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.

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. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

I seem to be saying and doing the wrong thing quite a bit lately.  And I have to say that I’m really starting to feel down on myself about it.  If I had written this blog yesterday, I would have been concerned that my words had damaged a very important friendship beyond repair.  We’ve worked things out, but I can’t help but feel that I’m seeing a pattern. I know I’m screwing up here, but I am having the hardest time figuring out how to stop. 
My intentions are good. The people that know me, REALLY know me, should know that I would never intentionally say anything to hurt someone’s feelings or insult them.  I piped up to help a newbie at work today, and accidentally stepped on a higher-up’s toes because I didn’t realize she was already answering.  After five years at the job I was just trying to help. She snapped at me and called me out saying that I do that a lot.  Her exact words were, “We’ve been over this before, Brandi.”  
It’s fucking humiliating.  I don’t mean to step in and step on anyone’s toes.  I swear to God, I’m just trying to help the place run smoothly.  I just want to make life easier for my co-workers.  P.S. This person is NOT high enough up to be calling me out for anything other than a serious screw up. I have supervisors for that.  

My intentions are always good. 

At home it seems I can’t say the right thing either.  We have so many miscommunications it’s like to drive me NUTSO!   How am I so misunderstood? How is it SO hard to forgive someone you love for saying the wrong thing.  

I remember breaking up with my daughter’s dad. Miss A. was not on the way yet (we separated for almost a year before she was conceived) and I was living the rowdy life of a single girl in her twenties. 
I decided I was sick of trying so hard to please everyone and worrying so much about people liking me. So I said whatever I thought. Loudly. 
I was sick of people cutting me off, and feeling like no one would listen to me. So if someone interrupted me I told them to STFU because I wasn’t done talking. 
Screw ‘em all. 
I was sick of feeling weak, and oppressed. So I stood up for myself and tried to start fights when I thought it was necessary. 
And the crazy thing was. . . People LOVED ME~!~ 
I couldn’t believe it.  I expected to be shunned. Who want’s to be around some loud-mouthed, over-opinionated asshole?  But to my great surprise I had tons of people wanting to be friends. I was never lonely, always had someone to talk to or something to do. 
And now. . .
I’m not that person anymore. Five years have passed and now I just want to get along with everyone. The last thing I would want to do is offend someone so badly, especially badly enough that they would want to sever a relationship over it.  I try my very best to be nice to everyone, no matter how different they might be from me, and to see the good in everything. 
I’m friendly and polite to most everyone I meet. Yes, I can be quite the smart-ass and have a sarcastic sense of humor but it’s never meant to be hurtful. So what I don’t understand is why I have such a problem socializing with people.  I frequently feel on the outside of groups of people--especially at work.  My partner frequently feels like I am mad, annoyed or having “an attitude.”  
So honestly, WTF. Like, WHAT the FUCK?!? Do I go back to that carefree mouthy bitch again? Or do I plug on, just grateful for the friends that I do have. I hate feeling like I’m in high school again. I made that place a nightmare for myself with my social bumbling. I can look back  now and know what I did wrong; I just don’t want to wait twelve more years, look back on being 30 and wish that I’d had it figured out. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chip Kelly is the perfect boyfriend

Let me start off by saying, I'm kind of a sports nut.  Not the kind that knows all the players names on all the teams in every sport--or really even one sport. But I love watching sports, especially college football.  It doesn't matter what conference, it doesn't really matter what team. I'll watch any game that's on; I love nothing better to spend rainy, Autumn Saturdays in front of the t.v, hooting and hollering at these guys running around on the field. In fact, my b.f. says he's never met a girl so into football in his life.
I might be going a little overboard.
This weekend I was talking about coaching, specifically my favorite team, the University of Oregon Ducks. (YELL-O!!)  For the first time in history, the Ducks are ranked #1 in the nation in several polls and (we'll know later today) have a chance at being ranked #1 in the B.C.S. (Bowl Championship Series) which means we have a chance to play for the National Championship! I couldn't be more delighted and give mad props to our 2nd year head coach, Chip Kelly.
I've been a Ducks fan for years, even through the bad times and it's been a rocky road for our football program. This I also attribute to the coaching staff. As my friends and I watched Oregon stomp all over UCLA this past Thursday evening, I couldn't help but remember what Duck football games used to be like.

The first half would be Great! The Ducks would be solid, the offense moving the ball down the field. Receivers had sticky hands, catching every ball the QB launched.  The offensive line would create a path for the QB or running backs to slip through. and then halftime. . .

The fuckers would fall apart!

Now, I have NO IDEA of what Coach Bellotti said to them in the locker room. But whatever it was, it wasn't working.  We'd lose yards. Interceptions. Fumbles. Quarter-back-SACKS.  Penalties on top of penalties.
The Ducks would let me down. I would be heart-broken.  DEVASTATED.

Back to this Thursday night.  It was half-time and I was on cloud nine. I knew, that unlike past seasons where I was constantly setting myself up for disappointment, that Chip Kelly would not let me down. Every game this year, even when we had a rough start, we played better after half-time than before.
And suddenly I knew.
Head Coach Chip Kelly is the perfect boyfriend.  and Mike Bellotti was that guy that you thought was the perfect guy, but always just ended up cheating on you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Work is HELL

My job  has become hell to me. I've been at the same warehouse production job for five years and these past two weeks of being sick have been some of the best weeks of my life.  I have been too sick to go to work.  If I had been healthy enough to  have my daughter at home with me the entire time? That would have been heaven. I don't know how I'm going to go back tomorrow. What I really want is to stay at home with my 2 1/2 year-old and spend every minute possible with her before she has to go to school. She is so smart and cute and funny, unlike all other toddlers--I'm sure! 
I feel ripped off! I'm furious with her father for being a piece of shit that I couldn't possibly spend her life with. Not that I would ever want to be with him ever ever again. Yuck. I'm furious that the economy has practically destroyed my boyfriend's career, making work so scarce for him that I have to keep my shitty, miserable job that doesn't even really pay our bills. 
I want to start over. I want to be a stay-at-home mom more than anything else in the world. and at this point, I would give anything in the world for that. 

To Blog or Not to Blog

I LOVE writing, ok? I have so many thoughts, ideas and musings rattling around my head I know that writing is the best way to keep from going insane. This semi-new trend of blogging is intriguing to me. These past few days of being sick have given me quiet time, at home and alone, to wander around the internet reading some really really amazing blogs. Mostly by other mothers.  I develop tiny 'girl-crushes' on these women, admiration for their wit and perspective. They are articulate, clever, and their writing draws me in. When I receive a response to a comment I've left, my heart pitter-pats like I was back in High School and the homecoming King just winked at me.  Of course I'm not alone. Most of the blogs I'm reading have thousands of followers. 
So how do I jump in? I'm  going to  take a page from  my current favorite, Pretty All True and try my damnedest to blog every day. Kris, who writes Pretty All True is everything I wanted to be in a blogger when I started out last March. Irreverent, sexy, soul-baring and clever.  Plus she's a fellow Oregonian so I'm pretty sure we are soul sisters on some level.  
But I still don't know how to start.  How do I turn these musings and quips into something that will add anything to my readers day?  How do I get people to read what I am sharing without giving away crap every week?  I guess I just muscle through and try to write every day, right? Any advice from anyone out there that also blogs, is more than welcome. I really don't know how to do any of this; I was amazed that I managed to add links to this and I'm hoping they work. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Program Application LCC Exercise and Movement Science

The Assignment: A typed essay (minimum of 3 pages, double spaced) which includes information from the following areas:
Why do you want to be in the Exercise and Science movement program?
What are your goals while in the program and what are your career goals?
What are three qualities that you think make someone an effective leader? Please describe each one and why you think it’s important.
What specific attribute, quality, or skill distinguishes you from everyone else? How did you develop this trait?
Describe your participation in activities that have helped you develop academic, professional, intellectual and leadership abilities.

So, this is going to be one of the MOST difficult essays I’ve ever written. And I’ve taken the WR 121-123 series a couple of times. I’m doing some brainstorming and would like some general feed-back and input. This is for my program application to the Exercise and Science Movement Program at LCC. I may not get my application together in time, but this is the beginning of a very difficult process. So here is my very first page of brainstorming on the very first item on the list. 

Why I want to be in the Exercise and Science Movement Program
My brainstorming on this became a bit more about my career goals. 

To run a ‘consulting’ type business that promotes “Corporate Wellness”--that is the concept that an employee who exercises regularly, eats a balanced diet  and has good stress management tools is beneficial to the company in the following ways: 


Providing employees with  the opportunity to exercise regularly, the education to eat a balanced diet, and good stress management benefits both the company and the employer in the following ways: 

1) Employees who exercise regularly have a lower risk of on-the-job injuries  such as sprains, strains and over-worked muscles.
2) People who combine a balanced diet with regular exercise are more productive, more creative and learn better. 
3) Healthy communication and good stress management skills create open and positive work environments. 
4) Health diet and regular exercise boosts people’s immune systems and that means fewer illnesses, fewer doctors visits and fewer sick-days. 

When these factors are not only present in the work place, but also are encouraged and facilitated by employers, everyone wins.  Health care costs are reduced, employees pay lower premiums, companies are more productive and employees not only feel appreciated but also are empowered--given the tools to lead healthier and thereby happier lives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Welcome to my new blog! I've been having lots of thoughts and ideas and would like to get some of them "on paper" so-to-speak.  I can't promise that everything will be G-Rated and I can't promise that everything will be interesting. This is an experiment at public journaling and I am also interested to see how many people are interested enough to read me on a regular basis. I don't know if anyone that I don't know will read me; I don't know how often I'll post or how personal I will get. At any rate this is an exercise for my writing muscles and I hope that people will enjoy what I have to say. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned; this could get interesting!