Who is the Savvy Scribe?

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I am a single mom, a full time student, working to make a better life for my daughter and myself. I am sarcastic and opinionated and refuse to sensor myself. I am a liberal, gun owner, and a sports fanatic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Week Down

 So I have completed my first week of training with Team in Training a group that is raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by training people to compete in endurance events

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Still Running and TRYING to write.

I just got in from my first solo run/jog/drag my sorry ass around the block a few times.
I was out for about 1/2 an hour and I'll admit right now, I didn't run the whole time. But I actually managed to run more than I walked.

So I never finished that blog... life is crazy and it's hardest thing in the world finding time to sit down and write.  I do lots of diddling around on the computer but taking the time to sit down, to write and organize my thoughts seems to be like pulling teeth around here lately.  I'm starting to get damn frustrated with not having time to do this without being interrupted constantly. But AAANYWAY!

It's Thursday night and I've had an amazing day.  I really want to write about it, to express and explore all the thoughts on my mind. However--tonight is not the night.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A new Journey...13 miles to Save Lives.

Hi folks. I know it's been a while and you might all be wondering where I've been and if I survived the holidays.

Well, yeah. I survived. Best Christmas ever, a very happy New Year and now I am lacing up my sneakers and starting off on a new journey. I am training to run a half-marathon. I'll be working with Team in Training an organization that works to fight blood cancers.  Several years ago my family lost my Uncle Carlos to Leukemia and has never been the same.  He left behind a wife and four daughters-one of whom is severely disabled. They have survived and are five of the most amazing women I know, but the space that Carlos left behind in this world is still there.   I am training and raising money to help save lives, so that if even one family is spared the loss my family suffered I will have reached my goal.

For anyone who doesn't know me very well, this is a huge undertaking. Firstly I am about 30lbs over-weight, have been a smoker for 16 years and have never run more than a mile in my life.  But it is time. This is what I need.
I will be blogging about my training and fundraising as part of my journey. I promise you all today that I will either blog or jog every single day. Very shortly there will be a link right on my blog and Facebook page to my Fundraising Website 
So here is what I am asking of you:

  1. Donate what you can. I have a minimum of 1500 dollars to raise, but I have a personal goal of 2500. 
  2. Share my blog and journey. Chances are if you are not personally a cancer survivor, you know someone who is. Or maybe you have lost a friend or family member to blood cancer
Stay tuned. There will be pictures, and stories, and it will be a messy, beautiful process that you can be a part of.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kids Say. . .

Short story today. True story, inspired by Pretty All True's post today about something mouthy her youngest daughter said. Go read it here so you get a little back ground. Browse around because this woman is hysterical; but don't forget to come back.

My mom was always very open about body parts. My parents read some statistic (back in the 80's) that children who knew the proper names for all their privates were less likely to be molested. So they did their damndest to be very proper and direct with all things body/sex/etc. I never was molested so God bless them, it must have worked.
On summer when I was no more than 5 years old we were down in Sacramento visiting my mom's family.  She has 6 brothers and sisters and I  have many cousins.

We're all very close and we love each other very much but I would bet that every single one of us is certifiably crazy.
And also, my mom's side of my family pride ourselves on being bratty. We torment and tease, pinch and poke and have no mercy. Which is why this story is still told every single time the family gets together "en-masse."
This story will be the one told at my funeral to make everyone laugh.
So I'm around 5, maybe younger, no one seems to remember, and it's summer in Sacramento--hot, humid and miserable. My mother's youngest sister is in her 20's and she is so much fun.
She's beautiful--I know this even at 5 and already I want to be as slim and glamorous as she is. Have fun boyfriends and take my nieces roller-skating.
She is wearing daisy-dukes and a lose, strappy tank top. We're just arriving and in the boisterous celebration of seeing loved ones that you only see once or twice a year my aunt tosses me up in the air over her head. As I'm flying through the air I look down at her and ask, "Aunt. T? Why don't you have any breasts?"

Every. Time.

The story is told every time the family gets together. Hell, I even tell the story.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting to know why I'm Thankful.

We're starting to wind down, finally after the long weekend. Who would think that after 4 days off I would need time to unwind and relax? This weekend has been a challenge. 
For anyone who doesn't know my family. . . here is the cast of characters: 
Brandi, aka me. The blogger, storyteller and Mama Bear when necessary.
R, aka boyfriend, honey and Daddy to 3 of our 4 blondes.
Shy, oldest daughter of R. Fourteen, freshman with serious boyfriend she's the greatest teenager I've ever met. She loves her family, makes good decisions, is beautiful and smart.
C-Bear, 7 years old today. She's special in her needs and her social interactions, and has a heart of gold. She's R's second little bear. 
H-Bear, 5 almost 6 and has a firecracker temper. This is mostly to protect her tender little heart. R's youngest she wants to be the baby, but wants to be as grown up as her sister. 
Miss A, 3 in January she is my little monkey. She loves R, C, H and the extended family that comes with them. She's incredibly smart and gets frustrated when she can't keep up with the older girls. 

So, Miss A spends Monday through Friday with my parents until I can get her into Head Start full time.  1-2 weekends a month she spends a night or two with her father and her brother (considered my step-son, J) R's youngest two girls spend 2 nights every other weekend.  That usually crams 5 people into the tiniest possible 2 bedroom townhouse. Eeek. I guess the first thing to do could be get rid of most of our furniture and my enormous piles of boxes--all filled with random shit. But we just keep hoping to find and afford an actual house with a yard.  Shy we see about once a month for a visit at her grandmother's house.  I'd love to see her more, but she's a teenager and very busy. She's going to need her own room at our new house too. 

Getting these girls together over the last 1 1/2 years is really an intense process.  R's two youngest are so close to the same age, they're almost like twins and they indulged in every whim by their mother's family. Which means they have a very hard time sharing with their much younger step-sister. Some days they do better than others. 
Like I said, it's a process.  At the beginning, Miss A was so young she didn't understand when the other two wouldn't share and C & H were just irritated. Lately, though she's so advanced that the three of them can actually play together and all be on the same page.  Hide and seek, run from monsters, all sorts of little games. Puzzles and drawing especially. They seem to all be learning about taking turns at the same time.  
But for the last few times that they have been here it's all fallen apart. Miss A is almost 
But Miss A is almost 3. And she pretty much just whines constantly. Trying to debate every thing. Test every boundary, question every single moment of every single day. The questions never stop and I can't come up with enough answers. What do I say when she asks me why that bird is flying across the sky? A million different poses and faces, "Is this silly, Mommy?" "Is THIS silly?" "How about this?" 
And C & H? They are sick of each other and completely against tolerating Miss A.  So all weekend they were all three picking at each other. There was always at least one child bitching and whining, usually 2 and at the bad times, all three. 
R was losing it. I was losing it. Tempers were short and all three girls have such tender hearts that they were devastated every time they got scolded. They all handle this in their own way.  One runs away, one scowls and shuts down completely, and mine? She whines. Bawls. and won't stop for ANYTHING.  This is the second weekend it's been like this. And this is seriously messing with our sanity. It takes serious concentration not to begin snapping at each other. We were not entirely successful in this respect, but considering how much we've been spatting the past couple of weeks this weekend was a miracle. Not quite tag-team parenting but more like team-roping. While constantly tiding and washing dishes. 
So as Sunday afternoon winds down R's girls are back home with their mother. Miss A is in the middle of her daily 3 hr nap. The dishes are done, we're watching the Seahawks play the Chiefs (go green) and we are pondering what needs to change. 
We're starting to think that C and H need some time apart. One possible solution is to have one of them every weekend. This is a hard decision.  It would mean we would always have at least one of the girls, most often two.  

It seems we need to start interviewing babysitters.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

OCD and Me.

I am (a little bit) OCD. You'd never believe it if you saw my house, because for some reason I can't explain home is the only place I can let go of it. There are some things, however, that no matter where you are should just be a certain way.  
Toilet Paper. 
Ok? People? The roll goes OVER. Not Under. 
It's simple. would you like a visual aide? Do I need to get out the crayons and construction paper? OVER. What I can't begin to understand is how anyone could possibly think that the ass-wipe is easier to access the other way.  
Even further from my conceptual grasp is how the same person would fill the toilet paper dispenser under and the paper towel dispenser OVER. Clearly by putting the paper towels on the roll hanging OVER you have demonstrated that it functions better that way. The towels are easier to tear off. Easier to access. 
Seriously? And I can't explain why this baffles me so completely. All I know is that I am not alone.  We have discussed this. I am not crazy. 
Ok. So I totally am. But that has nothing to do with toilet paper. 


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hearty Vegan Tamale Pie

For Halloween last week we had a pot-luck at work. It's an annual tradition and as we started discussing what each person was making I started thinking about my friend, S. S is vegan and at most work luncheons ends up either buying/bringing her own lunch or munching vegetable sticks.  It's Autumn in Oregon and usually a damp and blustery time of year. So I decided I would stretch my culinary wings a bit and invent a delicious vegan casserole.  I'm unsure why, but I immediately knew I was going for a Mexican style and started inventing the dish in my mind. 
As I added ingredients in my mind the casserole became a version of an old family favorite, Tamale Pie.
It was a huge success, among carnivores and vegans alike. I received many requests for the recipe so I have decided to share it with the masses. To my knowledge, this is not a reproduction of any other recipe and is entirely my creation.  I have also included modifications to this dish for those who, like myself, enjoy animal-based protein products :-)

Vegan Tamale Pie
You will need:
1 lg. can black beans (not drained)
1 lg. can crushed or diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 reg. can pinto beans (drained)
1 reg. can whole corn kernels (drain and save liquid)
2 sm. cans sliced olives
1 tbsp. mild chili powder
1-3 tsp hot sauce (how spicy do you like it?)
1 med. yellow onion (diced to taste, I like a fine chop)
2 tbsp. olive oil

4 c. mushroom broth
1 c. liquid drained from corn
3 c. corn meal or dried polenta

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Thoroughly grease 2- 8x8 glass pans
In large non-stick skillet heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add onion and sauté till translucent and starting to turn golden brown. While onion is cooking mix beans, tomatoes, corn, refried beans and olives. Stir thoroughly. Add hot sauce and chili powder. When all ingredients are blended add to pan with onions and simmer on low heat while mixing crust.

In large (preferably non-stick) pot add 3 c. of cornmeal to 5 c. liquid (stock and liquid from draining corn and beans) It is important to put liquid in pot first and add cornmeal or polenta, stirring with whisk. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture becomes completely solid, like a dough. separate evenly into 4 parts. let cool slightly and add 1/4 to each 8x8 pre-greased pan.  With scraper or the back of a large spoon spread out cornmeal dough in pan so it evenly covers bottom and sides of dish. Do this to both dishes and then fill each dish to just below level with tops of pan. 

On a large cutting board lay out 1 sheet of wax paper. Lightly dust with flour. Drop another 1/4 of cornmeal dough onto wax paper, cover with additional sheet of wax paper (or parchment paper) and press out gently, you can use a large plastic cup or rolling pin to roll dough out evenly and measure to just over 8"x 8". remove top layer of wax paper, flip dough side down on top of casserole and carefully peel wax paper off of the top of the casserole.  Repeat process to top 2nd casserole. Bake both in oven at 350 degree for about 30 min or until top is lightly browned and casserole is bubbling. 
This is a perfect "freeze for later" casserole too, you can make these ahead of time and freeze them, transfer to fridge in the a.m. to thaw and throw in the oven when you're ready for dinner. 

Additions, substitutions, non-vegan variation and alternate uses for filling.

Whole tomatoes, chopped bell peppers and just about any other variety of canned bean can be used in this dish. Or you can cook your beans the slow way if you've got a ton of dried beans in the cupboard. 

Simple variation to make this dish non-vegan: scramble 1 lb. hamburger in onion before adding filling to pan to simmer. Top with shredded cheese for the last 5-10 min of baking. Serve with sour cream, om nom nom. 

I have also used the filling in tostada bowls, layering with scrambled beef, shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream.