Tag Archive: questions


I didn’t make any resolutions for the New Year. I never do.

But something I do want to work on is learning how to cook.  My mom’s a really great cook and I really love The Pioneer Woman and she cooks.  I feel like it’s something I should learn to do.

I also don’t think I can get away with being a terrible cook my whole life.

Perhaps it’s not that I’m a bad cook, it’s just that I don’t cook. And lately, every time I attempt to do anything in the kitchen, I might as well just put money in the trash or light it on fire.  Either way, it’s a waste.

Well, friends, I’m about to work on that.  I’ll be fending for myself for almost two weeks and that means that I asked my mom a fuck-ton of questions on how to prepare food.  I have a feeling I’ll probably try to bite off more than I can chew and end up setting the kitchen on fire. That, or I’ll just end up eating cereal and cheese for two weeks.

I can’t be a baby forever, I guess.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, I had a complete nerd-alert moment last week.  I gave two grammar lessons on split infinitives. Each time, it was like I might as well have been talking to a pile of sweaters. I only mean that both parties were neither excited to learn about split infinitives nor were they particularly impressed with my knowledge of split infinitives.  Talking to a pile of sweaters would have elicited the same response: silence.

Now, split infinitives really aren’t a big deal. In fact, they’re not frowned upon like they used to be. But I encountered one in the group project I was working on last week for my finance class.  In one of the sections of our paper that one of my group members had written, I found one. I saw it and was like, oh heeeellllllll nahhhh.

So I changed that shit.

But the cherry on top of this story is that the next day, after I had provided my co-worker with a grammar lesson on split infinitives, I was watching Peter Pan. At the end, Captain Hook is surprised by something Peter does and shouts an exclamation.  Can you guess what his exclamation was?

“Split my infinitives!”

Ohhhhh yeahhhh.

I’m using that from now on.

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I read somewhere that the average four-year-old asks, like, 400-something questions a day.

That’s amazing.

I’m not saying that I’m a four-year-old, but I think I ask something close to that.

I just wonder a lot of things.

For instance, I had lunch with my mother today, and I had at least ten questions just about our lunch.

Before you get all “you’ve said that before!” on me, I just want to let you know I don’t really care if I repeat myself. It’s my blog, I can do what I want. And if that means tell you something repeatedly, then so be it! Anyway, let me please reiterate that my mom has this thing about having her ipod headphones in her ears at all times. Usually, she has one of her stupid audiobooks playing at the same time, but you can bet your bottom dollar there’s no way she’s actually listening to her book the entire time her headphones are in. I tried audiobooks. It’s hard to pay close attention. It’s like someone is constantly talking to you and you can’t zone out ever because you’ll miss part of the story and have to just nod and pretend you know what’s going on. Okay, so it’s really no different than sitting in class in college and listening to lecture, or having to listen to some bullshit story from someone you don’t really care about, or someone who just rambles about nothing and expects you to pay attention. Hey, that’s you. Start paying attention again. I’m actually going to get back on track again.

Ugh. ADD. Anyway!

She had her headphones in while she was making lunch and not listening to me talk about how I had just finished the very last episode ever of The West Wing on DVD. Because she wasn’t listening to me, I decided I’d snuggle up to Chiefy on the floor and tell him about it. Sometimes when I do this, she will actually be listening to what I say to the pets- like that time I sat in one of the teal recliners in the living room with Stella in my lap and I sang to her for five minutes, nothing you’d know because it was one I made up as I went. Or like that time I told Tag to get a job one day. Or when I busted my ass on the kitchen floor and bruised the whole right side of my body because I dared Tag that I would be able to jump straight onto a stepstool on the hardwood floor (I’m dumb.) and it clearly didn’t turn out right because I knocked the wind out of myself when I missed the stepstool and fell.

When we finally sat down to lunch, I had already been yammering up a storm, and every time I paused where she was supposed to respond, she always looked lost in our conversation. It’s really irritating to have to battle that in every single conversation, so I requested that she remove her headphones because I had some serious business to talk about.

When you eat tomato soup, does it feel like you are just eating hot ketchup?

Is tomato soup really made of just tomatoes?

How come I like ketchup but hate real tomatoes?

Who invented grilled cheese sandwiches?

Who invented putting grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup?

When you wear your fur coat, do you think about how you could be offending people around you?

Are you supposed to eat crackers with tomato soup?

Are you going to eat these crackers?

Why did you get them out?

Why do I hate Ritz crackers? The Townhouse crackers I do like are pretty similar to Ritz crackers, so don’t you think that’s weird?

Danielle brought animal crackers to work yesterday. Have you had animal crackers recently?

I eat the heads and legs off first. Is that how you eat them?

Did you know that the average four-year-old asks something like 400 questions per day?

Apparently, that last one was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Granted, she did make a joke about me being a four-year-old since I had literally just spent the entire time we were sitting and eating asking her completely superfluous questions. Even so, she finished her grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, put her headphones back in, told me to finish up, and then took a nap as she waited for the dishwasher-repair man to come to our house.

I bet I have those four-year-olds beat. I ask a shit-ton of questions every day. That’s not even including all the questions I have to ask at work because it’s a function of my job.

I watched Beauty & the Beast this week.

Here’s the thing about when I watch movies: I think of questions you’re not supposed to think about. I just do. I can’t help it. It’s just how my brain works.

Hey, just real quick, who in the castle made clothes big enough to fit the Beast?

………

…………………..

…………………………. Really?

Yes, really! Those household items are not dexterous enough to alter his original clothes nor could they sew something new!

Shit, Katie, I don’t know. Maybe one of them was turned into a sewing kit.

Oh. Yeah. Probably. Good point. Okay, bye!

Yeah, I called Drew just to ask that.

I’d really like to say that that was the end of it.

But then this happened:

Thought of another one: who is MR. Potts???

He died tragically. Why do you think she has to work in the first place?

Yes, we were, of course, speaking about Mrs. Potts, the lovely older woman who was turned into a teapot when the castle was enchanted.

Oh good. That’s what I thought too. So she and crazy old Maurice got together??

I don’t know, Katie.

Don’t get mad!!

I’m not. I just don’t know if he ever recovered from the death of his wife. It’s why he dove into inventing, to ignore his pain.  That is why Belle likes fantasies, to escape her tragic life of having seen her mother die and her dad not recover from it.

Aaaaaaand that’s pretty much why I have the best brother ever and you don’t.

Sometimes I think of seriously random things.

Obviously.

But there’s a thought that has plagued me since my senior year of high school. For those of you who either don’t know when I graduated high school or who do know and just suck at math, that was five years ago. FIVE YEARS AGO. WTF?!

Anyway, yeah, this random thought/question has plagued me since my senior year of high school. For five years, this has been rolling around in my noggin, unanswered.

I can’t even think about it for too long because it freaks me out.

Yeah, it’s one of those types of thoughts.

How big is the internet?!

I bet you weren’t expecting that, huh?!!?

I remember sitting in a computer lab in one of my writing classes senior year of high school and having a classmate interrupt me from further color-coding my planner to ask me, “dude, Katie, how big is the internet?”

I’m pretty sure he was stoned and, at a loss, I just laughed at his question.

My first thought had just been Good job hiding the fact that you’re stoned right now but, then, after he turned back to his computer to do anything other than what we were supposed to be working on, the question struck me as mind-blowing.

I can’t even imagine the work his brain was doing trying to wrestle with the infinite possibility of the internet. My mind was untouched by the effects of THC and my brain was exploding.

HOW BIG IS THE INTERNET?!

Seriously, it is huge. And it takes up no physical space. It must be infinite, right?!

Oh em gee. I can’t even think about it anymore.

So, yeah, I’ll leave you with that. You can ponder how big the internet is and just thank me when your brain explodes.

I went to bed last night with the intent of sleeping in.

With today being my day off, I figured I’d have a niiiiice leisurely morning. I’d wake up, put some pants on, and sneak up on the cat on my way to the kitchen to get some pumpkin cake for breakfast because it’s October and pumpkin cake is a staple in our house in the fall. It’s truly glorious.  I would snuggle back in my bed and watch an episode of The West Wing. I figured I’d shower and then spend an obscene amount of time flat-ironing my hair, simply because I had the time. Then I thought I’d sort my laundry and do a load or two. Thought maybe I’d finish putting all the random shit sitting on my dresser away and color-code the next three weeks in my planner. Maybe I’d finally put the movies away by the TV in the upstairs living room. Maybe I’d finally get around to backing up all of my recently added music on my iTunes. I figured I’d even paint my nails, since it’s been over a week since I’ve done that.  I thought I’d meet up with Nikki for lunch and then we’d spend the afternoon scrapbooking.

The life I lead is a little rough. I know.

My phone rang at a quarter after eight this morning. It scared the hell out of me. I was confused. And worried something bad had happened. It was work. I hoped I wouldn’t be asked to come in. Luckily, that didn’t happen. But once I was off the phone, I was totally awake. I hopped out of bed with the intention of starting my laundry but then I remembered I didn’t know how our brand new washing machine worked because it’s pretty much from the future.  So instead I brushed my teeth then crawled back into bed.   So much for being productive.

Nikki bbm’d me just after I got out of the shower and alerted me to the “weather situation” occurring in the area.  We solidified our plans for lunch and scrapbooking and I started blow-drying my hair. But then she called me back because she was driving to let me know that there was indeed a tornado warning in effect.

Uhhhhm. This entire back side of this new house is made of windows, practically. Sure, I was already in the basement but… there is really no place to hide away from windows. Let’s get real. If a tornado was to come attack me, I would make like Dorothy and end up in Oz. I turned the news on and watched a whole lot of meteorology-related graphics on the screen with little thought to what it really meant. I laughed it off because while they were spouting off all this info about how important it is to TAKE COVER and STAY INSIDE AWAY FROM WINDOWS, all that was outside my windows and doors was light rain and a little wind.

But then it got really dark. And all of a sudden it started downpouring. I couldn’t even see the lake. It was scary!! But then it passed. And I went on with my day.

Here’s the thing though. It remained really windy all day and it made me wonder something.

Where does wind come from?

I think that this question may make you wonder if my brain is actually fully functioning but I am  for realzzzzz.

Oh, also, I don’t know if this is related but for some reason it is related in my brain. I saw that creeps Ashton Kutcher movie The Butterfly Effect and I don’t really remember what that movie is about. I feel like it mentioned something about a butterfly flapping its wings and then it changes something on the other side of the Earth or some shit.  That is outrageous and totally creeps me out. Is that for real?! Is that where wind comes from? Does wind exist without trees? What about in the Sahara or whatever. That place gets wind, right?! WHERE DOES WIND COME FROM?!

Gosh, sometimes I wonder weird things.

I’m sure you’re really glad you wasted the five minutes it took to read this. It’s good to know my internal monologue is such an unproductive use of time.  Kind of like facebook.

When closing arguments began, I had no idea what I would decide. I was dying to know what my fellow jurors thought of everything we had heard. Throughout the four days we were in court, we couldn’t speak to each other about anything relating to the case. Every minute spent together in the jury room was filled with small talk. I couldn’t wait to actually be able to talk about the case, ask the questions that had been haunting my dreams, and finally wrap my head around all the facts.

There was one minor hiccup once all was said and done by the attorneys. There were thirteen of us. Only twelve would go back to the jury room and deliberate. I hoped to high heaven I wouldn’t be the one to be dismissed. How disappointing it would be to sit through the entire trial and then simply be released, to be thanked for one’s service and dismissed with no other words. I would have been pissed. But, as it stands, that didn’t happen to me. The juror in seat three was released.

The judge read us our instructions and then we filed back into our ever familiar jury room.  I took my regular seat and waited to see what would happen next.  First thing was first: we were going to order some lunch. And I was to be the one to record everyone’s order due to my neat handwriting. (I always knew I’d be good for something!) Ordering lunch was a feat in and of itself but we finally got it under control. We called Mike, our court officer, and gave him our order.

That was when deliberations began. During the time it took to figure out what everyone was eating for lunch, we had also decided our foreman. Rather than picking the woman who has sat on a jury every two years since 1985, we went with the man she nominated, who sat in seat number four. We decided to tackle the lesser charges first, and then discuss the big one. It didn’t take long at all to go around the table and say “guilty” to the first count of furnishing alcohol to a minor (Brianna).  We then did the same thing for the second count of furnishing alcohol to a minor (Monika).

To begin our discussion, we went through each of our witnesses and judged his or her credibility. In doing so, we got to hash out all of the details of the case.  We tried to come up with our own timeline of events; we tried to figure out exactly what happened. We tried to determine what seemed to make sense. It was seriously difficult.  That’s when we all started to agree upon all of the holes in the story. We all seemed to have the same questions and a couple of our own theories.

The element of personal injury to the charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree needed to be met. While there had been a 2 millimeter “laceration” noted in the medical records of the victim, the sexual assault nurse examiner couldn’t rule out other causes of the injury, nor could she determine how long that injury had been there. The fact that there was no physical, DNA evidence anywhere could have been overlooked had the story made any sense at all.  The personal vendetta theory that the defense had been working on started to seem more and more likely the more we went over what the witnesses had testified. And don’t even get me started on the 9-1-1 tape. We listened to it at least 7 times. I could probably quote it, verbatim.  The worst part: all of it was a fabrication; the victim’s friend/girlfriend had called 9-1-1 and pretended to be the victim. And when questioned on the witness stand by the prosecuting attorney, who was livid, she didn’t have an explanation for her actions.

All in all, we couldn’t convict him of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree because we all experienced reasonable doubt.  It’s such an interesting concept, one that I didn’t even really understand until I felt it.

When we reached our verdict, I wrote Mike the note (“We have reached a verdict”) since we weren’t allowed to speak to him. Another juror called down to his office and told him we had the note ready. Then we waited a few minutes and were called back into the courtroom.  The judge asked our foreman if we reached a verdict and then he read what we had decided.

I still can’t believe I did this, but when our foreman read the verdict, I was looking at the judge.  Can you believe that? I was looking at the judge, rather than the defendant. I thought to look at him, to read his facial expression, after we had moved onto the lesser charges. I missed his very first reaction to the “not guilty” verdict for criminal sexual conduct. By the time I looked over, he looked relieved. He was shaking the hand of his attorney and he looked… thankful. In my head, I decided he was on the verge of tears because he was so relieved.

As soon as he finished reading our verdict, we were shuffled back into the jury room one last time. We waited only a few minutes before the judge came in and talked to us. She seemed to agree with our verdict, which made me feel even better about the choices we had made. She spoke candidly to us about the case. It was really awesome.

Obviously, I think you all can tell that I really, really loved my jury duty experience. I feel like I can honestly say that it is probably one of the most important things I have ever done, and I just know I’ll never forget it. And, just for the record, I think everyone should sit on a jury at least once. It’s an amazing experience!

We all filed into the courtroom and took our seats in the audience.  Straight ahead sat the judge, poised behind the giant wood desk-type thing. I sat on the left side, where the prosecuting attorney had his notes open on the table beside him. To the right was the defense, along with the man on trial. I hadn’t been expecting to see everyone there. I didn’t expect to see an actual person on trial standing in front of me when we entered the courtroom. The charges were announced and things got serious very quickly. It was no longer a fun little field trip to the courthouse, it was no longer an escape from work, it was no longer just a chance to live out an episode of Law and Order or The Good Wife. This was for real. This was a big deal. This was a man’s life. This was a family. This was so much more than just a civic duty. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the possibility of having an actual impact on the outcome of someone’s life.

Of course, now that I've found a picture I realize he looks nothing like this man other than the fact that they basically have the same haircut. My bad.

The defendant, who had an uncanny resemblance to a character from the movie Ghost, was being charged with two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (sexual penetration of a minor, specifically, his 16-year-old daughter).

When you hear that, it’s hard not to feel the breath sucked out of your lungs. When you hear that, it’s hard not to look at that man’s face and have every fiber of your being fill with disgust. It’s hard to remain impartial. It’s hard not to be biased. It’s hard to not hate him.  You hear something like that, something truly heinous, and you want something bad to happen to him. You hear something like that, and you look at that man’s face and you think You are capable of this; you are a criminal.

I have no idea how long it took before my name was called. Everyone was fidgety and antsy to move around. It’s hard to be quiet that long. It’s hard to listen to people lay their life out for a room of 100 strangers to hear. It’s hard to hear people talk about traumatic events that inevitably make that person undesirable to the attorneys to keep as a juror.  To be honest, I thought I wouldn’t be called at all, simply because I wanted to be called so badly and I usually never win anything. I might as well have skipped up to the juror box, I was so excited. It took everything I had not to burst into song and smile until my cheeks hurt. I tried my best to play it cool as I took made my way to the first juror chair.

It's Not Real.

It’s incredibly nerve-wracking to sit in that box and face the attorneys, who pepper you with invasive questions and judge you based on your ability to be unbiased. I was asked if I knew any of the people involved in the case. I was asked my age, occupation, and if I had any close friends or family in law enforcement or involved in the legal system. I was asked if I had any personal experiences that would make me sympathize with the victim, any personal experiences that would make me unable to listen to all the evidence and testimony and remain impartial and unbiased. I was asked if I had any strong feelings about alcohol. I was asked if I had ever had experience with the court system. I was asked if I would have a problem accepting testimony via transcript rather than live testimony. I was asked if I understood that CSI was not real-life. I was asked if I knew what perjury was, and was asked to define the word. I was asked if I understood what a vendetta was, and if I could understand how a teenage girl who is on probation may have a “score to settle” with her father. I was asked if I could understand that a child may hold a grudge against his or her parent. I was asked if I understood that children lie and usually only dig the hole deeper when they do.

I was never dismissed. I sat in juror seat 1 the rest of the day, until we had thirteen jurors that the prosecution and defense were satisfied with.

We came back on Thursday morning to begin the trial. All thirteen of us were corralled in the room, which was a small room with an oval table with just enough room to squeeze twelve chairs around. One wall was made of two large windows, overlooking a parking lot. There was a tiny fridge, like the one Sarah and I had in our dorm room in college, a coffee maker, a microwave, a sink and a little bit of counter space. A shelf with five puzzle books was above a row of hangers for coats, which was located behind the chair I claimed as my own for the entire four days of the trial.  It’s interesting; all thirteen of us chose the exact same seats in the room every single time we were in there. Funny how humans really are creatures of habit.

The court officer was the only one to come in and out of the jury room with us. He gave us our notebooks and pens and gave us instructions. He’s the one who lined us up by our juror number every single time and who blocked the hallway off.

Close Enough.

I was so nervous that first day I could have thrown up. Every time, Mike, our court officer would give me the nod indicating it was time to move. He would say, “All rise for the jury” and every time I could feel my anxiety level increase. As the line-leader on our way to our seats, I remained single-focused: Just Walk. It’s a wonder I didn’t totally eat it on my way to my seat.

Opening arguments began and all thirteen of us were told two theories behind the charges.

The night of November 7th, 2009 Brian, the defendant, went to his mother’s one-bedroom apartment around ten o’clock that evening. In his hands, he brought with him a plastic bag with two fifths of brandy and went directly to the only bedroom. It was to be noted that Brian was technically not even supposed to be at that apartment, as he had gotten into an altercation with the landlord of the building and was no longer welcome on the property.

Brianna was raised by Brian’s mother, Viola, who had guardianship over her. Viola and her husband Albert lived in the living room of this tiny apartment. Albert resided in a hospital bed that was set up in the middle of the room, and Viola, who has battled cancer for a few years, cared for him. She slept on the couch while Brianna lived in the only bedroom. That night, she had two of her friends over (Monika and Aviance), and they were hanging out and listening to music on myspace.

When Brian got there, Monika had been hiding in the closet. All three girls were on probation for various reasons. Monika, due to the terms of her probation, was not to be hanging out with Brianna or Aviance. The fact that Monika was there caused a slight upset but it quickly dissipated. Brian provided the girls with the alcohol and took his seat on the window sill in the bedroom.

The timeline of events is unclear, but it wasn’t long before the girls had finished the fifth of brandy. Aviance and Brianna, who were described as “girlfriends,” had spent somewhere around 20 minutes under the blankets on Brianna’s bed while Brian sat at the window sill and Monika occupied herself with the computer. Brianna had gotten sick from all of the alcohol and had thrown up outside. After that, she came back to her room and passed out in bed. She remembered being warm and taking her shirt off to cool down but she kept her shorts on. Some time later, Brian and Aviance had gotten into an argument and Aviance was asked to leave. Monika left shortly after.

Brian had been watching TV on the edge of Brianna’s bed, but he, too, passed out in the early morning hours of November 8th. Brianna testified that the next thing she remembered was waking up at 4:16 AM with her dad inside of her. She pushed him off of her, pulled her shorts up from halfway down her legs, and went to the living room. She fell asleep in the recliner beside the couch, next to her grandmother.

9-1-1 dispatch received a call at 8:26 that morning, with a girl wanting to report a rape. Police were sent to the scene. Brianna was taken to the hospital via ambulance while the police stayed to investigate and interview everyone at the scene.  Brian had confessed to the detective that he had provided alcohol to his the girls but was surprised to learn the reason behind the police’s appearance at the apartment; he had thought it was because he wasn’t supposed to be there. DNA samples of Brian were taken, his clothes were sent as evidence and he remained in custody. At the hospital, Brianna was examined for somewhere between two and four hours. A rape kit was completed and her DNA samples were sent to be analyzed.

We heard testimony from a sexual assault nurse examiner, one of the policemen at the scene, the DNA analyst, the detective on the case, Brianna herself (even though she was quickly deemed “unavailable” due to her “lack of memory” and inability to cooperate and answer the prosecution’s questions), Aviance (Brianna’s friend and “girlfriend”), Viola (Brianna’s grandmother), and three other members of Brianna’s family.

It was incredibly difficult to have to keep all the details of the case secret. It was difficult to think through the case without talking it out. I think you guys can tell I’m just one of those people that needs to talk about everything, and that I can’t make a decision to save my life. With all the testimony I heard, the evidence in front of me, I didn’t know what to do.

It was hard not to think of the victim, how this had certainly not made her life better, how she had little support through all of this, how this had been traumatic for her. It was hard not to think of the defendant, how his life was ruined, how his family was torn apart, how he could be in prison for a very, very, very long time. It was hard not to think of the family involved, how they would never come back from this, how this had torn them apart.

I left court each day exhausted. My heart ached for everyone involved.