Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza and Roll-Ups

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I know we did.  Ours was small, just me, the boyfriend, the kids, my parents and my sister  (since we are now finally back on speaking terms, which I'm grateful for).

My mom and I did all the cooking, as usual, while the boyfriend pretty much slept all day and my dad watched football.  It was hectic, but fun.

With Thanksgiving comes leftovers.  I usually hate leftovers, but there's something about all the flavors of Thanksgiving that I love.  So I try to be creative with them so it's not boring.

Last year, I made the most incredible roll ups with crescent roll dough.  This year, I had pre-baked pizza crusts that were going to expire, so that is what I used.  Although I really recommend making roll-ups if you've never tried them.  They are amazing and easy, and the entire family (even my picky children who wouldn't eat the actual Thanksgiving dinner) loved them.




Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza or Roll-Ups

1 pizza crust or package of crescent rolls
cranberry sauce
bite size pieces of turkey
gravy
leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and/or any other leftover veggies on hand
shredded cheddar cheese

-If using crescent rolls, unroll the entire sheet and pinch together where the perforations are.  Preheat the oven according to package directions.
-Spread a layer of cranberry sauce all over the pizza crust or dough (if using crescent rolls, leave 1/2" around all sides so it doesn't squeeze out when you roll it up)
-Sprinkle turkey pieces on crust or dough.  Do the same with the other leftovers.  For mashed potatoes and stuffing, I take a piece of it in my hand and crumble it over the top so there's little clumps of potato, not a thick layer that covers the entire thing.
-Put some gravy on top, followed by cheddar cheese.
-If you're using pizza crust, you're done-just pop it in the oven and bakef until everything is hot.  If you're using crescent roll dough, take one long end and carefully roll the dough until you have a log.  Cut 1" thick slices and lay them on a baking sheet.  Bake according to package directions.


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Friday, November 25, 2011

My High School Soundtrack

This post was written in response to this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge.  That soundtrack – that’s where I want the focus. First, find the song that will be played during the pivotal scene in the movie based on your magnum opus. With that song playing, write that pivotal scene – it’s your choice whether you write it as a screen play or as it’s played out in your novel.

I chose to write a montage of my high school experience to Bush's "Glycerine".  I will warn you now that this is not one of my happier posts-high school was not a great time in my life.


INT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY- DAY

SHE walks alone, carrying a stack of books.  All the other STUDENTS ignore her.  A group of GIRLS pass, one points at her and says something we can't hear.  The others laugh.

CUT TO:
INT-HOUSE-DINING ROOM- DAY

Tearful, she checks out the window to make sure she is alone.  She opens the cabinet and pulls out a bottle of liquor.  Tilting back her head, she swallows a quarter of the bottle, wipes her mouth, and replaces the bottle.

CUT TO:
INT. HOCKEY RINK-NIGHT

She walks in full gear alone from the bathrooms, into the rink, and to the locker room, alone.  A COACH stops her, shaking his head.  She leans against the wall and waits until the rest of the HOCKEY TEAM exits the room.  They laugh and joke with each other.  Ignored, she follows them onto the ice.

CUT TO:
INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM- DAY

The room looks like a typical teenage girl's room with posters plastering the walls.  She sits on the floor, head in her hands, sobbing.  She gets up and pulls an Exacto knife out of a desk drawer, sits back on the floor, and cuts her arm again and again, until her arm is covered in blood.

CUT TO:
INT. SCHOOL- HALLWAY- DAY

She walks close to the lockers, alone.  Two GUYS walk in the other direction. As she avoids an open locker, she passes them and they shove her into the open door.  Laughing, one high-five's the other, who punches the locker right above her head, startling her.

CUT TO:
INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM- NIGHT

She sits alone on the bed, her legs crossed, headphones on.  A discman sits in her lap.  Her eyes are closed and she mouths the words to the song, a smile on her lips.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

I have a lot of great Thanksgiving memories.  Since I was a kid, my family has either gone to the big family Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle's house, or had a small one at home with just us and the grandparents.

Now that I have kids who get into everything, I prefer the smaller Thanksgiving dinners at my parent's house, especially because last year was disaster (My older kids went in two different directions in my aunt's house, I was focused on the baby, and my dad was incredibly irritated he had to watch one of the kids instead of just drinking beer and watching sports.  Oh, and the throwing of silverware by an angry toddler and its aftermath of broken glass as dinner was being served, and me leaving with 2 of the kids before I even ate. Total disaster).

Anyway, onto the good memories.  There is one Thanksgiving dinner that always stands out in my mind.  I was 14 or 15 and we were doing Thanksgiving at my mom's house.  It was just my parents, my sister and I, and our Oma (Grandma went to my aunt's house).

My mom and my Oma always butted heads.  My Oma would always give unsolicited advice or suggest my mom try things her way, and my dad always took Oma's side.  As a kid, I didn't understand why it was such a problem-as an adult, I definitely do.

Well, my Oma and my mom got into a disagreement about something or other.  All I remember is that my mom screamed that she'd had it, banged on some cabinets, stomped upstairs, and slammed her bedroom door.  She stayed there the rest of the day.

It was early in the day-the turkey had only been in the oven for an hour or so and nothing else was done.  I had never cooked much-my mom cooked every night in our house.  I still don't cook much, but I do love to bake.

My Oma and I spent most of the day in the kitchen together, making a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  She showed me how to do it all her way, and it ended up being a great meal.  My mom even admitted it was good (when she finally came downstairs late that night).

I learned a lot about her and about cooking that day.  And when I think of Thanksgiving, I automatically think of the one I cooked with Oma.  It was the first time I ever helped cook a big meal like that, and I've helped cook every one since (except the ones at my aunt's house).

This post was written in response to this week's prompt from Mama Kat's. 3.) A favorite Thanksgiving memory.



Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Quiet Place

The dented and faded floral couch sags gently underneath as I cross my legs and lean back comfortably.  I reach up my arm to turn on the lamp that has stood here since before my birth.
Bathed in gentle light, I silently slip my book off the end table, gently brushing my elbow against the black rotary phone.
The fire in the cast iron stove flickers gently, embers dampened until morning.
The steady ticking of the kitchen clock mixed with the small snores of children soothe me.
I am finally alone and at peace.  Only the crickets stir in the pitch dark night.


This post was written in response to this week's remembeRED prompt from Write on Edge. Where is your quiet place? What does it look like? What happens there?
I, of course, wrote again about reading at night in my cabin upstate.  There is nothing more calming, soothing, or fulfilling than practically anything I do in that house.  I just love it so much.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Thanksgiving Table

The children giggle, throwing silverware and bits of napkin at each other while little feet kick furiously under the cover of the tablecloth.

The dog pitifully yaps, begging to be let out of its crate to enjoy the meal he's smelled cooking all day long.

Aunts and uncles chatter loudly about the insignificant, refilling their wine glasses one too many times.

Grandma slumps forward in the high-backed chair, snoring gently while false teeth click together.

"Ahem!" knife clinking loudly against glass, "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing..."

The meal has begun.

This post was written in response to this week's prompt from Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus.  The prompt this week: "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing".  Word count not to exceed 100 words plus the prompt.
Jenny Matlock

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Popping the Question

This week, one of the prompts from Mama Kat's caught  my eye.  3.) Married? Tell us the story of how the question was popped.  Let me start by saying, I have never been married, and I am not even engaged to the boyfriend, though it's been 4 1/2 pretty incredible years and 3 amazing children.  

However, I was engaged in my previous relationship, which lasted a little over 4 years and was broken off less than 6 months before the wedding.  And the proposal was pretty awesome.

We were on vacation at Disney World, which is quite possibly my favorite place ever (and I can't wait until I can take my kids there, so I don't have to be embarrassed about wanting to go on the Dumbo ride).  I thought we were just going on a week-long vacation because it was winter break from college, and one of my friends worked at the Magic Kingdom at the time.  She and I met when I was 4 years old and she was working at the now non-existent hotel (The Disney Inn) that my parents and I were staying at.

Anyway, we were staying in the concierge suites at the Grand Floridian (my ex's family had a lot of money-I never stayed in fancy-schmancy hotels like that before or since).   I was completely focused on going to all the theme parks and going on the rides (the ex wasn't since he was in a wheelchair and couldn't go on any rides-I was 19 and kind of selfish and ignored him most of the time).

He surprised me with a private dinner.  We were alone on a beautiful balcony with our own personal waiter.  I can't remember what we ate, but as it got dark, the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom started.  We had an incredible view.  All of a sudden, there was a plate with a slice of key lime pie in front of me.  When I finally looked at it (the fireworks were distracting), there was a crystal Cinderella slipper on the plate with the ring in it.

I cried.  A lot.  It was pretty awesome.  So was the ring.  It was a tension ring that I had been looking at with his grandmother's blue diamond set in it.
This is what it looked like

It was really romantic and wonderful.  Even though the relationship didn't work out (which was definitely a good thing-we were not compatible at all).  I did give the ring back when we broke up, only because the diamond had sentimental value and when you get a tension ring, it is set for that diamond only.  A little part of me wishes I kept it, but I know that would have been wrong.

I know eventually I will get engaged again, but right now paying for things for the kids far outweighs getting a ring or having a wedding.  When it does happen, though, I will be picking out the same setting because I really do love it.  Until then, I'm thankful I am in a relationship with someone who I am compatible with and that we made 3 amazing kids together.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-Birthday Party!

T was invited to his first birthday party that a classmate was having.  It was held at a gymnastics place, and he had a ball.  Although I wish someone told me beforehand I would have to supervise him the entire time, since I had no socks on under my boots (they're fur and super-comfy inside-socks only ruin that feeling) and had to walk barefoot all over (yuck).
Ziplines are awesome

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Last Solo Bar Trip

The door slammed with a thud. "Get out here!" she screamed, "I want my daughter now!"

Rubbing his bloodshot eyes, he staggered out of the bedroom. "What is your problem?"

"I am not the one with the problem!  Give me my damn daughter, I am taking her away from you!"

"No, it's 4am and she's my daughter too."

"But I didn't go out and cheat on you! And stay out all night!  And not even answer one goddamn phone call!"

"What the fuck! I didn't cheat on you, and I didn't hear my phone because I was beatboxing with the band."

"You were out with a girl! At a bar! While I was sitting home, 7 months pregnant with your third baby!" Her screams dissolved into sobs.  "I hate you!"

"I was not!"

"Don't lie! My sister texted me that the stupid horse bitch you were out with texted her that you two were going to the bar!"

"And you're going to believe your sister why? She likes to start drama."

"I had a friend go to the bar to make sure!  I wanted to believe you were out with your friend from Queens!  But you lied!  He saw you together, and people have been telling me shit about you all  night!  And then you don't answer the phone? Fuck you!"

"You had someone spy on me?" he stared at her, incredulous.

"You think you can go to my fucking town and people won't tell me what's going on?  All those guys you think are your friends, they would give you up in a second to me.  They have my back, not like you.  If I wanted, I could have had someone beat the shit out of you as soon as you stepped outside that bar! I want my daughter, asshole!"

The slap to his face resounded throughout the now silent room. Grabbing the sleepy toddler, she slammed the door as hard as possible, burying her tears in the child's pajamas.

This post was written in response to this week's RemembeRED prompt from Write on Edge. Recreate a pivotal conversation with us this week. Remember, this is memoir. You can only record what was actually said. Save the bon mots and imagined snappy retorts for fiction.


Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Sick Kids and Skyrim

Sorry I've been absent most of this week.  There are a few things that have been going on.  Now T, my oldest, is sick.  He's had a cough for a while, but it's gotten way worse since Wednesday.  I sent him to school anyway on Thursday, and he was so much worse for the wear when I picked him up.

And another kid in his class was sick all week.  He had a cough and stuffy nose to the point where he was drooling all over himself.  The teacher was talking to the nanny about it as the poor kid stood there, looking like a Neopolitan Mastiff (aka Hagrid's dog in Harry Potter and my dream dog).  Seriously, though, that kid was too sick to be in school.  What the hell were his nanny and mother thinking?

T ended up with a high fever on Thursday evening, and he's been miserable ever since.  He's been hacking nonstop (to the point where his Grandmother couldn't sleep and had to miss working at the market on Friday).  He keeps getting a nosebleed because his coughing is so bad, and it is freaking him out (I would freak out too if I woke up covered in blood). 

And his doctor is on vacation, so I've been trying to treat it at home, hoping it is viral and will get better.  Children's ibuprofen, Robitussin, and a humidifier have become his friends (although I wanted to kill my MIL for putting Vick's Vapor Rub in the humidifier-that stuff is just awful and stunk up the entire house).

And if you're a gaming freak like me, you probably know that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out the other day.  I have been waiting for this for what seems like forever (or maybe since I finished Oblivion).  Needless to say, I am super excited to play this game.  If things went my way, I would have played it for the last 48 hours.  In reality, I've only played it for 2 or 3, and those hours were interrupted by my kids.

The boyfriend has been playing it since it came out.  And it looks beyond awesome.  But I know if I ask him to watch the kids while I play, it won't happen.  They will run wild while he doesn't pay attention because he is playing the game with his headphones on, dead to the world.

So here's to hoping my kids feel better and sleep a lot.  Because I think I really deserve some uninterrupted gaming time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The SIL From Hell

"Why does she have a key and I don't?" I ranted to the boyfriend.  "I live here!  She doesn't.  I want her key."

The 'she' in question was the boyfriend's sister.  I discovered she had let herself into our house while I was still asleep, and I was beyond shocked to find someone sitting at the computer when I went to get a bowl of cereal.

She looked me over, said nothing, and turned back to the screen.  I went upstairs and raised hell.  It made me uncomfortable that she could just walk into our house at any time, whether we were here or not, and do whatever she wanted.  I'm sure the fact that I was 6 months pregnant and trying to take care of a 9 month old baby didn't help either.

Eventually, I brought the baby downstairs to see her.  I thought that maybe I was overreacting to her, and I would give her another chance.  I put him in his bouncy swing-the kind that hangs from the doorway. 

"Why is he so chubby?  Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Excuse me?  You've never met me or your nephew before and those are the first words out of your mouth?  I was seriously thisclose to yanking a cleaver out of the knife block and stabbing a bitch.

You're barely 21, married your military boyfriend so you would get money (and promptly got divorced once he left active service), and don't have or want kids (just yappy, poorly behaved dogs), and you have the nerve to criticize me?  And my infant?  When this is the first time we've met and you didn't even have the decency to introduce yourself?  Who the hell do you think you are?

That was the moment I knew it would never work out.  She and I would never be friends, and we have, in fact, become enemies.  She is no longer allowed to see my kids after many more unpleasant incidents.  As far as I'm concerned, the only aunts my children have are my sister and my best friend from college.

I know the boyfriend wishes I could pretend to like her, but I don't have it in me.  I put up with her crap so many times.  I'm not going to sit there and take insults about my kids, or veiled nastiness.  It would be different if she was nice to my kids-she's not.  She won't even pick them up.  So the only one losing out is her.  Maybe one day she'll either drink herself to death or get over herself.   Until then, she is dead to me and my babies.

This post was written in response to this week's remembeRED prompt from Write on Edge. This week, we asked you to write about a relationship you knew was doomed from the start. It could be your own relationship or one of a close friend or family member. The only thing we required was that it not be fiction.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

I think potatoes should be a food group unto themselves.  That is how much I love them.  So when I found out that the Crazy Cooking Challenge recipe for November was mashed potatoes, I was really excited.  I searched and searched for the perfect recipe.  I usually make roasted garlic mashed potatoes or loaded mashed potatoes, so I wanted something different.

Then I found it.  Mashed Potatoes and Carrots from Kitchen Parade's A Veggie Venture.  I remember mashing some carrots with a fork into my mashed potatoes as a kid, but I never even thought of making mashed potatoes and carrots as a dish unto itself.

Ingredients:
1 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes (but I had russets, so that's what I used)
1 pound carrots, scrubbed and peeled
1 Tbsp butter (I probably used closer to 2 or 3)
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional (because this is what I added that was extra)
2 heads garlic
2 small onions, chopped

-if using garlic, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut off the top of the heads of garlic.  Place heads on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for about 40 minutes, until garlic is soft.
It should look like this when it is done

-Peel potatoes and carrots.  Dice them into 1/2" cubes.  Place in a dutch oven or a big pot and add water to cover.  Turn heat on Medium-High.  When water comes to a boil, add salt and a little butter (it prevents the water from boiling over).  Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 20-30 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

-If using onions, peel, cut in half, and dice into small pieces.  Add to a saute pan with some butter, and cook until golden.  Once cooked, add some salt.
Onions go from this....
...to this.

-While you're waiting for the potatoes to be done, take the roasted garlic out of it's skin.  You could just smush it all out, but I like to take out each clove.  Be careful if you do this, if the garlic is still hot you can burn your fingers!
There's my roasted garlic out of the skin
-Drain potatoes and carrots, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid (I forgot to do this and drained the whole thing).  Mash carrots and potatoes, using a hand mixer or a potato masher (I always use a potato masher-I think potatoes can get gluey with a mixer), adding reserved liquid and butter (I used about 1/4 cup of milk, since I didn't save the water).
-Season to taste with salt and pepper.
And voila! Mashed potatoes and carrots.

So here are my thoughts on this recipe.  It was really simple and it tastes great.  I had to add a ton of salt.  I added more than I normally would for 5 pounds of potatoes-it was really bland without it (and I hate pepper, so I never add it to anything).  I noticed it took less milk than regular mashed potatoes would, and I'm sure it would have been healthier if I remembered to just save the cooking water, but it was good with the milk.

It's my first challenge that I am participating in, so I don't know if I'm really allowed to add more to the recipe, so I'm sorry if changing it a little is a bad thing.  My family loves garlic, and we cook everything with it.  And I had a couple onions laying around, so I figured I'd add them too and it would be a healthy meal.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.  It is so simple and quick, and I'm pretty sure it's healthier than most of the recipes I make.

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I'm also linking to

So I just read this article about reprimanding other people's kids in public and it got my blood boiling a little bit.  I feel like not only is the author dead wrong, but something is wrong with a lot of the commenters.  They must either be old or never have had children.

As far as I'm concerned, no one but me has the right to reprimand or discipline my child unless I have given you express permission to do so.   I don't want your help or your unsolicited opinions on my ability to parent my kids.

Just because my child has a tantrum/throws sand or toys at another kid/thows stuff on the floor/hits or kicks or punches me or an inanimate object, etc, doesn't give you the right to judge me or him and decide to intervene.  My two younger kids usually behave when we're out, or, worst case scenario, they cry. 

T is a completely different matter.  He regularly has meltdowns and gets very agressive when something sets him off.  In fact, just this weekend, he bit a 9 year old and tried to choke out a 6 year old (but the older boys were messing with him and should have known better-T is not even 4 yet, and for the biting, well, he's missing his 4 top teeth so it's really only 1 tooth that can break skin).

And when we're out and he throws a colossal tantrum?  I hate it more than anything if people try to say something to me or to him.  Seriously, he is only a preschooler, and he has special needs.  You've never seen him before and don't know where the issues are coming from, so keep your mouth shut. 

He's not a spoiled brat, and I do discipline my children when need be.  But your version of discipline is only going to make his tantrum worse.  He's not logical, he's 3! You can't tell him why he's wrong and that he's bother others and needs to behave.  You will never get through to him.  And I'm not going to spank him/pinch him etc, in the store because I learned a long time ago that doesn't work.  I may threaten to leave him in the store and walk around a corner (because he usually comes as soon as he can't see me anymore), but I'm not really leaving him and I keep him in my sights (or sounds, he is screaming at the top of his lungs-I'm not gonna lose him).

I guess what I mean is that you shouldn't assume something about a parent or child if you see a meltdown in public.  You don't know the necessary background information to formulate a educated opinion.  So keep your opinion/parenting tips/dirty looks/discipline to yourself.  Because if I saw another person who I didn't know yelling at my kids, especially T, I might assault your sorry ass.  So keep your mouth shut and just keep on walking.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Sick Kids and a Dead Battery

This has been a trying few weeks for me.  First of all, Goober, my 1 year old has been really sick.  He had a 104 degree fever for 5 days straight and it was terrifying.  All I could do was think about T as a 1 year-old in the hospital with seizures from a fever like that.  Every time Goober twitched in his sleep, I was sure it was going to turn into a convulsion.  I did not leave his side until the fever finally broke.  Thankfully, he came through unscathed, except for all the crying and sweating and chills and misery a fever brings.

Then there was the freak snowstorm.  My house didn't have damage or lose power, but my mom's house, which is right down the street, was hit pretty bad.  There were huge branches and tree limbs down all over her street, and a power line came down between her house and the neighbor's.  They still haven't fixed all the power outages or taken care of all the huge downed trees blocking some streets.

The night before Halloween, T got sick.  I thought he had food poisoning, because his dad wasn't feeling well either, and they shared a sandwich.  I was wrong.  We managed to go trick-or-treating for an hour before things got worse.  Princess was sick.  Then Goober was sick again, with another fever and whatever stomach virus everyone else had.  Now the kids are all okay, but the MIL is really sick and the boyfriend is still a little under the weather.

Then, on Friday, when I tried to take T to school for the first time since Tuesday (my mom drove him the other days because I was taking care of the rest of my sick family), my car was dead.  My dad has been telling me since last winter that I need to get a new car battery because I've been driving for 7 years with the same one.  I didn't listen, and he was right (he usually is). 

So I called my mom to come pick T up to take him to school again.  I went with her and we stopped on the way back to get a new battery.  I figured the boyfriend could change it for me, even though he still wasn't 100%. 

I didn't know that a Hyundai battery is notoriously difficult to change.  You have to unscrew half the damn bolts under the hood to get the battery loose.  And then there is another bolt by the bottom of the battery that locks is down.  It took over an hour to get most of the bolts loosened.

Then we stripped the socket wrench trying to open the battery lock (and by we, I mean me-he couldn't turn it because of corrosion so I tried and stripped it).  I walked to my mom's house to get my dad's socket wrenches, but he took them with him on his golf outing (I don't know what he could possibly need a socket wrench for while golfing).

So I borrowed my mom's car to go in search of a new one, although the boyfriend found a ratchet and only needed an extension bar.  The first store I went to was a bust.  I asked someone to help me because I wasn't seeing what I needed, and the store associate told me he would be right with me.  I waited, and waited, and waited.  Until about 4 store associates were chatting it up with each other, not helping anyone.  I left, extremely irritated.

Next I went to the automotive part of said store.  They couldn't help me because I bought my battery somewhere else but they would help if I brought my car for them to change it.  Yeah, my car is sitting in my driveway with a bunch of crap under the hood taken apart.  Unless they could teleport it, the car wasn't leaving my driveway until it was running again. And I share my driveway with a landscaping company the landlord owns, so it's always a hectic place.

Then I went to AutoZone.  It was like walking into heaven.  I was helped immediately, and when the lady didn't know much about tools, she got someone else to help me who did.  So Fernando, thank you for making it easy for me.  You found my extender bar, and when I needed a longer one, found that and an adapter so it would work.  Yes, I needed to buy a new ratchet in the process, but it was so worth it.

I am seriously buying everything car related from Auto Zone from now on.  Once I got home, the new battery was in the car and it was running in 15 minutes.  After we spent hours trying to get the old one out.  So now I'm happy.  But the boyfriend is exhausted since he wasn't feeling well to start off with.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eight AM

Sunlight filters through the blinds.  A cat stretches languidly at the foot of the bed.  The morning news provides a background in the quiet room.

The baby rolls over, covering his face with the comforter.  His kicking feet disturb my slumber and I cover my head with a pillow.

In the crayon-blue kids' room, Daddy and daughter sleep intertwined on the beat-up beige couch.  Toddler beds lay empty as Oswald blares on the TV.

T is sprawled across Grandma's bed, wrapped up in the giant fleece blanket.  More cats jockey for position in the windows.

The quiet house stands ready for the day to begin.


This post was written in response to this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge.  This week we asked you to give us 8:00 -AM or PM, fiction or creative non-fiction- but 8:00. In 200 words or less.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Locked Up

So, after my list of 22 things I have done last week, I couldn't help but choose to elaborate on one of them for my post this week.  Thank you, Mama Kat, for the prompt this week.

I'm going to tell you all the story of how I ended up in jail.  I always laugh (possibly at my stupidity) when I look back on it, but it's not something that traumatized me or anything.  Warning: if any subject matter that involves drugs bothers you, you probably do not want to read this.

I was 22 and living in an awful mess of a house with some guys I had only known for a few months.  I had met and started dating the boyfriend less than a week ago.  Two of the guys and I had gone to the Bronx a couple days prior to pick up some ecstasy, which we tried the night before and liked, so we were going to get more.

The boyfriend and I were sleeping it off on the futon in the living room when we were woken up by the police.  They informed us we had to get the hell out because the house was being condemned (we knew it was coming, the plumbing had been broken for weeks and the upstairs tenant left all her stuff in the apartment, including a fridge full of food and tons of dirty dishes).  We weren't sure what to do at this point.  My car had just gotten out of the shop after being stolen and crashed (that is another disaster of a story that involved more stupidity, a lot of drugs, fleeing from the scene of an accident, and sexual assault), so I did not want to drive it again to the city. 

The boyfriend (who had only been my boyfriend for 3 days at this point) offered to drive.  So he and I and our 2 friends piled into the car and set out down the Palisades Parkway to go to the city.  It was dark at this point and we lit up a blunt and smoked as we drove.  Right at the NY/NJ border, he decided to show us his fire lights (he was a volunteer fireman).  They were only on for 15-20 seconds before he turned them off.

Then we heard the sirens and saw the lights behind us.  The boyfriend pulled over right next to an exit ramp.  The police officer immediately asked him to get out of the car and questioned him out of earshot.  Another police car soon pulled up behind the first one.

My black friend was pulled out next for questioning.  He was soon cuffed and sat on the guardrail next to the boyfriend.  During this time, my latino friend asks me what he should do with the ounce of weed. I told him to stick it in the sleeve of his down jacket because maybe the police wouldn't find it then.

I was pulled out of the car next.  Needless to say, I was not nice to the officer.  He was even ruder to me after he ran my license and found out I had a prior for assaulting a police officer and was on probation.  He cuffed me and made me lean against the hood of the car, away from the guys, and in sight of his dash camera.

My latino friend was searched next.  They did not find the weed in his jacket.  He was not cuffed but told to stay against the guardrail.  A third police car pulled up and they got to work searching the car.  Apparently, at some point, my friend with the weed threw it into the ditch behind the guardrail.

After about 30 minutes, one of the cops found the weed.  We knew at this point we were screwed because we were in NJ (in NY, marijuana is decriminalized-you get a summons and a fine, not arrested).  After another 20 minutes or so,  they supposedly found acid in the car (I am fairly sure to this day that it was planted there by the 3rd cop-they searched and searched and came up empty-handed for so long.  And my boyfriend swears there was no way there could have been a stray tab of acid in the car-I believe him).

So we were packed into two police cars and taken to the nearest police station.  We spent the night there.  They only had one holding cell, and they put the 3 guys in there.  I was stuck handcuffed to a bench right next to the desk.  They kept trying to tell me to go to sleep, but that was not happening, mainly because I was chained to the bench and had to crush my handcuffed wrist if I attempted to lay down.  At one point I asked them to uncuff me since there at least 4 police officers within 5 feet of me, but that wasn't an option.

I was allowed to call my dad, and he did not believe me when I told him I was arrested.  He hung up, then called back and realized it was a police station.  Then he told me I was on my own.  My boyfriend's fire chief came to the station to tell him he was no longer a fireman and took his gear.  Then the car was impounded.

Early in the morning, we were taken to county jail.  They offered us bagels for breakfast before we left but I told them I didn't want shit from them.  Once again, I was placed by myself, but at least it was in a holding cell.

I was fingerprinted and strip searched (seriously, if you can avoid it, you do not want to be strip searched-having a burly female guard tell you to spread 'em, squat, and cough is not fun).  Then they took photos of all my tattoos for a database.

Then I had to take out all my piercings and when I couldn't get my 2nd hole jewelry out (they were stretched too at the time), they got some pliers and ripped them out of my ears (seriously, it was pyrex and I couldn't remove them-wtf was I gonna do with that?)  And taking out my first holes?  Stretched lobes are kind of gross with no jewelry in them.  I don't take them out, ever (well, unless I'm changing to another pair-I even clean them while they're in my ear).  They ended up with a whole bag full of body jewelry from me-10 total from ears, 2 from nose, 1 from lip, 2 from navel, 2 from nipples.  I looked a little like an empty pincushion when they were done.

Then I waited in another holding cell with 2 sobbing, annoying women for a few hours.  I laughed at them the whole time-seriously, you're grown and you did something to end up in jail, don't be a baby about it.  The holding cells were all glass, so I could see almost all of the men's cells.  I kept waving and blowing kisses to the boyfriend and my friends in their orange jumpsuits at the opposite end of the room.

When I got my mugshot taken, I found out my bail had been set at $12,000. Ouch.  My charges were Possession of Controlled Substances (Lysergic Acid), Possession of Marijuana Under 50 grams, and Hindering Investigation (although I am not sure what I did to hinder anyone).

I went back to my holding cell and waited for hours to go up to the main part of jail.  They gave me a nasty bologna sandwich that looked like it would give me food poisoning so I didn't touch it.

I saw the guys get taken up to jail and felt really alone for the first time.  Boy, it was only going to get worse.  I finally got taken up to the women's part of the jail.  Then I found out I was deemed a danger to others (due to the assault of a police officer on my record, which was dropped, btw, and shouldn't have even popped up in the first place).  I was informed I couldn't wear the jumpsuit and had to wear this until I could see a judge on Monday (and it was Friday).
Sorry, this was the only photo I could find of one of these
But mine wasn't nice like the photo.  The velcro was old and it kept falling off, so I was pretty much naked.  Oh, and it was cold, and I wasn't allowed to have a pillow, mattress, or sheet.  And there were windows that connected with the regular part of the women's jail, so they could all come over and gawk and me, but it was soundproof glass so we couldn't even talk to one another.

It was not a normal isolation cell.  There were 4 sets of bunks (all empty-I was the only one there) and a toilet and a shower.  Like I said, it was all totally open, and it also opened onto the guard station, so they could all easily see me.  I finally asked someone if I could at least have a suit with good velcro if I was stuck like that, but no one cared.  So I took the damn thing off and used it as a mattress and slept, totally naked with women watching me on the other side of the glass.  It was so bizarre.

My parents finally took pity on me and went to a bail bondswoman.  I was sleeping on my velcro suit when a guard woke me up by telling me that somebody loved me.  I was given a normal jumpsuit to change into and walked to a room where I got my posessions back.  I spent a bunch of time putting my piercings back in, except for the 2nd holes in my ears (which were a mess from the jewelry getting ripped out) and one nostril, which had closed up.  I changed back into my street clothes and went out to see my parents.

I saw the boyfriend's dad in the process of bailing him out (which is amazing, since his dad is never around, and screws everyone over).  He looked at me like he wanted to strangle me.  I told him to tell his son to call me as soon as he could (I was actually more concerned at this point how the boyfriend fared-he had just turned 18 and did not have the experience with people who broke the law like I did).

They felt bad when they saw me.  I hadn't showered, my hair was a greasy mess, my ears were swollen and gross, and I hadn't eaten or drank anything in over 48 hours.  So they took me to a restaurant, and let me tell you, that was the best burger and fries I had ever eaten in my life.

I got a lawyer and so did the boyfriend.  I offered to take the charges for everyone, but since I was already on probation, that would have landed me back in jail for a long time (actually, I would have ended up in prison for a few years).  The other two guys we were arrested with couldn't afford lawyers or bail and spent a few weeks in jail. Well, one got bailed out by his family after 2 weeks, the other was released on recognizance.  My boyfriend ended up pleading guilty to the charges and just got probation.  It was because he was the youngest of us all and had no prior criminal record (well, there was the getting caught growing weed in his bedroom when he was 14, but he was a minor so it doesn't count).  After his probation was up, the charges were sealed, so he still effectively has no criminal record.

After everything calmed down, we all thought the whole thing was kind of funny.   And the boyfriend and I decided that if we could make it through jail and criminal charges together 3 days into our relationship, we could probably make it through anything.  So far, that has held true.  We've made it through having 3 babies, getting CPS called on us out of spite (I guess that's yet another crazy story I have), moving 5 times, and dealing with a ton of sibling issues (both  mine and his).



Mama’s Losin’ It

Wordless Wednesday- Halloween!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow Days and Soup

I always loved the first snow day of the year.  My sister and I would sleep in, only to realize the winter wonderland before us hours after we would have normally needed to be up.  Excited, we would pull on our snowsuits, gloves, hats, and boots, and our dad would take us out sledding.

We trudged down the snow-covered street to the hill at the elementary school.  It was the biggest perk of living two houses away from the school.  We would sled until our faces were red and our fingers were numb.

Once we entered our vestibule and stomped the snow off our boots, we opened the door to the house and were hit with the smell of potato soup. 

My mom has always cooked potato soup on snowy days.  I love anything potato.  As far as I'm concerned, potatoes should be in their own food group.

I always rushed into the kitchen, got my chair and dragged it to the stove, and helped.  My mom would have the chicken broth, onion, and potato chunks simmering on the stove.  It was my job to mash the potatoes when they were done.  Not all of them, just enough to make the soup a little creamy but still a little chunky.

My mom then ladled the soup into mugs, and I added a couple spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese into each mug, followed by a sprinkle of dried parsley.  The whole family sat at the kitchen table and ate soup for lunch while we talked about sledding and the snow.

My mom still makes me this soup on snowy days, even though I could (in theory) make it myself.  It tastes better when she does it.  I know it's a really simple recipe, but when I think of winter and snow days, I immediately think of my mom's potato soup.  It is everything good about winter.  So far only Princess shares my love of this soup, but I'm hoping the boys will eventually follow suit.

Mom's Potato Soup
-2 cans chicken broth
-1 small onion, chopped
-4-6 russet potatoes (this really varies depending on the size of the potatoes, but I say more is better), cut into 1/2" cube
-Parmesan cheese, 2-3 spoonfuls per serving
-dried parsley, for garnish

-Add first 3 ingredints to 2qt saucepan and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Use a potato masher to mash about half the potatoes.
-Ladle soup into a mug or bowl and add Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve and enjoy.

This post was written in response to this week's RemembeRED prompt from Write on Edge. Take me back…whether to a month ago or decades ago.  Share with me a special recipe, but don’t just list out ingredients.  Take me there…in 500 words or less.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED