Monday, April 26, 2010

I Cooked Meat!!!

I did it!!!  I COOKED MEAT!!!

I suppose one must first understand my complete and total disdain for cooking, touching, or even looking at raw meat in order to truly grasp the enormity of that statement.  I think it stems from early memories of my mother making fried chicken when we were young.  I still have the mental images of her cutting body parts off of raw chickens in our kitchen sink.  And let me just say...  OMG!!! EWWWW!!!  Don't even get me started on the nastiness of preparing meatloaf!  And then the whole trimming the fat off of round steak or shoving your hand up a turkey's hind end...  I'm gagging at the mere thought of it!

Thanks to the joys of frozen, boneless, skinless, fully-cooked chicken breast, my dad (the Master of Meat) who makes the best BBQ on the planet, and these things called "restaurants," I've managed to go most of my adult life without having to go down the meat aisle at the grocery store.  "What about when you make Hamburger Helper," you ask?  I do Hamburger Helper without the hamburger.  And I've also discovered the awesomeness of those Banquets Homestyle Complete Meals.  Everything is right there for you.  No nastiness required.

When Angel moved in with me last summer, you would think that my major concern would have been how she would adjust to having rules or if I could handle the situation as a whole.  But no...  My big "panic" was over the thought of having to cook dinner and how that would most likely have to include a meat of some sort!  I was dreading it like you wouldn't believe!  I prayed she was a vegetarian!  You can imagine my excitement that first day when Angel asked if she could be in charge of cooking.  :)  She insisted that she loved to cook, and that she really wanted to do it...  and the dozen jars of spices that she unpacked from the very few belongings that she brought with her proved that she meant business!  Let me tell you, I ate well when she was with me.  That girl can cook!!!

I don't think Angel believed me when I told her that I couldn't be near raw meat until one particular trip to the grocery store.  Most shopping trips, I'd just send Angel to grab whatever she needed from the meat aisle while I was getting other stuff.  I could avoid gagging, and Angel wouldn't have to see her mother act like a fool in public.  It was a win/win situation.  However, the day before Christmas, we had to make a special trip to the store to get the ingredients for Angel to make fajitas (SOOOO GOOD!!!) for our Mexican Food Christmas with the family.  Somehow, I didn't time it correctly, and I headed back to find Angel just as she was holding up two packages of (I cringe as I think of it) raw chicken strips and steak and asked me, "Do you think these will work, Mom?"  I must have turned three shades of green and started dry heaving as I turned my back and walked away without answering.  And all I could hear (besides the ringing in my ears) was Angel giggling in the background and yelling, "Sorry, Mom!"  :)

So, yeah...  I don't cook meat.

Fastforward to last Monday when I decided to try "Something New" and make Red Beans and Rice with ground hamburger...  Just like Angel used to make for us...  I DID IT!!!  I BOUGHT AND COOKED THE MEAT ALL BY MYSELF!!!  I even used the spices that Angel used for it, and added additional red beans and everything.  Granted, I never actually touched the meat.  I cut the cellophane off of the top of the carton and dumped it straight into the skillet.  Then I used a spatula to separate it all up.  I tried not to really look at it until it was nearly completely cooked, and I think I only gagged a couple of times.  :)

Yes!  I cooked meat!  And it was good! 

Who knows...  Maybe I'll brave up and do meatloaf soon!  (Is it possible to prepare meatloaf without touching it?)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"What I Live For"

I found this poem my senior year of high school in one of our literature books. It seems to put into words what I've always felt. To this day, this is still one of my favorite poems. This is my "Something Old" for the week.

What I Live For...

I live for those who love me,
Whose hearts are kind and true;
For the Heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit too;
For the human ties that bind me,
For the task that God assigned me,
For the bright hopes yet to find me,
and the good that I can do.

I live to learn their story
Who suffered for my sake;
To emulate their glory,
And follow in their wake;
Bards, patriots, martyrs, sages,
The heroic of all ages,
Whose deeds crowd History's pages,
And Time's great volume make.

I live to hold communion
With all that is divine,
To feel that their is a union
Twixt Nature's heart and mine;
To profit by affliction,
Reap truth from fields of fiction,
Grow wiser from conviction,
And fulfill God's grand design.

I live to hail that season
By gifted ones foretold,
When men shall live by reason,
and not alone by gold;
When man to man united,
And every wrong thing righted,
The whole world shall be lighted,
As Eden was of old.

I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true,
For the Heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit too;
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.

- George Linnaeus Banks -

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Have Been Tortured

Yes, TORTURED.  By a rather large German woman named Olga.

(Okay...  So her name wasn't exactly "Olga," and I have no clue as to her heritage, but it sounded good and felt appropriate.  I suppose if I'm being completely honest, I might as well admit that "Olga's" 4' 11", 90-pound, blond-haired, blue-eyed assistant did quite a bit of the torturing herself.  I just thought I'd get a little more "street cred" by admitting only to "Olga.")

When I walked into the ortho's office for my second physical therapy appointment, I knew that I was getting a new therapist for the day.  I boldly sauntered limped with gusto into the building, proud of the fact that I was actually a little bit early this time.  My excitement was short-lived, however, when I caught a glimpse of what I feared was my future...

Yes, I realize this is a scene from General Hospital, but it is a remarkable depiction of what I saw when I looked towards the gym from the reception area.  ... a grown man, defeated, with a mean-looking amazon woman who I didn't recognize standing over him...  Only my guy was whimpering in agony, and the woman who I feared was "Olga" weighed about 100 pounds more than Big Alice!  I nearly turned right around and walked out of the building.

I braved up and signed in though.  I sat down, warily eyeing the scary woman the entire time, and prayed that one of the other three PT's in the gym was actually "Olga."  I nearly shouted, "THANK YOU, LORD!" when a super-tiny, sweet-looking little girl walked up to me and said, "Tammy?"  Little did I know, this blond-haired, blue-eyed, 4' 11", 90-pound child was only "Olga's" assistant, and that she was kind of like "Olga's" (pardon my French) prison bitch, forced to do her dirty work.

As we neared the table where the 300-pound scary woman was torturing that poor, poor man, she paused long enough to look up and introduce herself.  "Hello.  I am 'Olga.'  You are next."  (Oh, joy!  I almost started to cry.) 

Small Child looked at me with apologetic eyes, and got me set up on the bike.  I did the slow 10 minutes at almost no resistance because she was trying to work my ankle without screwing up my leg.  It wasn't too bad...  a little sore, but okay.  Then Small Child worked me through my regular daily exercises.  I'm fairly used to those.  A couple of them hurt like heck though, so by the end, the entire bottom half of my leg and ankle felt like they were on fire.  I figured that was it.  I was through.  I was sorely mistaken.

That's when Small Child threw me to the wolves and handed me over to Satan.  "Olga" put me on this medieval torture device and had me doing modified squats and calf raises that made my leg feel as though that broken bone was going to break free of the skin.  Then she personally tortured me with some weird latex band thing that she used to pull my ankle into all sorts of weird positions that I, personally, don't think it should ever be in to begin with!  "Olga" walked away exclaiming, "I'll be back."  Oh, holy crapfire!  Where can I hide?!?  MAKE THE BAD WOMAN STOP!

Fortunately, she just came back with ice.  :-)

I am now in the process of recovering from what was supposed to be part of my recovery, and attempting to psych myself up for next week's session with Satan.  Pray for me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Will It Ever End?

I had a dream about the Booger this morning right before my alarm went off.  I woke up in tears, and just wanted to go back to sleep so I could hold him again.  Is this ever going to get any easier?!?  I'll go for days and be okay...  and just when I think I'm doing better, something happens (I dream about him, I see his favorite episode of Barney on the DVR because I can't bring myself to delete it, someone asks if I've heard how he's doing, etc.) and I lose it again.  I want to yell at people that "No, I HAVEN'T heard how he is!  I'm NEVER going to know how he is again!" Most parents who get their kids back from foster care just want to forget it ever happened.  Despite what they may tell you about staying in contact, it's not going to happen.  I'm trying to accept that, and to accept that I'm never going to see J again.

I'm still FURIOUS at CPS and at the way the entire transition happened.  I hate that I went into court that day thinking that they were getting an extension and that I had three more months with him.  I LEFT court hearing that his daddy was getting custody THAT DAY, and that they just weren't going to bring J home.  The last time I would ever get to see him was that morning when I dropped him off at daycare. 

The ONLY person who so much as LOOKED at me at the courthouse was my own caseworker from my agency.  I give her props.  She was AWESOME.  She was under the impression that we were getting an extension as well, so she was just as floored as I was.  She sat with me as I cried.  She even called me a couple of times over the next week just to see how I was doing.  Poor thing.  It was only the second time we'd ever met because she had just recently taken over my case, and she had to be there with me when I lost my little boy.  (Yes, my little boy!  I was the only parent that he'd ever really had up to that point, and as far as I'm concerned, he will always be my little boy.  Just like any other children who come into my care will always be my kids...)

Just a word of warning to all of you potential foster parents out there.  You are nothing more than the hired help.  You don't get an opinion on what happens with the children in your care (if you express one, you get "fired" quickly).  And when your services are no longer needed, they just take your kids away and you won't get so much as a "thank you" from anyone.  Yes.  I am still angry and bitter. 

I'm just having a "FOSTER CARE SUCKS" day.  But at the same time, I'm anxiously awaiting my next placement call.  I'm a masochistic little thing, I guess.  My thought is that it will get easier with each placement because I won't have such high expectations of the system.  I suppose that's a rather negative approach on the whole thing, but I think it will work.  I'll just love on these kids for as long as they'll let me, and hope that they'll take that with them when they leave.

*** OMG! I just realized I've been blogging A LOT lately!  Sorry this one is such a downer.  :(  The next one will be better.  I promise.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Teen Speak

When Angel moved in with me last June, I found myself quickly thrust back into the world of Teen. Teen Drama, Teen Angst, Teen Fun, and Teen Speak. I had always thought that I had kept myself fairly "current" when it came to teen lingo, but apparently I was sadly mistaken.

My first clue to my complete and total cluelessness was when I started receiving text messages from my new daughter. "Cn yoou plz get meh a hmbrger?" My immediate thought was, "Oh, this poor girl! She can't even spell! How did she ever make it to high school?!?" (Actually, my first thought was, "Huh?" but after some deciphering, I figured it out.) After frantically wondering where I could find a tutor for her during the summer, she assured me that she did know how to spell. She even pulled out some of her previous year's schoolwork to prove it. Her excuse for the lousy spelling? "I like to be different."

After several months of translating teen text, it became second nature to me. I stopped flinching at every "meh" and "yoou." After a while, I barely even noticed it. It still drives my BFF crazy though. Katie and Angel have a love/hate relationship. Katie is constantly harping at Angel for her lousy grammar, and Angel is constantly thinking of new and even more irritating creative ways to annoy Katie. :-) ShE dOeS tHe WhOLe fUnKy CaPs ThInG. She spelz thgz weerd and uzez lotz of z's. I love reading their banter back and forth. Pretty funny stuff. Katie will sometimes go as far as calling me to complain about it... and Angel just sits there and quietly giggles. :-)

Just when I finally grew accustomed to Angel's bizarre spelling habits she joined Facebook, and her "status updates" confused the heck out of me. I can't remember them verbatim, but I do remember responding, "Child, I don't know what the heck you just said, but it doesn't sound very appropriate for someone your age. It doesn't even sound legal! I'm just gonna say, 'no, ma'am!' and leave it at that." She laughed that they were song lyrics. That's all fine and dandy, my dear. I'm all for promoting the Arts. But you don't see me setting my status updates to the lyrics of "Baby Got Back" or that "I Touch Myself" song that they used to play years ago. NOT APPROPRIATE!!! Even MySpace has a default mood of "crunk." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!? I've been so confused.

Angel has tried (bless her heart) to educate me on the art of teen slang and texting shorthand. When she had to move into a different foster home in January (LONG story that I'm sure I'll tell eventually when I'm not wanting to threaten bodily harm to a certain therapist, some caseworkers, and other equally-infuriating adults), our texting, emailing, and Facebooking really took off. It wasn't until recently that I realized just how accustomed to the "language" that I had become...

It was just before Katie guilted me into joining Fat Class. She was still eating lunch with me every day. And she was LATE. Much to my chagrin, the thought that ran through my head was something along the lines of, "OMG, Katie! H'ry up! I'm HELLA hungry!!! F'real! WTF is taking yoou so long!?! Come eat wit meh!!!"

You have GOT to be kidding me! What SANE 35-year-old woman uses "hella" in a sentence?!? Don't even get me started on the "OMG"s or the fact that I was actually spelling (and I use that term loosely) "meh" and "yoou" out in my head. I bravely admitted my thoughts on Facebook (might as well fess up... bring smiles to the world and all...), to which Angel immediately replied, "OMG, Mom! I s'rsly jst LOL-ed in frnt of my BF! I nvr do that!" ...and I totally understood every "word."

BC4BC!!! (That means, "If you comment on my blog, I'll comment on yours." ;-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Braving Up...

Well, I must be getting brave (or stupid) in my old age.  I opened up my foster care vacancies for two children ages 0-4 years old.  I'm keeping one opening strictly for infants (0-12 months), but I thought it was silly to sit around and wait for an infant when I can be helping another kiddo too.  Preschoolers are fun!  And I've never met a kid who didn't like me.  I'm a total kid magnet.  I've got a FANTASTIC daycare/preschool ready and waiting for my next kiddos.  ***Props to the BBT! ;-) ***  I've got the room.  I've got the love.  And I've got access to all of the stuff thanks to my sister and my 5-year-old niece and nephew.  Let's just hope I have the energy!  :-)

Watch them call me with siblings both still in diapers!  That would surely be a learning experience!  But you know me...  I never do things the easy way.  :-)
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