April 30, 2005


I'm happy to report that I hosted a party last night on behalf of my firm for a bunch of lawyers who are in town for an ABA meeting and a seminar. It's a happy report because, despite my worries that no one would show, it was a big hit. We had the party at Pat O'Brien's in their Briar's Suite, which is two rooms and two balconies (one of which overlooks Bourbon St) that are upstairs from the rabble of Pat O's patio courtyard. I should've known that an open bar and good hors d'oeuvres would've been a big draw, but I still had last minute jitters. As it turns out, I have some really wonderful friends who were looking out for me, and they talked up the party to their friends which seriously boosted attendance.

I had gotten my firm to sponsor (read: pay for) the event based upon a 100 attendee budget I submitted to the partners months ago. Had we had more than 100 folks show up last night, I was going to plunk down my credit card to pay for the extras, get a receipt and wait to get reimbursed. At the end of the function, the staff of Pat O's came up to me and said we'd had exactly 100 guests! I haven't a clue how we got so lucky, but it worked out really well. *whew* By the end of the event, we practically had to physically eject people from the party room to get them to leave. I went around telling people, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." One guest told me that was the nicest way he'd ever been kicked out of a place before.

Today has been a lazy Saturday -- a combination of sleeping late through the morning rain, eating a leisurely lunch and reading my book club's latest selection.

Speaking of, one of the lawyers who attended my party (who occasionally reads this blog, which I didn't realize until we were talking the other day) mentioned that I haven't blogged about book club lately. That's true. I've been going to the meetings (really! I have!), but I haven't been as good about finishing the reading as I usually am. At any rate, I (belatedly) finished the co-ed book club's latest read Cakes & Ale (which I loved) and have now moved onto the May selection, A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement. So far, so good.

Posted by Kitty at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Draw A Pig

Here is a fun pig-drawing personality quiz. I'm really terrible at drawing with my mouse. What am I saying? I can't draw with pen and paper, either.

Posted by Kitty at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2005

The Apprentice

I already miss that Bren guy.

Posted by Kitty at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005


One of the first things that baby lawyers who practice in my practice area get to do is take depositions of plaintiffs. We have tens of thousands of folks who sue our clients, so arranging and taking their depositions prior to trial is time consuming and can be difficult to do. However, baby lawyers are perfect for these types of tasks, since they have a lot more free time and can use the experience to learn about the cases.

Needless to say, I've taken my fair share of these depositions. So when I volunteered to help another attorney at my firm and said I would take a deposition yesterday, I thought nothing of it.

I should note at the outset that this particular deposition was involving a case where many plaintiffs had sued a cast of thousands of defendants, so when you attend one of these, the conference room is chock full 'o lawyers. A scary sight sometimes, but that's how it goes. I expected to see a room full of folks, so I got there early and reserved my seat while I looked over my notes.

The deposition started innocently enough. Things were actually rolling along pretty smoothly -- I was making some progress with my questions, and the witness was very nice. Once I decided to start asking him questions about the various jobs he'd had (he was claiming he had contracted an illness because of exposure to certain substances at various jobs he'd had over the years), things got weird.

To make things go a little easier and to jog his memory, I had a copy of his printout from the Social Security Administration, which lists all of the emplyers he's ever had (presumably). I told him I'd be asking him about each employer, and mentioned that his attorney also had a copy of the printout I was using, and he could look at it and follow along with me if he wanted.

At this point, his lawyer showed me the printout and said, "Here's what I'm showing him. It's clean. See?" I thought that was a strange comment, because I was thinking, why wouldn't it be clean? But I dismissed the comment and started questioning the witness. Things progressed without incident until lunch.

We took a break for lunch and when we returned, the witness and his attorney came back in the room and sat down. The plaintiff re-opened his social security printout and was looking at it on the conference room table. I glanced at it and noticed that it had handwritten notes all over it. Thinking this was strange (particularly in light of his attorney's earlier comments about how he was looking at a clean copy), I made a note to ask about it when we got to a good stopping point. When we did, I said, "Sir, I don't mean to be nosy, but it looks like your copy of the printout has some notes on it. What are those?" At that point, his attorney flipped out.

His attorney looked apoplectic, became red in the face and started yelling at me. He began shouting, "This witness has made notes on the papers in the presence of his attorney and he made them to prepare for his deposition! He's allowed to use them to refresh his recollection if he wants! How dare you imply that he isn't being entirely truthful!" I calmly replied, "I wasn't implying any such thing. I was just wondering what sort of notes he has on his printout." His attorney spat out, "He told you all about them already, so move on." I said, "No. YOU told me about them. He hasn't told me anything yet." His attorney shot back, "He's allowed to make notes if he wants to," to which I replied, "I agree," and his lawyer said, "Then why ask him about it?" I replied, "If he's going to use them during his deposition, I'm going to ask him about them. I want to see whether the notes were based on his independent recollection of the facts." His lawyer shouted, "Well, what else would they be based on!?" I calmly replied, "I don't know. That's why I'm asking the question." The attorney crossed his arms like a four year old and spat out, "Fine. Ask him."

Keep in mind, as a rule, people don't yell at me. I'm a pretty laid back kitty and I get along with just about everyone. The fact that I was completely calm and unruffled during this exchange only made him more irate. It didn't help the situation that all of the other lawyers in the room were now loudly whispering to one another, clearly riled up.

I asked the witness whether he made the notes, where he got the information, etc. Finally, after I'd asked all my questions, I asked his attorney if he could attach a copy of the now-infamous document to the deposition. He agreed.

Thinking all of the craziness was behind us, I forged onward. After about an hour, the witness asked if we could take a break so he could get a glass of water. I agreed. The rest of us sat in the conference room and waited for his return. And waited. And waited. Around 20 minutes later, he and his attorney re-entered the room. While we'd been waiting, several attorneys asked me when we would finish up the deposition for the day, as they wanted to beat the rush hour traffic. I had promised them I would address it with the plaintiff's lawyer as soon as they returned.

Making good on my promise, I told the plaintiff's attorney when they returned, "Well, the $64,000 question seems to be when we're stopping today." He replied, "Yes, we need to discuss that, but we also need to talk about something else and you're not going to like it." Oooookay. We went back on the record and he said that the document they had brought with them to the afternoon portion of the deposition was a privileged document which "was unintentionally produced", that they were withdrawing it and we could file whatever motions we wanted with the Court.

At this point, pandemonium ensued. The attorneys in attendance were obviously freaking out and the plaintiff's lawyer thought we should just keep going and finish as much of the deposition as possible. Naturally, that didn't sit well with some folks. Ultimately, the plaintiff's lawyer's boss came in and shut down the deposition amid the uproar. I've had multiple phone calls today from people who were either there or heard about it, all of whom are amazed at the turn of events.

If ever there was an excuse to start carrying alcohol in my purse, that deposition was it.

Posted by Kitty at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)

April 17, 2005

Self Worth

I am worth $1,531,000.00 on HumanForSale.com

This quiz was really interesting, though I'm still wondering what my cup size has to do with how much I'm worth.

Thanks to Minor Wisdom for the link.

Posted by Kitty at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2005


Since I'm obviously mentally ill and can no longer force myself to get on a plane and endure the torment I put myself through during the span of the flight, getting to Phoenix recently was an adventure. When I went to Phoenix two years ago, I completely flipped out and drove (yes, from New Orleans. Yes, it was a loooooong trip). I realized early on that I didn't care to drive and flying was obviously out of the question. So I did what few people do these days -- I booked a ticket on Amtrak.

I had ridden Amtrak when I was in high school, but the longest trip I had taken was from Dallas to Houston -- it takes five hours, tops. My grandmother was not amused when I stopped flying Southwest Airlines and starting riding the rails, mostly because it meant that when I got to Houston she had to pick me up in an area of town that shouldn't be visited alone or without a gun.

I should've known this trip would be eventful when I planned it. If you go on Amtrak's website, you'll see that they don't go to Phoenix. They used to, but no longer. Now your options are Tucson and Maricopa. A little more searching on the internet will tell you that there is NOTHING in Maricopa except for a Harrah's casino. There's no airport, no shopping mall, no taxi services -- nothing. Clearly, that wouldn't do. Although Maricopa is closer to Phoenix than Tucson, Tucson is the winner since it has signs of civilization besides slot machines.

Having chosen Tucson as my stopping point, I then realized that the train gets into Tucson at 1:00 a.m. local time. Seriously. This presented a problem because the rental car places at the airport don't open until 5:30 a.m. Ultimately, I made two plans: plan (a) would be used if we got in on time (ha!), and involved me taking a cab to an airport hotel, sleeping for a while and then taking the shuttle to the airport to pick up my rental car and drive to Phoenix. Plan (b) would be used if we were late, and I would take a taxi to the airport, pick up my rental car and zip to Phoenix, showering in my hotel when I arrived.

Being the anal-retentive mentally ill sort that I am, I did my homework. I read everything Amtrak had to offer about train travel, called them and asked questions, and even read an online forum for train travel buffs, many of whom are Amtrak employees. I packed my bags and Archi-Sapper took me to the station at 11:00 on the day of my departure.

The first thing I noticed that was different about Amtrak than say, Delta, is that no one really tells you anything. I checked in and checked my two bags and spoke with the gate agent. The only thing he told me was that I should wait in the seats at the gate and they would make an announcement when it was time to board. That they did, although I noticed plenty of people hopping onto the train before the announcement -- scofflaws!

Once they made the announcement, I headed outside, had an employee punch my ticket, and they told me to go to the first door. I did, and met an employee who told me to go to the second door. Once on the train, I went into the only compartment I saw, which held about 12 seats and looked way too small to be the right place. After sitting down, someone walked in behind me and said, "This doesn't look right." Exactly, I thought. One of the passengers who had been on the train for a while replied, "This is handicapped seating." Ahhh. It made perfect sense, I just didn't understand why there were no signs denoting that.

I made my way upstairs and found a seat. Note that I did not make my way to my sleeping berth, as I didn't get one. I really wanted one, but simply couldn't afford it. A sleeping car each way would've added about $800 to the cost of my trip -- slightly out of my reach. However, the coach seats are large and recline back quite a ways, and the train offers pillows much like those on the airlines. And I brought a blanket.

Once we got going (on time!) I headed to the observation/lounge car and watched the scenery. I ended up spending more time there than I'd planned since that was the only location I could find an electrical outlet to recharge my Treo and my laptop. Interestingly, it seems that most of the people on the train were Amtrak regulars. At meal times, you can either eat light snack foods from the Lounge car (basically the same food you'd buy at a convenience store) or have a seated meal in the Dining Car. I opted for the seated dinner, and was placed at a table with three other passengers, all of whom ride Amtrak regularly. One of them rode it so much he actually knows which trains go to which cities.

As often happens with train travel, we got stuck behind some Union Pacific freight cars and lost quite a bit of time. They were able to make up some of it, but certainly not all. I recall waking up at various points in the night and realizing we weren't moving, which wasn't the greatest feeling. Had I been traveling for pleasure, it wouldn't have bothered me, but since I had CLE classes I wanted to attend and friends I wanted to see, I just kept thinking, "Go train, go!"

The evening of my arrival in Arizona, I again had dinner in the Dining Car. I was seated next to a neatly dressed man with white hair who appeared to be in his 60's. We were seated across from a Hispanic couple who didn't appear to speak English. Consequently, I ended up chatting with my seat mate, who was a very nice man who recently retired from a job working for a contractor that did work for NASA. He was riding the train for fun and hadn't yet decided where he would get off, since he had an open-ended ticket.

After dinner, he found me in my seat and handed me his return train ticket. He asked if we were returning on the same train, and I was surprised by the question and a bit flustered since I'd been reading and responding to e-mails. I looked at it and said, "Yes, I think so." He seemed satisfied with that response and returned to his seat.

A few minutes later, he was back. He sat down next to me and asked if he could ask me a question. I said sure and he said that he was thinking about the conversation we'd had at dinner and how I'd said I was going to Phoenix. He said that he'd love to go to Phoenix with me and wondered if he could join me on my trip. I was completely unprepared for that question and finally managed to tell him that I didn't know whether I was going to stay in Tucson or head straight to Phoenix and once I got to Phoenix I'd be in meetings and wouldn't have time to hang out, anyway. He then said that he was thinking he could get a hotel in Tucson and I could use it to shower if I wanted (!) and then we could hit the road (he wasn't trying to be insulting by suggesting I shower. If you're sitting in coach you don't have access to showers, and I'd mentioned how I needed one.) I thanked him for his offer but declined. Ultimately, I don't think he was a bad guy (he was a 60+ guy wearing glasses and Sansabelt pants, for crying out loud), but as a single gal, I certainly couldn't take any chances.

Once we arrived in Tucson -- four hours late -- I ran into a woman I'd eaten dinner with the previous evening. She asked how the remainder of my trip had gone, and I told her about the guy. She empathized and said, "You've had quite a trip, between the stalker-guy and that arrest last night." Huh? "What arrest?" I asked. She said, "You didn't hear it? I heard the conductor talking to some employees about a passenger who was drunk and disorderly, and then the train stopped around 2:30 a.m. somewhere in New Mexico, and the conductor dragged the guy off the train, handed him to local law enforcement, got back on the train and we kept going! It was crazy!"

All in all it was a good trip, but a little more than I'd bargained for.

Posted by Kitty at 07:11 PM | Comments (3)

April 08, 2005

C Isn't For Cookie

It appears that Cookie Monster is on a diet.

Posted by Kitty at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2005

Cheddar X

What are you least likely to do?

Who's life is better than yours and what makes it so great?
My dog's. She sleeps late, goes to bed early, works out regularly, eats well and has no stress.

What does "How ya doing?" really mean?

Would you rather be super strong or super smart? Would you trade that to be able to fly?
Super smart, definitely. As for the flying, see my answer to the first question.

When wheels spin, why do they look like they're going backwards?
I could probably answer that if I were super smart.

What kind of a person would say "Well, you can't get there from here."?
Someone who works for Amtrak.

Does something that smells good attract you more quickly than something that looks good?
It probably piques my interest more quickly. Whether it actually holds my interest is another issue entirely.

Complete this sentence: Hoo-doggy, I tell you what.......
I'm tired.

Posted by Kitty at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

It's Dry Out Here

I am blogging from Phoenix. I came out here at the end of last week for a conference and have really enjoyed it. I'm staying at a resort which is really nice, but definitely spoiling me (in almost every way -- trying to get my laptop connected to their high speed connection was not fun). I'll be heading back soon, but for now, I'm going to drink some more bottled water, put on some more chap stick and have some fun.

See y'all soon.

Posted by Kitty at 06:42 PM | Comments (1)