Wednesday, March 19, 2014

U. Update

I remember having a conversation with Brian about the plea deal for the guy who broke into our house (U.) and how I didn't think he was serving enough time Brian told me not to worry that he would get out and get wrapped back up in the same thing and eventually get arrested again and do even more time that time.  I wasn't so sure because most break-ins are never resolved, ours was a rare incident because the guy left a perfect fingerprint on our broken stolen television.  That never happens.

He was done with our sentence in very late October and I wasn't nervous or anything about retaliation (I did have a 2 page letter to him read out in open court by the D.A. so I wasn't exactly going quiet into the night so to speak) but you just never know when you might run into someone, this town is tiny and downtown is tiny, you just never know.  But nothing ever happened.

We've had some pretty serious gang violence considering the size of our small city.  It was crazy in the news for a while then seemed to peter out.  I remember thinking about it the other day and assumed maybe the news just stop reporting it, if you don't report it, people don't know it's a problem anymore.  Then a few days ago someone was shot near the local high school, reported as a gang incident.  The next day someone was stabbed around the same area (retaliatory, I guess).  Brian called me that afternoon and said the guy who shot the first guy was the guy who broke into our house.  This wasn't on the news yet, the D.A. knew and she told Brian and told him to let me know so I wouldn't find out by watching the evening news (that would have been CRAZY, btw).

It took another day and U. was arrested, his mug shot flashed on my replaced stolen television, Cheshire grin, perfect white teeth, a small glimmer of the baby face he had just a couple years ago.  He's in big trouble, he may go to prison for up to 20 years for attempted murder, Brian says.

Man, you were so right about that, I said.  I thought he would be robbing houses for years before he was caught again, and now look.  That guy was in our house, that kid, who can take a gun and fire it at another guy's chest because he doesn't like him, he was going through my underwear drawer and scaring the shit out of my cats.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Attachment Issues

Considering the definitive take-away from all those foster parent classes was essentially love fully but don't get too attached, and we know you're going to get attached anyway so just be ready to have your heart broken in a way you never thought possible, you'd think getting attached to my social worker would be the least of my problems.

I loved our social worker, I mean really.  He made me feel calm and relaxed and assured that everything neurotic I was thinking was going to be okay.  I never felt patronized or belittled, but mostly by the end of it all, after the classes that he taught and all the secrets I told him from the depths of my emotional skeletons, I felt like he understood me, and Brian, he knew us.  He had been to our house multiple times, he saw the kid room, he saw our tiny bathroom, he saw it all and I had a sense that he was looking out for us, whether this is a thing that's supposed to happen or not.  Certainly the foster family is way on down the list of who needs nurturing.  But we do, the neurotic ones (like me) do.

So everything is done and sent off and we're just waiting for word that we got our license.  And that day came and it was a happy day but bittersweet.  In the same email our social worker said he was promoted.  We now have an interim social worker until we get a new permanent social worker.  And then we didn't hear anything for like 3 years (I mean weeks).

Our paper license came in the mail with our interim social worker's business card.  And then more crickets, more waiting.  And it's not like I didn't expect crickets, I know we picked a popular age range.  Everybody wants a baby, right?  So crickets, nothing, and I, the girl who can't stand waiting, needed something so I started setting dates, if nothing happens by this date I will...  It helps me, even if that date comes and I do nothing.  The date is way out there so don't panic.  I just like having a sense of control when there is no control to be found.

Then Brian calls me yesterday and says our social worker called and asked if we wanted to take in a 10 year old and a 12 year old.  And it's just been bothering me ever sense.

I was under the impression there was some data base somewhere with our names and brief note like "she stays home" and our age range.  That there was a rhyme or reason behind every call.  That a child would be in need and all the social workers are sitting around eating salads and one says, "I know who will be perfect for that child!" and the phone call is made.

Apparently this is not the case.  And if it's not the case how will a proper match ever possible to be made?  How are we on a 10 and 12 year old list?  We don't even have twin beds, we have 1 tiny bathroom.  I own a rattle.  This whole thing is just starting to freak me out again.  I'm just setting more dates, trying to calm myself.  This can happen, right?  Did we waste all that time?  Do I have a nursery in my house for nothing? 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Oscar Party Recap

I wrote a post after last year's Oscar party called "The Last Oscar Party." I never finished the post and I never posted it because it was too raw to share openly on the internet.  So there it sat.  I just read it and by all accounts I feel pretty much the same way about this recent Oscar's party but for some reason it was better this time.  I think the main thing I did was watch my budget better and I didn't cook for 2 full days. 20 hours of food prep is no fun, let me be the first to tell you.

This time I kept it simple, Italian American food is certainly easier than Authentic French food for one.  I made lasagna, into single serving rolls rather than a pan of lasagna.  I don't know if this was the way too go, it tasted fine but I don't think the presentation made that much of a difference.

Like my planning post I also made mini caprese salads and Oreo truffles and tuxedo strawberries.  We bought a shrimp ring at the grocery store and a veggie platter.  My plan was too make everything on Saturday and then Sunday pretty much pop the lasagna in the oven and spend the rest of the day getting ready and setting everything up.

I didn't get started until Saturday night so I pretty much got the lasagna ready to go and into the refrigerator and that was it.  I made my lasagna with bechamel so it was a little more difficult than standard ricotta lasagna but despite using every burner on my stove at the same time, I have never done that before, it wasn't that big a deal, rolling individual lasagna noodles took a lot of time and again in retrospect it wasn't really worth it to do that way.  So bechamel, good move (considering I don't like ricotta), individual rolls, not that big an impact.

Sunday I spent on desserts.  It shouldn't have been a bid deal but it was.  I don't have a food processor so I had to beat up an entire bag of Oreos by hand until they were the consistancy of coffee grounds.  Then I had the bright idea to just stick the cream cheese in the same bag and mush it all in the bag.  It didn't work and I had to get all that mess out of the ziplock into a bowl and mush by hand.  If you've ever made cake pops, they are really a pain, that's why I don't make them often.  For some reason I thought this wouldn't be like cake pops but it was exactly like cake pops.  I melted chocolate to dip my sticks and then into the cake pops and then back in the refrigerator.  Later you pull them out and dip half of them into melted white chocolate and half into melted regular chocolate.  At the same time I was making tuxedo strawberries and trying to time my chocolate melting so both things were using the same color chocolate at the same time.  I lost a couple of Oreo truffles falling off their sticks and lost a couple of strawberries with weak green stems (how I hold them when I dip them).  It was too much chocolate dipping and the quantity was just starting to piss me off.  Lose a couple of truffles, it's not a big deal, but throw out a whole container of bad or misshaped strawberries and then lose a 5 more strawberries and then chocolate starts to gets hard too soon or you don't have enough and it turns into a nightmare.  Plus I wanted some tuxedos to be blue tuxedos (for my 70s theme) so I also had to melt blue chocolate.  A lot of chocolate was wasted.  I then realized that I couldn't do the decorations on the Oreos with the opposite color because the stick was in the way (lost another truffle).  Plus the chocolate was hard anyway so now my truffles were just plain chocolate dipped with no decoration and that was disappointing.  I finished everything finally put the lid on the strawberries put them in the refrigerator and the lid hit the top of the middle section of tuxedos and smashed my tuxedo artwork.  By then I was like FUCK IT and shoved everything in there.  So next year, not so much with the chocolate dipping, okay?

Later that afternoon I made the Caprese salads.  The tiny mozzarella balls were expensive, like $9.99 for 20 of them so I only bought one package.  Making them wasn't too bad, mostly a matter of finding a piece of basil in my pile with no brown parts or tiny holes.  If the basil was too big I cut it after it was assembled.  They were very cute, I wish the mozzarella didn't cost that much because they were a big hit, gone almost instantly, luckily I managed to get the last one during a commercial break.  It was really good.  I would add it to my repertoire but it's just too expensive.

Then we rested.  I showered, impossibly fixed my hair like Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, it was approaching 8 so I got dressed, Brian was not dressed when the first guests arrived at 8.  Also the balloons we hid up high from the cats entangled like a crazy necklace so by the time I got them untangled every single guest had arrived.  No food was even on the table (I did have the lasagna timed to be ready at 8:30).  So I was desperately trying to get the food out and by the time it was 8:30 I had finished and sat down and the rest of the party was smooth. 

Only one person mentioned the food.  One person told me they liked the Oreo truffles.  I assume it was good because it was gone, we ran out of almost everything but no one complemented any of my decorations or any of the food I made.  It was really weird.  I guess the lesson here is for me and maybe you guys too.  If you ever go to a party, complement your hostess on her effort.  Parties are expensive and homemade decorations are time consuming.  Planning a menu and cooking a bunch of food (hammering at a bag of Oreos) is not easy.  Most parties we go to are just sandwich meats and chips and dips but I never serve chips, my parties are supposed to be special, a special experience for my guests but it does make me feel a little down when no one says anything, no one acknowledges anything that I put so much effort into.  So if you go to a party praise your hostess.  If something sucks ignore that and find something you like and tell the hostess.  It's something I'm going to remember in the future and I hope you guys do too.

I never take enough photos because time runs out but here's a couple things I have from my iphone from the early afternoon.  I made an Oscars Party banner from glitter paper and fringe (inspired by Fun Cult who does a much better job that I did).  My chandelier decorations.  The gems are mini pinatas (from here if you want to make your own) that took way too long but I was already too invested in them to turn back.  I added the glitter star garland last minute on Friday because it still seemed like it needed something.  My Caprese salads right after prepping.  I added some vinaigrette last minute, they were soooo good.  For flowers I hemmed and hawed and decided on yellow tulips (they looked both gold and 70s-ish).  I used my elephant "vases" to give a little middle eastern edge (a nod to the sheik in the movie).  We also had a disco ball that twirled giving a disco effect in the kitchen and I found an overlay from Joanne's fabric that was white with gold glittery swirls that I put over a standard white tablecloth.  It was a great look I wish I took a photo of the food setup before I sat down.

Great party, I can't wait to see what movie I pick next year.