Saturday, September 27, 2008

Civil Trials

Now, traveling is something I love to do. I was assigned to Greensboro all week last week, and I decided to commute. Not a GREAT drive, but a little under 90 minutes each way.

I was not assigned to pleas. Nor was I assigned to criminal court. The reporters in Guilford County, bless them, assigned me to a big civil case. I love civil. It was construction. I love construction.

Great attorneys. Wonderful clerk. Fabulous - record-conscious - judge. I had a FANTASTIC WEEK! And, I even get to produce a transcript.

I just wish I were going to be able to hear "the rest of the story" - but I'm not assigned there this week. I'm going to have to find out from the reporter taking over what the jury thought.

This is a pretty fun job, I gotta say!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Social networking

So as a 40-something, I came to computers later in my life than the younger generations - I think I took a class in 1981 (which was way over my head) and didn't start using them in my work until the '90s. I certainly used a Wang word processor... and my brother had a Commodore 64 when he was younger.

But for me the computer age didn't start until I started on a forum.

That was in 1992, the Compuserve Court Reporters Forum. (I'm still participating!) We had weekly "chats" there and great message boards. I spent a lot of time there. In the early 2000s, I spent to much time on the NCRA forum that they tapped me to be an assistant sysop. I had written MANY posts.

Now, I'm new to the social stuff, but this Facebook thing is amazing! I started last Saturday. I uploaded pix, searched for some friends, joined groups, played a game or two. It's now a week later and I have close to 50 friends (hey, I was in court all week!!) and requests for many more.

I've spent A LOT of time playing the games and looking up people from my past. I can see how this could be a really great time killer. But if life is not about maintaining friendships and developing more, then what is it about? After all, the more people you meet, the more experiences and viewpoints you are exposed to. Knowledge is power.

Make new friends, and find your old ones. See you online.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Remembering Jan

This week a colleague of mine passed away after having fought valiantly against an inoperable brain tumor. Jan was full of energy and passion - and she just LOVED court reporting. She was an inspiration to us all; she gave of her time selflessly to the benefit of our association and profession.

But what she did on a personal front was even more inspiring. She got the treatment she could, and accepted with Grace her diagnosis. She didn't rail at God or ask "Why me?" Instead, she believed that this was the path that she was chosen for and followed it through.

She's with God now and is surely one of the brightest stars in Heaven.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Week and Home - and Mentoring!

This week is a busy week in Raleigh's Business Court - and I am so GLAD! I love my job - really. We're having hearings EVERY DAY this week in our courtroom. And what's even more fun about this week is that one of the student reporters that I mentor is going to pay me a visit on Wednesday.

So we'll get to catch up on where she is in her schooling and she can get pumped up about this great profession again. It's been a while since she sat in on anything with me - SMAFT, about a year or so, when we did a pretty crazy medical over at UNC - videotaped. This is going to be a whole different ball game.

One thing that makes me happy about my job is that I really enjoy the folks I work with - and that was a huge concern I had, office politics that is, when taking a full-time job. I'm not a political beast, and I pretty much tell it like it is, so I am really glad to have been matched with a group whose dynamic matches my personal style so well. Whee!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

The computer has been sitting in my trunk, drying out. I brought it back in today. I tried to boot it up - and it DID! Now, I have ZERO battery, so it didn't stay up long. I've let it sign off and now it's charging.

If it boots up this weekend, it's coming upstairs and ALL FILES will be offloaded. Immediately!
My goodness, it's possible that we have dodged a bullet.

I've learned my lessons. (1) No beverages near my computer and (2) back up every week, at least.

Phew... provisionally.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Countdown

NCRA's professional testing cycle includes skills examinations on the first Saturdays of May and November. I have achieved the highest level of professional certification in my field - the Registered Diplomate Reporter - which certifies that I have amassed the professional experience and knowledge of a well-rounded professional court reporter. What I lack is the consistency and accuracy of the realtime reporter.

I have taken the test three times. Twice I actually felt really good about the skills test - it was a nice narrative about a mundane topic; the third time was Congressional Record, at which subspecialty I am appallingly deficient. This November I'm thinking that we're going to have another difficult, possibly Congressional Record-type, test.

With two months before the exam, I know I've waited a little long to start my practicing. However, I have a new steno machine (the LightSpeed) and a nice portable computer (my ASUS) and I plan to focus on my LS setup and my accuracy on small words.

I will be using the Google Calendar to record my practice. If you're in the testing mode and want to have a buddy to spur you on with your practice, let me know and I'll allow you access to my calendar. I think in this manner we have a "conscience" that keeps us honest even if our own doesn't. After all, how easy it is to say "I'm too tired" or "I have too much work to do" and neglect our practice? With a buddy, perhaps many more of us can succeed where alone we have not.

Practice makes permanent. Let's shoot for a positive result on November 1.