Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gold Stars...



We have someone in our department who sends out a Gold Star email once a week in order to give a shout out to people who SHE believes did an exceptional job in some area.  It really is so much ridiculousness. 

In this line of work there is an extraordinary amount of behind the scenes stuff that goes on.  A senior officer who guides the rookie in how to properly handle a situation, a dispatcher who is multitasking like a fool in order to get officers the information they need, a supervisor who is setting a perimeter to make sure a bad guy doesnt slip through... All of these efforts are being supported by the cooperative efforts of others...We absolutely do not work in a vacuum.  I once received a Gold Star for giving a piece of information to the woman who sends these emails. I have rarely been so upset... No mention of the officers who did amazing things on the street that night, no mention of my teammates who did an exceptional job handling a very crazy shift, and no mention of the 40 minute conversation I had with a suicidal man..no, no...Her only interest lies in those things that benefit HER. So yes,  Gold Star emails really aggravate me. 

Additionally, we have awards such as Officer of the Year and Dispatcher of the year.  I don't agree with this concept and believe we should do away with these awards.  They exclude people who work their asses off and they highlight efforts of a select few who do NOT do anything on their own. 

I was named Dispatcher of the Year last night.  This upsets me.  

I don't want it to seem as though I'm not happy that people think I do a good job, I know that I do and I'm glad it's recognized.  But ya know what, some days I suck at this job.  Some days it's all I can do not to go freakin postal on callers, officers, and my coworkers. Some days I take a call that drops me to my knees and leave me crying outside the door and trying like hell to make myself go back inside.  On THOSE days....The people who deserve accolades are the people I work with.  The ones who are now handling my work load in addition to theirs.  A minute later it's my turn to do the same for them. 

We work this ridiculous, painful, hilarious, heartbreaking, scary, dangerous, exhilarating job every day.  And EVERY SINGLE DAY, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US deserves a Gold Star...and most of those same days we each deserve to be fired :-)


Monday, October 1, 2012

Making socks....



My friend Susan is a badass sock knitter...She can whip out amazing looking socks and make it look almost effortless.  Over the years she has encouraged me to try it but I've been intimidated by the whole process... thin yarn, small thin needles (a bunch of them!)

I decided to give it a shot though and I'm SO glad that I did.  There is something so rewarding about churning out 2 (mostly) matching socks.  I decided to start out with a pair of simple ankle socks.  I used THIS pattern and am really happy with how they worked out! 



 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things That Make My Heart Happy...

 
 
My word now includes...
Matchbox cars, motorcyle books, and art supplies...
 
 
 
....and Teddy Bears....

 
...and flowers chosen by a 10 year old because
"They look like Harley Davidson"...

 
 
 ...and chinese food aliens....
 
 
 
...and my very own Superman <3


Friday, July 27, 2012

That Moment...




That moment in life when you realize that your life looks nothing like you thought it would...and yet magically it's everything you ever wanted.....


I have spent my entire life hearing the phrases "When our ship comes in" and "when I win the lottery".  That mentality pervades the small town that I'm from and is woven into the fiber of my family. Most of my life I have been the same way....always waiting for a change...waiting for something to happen that would make it possible to live the life I've always dreamed of.

As I grew older, I realized that I was going to have to take actual steps if I wanted things to change.  That I was ultimately responsible for my fate.  I made changes in positive directions and then would be devestated when things didn't turn out the way I had pictured them. There was also anger, lots of anger. Anger at myself for not being proactive or motivated enough, anger at others for making choices that got in the way of my plans.

And then one day I had this moment of clarity...I realized that life is about living in the now... without fixating on the future.  Plans change, people change, circumstances change.... Reaching out towards a perfect future makes it impossible to embrace today. 

I'd like to say that there was a lot of soul searching and spiritual growth that led me to that revelation... Instead it was the fact that for the first time in my life I was treading water....learning to live on my own and pay my own way.  Unable to rely on someone else to meet my basic needs, I was too busy getting through each day to be able to make plans for a fairytale future. 

One night at work I was sitting at my station and reflecting on my days off.  How much I enjoyed our time... And it hit me....I have an incredible life!  It doesn't look like I thought it would...but all of the elements are there...Friends, family, gainful employment, a great place to live, fun hobbies, cute pets, a reliable vehicle...

I still have dreams for the future...but they aren't based on a perfect storm of circumstances...they are a continuation of this beautiful life that I'm already so fortunate to have.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

We've been using this homemade laundry soap for a while now and I really wish I had started using it years ago!  It cleans really well and it has a really fresh smell :-)



  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 3 gallons water
Grate the bar of soap ( You can use any type you'd like but I prefer Fels Naptha)
Put the grated soap into a very large stock pot and add 1 gallon of water.  Cook until the soap is fully dissolved and add the Borax and Washing Soda.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.  Turn off heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water and mix well. 

Divide the soap evenly between 3 1-gallon jugs....a funnel helps trememdously with this :-)
Fill each jug almost to the top with cold water. Put lid on tightly and shake.

Once cool, the laundry detergent will look like it's solid but if you give it a quick shake it will be ready to pour and use.  I use the lid from a traditional bottle of laundry soap as my measuring cup and use a full lid per each load of laundry.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In the Kitchen...


Sweet and Spicy Pickles:


We're anxiously awaiting the 2 week mark so we can crack these open and see how they turned out!  Also, I had a bunch of banana peppers so I sliced them and canned them in some of the extra brine.


  • 3 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 10 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • 24 dried cayenne peppers

Directions:

Place cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and water in a large, glass or plastic bowl. Cover and allow cucumbers to soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from the onions and cucumbers through a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cloves, garlic, and peppers in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers and onions. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.

Fill each of the hot sterilized pint-size jars with the pickle mixture, dividing them evenly, and enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top.  Process the jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before removing jars from canner.  Let the pickles age for at least 2 weeks before using.




Jalapeno Jelly:






This jelly is seriously delicious!!!  Sweet with just the right amount of heat, it's really good on a peanut butter and jelly sandwch.  For a great appetizer whip cream cheese with a hand mixer, pile onto the middle of a plate and pour jelly over the top.  Serve with crackers.

  • 12 jalapeno peppers steamed and seeded
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 pouches of liquid pectin
    • ( The jelly turned out a bit thick so I'll be trying 1 1/2 pouches next time)
  • green food coloring
Pour 1 cup of the vinegar in a blender, add peppers and puree.  Mix puree and remaining vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a rapid foaming boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Add pectin and continue to boil for 1 more minute. Add 2-3 drops of green food coloring to mixture. This will make your jelly a really pretty emerald green. Place mixture into clean and sterile jars. Process jars in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.



 

Apple Pie Moonshine:

Freakin delicious but it sneaks up on you! 

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 gallon apple juice
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 liter bottle of 190 proof moonshine or pure grain

In a large stock pot, combine the cider, juice, sugars, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring it to a boil, then remove from heat and allow it to cool. Add the liter of high proof liquor.

Strain through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. Pour into mason jars and add 1 cinnamon stick to each*.  Screw lids on tightly.  You can drink this right away but it gets better after a couple weeks. Remember to shake jar before you pour a drink.
*Remove cinnamon sticks after 3 days.
  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

My man is an incredible dad and I wanted to make him something special for Father's Day....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bliss <3
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Without getting into details... it's been a rough year and an especially challenging couple of months.  Don't get me wrong...there have been many fun times and incredible moments!!  But overall, it's been a challenge...

And then I woke up one day last week...and my life was forever changed :-)  I could compare it to winning the lottery but it's worth so much more than that!



Saturday, May 19, 2012

:-)




I try not to be a negative person...I have a job that keeps me ever mindful that there are other people out there that have it so much worse than I...

There are times though when life gets overwhelming...I'm struggling my way through that right now...

The job has alot to do with it...and some choices that I've made recently may not have been the healthiest for my emotional wellbeing... but it is what it is.  

The bottom line is that while I haven't lost my smile, It's been changed and I don't like that.  I want to be the happy, optimistic person that I always have been...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wine...Because sometimes you must!




While delicious, the tiramisu did not change Keressa's mind...she's moving back home. :-(


I'm gonna miss her but I'm glad she's doing what will make her happy.  We had a girls night for her last night in town...our whole shift got the night off work which is damn near impossible with a group of dispatchers!


There was wine! :-)  There was not a corkscrew...but there was wine...and many, many shots...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tiramisu For Keressa

One of my favorite people in the world, who happens to be a coworker, really loves tiramisu.  She'll be leaving us soon so I thought I'd ply her with her favorite treats to make her want to stay :-P

This was my first attempt at tiramisu...It WILL be happening again!  Easy to make and absolutely delicious!


 Tiramisu

4 large eggs, separated
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
1-1/2 cups brewed coffee
1/2 cup dark rum ( I used
The Kracken...because it's amazing!)
40 store-bought ladyfingers
1 cup heavy cream
cocoa powder
bittersweet chocolate

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in mascarpone until incorporated.

Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold in beaten egg whites into mascarpone mixture.

In a small bowl combine coffee and rum. Dip ladyfingers into coffee-rum mixture and lay in rows in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone cream on top. Make one more layer of ladyfingers and the remaining mascarpone cream.

Whisk heavy cream and tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream on top.

Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with grated and/or shaved bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trial and Error

My attempt at beef jerky...with questionable success :-)
I looked at about a dozen recipes for beef jerky and I wound up combining the 2 that I thought would most appeal to us.
One roast called for bottom round roast and the other called for a tri-tip roast. A standard in jerky making is that you want the least amount of fat possible so once I cut into the tri-tip (on the right) I was surprised at how much marbling there was.
I mixed the marinade recipe, added the meat and poured it all into a bag...I put it in the fridge and flipped the bag every few hours.
After 24 hours of marinating I put a single layer, well spaced apart, on the dehydrator trays. The manual said that it could take up to 2 days but mine was done after only 20 hours...slightly over done actually.
The flavor is really good...not quite what I was going for but I'll try a different recipe next time. Also, the tri-tip was much too fatty for long term storage. If I were making this jerky to store I would definitely need to use the bottom round only as it's much leaner. Also, I think it could have used a few hours less time in the dehydrator since it's almost a little crunchy in areas...but it's still tasty :-)
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Here's the recipe I used:
2 small lean roasts
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 Tablespoon ginger (called for fresh but my market was out so I just used powdered)
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Jack Daniels
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
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The flavor has a bit of an Asian influence and while it's good I want something a bit more savory with a whole lot more cracked black pepper next time.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nuestra Casa Fantástica

I’m thrilled to report that I’m completely settled into my new space!!! I love it, I absolutely love it. I hadn’t realized just how unhappy I was at the other house until I was in this place. I’ve recognized unhappiness but I attributed it to other things besides the place that I lived and honestly I felt like for the most part I was just being a baby about being on my own.

After a year in the old house, and 2 weeks in this apartment, I can say without a doubt that while some of my being overly emotional was from divorce, life transitions, etc…the greatest cause was from where I lived. It was a very small space which prevented me from entertaining and dabbling in my hobbies. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it secluded…it was rather private which made me feel very unsafe and vulnerable ( Something I didn’t realize at the time).

My new place is a beautiful one bedroom townhome with an attached garage in a 19 unit complex. It’s quiet, safe, and the neighbors are friendly. It’s very spacious and I’ve entertained several times already. D and I had a fantastic time setting it up…he has a real knack for decorating which I’m so thankful for because it's a skill that I do not have! One thing that I love about the apartment is that we’re building the space together…and while I’m the one who lives here, it is most definitely OUR place.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year...

Every year I save making New Years resolutions until today...my birthday. I started the day off with 2 of them...Now, at the end of the day, I have a 3rd...somewhat undefined...but necessary all the same.

This is the only birthday I've had in 34 years that wasn't a happy day...for a myriad of reasons I was greatly dissapointed in it. I've known for some time that I've been making some poor choices...and today served to spotlight that even further...change is in the air...