Catherine has been doing tae kwon do for about a month now. She really loves it. We finally found something just for her. She tried two seasons of softball and three seasons of soccer. She just really didn't like it. The softball scared her and soccer seemed to bore her to death.
She has been working so hard at it. And last week, she earned her first official belt, the white belt.
But first, as a rite of passage, she had to write her name in the air with her butt.
Then she received her belt.
Here she is official. The certificate is really cool.
David's dad sent me an email about being prepared for disasters. Then he sent it again. I figured he meant business. We really should be prepared. We live in the desert near a fault line. Duh. So I got me a big bin and I am starting to fill it up.
I started with food. Dry pinto bean and navy beans. White rice. Cans of tuna and clam chowder. Canned vegetables. Peanut Butter.
I got a tarp. I don't know why. If there was an emergency need for a tarp, I will be ready.
I am going to keep filling. Every time I go to the store, I pick up more.
One day, on a fabulous day in a very special housing unit, I was passing out breakfast to inmates. At the very first cell I stop at, there are two Hispanic men. One is standing near the door and the other is lying in bed.
I open the trap door and place two breakfast trays inside. The inmate standing close to the door is saying something to me. I can't hear him well. But he is trying to give one tray back.
He squats down and looks at me through the trap. I am not hearing him clearly. His English is not great and neither is my Spanish. Finally I get it. His cell mate is sick and gets a liquid diet. I look up. Sure enough, it says right on the door.
I lean over a bit to tell him that I will go get the special food and be back. I want to be sure he understands and hears me. Inmates get very upset when they don't get food.
That's when I see what he is doing.
The inmate is squatting down, penis in hand, masturbating. I yell. I slam the door. I ask him what the hell he was thinking.
School is starting soon. Carolynn will be a sophomore this year. (OMG!) Catherine will be in the 7th grade. Catherine will be doing a home schooling program this year. My worry over this is... will she have enough to do? Will she be challenged enough? She isn't always very challenged at school. So I have been trying to think of ways for her to keep busy and continue to learn.
The other day I was at Wal-Mart checking out some plants and we found a spider plant that needed some love. And $1.00 later, Catherine had herself a project. She picked out little red pot and a bag of potting soil and we were on our way.
When we got home she planted her new "friend" in it's new pot. She named it Charlotte.
We found a fabulous home for Charlotte... In the kitchen window. She watered it a bit.
Then she started her plant journal. She wrote about buying her plant and getting it planted. And why she named it Charlotte.
The next day, we planted one of Charlotte's babies in an empty boullion container. And she wrote about it.
One day in a far off magical kingdom, or a federal prison camp for female offenders....
I was working at the camp for visiting. An older inmate was all excited because this very nice gentleman was there to visit. She was like a teenager and she was nearing 60. I thought it was just too adorable. I wondered what such a sweet old lady could have done to get herself into a situation such as that.
Later that day when I had a few minutes, I decided to find out what got her into prison. (Some kind of fraud or tax thing if I remember correctly.) Anyways, while I was reading along, I noticed her file said she was a devout Morman with strong ties in the church. It also said that she and her husband had been married over 30 years and had four sons.
How wonderful of him to still be so devoted to her despite the situation that she was in! And how sweet that she still got all giggly at the the thought of seeing him. There they were in visiting, holding hands on the table (as is the rule) and gazing into each other's eyes. She was beaming and he too seemed so happy to see her.
After visiting ended, she practically floated back to her housing unit.
I was so happy to see that marriage could endure.
The following weekend, another very nice gentleman came to visit this same inmate. I typed his name into the computer and the computer said this man was her husband of 30 years.
No way. Her husband was there last week. Wasn't he?
However, since his drivers license matched and he was approved, I said nothing and he took a seat. I then went to let the inmate in to visit. I eyed her while I searched her and noted the jewelry and such she went in with. But I didn't say anything. She went in and hugged him and kissed them and they seemed happy enough to see her. But not like the other guy.
During visit, another inmate, a younger, more naive inmate, asks me if I noticed that that sweet little old lady had a different husband last week. Yeah, I had noticed.
Curiosity got the better of me and after visit, when I got the sweet little lady alone, I asked her what was up. She burst into tears and begged me not to say anything to her husband about the other man. Apparently, he was the husband's good friend and she and him had been engaging in a secret affair for a good ten years.
And just for fun, you not only get 25 things about me.... But also 25 things about our two junior bloggers. Carolynn and Catherine. Three for the price of one. That's the deal of the millennium right there.
And without further jabber...
25 Things About Me... Jennifer
1. No one calls me Jennifer. Except David. My whole family calls me Jenny and at work it's all last names.
2. I work in a federal prison. You might have known that if you are a regular reader. And despite that it is a scary place, I love my job.
3. I have two daughters, Carolynn and Catherine. Carolynn is 15 and Catherine is 11.
4. I have one tattoo. It's a blue rose and it is on my right ankle. I might get some more though. But I can't see spending money on that right now.
5. I was born in San Bernardino, California but spent most of my childhood years in Apple Valley, California. I spent most of my adult years in San Diego... Until I changed careers and moved back to Apple Valley three years ago.
6. I really miss San Diego. Bad. But I can't afford to live there.
7. I have a dog named Gibby. He's a chihuahua and Pomeranian mix. He's three.
8. I love pasta. All of it.
9. And chocolate. It cures all.
10. I love to cook.
11. I love the beach. When I was getting divorced I used to hide out at the beach in Torrey Pines all the time.
12. I have a serious obsession with The Simpson's. Really. I have every season on DVD and the movie. And various paraphernalia.
13. I love all things Disney. And love Disney history and Disneyland.
14. Actually, I love all things history.
15. I sang in a high school choir. But the teacher hated me. Mostly because I hated her.
16. Mexican food also cures all. Especially tacos.
17. I sing show tunes in the car. Or Abba. Carolynn is embarrassed to the core about this. Catherine sings along.
18. I lived in Wisconsin for 3 years. Three long years. Four snowy winters. Three deathly humid, bug covered summers.
19. When I started college, I was a history major with the goal of being a teacher or working in a museum. When I finished it was with a major in Media Communications. I don't even want to try and figure that out.
20. My college education has no bearing on my current career choice. I do write some amazing memos and incident reports.
21. I don't have a belly button. Just a huge scar from the abdominal hernia I was born with.
22. I don't wear bikini's. Even if I wasn't such a chubby.
23. I have a huge scar on my neck from the surgery I had as a baby. It's a long line with dots on the sides from the staples. I tell people it's where I had my Frankenstein bolts removed.
24. I have 1 brother and 2 half sisters.
25. When I was pregnant with Carolynn, I couldn't get enough french fries. When I was pregnant with Catherine, I couldn't get enough pretzels and pickles.
25 Things About Carolynn
1. Carolynn loves Glee. She loves all the characters and can't wait for the new season to begin. We went and saw Glee Live in Anaheim. Next week we are going to see the Glee tour movie and we even follow The Glee Project.
2. Carolynn's favorite color is green. She also likes purple.
3. Carolynn loves turtles. She has a turtle named Little Dude. He is a red eared slider.
4. Carolynn also loves her cats... Muffins, Two Face, and Betty.
5. Carolynn also loves her dog Bubbles. Bubbles is a mastiff mix.
6. Carolynn is a swimmer. She swims competitively and has for about a year and a half. Her best stroke is freestyle. She doesn't like butterfly too much and breast is her worst stroke.
7. Carolynn loves Dexter. She has seen every episode and has two of the books.
8. Carolynn loves Disney movies. All of them. When she was little she couldn't get enough of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She also loved Beauty And The Beast. (Although she called it Booty and Bees.) Now she claims she can't choose just one favorite.
9. Actually, Carolynn loves all thing Disney. She is wearing an Alice and Wonderland shirt right now and earlier she was playing Epic Mickey on Wii.
10. Carolynn collects Barbies.
11. Carolynn used to run cross country. She has a couple of trophies.
12. Carolynn enjoys playing the Sims 3. A lot.
13. Carolynn says the tacos at Jack In The Box are actually “moth tacos”. She eats them anyway.
14. Carolynn has a pen pal who lives in Illinois. They lived across the street from us when we lived in Wisconsin. We moved away from there in 2005.
15. Carolynn likes cookies and cream ice cream.
16. Carolynn will be a sophomore in high school this fall.
17. Carolynn can get her driver's permit at the end of October. God help us all.
18. Carolynn was born in Apple Valley, California.
19. Carolynn likes superhero movies... Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor... She even has a Batman poster on her wall.
20. Carolynn wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up. Or an actress. Or a teacher. Or maybe a doctor. First woman president would be fine too.
21. Carolynn loves pizza. And Panda Express. She wold be fine with that for all eternity.
22. Carolynn loves shows like CSI and Law and Order.
23. Carolynn wears Love Spell from Victoria’s Secret. I think it smells like pineapple Lifesavers.
24. Carolynn wants to see Lady Gaga in concert. Because that would be awesome.
25. Carolynn didn't think I could come up with 25 things about her, but she was wrong.
25 Things About Catherine
1. Catherine is going into the 7th grade. That's middle school.
2. Catherine is going to be home schooled for the 7th grade. It's going to be fun.
3. Catherine loves Pokemon.
4. Catherine does Tae Kwon Do. She is about to get her first belt. White.
5. Catherine loves video games. A lot of video games.
6. Catherine's best friends are Dalia and Brittney and they are sisters.
7. Catherine has a beagle named Elvis. She has had him since she was 2. He is an old fat dog now.
8. Catherine was in musical of Aladdin.
9. Catherine loves art. She likes to paint and draw.
10. Catherine played soccer for three seasons.
11. Catherine played softball for two seasons.
12. Catherine wears glasses to see.
13. Catherine was born in San Diego, California.
14. She likes to tell people she was born in a zoo, but technically she was born across from the zoo at Balboa Naval Hospital.
15. Catherine loves her some ham. Seriously.
16. Catherine's favorite movie is Despicable Me.
17. Catherine used to watch 50 First Dates over and over. She did the same thing with Mulan before that and The Jungle Book before that.
18. Catherine once had a cat named Mr. Wiggles. He pooped on everything and we couldn't get him to stop. I don't think he liked being an apartment cat. So we had to give him up.
19. Catherine's allowance burns a hole in her pocket every week. And all she buys is junk.
20. Catherine loves Payday candy bars.
21. Catherine loves cows. She is obsessed.
22. Catherine loves Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows.
23. Catherine once spent a summer throwing themed parties at our house for just us. We had a 70's party with fondue and disco music. There was a tea party with classical music and little sandwiches. There were also a few other ones I can't remember.
24. Catherine loves to watch Food Network. She used to get her party theme ideas from Sandra Lee.
25. Catherine is a straight A student and was in the GATE program at school. (GATE= Gifted and Talented Education)
As to why I shouldn't be left alone alone when there are puppies.
So yesterday I went to Animal Control to get dog licenses for Elvis and Drizella. Now they are all set for the next three years. Gibby is still good for another year and a half. Anyways, while I was there I saw some kids volunteering. And Carolynn wanted to look at the puppies. So we went back.
Carolynn has been wanting a puppy. Everyone else has their own dog and she has cats. You can't walk cats in the park. Cats don't fetch. We already had three dogs. So I was going to be strong. Unless somehow they had the perfect puppy.
So we get some paperwork on voluteering and we look around. They had a huge iguana and a large white parrot type bird. They had other snakes and lizards. They had rabbits and guinea pigs. They even had a little goat. And they had tons of dogs and cats and kittens and puppies.
I wanted to take them all home.
But I didn't.
Carolynn did it.
Dear Mary and Tonya,
We have kidnapped your dog. And somehow it is now a very large puppy and a girl.
She is a mastiff mix. (Probably with lab.) She is 10 months old. And she is full of energy.
And we love her.
Gibby, Elvis and Drizella are still thinking it over.
On the day my sister arrived, I woke up with what I thought was a cold. My nose was stuffed. My throat was scratchy. I felt pretty gross.
I was so mad.
So I told that sickness to go away. I decided to exercise it out. I went to the park and walked a few miles. I loaded up on vitamins and orange juice. There was no way I was going to be sick when my sister was visiting. I had great day.
David brought me plenty of tissue and that night I took some TheraFlu and went to bed early. I was sure I won.
The next day, we went to the water park. I thought I felt better. But by the end of the day my head was so stuffed. David had to drive us home. I switched to Nyquil and went to bed. It was just a cold.
I went to work that Friday and Saturday. But by Saturday I was a mess. I couldn't stop coughing. I felt so bad for the coworker stuck in there with me. He has two small daughters and a pregnant wife. I spent a lot of the time wiping everything down with disinfectant wipes.
Finally, I gave up. I called in sick for Sunday. I figured a ton of Nyquill and vitamins and a lot of sleep was all I needed to finally beat this thing.
On Monday morning, I got up and went to work.
Bad idea. I was a mess still. They sent me home.
On Tuesday, I called in sick again. It was offical. I had bronchitis.
I slept all day Tuesday. Most of Wednesday. And parts of Thursday.
Here we are back to Sunday. I am at about 90%. Just a little cough and just a little stuffed. I still get tired easy. But I made it through a couple of days of work.
Next time I think I got a little cold I am just going to check my self into the hospital.
Last week my sister and her family came to visit. It was so much fun.
But let me back up a bit there first.
You probably knew, if you'd been reading this long enough, that I have a sister. Sure. I used to mention a sister pretty often. This one. Sarah. Here she is with my nephew Nathan.
Last time I mentioned her was July 2010.
Yeah, so Sarah and I do not get a long well. Oh, you figured that out.
Anyway, we never were close. She is 11 years younger than me. We have the same mom, but different dads. We have seriously different opinions on many subjects. Anyway, by her choice, she cut me out of her life. And I am pretty okay with her choice.
So anyway, back to last weeks visit.
I have a second sister. Nikki. She found me on Facebook. It's impossible to hide on Facebook. Anyways, if you will recall from this post full of embarrassing pictures... We hadn't see each other since she was 2. She is 24 now.
Needless to say, it had been a long time.
So she arrived on Wednesday with her husband, Junior, and her daughter, my 1 year old niece, Carter.
(Who is arguably the cutest baby niece any one ever had.) We hung out. We played some Dance Central. We had some spaghetti.
My brother, who is incidentally also her brother, came over and brought the family. I was finally able to give Allison her birthday present and I got to spend some time with Nathan.
Here we all are together, my brother Joe, Nikki and Me.
I tried to get a picture of all the cousins. Carter was good to go, but Nathan was not looking.
So I tried again. This time Nathan is looking but Carter was done. Also, Gibby joined this one.
On Thursday, we all went down to Palm Springs and went to Knott's Soak City. Carolynn and Catherine went on slides all day. David got quite the sunburn. Even Carter went down a little slide.
Then we went to dinner at a cute little diner in Palm Springs.
After that, we left them there in Palm Springs so they could head back to Texas.
It was so much fun. We should seriously get together more than once every 20 years or so.