Friday, May 30, 2008

Lisi was up and at 'em this morning

After a good night's sleep, she was ready to dive back into the fray. She wasn't as scared as she was last night. I have several friends who work in juvenile detention centers and they were just great with suggestions on how to let it just roll off her shoulders.

She has the community academy graduation to attend tonight; she worked on that program for almost a year and wanted to see "her" graduates.

She is working all weekend, so we left early and are here in MB. I bought new towels and a new rug for the bathroom and have spent the afternoon scrubbing down my (real) paneling. I bought some seashore lace curtains and have to shorten them for the kitchen and dining room. I think I'll have enough of the plain lacey part to make a curtain for the outside door. I have a really classy bath towel there now...push pinned up for privacy. Very classy.

I'm going to the shell shop tomorrow and buy some shells to trim out the very plain and ugly bathroom mirror. There are two small medicine cabinets that will get the same treatment.

I'm also stopping by the Cotton Ball to get something to line the linen closet shelves. I have miles of old lace that I'll staple to the fronts. I'll make a newspaper pattern of the door (it has a little support 1 x) and cut foam core and cover it to co-ordinate. Probably some oceany-light blue print.

Dinner is on (grilled oysters and vegetables) and the fog is rolling in.
Nice breeze coming in off the ocean and the doors and windows are flung open. It smells great!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bad day in jail for Lisi

This is a new job: she was with the PR Department with the local PD-neighborhood watch, programs at the preschools, MacGruff....stuff like that. She was really good at her job and personable and everyone loved her.

Now she works in a juvenile detention center and no one likes her. Well, of course not-they are kids and they're locked up. The food is terrible, somebody is either telling you what to do all day long or watching you do what they ust told you to do. Visits once a week. A lot of structure and direction and discipline.

And they are sometimes put in holding cages because they can't roll with the rules. They don;t much like it and holler and rattle the bars--typical tv prison stuff.

Except today she was working in the central office right across from the cages. The one really tough 12 year old told her and everyone else that he was going to "smoke them on the outs"...shoot them when he got out. He made a little gun hand and pretended to shoot her and scream at her and then pretend to BE her, screaming for her life.

It's easy to tell her that by tomorrow he will have settled down-that this was just a volatile and random outburst. It feels personal, but it's not. I deal with it every day--surrounded by people who hate me, who hate everything I stand for, who hate that I draw breath. It's part of the job.

And it scared her, too....what if he DID track her down? Girlie, I doubt he reads and he probably will be going home to Pixley or Farmersville or Woodville and he probably couldn't FIND the center if he had a map. A lot of people in lockup don't even know where they are when they're locked up.

And she just has to work it out. This is part of the job---for all of us. I'm just glad she has me to talk to.
Because it's scary to have someone threaten to smoke you on the outs.

Cleaning frenzy

Cleaning for me is like somekind of shark attack. The house would be the shark over there and I would be that little bitty silly kayaker 2 miles off shore in deep water.
I was over to Nusan's house the other day and it was immaculate. Of course, no dogs or shoes in the house. And she is a full time SAHM. But it set off a frenzy here--at least THIS time I haven;t had to turn the entire house upside down, which is my favorite way to clean.
Sorta like this: and this:

and this

This morning...all the windows and all the lace curtains washed. (It is 8:26). Gravity draining the pond (good for the flowerbeds). EVEN FIXED BREAKFAST and MADE MY BED.

Leaving at 10:30 for a half day at the spa. Spent yesterday shopping shopping shopping...last time I really went shopping was in January. Lisi drove and we went looking at fabric, books and eneded up at Macy's. While she was trying on jeans, I was nabbed by a makeup consultant....and all I can say is that those 10X mirrors made me look like a hag. So I am hoping an afternoon at the spa will de-haggify me.

Monday I start Weight Watchers. I've put on some weight over the last few years (Ben,work, Mom, Lisi, Coffee Scoop) and I'd like to get it off so that I'm trim when I retire. 440 working days. Not that I'm counting.

Upstairs now to vacuum a little. Whose idea was this white rug? Whose idea was three dogs?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My grandkids are coming out in a month

So I am busy washing curtains and cleaning cupboards, hosing of back porches and at least rescuing the wooden screens that last week's high winds blew off.

I know they don't care about the carpet or the floor for that matter. They just want to see us....but I'll feel better if they see us in a clean house. So Keri, it might not be much, but it'll be clean. The pool is open and the hot tube seats four.

Bring your mending---I have ours caught up. (Whenever we go see Grandma Idell and Grandpa Pierce, I catch up on all her mending and leave her with threaded needles. It's not much and I'm just sittin' around, anyway.)

I have this week off and then the weekend they are coming down starts a 2 week vacation. Random here at the prison. During the vacation, I have a visit to San Francisco to see the Migraine Clinc in Union Square (good-because Lisi and I are going to hit Britex) and a side trip to Santa Cruz to see Teacher Linda, the very suave Ray, Vincent and Olivia. I like taking my baby to visit the people she has heard be chatter about for the last 20 years.

THEN, Ben, Darling and I are going to-surprise- the Grand Canyon. We'll stay in the park and go the sunrise and sunset. It's our anniversary and Lisi has to work. I'm seeing a headache doctor in Sedona. Heck, I'd see anybody who thinks they can fix them.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Here. You can thank me later

This is my bubble game.
When I think I'm hungry and I'm really not? This helps.
When I'm worried over never selling my house and spending the rest of my life weeding? This helps.
When I'm worried that if I retire, I will end up sleeping in a cardboard box? This helps.

None that I know of. Try to knock off one color if at all possible. Two colors together get knocked out by a third. Try to alternate sides or one will scroll down and boot you off.

Old Friends

Just reading my friend, Marji's blog ( and she is right about long term friendships. I have friends (not as old as she is, but still) that I've know for 25 (Nusan)or 30 (Julie and Ruthie) or 40 (Christie) or 50 years (David and Greg) and it is so comfortable to talk to them. Still fun, still entertaining but they already know my backstory. And because I work where a LOT of people work, I get to spot people I haven;t seen for years. I just saw Ronnie the other day and I think I haven't seen him in four or five years. (I saw Brandy's baby today--four years ago, I was on the way home from the hospital with him.)

Time flies.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Meme from Marji

tag! you're it.

Marji, of Tangles Threads fame, has tagged me for a meme. I am giddy with excitement! Although I have certainly never lived anywhere interesting (one of the questions).I have lived a lot of places.

Here goes. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? I was a fixin' to get married. Again. Sometimes I think it was a good idea. Sometimes I think my mother was right-I should never marry and certainly never have children.) Today was one of those days.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today -- in no particular order?
Bitch at my daughter-she hurt my feelings and I want to set her car on fire.
Get a Demerol shot (my head hurts. A lot)
Try not to be unnecessarily rude to people who apparently lack the mental capacity of gnats. (Okay, forget the rude part. I am beyond caring right now.)
Cause as much trouble as possible for some people who have stood on my one last nerve with hobnail boots.
Refuse to answer the phone. (I was on it with Dell for 2 hours. I am ready to just pull the plug on the phone.

3. Snacks I enjoy.
Margarita/rocks with salt. Two please. Right now.Forget dinner.
Rocky Road Ice cream
Cruchy tacos supreme
What ever chocolate candy left in the vending machine over in visiting.

4. Places I've lived.
Porterville, California.
Fresno, California.
Hanford, California
Downey, California
Provo-Orem-Payson-Park City, Utah.
San Francisco, Baja, Mexico (okay only for three months...but that counts!)

5. Things I would do if I was a billionare.
Quit my job.
Pay all my bills.
Move to Ireland.
Buy a house in Bandon, Oregon.
Never go shopping again. Ever.
Send some money to my sister and never have to deal with her again.
Quit trying to make nice with people who get all mad at me for fun. Go be prickly with someone else.

6. Peeps I want to know more about:
Rachel; Lala; Inky; Brenna; Marji; Heidi; Kimmie; Pat; Paulie

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ruthie's sweater for baby Jack is almost done.

He is one long lanky baby, so the sweater is 4 inches too short. Figured I would just graft on a new row of live stiches, merrily knit some ribbing and then cast off in a new, stretchy fininhed edge.
So that is what I did, during training today. And it was one piece of umber nice ribbing. When I finished it tongiht, I held up the sweater to match the seams and shucky darn, if it wasn;t both too short AND too narrow. No matter. NOw that I have a clue as to what went wrong (don't do it like that again) I can painlessly rip it out and re-do it. It's only ribbing. And I'd rather mess up 100 stiched of some damn fine but essestially wrong footed ribbing for BaBy Jack, of the adorable Ruthie than something important like...well, I'm not sure. At this juncture, nothing is more important than my baby Jack.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Girlie started work at juvenile hall today

She was in street clothes, going on her walkabout with another officer. They were walking past the classrooms and the kids, being kids, were doing that little prairie dogs head poppin' outta the room, trying to get a gander at her.

Evidently, one of the boys had something crude to say, so he got capped/written up/put in time out. Since I work with these same kinda guys (only older), I have a pretty good idea what was said.

So, yeah, I told her.


She works second watch now (so do I). And just like me, she is wearing clothes a size too big. No reason to have those pervs gawkin' atchu.

I have to wear closed toe shoes because I have pervs who will crawl under my desk and lick my feet. It is exactly as icky as it sounds.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You can't have everything and e.coli, too

Where would you put it?

That’s my motto as I clean house this week. I’m trying to consolidate to a manageable level of shit lying around the house. Nothing is sacred; I’m being ruthless. Books, clothes, tupperware, and most especially the piles and piles of magazines- all boxed up and ready for donation. And how many car catalogs does one man need? Sheesh. The yarn catalogs, well those are totally useful. But there are only so many ways to show the same tool over and over, right?

I got these totally geeky battery operated scrubby thing to go along with my steamer, since I have a preternatural aversion to e. coli and h. pilori. Did you know that NOT making you bed kills off the dust mite carcasses and fecal material? And you need to spray your mop/broom/vacuum cleaner sucker upper with alcohol so the e.coli doesn't multiply exponentially? All that cleaning is just moving multiplying bacterial colonies around so they can just multiply. I am starting to think that using the wipes at the market for my cart isn;t such a bad idea. (Grocery carts are germier than toilets.) And forget about wearing your outside shoes into the house. And as for putting your handbag on the floor---sheesh, do you know what kind of germs ther ARE at a prison?

Except the yarn. That goes without saying. No such thing as too much yarn. And- BONUS!- the more stuff I get rid of, the more room I’ve got for yarn! I bought a new coffee table that has two basket drawers in it (yard sale find). Two flat baskets filled with yarn fit right under it.

Lisi moved down the hall (which makes my house sound so vast and Victorian..."dowwwwwn the hallllllll"). She put all of her boxed junk in her old bedroom (which was right next to mine, so I could check on her when she was little). So now, I have a new junk room, except the junk is all tidy, instead of just being tossed in the door.

She is planning on moving closer to work, maybe in July. She started her new job with the county jail today....she was hoping to be posted in the juvenile jail (and I had SUCh reservations over that), so when she called to tell me she had been posted at the boot camp, I was totally "yip yip your-aye!" since IMO, 4 weeks of training isn't enough. Juveniles are only slightly less ooky that the adult offenders I work with---and only because they haven't worked the system yet. But (and again IMO, which is somewhat jaded), inmates are INMATES. You can't trust 'em. They are naughty, violent, volatile and just plain ooky.

So she is posted at the boot camp, which is like an adult SNY yard---it is a priviledge to be placed there so they are usually easy to handle. Even when you are learning to be a teacher, it takes a while to get that teacher/mom/in charge voice. You know the one..."You! There! Stop that/Put that back/knock it off" and the miscreant does. It is sort of like making Tank sit down. He will for me and I don't even have to get all alpha dog with him. He will for Lisi is he feels like it.

She has to get to the point where the inmates AND Tank does what she says because she said it.

Totally possible to learn. I did. Most everyone I know learned. She'll learn, too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Girlie has a new (tough) job

She did two years as a PR officer with the local police department. Then she applied with the county jail system and starts tomorrow with the orientation at the courthouse. I'm not sure how long that will be or even how much training she is going to have...but once she starts, she'll be having direct contact with inmates.

I KNOW what she is walking into---juveniles are just as bad as adult offenders. The men I work with are immature, violent, ignorant and difficult. They are manipulative and not in a good way. At least she talks to me and has listened to my many stories over the last 9 years.

I have good streaks and then I have terrible spots. Right now, I have a class filled with men who claim they have high school diplomas. Maybe they do. I still have to give them a reading test---and one thing they DO NOT want to do is to take a reading test and have me and everyone else know that they can't read.

I have one fella--I'll call him Grill-- who has tried multiple methods to intimidate me. First day, he shows up and wants some information for his "friend", who doesn;t want to go to school. The next day, he shows up but refuses to give me his ID, so I throw him out and give him an "A" day. The third day, he refuses to sign a job description. I throw him out, again. Fourth day, he is co-operative. Fifth day, he wants to be able to come and go out of the classroom without the benefit of a hall pass. As you can imagine, that doesn't fly with me. He tells me to go ahead and write him up--he doesn't care. Except when I AM writing him up, he throws a fit, since he feels he had a real reason to be out in the hall. (He was trying to calm down another student. Maybe. Maybe not.) But now that I've thought about it, I am still going to write him up. It can't hurt to have paper on this guy.

I just keep hoping that her guys won't be as bad, just because they haven't been in the system as long.

Happy Mother's Day to You

I have my two home with me this weekend. Boy-o is cooking this morning after we dash out to the market. Yesterday was Girlie's last day with the PD; tomorrow she starts a new job with county corrections.

While Boy-o does the brunch stuff, I'll hose of the back and front porches and clean up the pool house bathroom. Really not a lot of WORK, just chores that always need to be tended to. (During the summer, we have a trail blazed from the back door to the
pool to the jacuzzi and if a chore isn't on the trail, it gets overlooked.) I even got a phone call from Micheal and Ash, on their way to Ogden!

Menu for brunch:
French toast (he uses egg yolks, brown
sugar and cream to soak the cinnamon bread in)
Omelets in a bag (one egg, three yolks
whirred up. Pick a quarter cup of bacon, sausage, scallions, colored bell peppers, cheese--more than a quarter cut and it doesn't cook up right). Pour your omelette into a zip lock bag and boil it for 13 minutes. Perfection.
Bacon wrapped figs (dried mission figs,
wrapped with a half slice of bacon. Yum).
Mexican Flags--Basil-grape
tomatoes-quarters of motzarella balls on a skewer, dizzled with vinaigrette.
(Pomegranate in this case) Yummers.

Then we sit outside, watch the fish in a clean pond (monumental job), watch the dogs play and eat and talk in the sunshine. Talk about the roses, which are overblown (just the way I like them) and about ready to drop. The entire contents of the fish pond has watered them for the last few weeks, so ofter these blooms drop, there will be more.) The photos looks so lovely because it is early yet and still cool.
There are worse ways to spend a Sunday!

I tried hard, hard, very hard to get a hair appointment AND get my nails done yesterday. Everyone had taken the day off--so I took that as a sign from God that I looked good enough.

So Happy Mother's Day to my mothers- Inez and Idell;daughters- Lisi, Julie and Keri, my grand daughter Ash and my sister and friends- Judy, Pat, Charlie, 'Nusan, Tia, Marji, Shawnie, Kimmie, Cher, Paulie and all.

I hope you have one of those easy family "things" and as I eternally told my two-"No fighting, no biting!"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I am not in Petaluma with the Harlot

Poor,poor me. Poor Marji.

I didn't even know the Harlot was coming.I thought she was home with Mr. Washy until the middle of the month. I just happened to be reading her blog and she was flying to the Bay Area.

So we missed it. And here it was-payday weekend.
Maybe it was like yarn kharma---we have been unfaithful to our stash and this is what we get.
Here is a vid about the inner yarn harlot

Friday, May 02, 2008

I have a black book

It is neither little or black---that is just what I call it. I keep it by my chair, as I have for, oh, the last 35 years. This is the fourth one I have had and it is dark purple, like Welch's grape juice. However, the original one was black, so that is what I call it.

It has a calendar page for each week--at the end of each year, I staple last year's calendar together and put in my file. You know, just in case Perry Mason asks me what i was doing on....May 24th 1972. (Working at Robert's Farms, packing early peaches and apricots. Babcock's and Satsuma's. It was a Wednesday.) How much did I pay for electricity in 1989? Which month? When did Rocket get her shots? What was that place in Idaho with the gorgeous lake? ("I"-Redfish Lake, Stanley, ID).

It is also my address book. This isn't just any old address book, it is the ADDRESS BOOK. Everything is in there "with the exception," as my friend, Kim would say, "of the last novel by Dickens."

Phone numbers and addresses are only part of the the complexity. I have birthdays (under "B"), all things medical? Under D, for doctor. Insurance numbers? "I". Every college I have ever gotten even 1/8th of a credit for? "T", for transcripts.

My college room mates? (U for byU). I have every juice contact at work, along with fax numbers at work under "W", of course. I work for the government in a fairly high security place. However, the extensions are sequential. So if I know where your office is, I can figure out your phone number. And the password to your computer. Well, if I know who all used to be in that office.

And in general, every contact I have ever made--because you never know when you are going to have to track down Gwen, who used to be my secretary, before she went to work at the regional comptroller's office (where our checks are generated). From there, she went over to the hospital. No idea what she does there, but when I wanted to find out when our retro checks were coming? I called her and then she called a couple of people who called a couple of people. And now I know. (Monday or Tuesday).

It is also a good source for getting the straight information on any gossip I hear.I just call up someone who is close to the source. It makes me feel like 99. (You know, 99. Barbara Felding? Get Smart? I just recently even got that the Get Smart meant get Martin Smart).

I have lost it ONCE in my life. I had just returned from three weeks in Ireland and took the airport bus from LAX to Bakersfield. I left it On.The.Bus.

Frantic hysteria. I had the entire O'Leary/Doherty/Behan contact information in there. Addresses, phone numbers, children's names and ages. Directions. Yarn shops. Places to eat. This was...well, it was devastating!

I called the airport bus place and drove right back, the minute I got home. (Pre cell phone days). I had just finished a 28 hour trip and I added 2 extra hours onto it, just in case someone mistook my black book for junk.

Before I got married, I kept the names of all the guys I was dating ("G" for guys)--along with their phone number, any tidbits of information about them so when they inevitably called in the middle of the night, I would instantly "remember" their dog's name and ask about Hamlet or Othello or some little piece of info he had mentioned "Did you get those new tires?" Of course, when it didn't work out, I would scribble out their names/info with several colors of ink pen and then Magic Marker them out of my life. I still say, "I will Magic Marker you out of my life" to people who get on my totally wrong side. They have no idea what I am talking about.

I used to drag it around in my handbag/tote but because of where I work, I decided I would just keep it at home, by the phone. I have a little calendar/address book I keep in my handbag and it has ONLY the numbers I would need in a work emergency. And my calendar. Everything gets transferred to my black book every night. I have little post-its to tag appointments.

I have a PDA but it is too much like texting. Too much trouble. Plus it has to be plugged into my computer and everything shared up. Plus I can't take it into work with me, so it is just one thing that is one thing too many.

And I like to be able to just write a note on my hand (my palm pilot) and get the information into my book, where it won't evaporate because it needs to get saved or charged.

Feral Felons

My morning class has been with me since last August. It took a little rompe cabezas (breaking heads) for the the get that I like things a certain way, but by now, we are motoring along just fine.
Except for the occasional skipping-of-class, I have to do very few write-ups. Once (last August), I had a terrible time getting them to stop swearing, so I threw them all out of class and had them capped (confined to quarters) for a three day weekend. I've never had a problem since, except for the occasional new guy.

So today I started out with a whole new afternoon class (not exactly whole....a little more than half of them are locked down). I give my little speech about how I like things done, when the breaks are, what I expect. I mention that if they have a medical pass that makes them late to class that I need to have it signed and time stamped. I mention that we have computers and computerized hand held learning tutors. I mention, too, that I don't like it to be noisy, I like them to all be on task and I don't like swearing, cursing, bad language or cussing. Any questions?

Well, just one. ONE. Since I don't have any chalkboards, how do I think I am going to teach? (I have been teaching longer than anyone has been in PRISON. How do I THINK I am going to teach? Do you ask a shark how it THINKS it is going to eat? Silly felon.)

I do an old fashioned five finger reading test. I have leveled book excerpts and if they miss five words, it is too hard. Three words and it is the instructional level; 2 or fewer mistakes? Leisure reading.

I have an easy math test on one of my computer programs; it generates problems from 3rd to 9th grade. Since it is generated on my computer, I can make a different version for each student. I highly doubt they will actually be able to guess the correct answers. And since it is generated individually, I can easily see who my cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters are.

Then I have them write a three paragraph essay about themselves so I can see if they are having problems with punctuation/grammar.
Easy, right?

Then when I have them informally placed, I yank out one of the 100 weekly packets and have them work on that, plus the computer,plus the learning tutor.

So in any one class, I can have a first grade reader and someone doing geometry, someone still counting on their fingers and someone reading Harry Potter.

So I am testing and placing, handing out work and suddenly it is recess time.
They all tromp out and 15 minutes later, they all tromp back in.
Three guys sitting thisclose to my desk start swearing up a storm "Hey! I can hear that! Knock it off!"
What I get is all three, turning their heads almost clear around like an owl and looking in feral astonishment at me.

"Remember, I told you I don't want any swearing, cursing, bad language,offensive language, bad words or cussing? I mean it."

"I'm a grown man! You mean you are going to discriminate against me because this is my form of expression?"

Duh, yeah

I repeat my little mantra. My feral student are still stuck in the A's--they are amazed I don't want them swearing/cursing/cussing or using bad or offensive language. WHO am I to decide what words are out of bounds?

Dude-I'm the teacher. This is my room. I make the rules.

So I repeat my mantra.
Feral Boys are still stuck in the A's--they are amazed at this development.

"You have to understand that this here is a pen-i-ten-two-airy. This is the way we talk."
So I repeat my mantra AGAIN, thinking to myself, You cannot scare me. I taught kindergarten. I have children. My mother is Inez Leary. I was married to Jack Bridge.

So Mr. Bemused (they are now stuck in the B's) wants to know what I'm going to do if they just ignore me.

I have been teaching at this prison for EIGHT YEARS. I've worked in the SHU, I've worked EOP, I've taught on the dayroom floor with a guy with a gun watching me. I have worked with serial killers and pedophiles, rapists, assassins and kidnappers.

Does he think that he is the first guy who has asked me this?
Evidently, he does.

"This is my classroom. I run it this way because this is the way I like it. If you don't want to do it my way, feel free to skip class. That way, I can write you up and you can spend the summer in the SHU, instead of in my air conditioned room. If you think I'm going to let you sit under my a/c and my fans and swear, you are muchly mistaken."

Now they have skipped over all the letters in the alphabet and are simply stunned.
"You would send me to the SHU for swearing?"
Yes, yes I would.
"Isn't that going to be a lot of paperwork?"
Not for me. I have a computer. I can print out complaints all day long. Wanna watch?

They are stunned into utter and complete silence.

I have spent almost 35 years doing nothing but teaching feral children how to be civilized.
I have been locked up with 35 5-year-olds for days on end.
This, my friends, is a walk in the park.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I was in the office today, putting some files away. There are two inmate clerks who work there (no idea what they did but it is a Level 4 prison). Xerox guy has "Clara Street" tattooed on his neck. I asked him "Clara Street? Are you from Cudahy?" He looks at me like I had just tasered him--yeah, why? How did I know Cudahy?

I only taught there for ten years. Once they set the city on fire, after the Rodney King verdict, I decided to move out. Too violent, too volatile, too explosive. Once the Popeye's Chicken place is set on fire and the looters are carrying stuff out of the market where I did my shopping? It just sorta wasn't where I wanted to live anymore.

So Xerox Boy looks at me and says"Miss Bridge?" The other clerk, Staple Guy, looks at me and says, "Miss Bridge?" Turns out I had on Xerox Boy in class and my sister in law had the other one. Xerox Boy went on to be in Miss A's class--whom he remembered VIVIDLY. "Miss A, you remember her. She had like, yeah red hair and was real purdy, She wore these really great shoes."

I need to email Miss A. She still teaches in a real school.