Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dolor comunicato è subito scemato

I recieved the greatest gift in the mail yesterday. The pasta maker Kitchenaid attachments!

These are a surprise from Daniel since I have been looking at getting a pasta maker for months and he knew I couldn't afford a fancy one, so he ordered me the ones I'd been dreaming about. Honestly though I'm not sure if he's being super sweet or if he doesn't want to keep eating the 1/8" pasta I make with just my rolling pin. 

I've been noticing a pattern lately in my life and that is I'm surrounded my military and Italians. The military thing is a given since Daniel is in the USAF, but the Italian part is new.

I'm a proud Norwegian American and was brought up by my mother's very Scandinavian family and there is no Italian in our family. I'm pretty sure the last time anyone in our family visited Italy was with Björn Ironside when he sacked Luna, (and we all know how well that turned out). This has created a bit of a culture shock between Daniel and I, but we're dealing. At least we each have some German blood to bond over. 

I'm kind of a Francophile, can make awesome bruchetta, and watched all of the Sopranos, but when I started learning that his father would not be please that I'm not Italian, I started learning how to cook Italian food. First I started with the famous tortellini's made with 1/8" pasta I made from scratch, and then moved on to bolognese sauce. I also pulled out my Frances Mays collection of signed books hoping she could give some in site on being an American in an Italian world.



It's interesting because my family isn't please that he is Italian (a few women in my family had their 1st husbands be Italian), and so Daniel and I have taken to making bad jokes about our ancestry. Like about how his Italian temper is no match for my German wrath. Or that my Norwegian calm is completely perplexed by his Italian passion. The entire thing is topped off with us sending each other bad jokes we find on the internet, like this SATW Comic (no I don't have a mustache but I will hurt you if you grab me).

So get ready for me to be making pasta while watching Sophia Loren movies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

To Grow

Every year, no matter where I live, I try and grow a garden. This year with the attack my garden plans were thrown off course, but it may have been all for the better.

Originally I had built a few planters and started seeds at my place and right before Daniel deployed he gave me an area at the house to be mine to plant what I couldn't at my place. This is what it looked like after the fence fell down the week after he left:


What you're seeing is the fence that the neighbor neatly stacked to the side, thistles, rocks, landscape paper, and a gas line to what use to be a built in hot tub.


Above is what it looks like now. The last of the fallen fence is piled to the side, the planters from my house has come over, the peas are climbing the chicken wire, my tomatoes are happy with the wine bottle watering system, and the rocks are gone.

Since the attack Daniel and I decided that my moving out of Sacramento was a good idea, and he wanted me to move into his house. I agreed that I would if we can find me a job in his area first. Well since then the company I work for got sold. I have been looking for a new job from Napa to Davis and hopefully by Monday I will know if I have a new job just 5 miles from his house. My current job is secure, but they're merging the dispatch centers and all the old dispatchers here will be demoted to camera watchers (I'm a dispatcher, not a guard, Jim!). The universe just seems to be telling me Sacramento is not the place for me and I've accepted it.

Through these hard times I've been blessed with some awesome neighbors at Daniel's house. Paul is retired Navy, a guard at San Quintin, has 2 wonderful German Shepards, and 2 grandsons that are often around the house. So far he has removed the old gas line, stacked, cut, sorted, and disposed of the fallen fence (saving my mom some of the wood for her projects), had his older grandson and his brother dispose of the rocks, regularly puts the can on the curb for me, and had the laborers that were filling in his pool clear the area between the houses of weeds, rocks and general debris. All the time he has been commenting on the garden and after I promised him some tomatoes he sent over his brother and grandson to help me with the rocks.

Between Paul and my Amtgard brothers help I have been able to start getting the house in order and more of the garden planted and transferred then I thought would be possible. Squashes will be in the front yard to cover the area Daniel tore up when he had the tractor to take out the hot tub, and eventually I'll start trimming the roses, but for now I feel that the vegetables take precedence over the flowers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pardon My Rant

I'm going to set all my usual calm aside today and discuss a hot topic today. Assault and Rape.

I am currently living in Sacramento, CA. It is our state capitol and through working at dispatch and looking around me I have learned that there is a very high rate of poverty, crime, and unemployment. It highlights some of the worst things in our society and after last night I have had enough with this city and outlaying areas.

Before I begin the rant you'll need some back story so please read this news article. The report is a few months old but this guy has not been caught. If you want to just read the rant you'll see where it begins in bold typeface.

Last night while biking west bound down Auburn, 1 mile from Watt (2 miles from my house), a black male adult in a black sedan tried to attack me. For about a mile he tried to drive me off the road, knock me off my bike, block my way even after I tried changing sides of the road, hit my back tire with his front bumper (it was dead center with his bumper), and he only drove off when I was on the line with 911. He knows the frontage roads to 80 very well (enough so that he knew where to turn around, where the few areas to pull over where, and where there was an alley to try and block me into).

I have made a report with the Sac Sheriff's office and they believe that the person that tried to attack me was the guy in the article. They, and dispatch, were also amazing. 911 on my cell rerouted me to Sac PD while the guy was behind me, who in turn rerouted me to Sac Sheriff after the guy had sped up, but the dispatcher stayed on the line with me as I caught my breath. She asked where I could meet the Sheriffs and got all the details I could remember about the car quickly. I knew when we arranged my meeting spot with the Sheriffs they were not going to be able to get him tonight as it was taking too long and she used the word statement. After hanging up with her I had to walk about 1/10th of a mile to the nearest open gas station (I wasn't trusting my legs or my bike), and within a few of the longest minutes of my life 4 sheriff cars had descended upon the gas station. Once they had a description of the vehicle 2 units took off in his direction. It took about an hour but the deputy I was talking to managed to get every single detail of the incident from me while I tried to remember every detail. Honestly I don't know how they catch anyone with witnesses like me.

I felt frustration because I was so distracted by the car I didn't get a good look at the man other then his face looking at me through the open window. I remember feeling fear as he tried to open his door into my pathway. I remember being ready to strike out when he pulled onto the sidewalk to block my path and I went right by his door while he opened it.  I remember having to get my cell phone out of my bag in my basket while trying to pedal as hard and fast as I can, as well as watch the road ahead and know he was right behind me. I yelled several times at him to leave me alone, to fuck off, and finally I was calling the cops. 

I do not bike at an extraordinary speed. My 9.5 bike route to and from work takes me about an hour, so I can guess I was going maybe 12 mph when he was behind me and think about that. In a parking lot it is hard to keep to the 10 mph speed limit just out of reflex, this guy was managing to stay behind me, or keep up with me for almost a mile. If he had wanted to just cause me injury he could have easily used his car and speed to run over me. His goal was obviously to get me off my bike. At first he tried talking to me by keeping up with me and yelling "yo girl" through his open passenger side window (which I don't respond to at the best of times, let alone at 0030 while riding my bike home and happily listening to HP). After that didn't work, and some cars coming up the road, he sped up to one of the few places to pull over onto the side of the road and began to get of his car and blocking the bike path with his door. He kept becoming more and more aggressive till it ended with me calling the police while he hit my back tire with his car. Now he could have stopped because I was on my phone, or because we had reached the end of the park area.

Begin Rant
Now that you have the back story I will begin my rant. I'm angry that this kind of behavior is in our society. I'm angry that my brand new bike has to go into the shop to either have the wheel replaced or straightened out when I spent 2 months saving up my over time to buy it and have had it for less then a month. I'm angry that I no longer feel safe riding my bike to and from work. I'm angry that this man has raped 3 women and is still out there. I'm angry at myself for not remembering the entire license plate. 

But mostly I'm angry that we live in a society that teaches women and girls how to defend against attackers, yet I have never heard during the years I was in public school that boys should not rape or attack women as clearly as we girls are told to run from our attackers. I remember in middle school Mr. Larson teaching all of us girls self defence while the boys just goofed off. We girls were given strong lectures about how we shouldn't walk outside late at night, we shouldn't wear certain clothes because men cannot help themselves, how not to ever drink too much around men, how to run when we're attacked, and how we should always stay in well lit areas with lots of people around when going out at night. You guys want to fucking know why women travel to the bathroom in packs? It is because we are taught from a young age that we are not safe alone, not even in public. 

These teaching practices instill fear and distrust of men into young girls and women. I have 2 great fears. First is haunted insane asylums (to this day I have only missed 1 episode of Supernatural and it is because of this fear). The second is male predators. The reasons for this are due to a few poor choices my mother made in partners, and the second because girls are taught not to trust unknown men. To this day unless I meet someone who is friends of a male I already know well, I'm uneasy around them. I will seek the company of my guy friends when I'm uncomfortable around someone and they will automatically know who is bothering me. Normally this will end with the guy taking a hint, but sometimes being in the Larping community has its drawbacks because we have socially awkward people. In the instances a guy does not get a hint I'm happy to say that I have enough of a backbone to tell them politely to back off, to publicly tell them if they continue their attentions, but then when it becomes apparent that they do not respect the word "No" from a woman, I feed them to my male friends who go have a chat with the thick headed asshole. 

Does my system work, yes, do I like it, no. I dislike the system because I'm very independent and having to rely on anyone is something I hate, but when I have rely on someone while facing a fear that has been hammered into me for as long as I can remember, I get very angry. We girls are taught to run from our attackers. The moves I was taught in Mr. Larson's class were all about breaking grips, and then running (and let me tell you I couldn't run 30 ft then due to my asthma). There was nothing about striking back. I'll be damned if a guy grabs me and I do not hit him as hard as I can. I was lucky in high school to have Amtgard and have it teach me all the soft places to hit someone. It also taught me to stand up for myself and how to stand and fight when you can't run. One of the best things that it taught me was how to calculate my risks when having to make split second decisions when I had to decide where to run, to fight, and to stand my ground. 

Last night while on my bike I had to make the choice to ride and keep riding. Nothing short of that car hitting me with enough power to throw me several feet and break bones was going to get me off of it. I never once took my feet off those pedals because I knew I had to maintain some control of the situation. I knew if he got in front of me and I didn't maneuver fast enough or tight enough I was fucked because my bike can only easily go forward. I knew if I gave up my control I would lose this fight and that man last night wanted control of the situation and I could tell he was getting angrier every moment when I wouldn't give it up. When I called 911 I did it because I was out of time and road. I knew about 1/4 mile into this battle that I was going to have to call them, but I couldn't get to my phone comfortably while trying to dodge his car, the trees on the side of the road, and other cars. When he came up behind me I grabbed for my phone that was in my front basket in my drawstring bag under the bungee cords. I was able to pull it out and dial 911 before he hit my tire. At this point we'd reached the museum and 911 was trying to figure out my location. I'll never know if he sped off because we were nearing an area that I knew Sheriffs were all over usually, we were coming to a well lit busy intersection, we were past the park, or if he saw the light of the cell in my hand. I wish I knew because I feel that knowing would give the Sheriffs a more clear idea of his hunting ground.

I didn't learn the skills of how to stand my ground and fight or maintain that type of control in any classroom. I learned it playing a game that many shun and believe I'm weird or a freak for playing. Sure doing martial arts reinforced those things when I began them in my early 20's but none of the girls I knew back in high school were into martial arts and that is shameful. We teach boys to take charge of situations and call girls bossy and stubborn when they say no or try to take the lead. We need to encourage both genders to grow that backbone and rather then hate each other when they each try to show their strength in something, to respect one another abilities.

I have always hated that we live in a society where boys are taught to take the lead while I was scolded or teased when I tried. Even when dealing with group projects I saw more boys placed at the heads of the projects then girls. This leads many men to believe they are superior to women when they grow up because it has been reinforced so often. Sure I'll put up with it sometimes from my male friends in a joking manner, and more so if I truly like the individual, but the ones who truly believe they are superior end up being the biggest of assholes in my eyes.

I don't assume the worst of men. Actually I usually give them the benefit of the doubt unless they truly do something stupid the first time we meet. I believe that all men have it in them to respect women, to treat them like human beings, and that they can control themselves. What I have an issue with is society telling girls to fear men, that we need them to do the fighting, that we should blindly run when dealing with a poor situation, and I dislike that we teach boys that they are superior to girls, that they need to take the lead, and yet we fail to teach them that assualt and rape are not okay. 

Mostly I hate that I can no longer do something I enjoy. That a man has made me fear riding my bike home after work, and that common sense tells me that it is not a good idea to do it again, even if I'm armed. I hate that it'll be a few days before I'm comfortable being alone in my own home and that I wish I had at least gotten a dog before Daniel deployed. I could ask a friend to come and stay with me till the fear goes away but I do not like using crutches, and doing this would be one. I hate the man from last night and all the things he reminded me that I'm angry about. I don't wish him death, I wish for 10 mins alone with him while I have a bat in my hands so that I can make him feel all the fear he made me and all the women he has attacked feel. Then I'd like to go Stephen King on his car with a sledge hammer. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” -CS Lewis

I have heaps of books around the house and if you know me you know I read. I believe reading is what allows us to step into another person's mind and view the world from a different angle. Learning to be empathic I feel is easier for readers for this reason.

I read daily and have learned to combine my love of reading with knitting by learning to knit without looking (it really weirds out people when I knit at the movies).If you look at my collection of books you will find that I read a broad range of subjects such as fantasy, historical fiction and nonfiction, knitting humor, essays, classical works, children's works, cooking, sociology, music, fishing, and have a guilty pleasure for magazines.

It is amazing how no matter what your interest you will find a book on the subject and sometimes you will even find two of your passions in one book. For example I enjoy reading about serial killers for the fact that these people have not learned or chosen to ignore our (Western Culture) most basic social and moral structures as a society and how that happens is always something of a curiosity to me. However, I also have a rare book called the Ethnography of Cannibalism (9780913077009) that explores all the different aspects of cannibalism in cultures that it is acceptable in. It is interesting to read about how vastly different their cultures are from ours and the tourism that takes place because of it.

On a less extreme note you'll find things like knitting romance


Or revolutions and food


I encourage each of you to go find two of your passions and try to find a book that merges the two. Take a tour of your local book store and make it a challenge to find something new to read that touches on two subjects.


Here are some of my favorite reads


Monday, April 7, 2014

Well Begun is Half Done

I'm the kind of lady that if you drop in and just give me 10 mins notice you will find a hot cup of tea, a snack and a clean house to welcome you. Go ahead and hate me. I just think it is good manners to welcome someone correctly, even on short notice.

Since I started seeing Daniel I have had to split my time between our homes. Before he deployed it was easier for him not have to battle the morning Sacramento traffic to get to the base, and I enjoy cooking in his larger kitchen and playing with the KitchenAid he bought shortly after we started dating (which I'm fairly certain he has never used). Now since I'm watching the house while he is deployed I have had to make rules for myself as to keeping both houses well stocked and clean.


  • Always leave the house clean. Does not matter which house, but dishes are to be done at least
  • When putting things away once one item has been put back look around the same area and grab something else that needs to be put away. This stops you from having to walk around the house twice as much and you get several rooms clean at once
  • Sweep weekly if not daily. I rarely wear shoes around the house and hate things sticking to my feet
  • Make sure you have at least one snack that is easy to prepare just in case guests drop by. I love serving scones and my homemade marmalade to friends that stop in!
  • Tea is a great and easy beverage to serve. I keep a box of mixed bagged teas in the cupboard above my 4 cup coffee maker that I use only to heat water, and next to it is part of my collection of nice tea cups and saucers. 
  • Wipe down counters after you do the dishes. 
  • When you use a wet paper towel to clean something make sure to use it to its fullest. If I'm cleaning a sticky spot on my floor I'll hunt around the rest of the floor to see if there is anything else that needs to be wiped up (like spilled tea).
  • Fold laundry right after you pull it out. I do my laundry at Daniel's house and it makes it easier to put it away when I get home if it is already folded.
  • Designate one day per week to straighten up for just 30 mins. Even the bathroom only takes 10 mins to wipe down.
  • Unload the dishwasher as soon as you can. It is easier to toss a dish in one at a time as you use them then to have to load a sink full
I'm not saying I'm perfect, but a clean house is a more relaxing enviroment then a cluttered one and I feel a night in front of the TV or out is a reward after I clean. The real challenge for most is just starting.

Dried Apple Scones


Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cream
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup diced dried apples
1 tbsp melted butter


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Mix all ingredients, except the butter, with a wooden spoon till it clumps together and then begin t knead it till all the flour has been incorporated into the dough.

3. Form dough into an 8" disk shape that will be about 3" thick. Cut into 8 equal pieces.

4. Place on a cookie sheet that is lined with baking parchment. Leave about 1-2" between each scone.

5. Brush the top of each scone with the melted butter.

6. Bake for 17-20 mins. The tops should be light brown.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Little Catch Up

Wow I've been gone for a while and I've sorry I haven't updated here. I have finished moving, found a job as a dispatcher, started dating someone new, and am settling in pretty well at the new place. I hope to start posting more so don't worry I have not died or truely gone MIA.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Changes

Well I'm moved!

It was a very painful moving experience, what with the truck and trailer getting stuck in Belmont and having to call the police to get it unstuck. The entire move was actually so stressful that from Friday to this morning I couldn't really eat anything without feeling like I was going to be sick.

Now I'm in a 2 bedroom that is owned by my knight and his wife, and it needs work. I cannot stress how much work is needed. I'm repainting walls, rehanging a couple doors, need to get a fridge, and get one more lock replaced that just didn't want me to do it and would not fall into place.

Luckily I have an army of friends that are really helpful, one is actually on his way to see if we can get the gas turned on.

I'll take pictures when I can!