8765 Times 6

RisaThere are 8765 hours in a year, 52,590 of them have ticked off since Risa passed away.  Probably because of the timing, it becomes a strange time of year for me (and I think for my girls as well).  While the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of year,” there are probably more than just me who would stop and question that.  8765 times 6 – there’s a lot to think about.

Who’d have thunk there would come a time I have two teen-aged girls in high school – much less thriving in that environment.  16.5 is in honor roll and 15.0 is pulling a low 90 GPA.  Far better than I ever did, clearly taking after their mom.

Along with a second transition to high school, we’ve (and I say we because it’s been the three of us)  conquered an introduction to driving, a change of sport from softball to tennis, a job change for me and just getting through another 8765 hours with the rest of life’s challenges.

Reflecting this time of year is probably normal – give or take this is when people (who make them) will begin to think about New Year’s resolutions.

I was chatting with a friend who is also widowed – and we were talking about how tough this time of year can be as an only parent where you’re dealing with the family and everyone is happy.  And it’s not to say we’re not happy – but there is a part missing.

What would Risa think about her girls excelling in school? I know how proud I am of it and I know she would be proud too – but what would she think?

And would 16.5 be a different (maybe better, maybe worse) driver if there was another voice offering guidance?  I don’t know.  We don’t have that second voice, and I don’t pretend there is a second voice.

In the last 8765 hours 15.0 made a change from softball to varsity tennis.  She walked onto the tennis court just before Labor Day this year and became a tennis player and has taken to the sport with determination.  I know Risa was a very determined person as well, happy to see she’s taken on the best of the traits.

16.5 entered the working world over the summer and excelled as a lifeguard at a water park near our house.  She embraced the challenge of working and becoming responsible – maturing into a woman.  Now we begin thinking about test prep and college search.  I know those are the parts of life Risa would have cherished, and despite the challenges I know it’s a time I will cherish with her and her sister.

15.0 has also become expressive in art – a skill I only wish I had, but again its a skill her mother possessed.  I can’t help but smile when I walk into her room and see her work on display on the walls.

And because managing life with me and two teen-aged girls isn’t quite challenging enough I decided to change jobs this year too.  It was one of those situations where it was time to make a change and the right opportunity came along – but its in those moments where I try to think through important changes, don’t really have that life partner to talk to and know I’m about to make a life changing decision – the clock slows down, and a few of those 8765 hours feel like days at a time.

I wonder, what would Risa think about all of this?  Am I doing the right thing?  Would my father be proud of life I’ve created for my family?

I’d like to think the answer is yes – because that will help get me through the next 8765 hours and changes our lives will face again.

 

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The Nexus of Technology and Institution

From the time AOL introduced the country (possibly the world) to the internet by distributing free software–there has been a deep chasm between the institutions of our society and technology.  By institutions read here government and courts.

I can remember how proud police departments in and around NYC were 25+ years ago when they announced the creation of computer crimes squads.  Congress debated for years what would be the first round of the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA) only to have it obsoleted by the time it was enacted.

Now comes the stories of sitting jurors Tweeting about deliberations.  In law parlance-this is now a slippery slope for the courts–and by extension for all of us.

If you have ever served on jury duty or sat in during a trial every time the jury leaves the room the judge delivers a set of admonitions–which include not to discuss the case or read about it. The reason for this–in the jury system 1-there are rulings that have been made on evidence and research may undo some of those rulings and 2-as a lawyer you hope a juror does not begin to assimilate thoughts on the case until they have heard all of the evidence (or at least all of your evidence).

But what is the damage of a juror Tweeting that they are in deliberations? They say the bell can’t be unrung, but I am not sure this rings a bell.

Courts in some cities have taken to taking away cell phones from jurors during the day while they are in court.  That is not reasonable–and certainly not in the domain of legal (a whole Fourth Amendment search and seizure issue I would think).

So what is the answer? The answer is for the court system–and beyond that the institutions to realize that we are not in 1985 any longer.

Back in my radio days–this goes back to the early 1990’s, I can remember covering courts and trials throughout the New York Metropolitan area. During this time, NY State courts were conduction an “experiment” with allowing cameras and microphones in court.  Countless times we set up “daisy chains” of cable to get audio and visuals of court proceedings.  That “experiment” was allowed to end, and has never been revisited in NY.

During this same time period, there was no such experiment in the US Federal Courts.  However, I can remember covering hearings and trials in the court toom of Vincent Broderick–who passed soon after leaving the bench in the mid-1990’s. Judge Broderick never understood the ban–and openly defied it.  I got tape of sentencings, rulings and hearings in his court. The reason–this was the technology of the time and it was part of society.

I had long conversations with the judge about this–he was a techno-file of sorts.  And his philosophy was that the court had to be open to the public to be effective–and the technology of the early 1990’s made the courts open to technology.

Back to 2009. 

The problem is not rogue jurors doing what they do every day. The problem is a rigid institution unwilling to accept that this is not 1985 any longer.  It took until 2009 for a US president to have a BlackBerry, computer and CTO?

Yeah, we need institutional change.

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