosecutor. She disagreed. 

We were then given our rules and sent back to deliberate. 

Within a few moments, we elected the one juror as our foreman, and I was elected to take notes and polls on the white board. We ran through all 10 charges and took a quick vote just to see where we would agree. I think by the time we were released that day, we had come to unanimous decisions on 2 charges. 

Friday was more difficult. We were struggling with the definition of “Right to Control” which was one of the elements in the definition of Possession of a Controlled Substance. Every one kept bringing up scenarios and disagreeing on just about everything. You could tell a few of us had reached our exhausted points and it was just getting too loud and everyone was talking over one another. At the end of the day, I reminded the group that we were not speaking about random objects, like coats and wallets, but only Controlled Substances. We all agreed to let it go for the day. We would think about it over the weekend and come back to it Monday morning. No one wanted a hung jury, but I think a few of the jurors in the minority were starting to see it as an end result. 

Monday morning we were advised right away that we were not to deliberate until they told us to. So we sat having small talk and coffee. At some point, the clerk came down and got juror 7. She was the juror who works in the court house for a contract company. She had been one of the few in the minority who felt there was to much doubt for any of the charges of possession to be guilty. I was starting to wonder if they were going to replace her with the alternate. 

Soon they came for our foreman. And then surprisingly they came for juror 10. It was after she left, that I learned from another juror that 7 had asked an attorney either for the definition of right to control, or had asked if she was allowed to look it up. He told her no, and that either could result in a mistrial. 7 apparently told 10 when she got in that morning that her notes she had taken over the weekend shouldn’t be used. 

I still don’t know how exactly the courts found out. Soon we were all called into the court room and told by the judge that she was declaring it a mistrial. We were all pretty bummed but I think also relieved. She reminded us that should we ever end up on another jury, we needed to respect the court and only consider information that was presented during trial and told to us by the judge. 

Overall it was an interesting experience. I wouldn’t mind doing it again. At least now I would have a better expectation. I’m still slightly bummed our 6 days didn’t pan out into anything good. I’m hoping they will be retried and the next jury will be able to convict them. 

The Jury Duty Experience PT 2

Trial started immediately after the jury was sworn in. The Prosecutor’s opening statement was really well spoken and clearly explained what they felt had occurred on the date in question. They were going to present a number of witnesses, a pile of direct evidence, and she made it clear that they would be establishing circumstantial evidence to tie it all together. 

The Defense attorneys took turns with their opening statements. The both of them arguing that the other’s client were the guilty one and not theirs. I immediately felt like they were in cahoots to make it seem like both men couldn’t possibly be guilty because if one was truly guilty, the other couldn’t possibly be. Of course, illiciting doubt is their job. We were released for the day when they were done. 

First thing the next morning, we were back in the deliberation room, talking casually, enjoying the coffee and donuts, and secretly hoping the Defendants were taking a plea. No such luck. The day started with a detective serving as a witness. He had been the first to enter the house that day. He had witnessed the 2nd Defendant running from the dining room and entering the kitchen, where he found the first Defendant. After a few hours of back and forth questioning between the Prosecutor and Defense the released the witness and we were able to go to lunch. 

That afternoon was more interesting in my opinion. After briefly questioning a second cop who searched the vehicle, the next witness was a chemist from the crime lab who had tested the drugs found at the scene. Again, I was very impressed with the chemist who was also a very professional, well spoken woman with years of experience. She did not let the Defense trip her up the way that my least favorite Attorney was trying so desperately to do. I really wish that I had studied chemistry and gone into forensics like I had wanted to when I was younger. 

After that, the Lead Detective took the stand. Of course, it started with Mr. Defense Attorney arguing that the detective shouldn’t be declared an expert if he was also a witness. Which I found interesting given that he did not have a problem with the first detective or the chemist being declared experts. 

The Prosecutor continued making her way through piles of evidence. Photographs, clothing, kitchen equipment used to mix drugs, plastic bags from the trash, and drugs. There were bags of heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, and marijuana. While intriguing, the amount of money those bags were worth was sickening. And depressing, with the current epidemic of opioid related deaths. Interestingly enough, my (least) favorite Defense Attorney objected to the Prosecutor pointing out how dangerous fentanyl is, stating that “it wasn’t fair” which was laughably overruled as that was not a proper objection. 

Wednesday we got started after lunch. It was the Defenses turn to question the Lead Detective. While I believe that the officer handled the case professionally and under proper protocol, his lack in documentation of his surveillance, and later questioning of the defendants at the scene was disappointing. And that was it for the day. 

Thursday morning we we in for a surprise as the Prosecutor introduced phone calls made from Defendant 1 to Defendant 2 while in jail. They were recorded and were played for us to establish that one of the defendants was known on the street as “Snowman”. This was important to note as 2 people who were seen in the gallery of the court room were wearing t-shirts that read “Free” above a picture of a snowman. 

After lunch, we were given our instructions, and an alternate was selected at random and dismissed. We were released back to the deliberation room. 

The Jury Duty Experience PT 1

A few weeks ago I received a summons to report for jury duty from the Oakland County Circuit Court. I promptly filled out the questionnaire and then forgot about it. As a matter of fact, I pretty much forgot about it until they sent me a follow up letter because I hadn’t returned the questionnaire.

Leading up to my summons date, I had been pretty laid back about it. The last time I had been called was a really quick and painless experience where I was dismissed within an hour of arriving. Though as someone pointed out, there was a good chance that must have been a day later in the week. Monday’s tend to be a busier day for the courts. 

Last Monday, I arrived a few minutes early and was able to get a seat in the back of the large room that held the jury pool. I watched as the room filled with people. It wasn’t hard to notice that the majority of the people were white women. There were a few dozen white men. And even fewer people of color.

The first group of jurors were called by number and I watched them line up down the hall and be lead out of sight. Shortly after the intercom started calling out a second group of random numbers. Sure enough, about midway through, they called my number. We made our way up and had our badges scanned as we lined up in single file. A few of us took the opportunity to use the restroom knowing that it would be a while before we got the chance again. 

I learned that there were 45 of us total. And in the gallery of the court room, it looked like a much more diverse group. We took an oath, and the judge introduced the prosecution and defense teams as well as the defendants. She asked if we knew anyone, and I laughed to myself when the man seated next to me stated he was an optimalogist and he thought one of the defendants could be a patient. He was not dismissed. I didn’t have long to get comfortable on the wooden bench, as I was the fourth person called to the juror’s box. 

Voir Dire began. The Prosecutor was a professional, well spoken woman, who was very experienced. She was assisted by the lead detective on the case. She lead the questions at first, mainly wanting to know if we knew anyone involved in the legal system, what we did for a living, and if we had ever been a victim of a crime. 

We learned that the case was involving the two defendants who had been arrested at a home during the execution of a search warrant. Each of the men were charged multiple times in relation to the possession and intent to distribute various controlled substances. They each had their own Defense attorneys. 

Right from the start, I disliked one of the Defense lawyers. He was loud, animated, and very unprofessional. He acted too friendly with everyone. Even the Judge and Prosecutor gave each other looks of disapproval. I thought that I could be dismissed simply because I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. 

But I was not dismissed. At noon we took an hour lunch break. Upon returning, the selected jurors were dismissed and replaced one by one. Out of 45, minus our 13, only 11 people remained left in the gallery. People who were dismissed either knew someone affected by substance abuse, didn’t speak English as their first language, openly admitted that they were biased, or surprisingly, were engineers. 

When all was said and done, our jury consisted of 10 white women, 1 white man, and 2 black women. I am not sure that is what was meant when they said a jury of your peers.