Friday, May 18, 2012

Nightmare on Lakeview Drive

There are moments in your life that show you what you are made of.  Evidently I am made of jello.  I am a big bowl of wobbly green jello. I used to think I was pretty brave and well, maybe I still am...I just don't know.

The best place to start a story is at the here goes.

I am sick. I have a massive sinus infection. So about 11pm last night I took a benedryl, which for me is heavily medicated. I normally don't take anything like that if I am home alone with the kids. You just never know what might happen. (Insert ominous foreshadowing music here) I did not listen to my inner voice, however, and I took the pill.

Somewhere between 12:30am and 1am a noise woke me from a deep sleep. I got up, walked around a little bit, everything seemed to be fine. The only thing that was wrong was that one of my dogs had peed on the floor outside my bedroom. Since I was in my drug induced stupor I decided to deal with it in the morning and just go back to sleep.

Deep sleep again...dreaming pleasantly...loud noise followed by loud crash. Then Joel's voice yelling "MOM!! MOM!!!" from the end of my bed. I am on auto pilot...Joel wakes up so much at night that I can deal with him easily without being fully awake. I look at the clock and see it's 1:15, get up and follow Joel towards the living room. As we are walking I am turning on lights and I see what the loud crash was. It was the baby gate keeping the dogs in the back of the house away from the chicks. I start to get onto Joel for opening the gate, the dogs could have hurt the chickens, blah, blah, blah...

My only thought was to get the dogs and Joel rounded back up and into bed. I see Kevin sitting in the doorway to the living room (On point and staring at the door, but I am a typical horror movie heroine and don't notice the warning signs), so I start yelling for Eli. I can't find him but decide to get the gate back up and Kevin and Joel stowed away (I find Eli later in my room sound asleep in his bed on the floor). Before leaving that part of the house I check on the chickens.  They are a little keyed up but otherwise fine. As we are leaving, Joel points to the front door and starts to growl. That's strange I think and keep moving.

I put Joel back in his bed and notice the security light is on. I take a peek outside to see if David is home early, don't see him...must be the cat, then tell Joel goodnight. Joel won't stay in his bed so I tell him to just go get in my bed. He does and I decide to go to the bathroom. That light was still on so I decide to turn it off...after all the window is open.  (This is the part of the movie where the music is starting to get a little higher and faster, but our heroine is still in her own little world.)

I am sitting there doing my thing when I hear the wind chimes on the front door clang. You see, I have wind chimes on all of my doors because I live in a house where the preschool crowd has always loved to escape. Anyway, chimes are a chiming.  Maybe David is home...but he can't be I just looked outside and didn't see his scooter. This is that moment when all of the pieces started to fall into place.Noise earlier, loud noise just now, Joel yelling for me, Kevin on guard, chickens keyed up, Joel pointing at door and growling. OH! F&%K!!! Someone is trying to get into my house!!! My brain starts hyperventilating but I am not breathing.

I dare to take a peek out the window...remember I am still in the bathroom...trying to keep as still as possible.  There is no knock on the door but I definitely hear someone on the front porch. I hear some shuffling and then all of the sudden a man comes into my view. He is right in front of the window I am standing by! He hasn't noticed me yet. He is walking slow enough that I get a good look at him. White male, mid 50s, wearing only dark blue or grey sweat pants, bald head, bandaged left forearm. Then, when he is directly in front of me he turns his head suddenly and is staring at me. Just his head, like something out of a real deal horror movie. Our eyes are locked. He saw absolute fear in mine...I saw blankness in his. Sometimes that is scarier than seeing rage. I am breathing, hard. I have my hand over my mouth trying not to scream, I've stumbled back a few steps. The whole time he is staring blankly at me. I yell at him "You need to leave! You have to go home now!". By yell I mean a squeaky, shaky voice barely above a whisper. I slam the window shut and run for my phone. To call the police? No...didn't cross my mind. I called David.

It is a miracle that he actually picked up, and on the second ring no less. I somehow convey to him what is going on and he wants me to find out if the guy is still in front of our house. I gather my 20 seconds of insane courage and look out Joel window. He is still out there, but now he is trying to break into my car! My bug!!! Oh, heck, no! I bang on the window to no avail. That's when I realize he is trying to open my car door with imaginary keys. So I hang up with David and run back to the bathroom window.  I open it up, all of the sudden feeling much braver, but still wobbly. I yell at him to leave my car alone and that I am calling the police. Within seconds he is there again, in my face. We are inches apart, separated only by a screen.  I again tell him to go home and that I am calling 911. He tells me "But my mom told me the address was 776." This is when it clicks that something is very wrong with this man. Mentally ill, perhaps, or maybe just messed up on drugs. I tell him once more to go home, he has the wrong address. He says "OK...I'll just get in my car" and points to my bug. I tell him again that it is my car and I start to dial 911. He takes off at that. Here's the really freaky part...He looks like he is walking slow, but he was going really fast. It looked supernatural.

Joel and I station ourselves in the bathroom window making sure he doesn't come back or bother our next door neighbor...she's a single mom with three little ones. I was very worried about her. (Insert more foreshadowing music here). The police come a whopping 20 minutes later and of course don't find him. David gets home shortly after that. Alls well that ends well right?

This afternoon, the next door neighbor comes over to tell me about her strange night. About 11:45 her smoke alarm goes off, freaking her out quite a bit.There's nothing worse than something loud waking you up in the middle of the night. She calls her parents and asks them to come down and stay with her. They agree to and will be on their way shortly. She unlocks her side door for them and goes back to bed. We live in a neighborhood where that is (was) possible. About 12:30 something wakes her up. It sounds like someone in her kitchen. She hears foot steps and banging around. She calls out to her answer. She gives him a call on the phone asking if he was in her house and he tells her no, they haven't left their house yet. She is so freaked out that she can't move. Finally the sounds stop and she gets up her 20 seconds of insane courage and goes to investigate. Nothing.

This morning they found broken glass (from a drinking glass) on her front sidewalk and blood everywhere. All over her sidewalk, all over her front window, and on the handle of her side door. I told her to call the police and she did. They came out and took samples and left.

We can speculate about what happened but we will never know. All we do know is that some crazy person was between her house and mine for 45 minutes doing God knows what. I also know that I won't go to sleep until David gets home, which isn't for a couple more hours. And I also know that my poor little sweet son is terrified that the "Man with the bandage on his arm" is coming back. He keeps looking out the windows and crying if the dogs make the smallest noise.

Let's hope tonight is calm.

Sweet Dreams

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Food Revolution Day

I am passionate about food...real food that is. I love eating fresh locally grown fruits and veggies! I was always the kid who ate all her vegetables without being asked (except celery...I just cannot eat it without gaging!). I also indulged in raw milk (which is illegal to buy) and fresh eggs. I am fully aware of the fact that all of this has made me a food snob. While I eat a lot of different foods, I am also very picky! Words like deep fried, batter dipped, processed, and filler make me want to run very fast in the opposite direction.

My children's enthusiasm for whole food is varied.  My eldest is a vegetarian, something I turned her onto. If left to her own devices she would be content to eat cheese, pasta (with no sauce..unless it's cheese), cucumbers,faux buffalo wings, and faux bacon. In the past year, however, she has really opened up to new foods. She actually ate a salad last night that wasn't iceberg lettuce drowned in ranch!!

My middle child is a very good eater. She'll eat all the veggies and fruit you give her, but she also likes fried things like fish sticks and nuggets. I've been tempted to show her a video on how these things are made, but she's still young and I don't want to scar her. My youngest child and only son will eat everything you put in front of him, except corn. He's also not allowed to have any processed sugar. He knows this and doesn't fight me when I tell him no to a soda, chocolate milk, or juice. Knowing that my kids will eat what I give them scares me a little, that's a lot of power. As Peter Parker's uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility".  That's scary!! It means that I get to choose if they eat fried and processed foods, candy, and chips or salads, apples, and broccoli.  For 16 years it has been up to me what goes in those little mouths and I haven't always made good choices.  This past Saturday we went to eat with our church's confirmation class, and I had a coke. I am still feeling guilty about that! But, man, every sip tasted so good.

My husband has not been much help...until recently that is. At the beginning of the year I waged war on everything unhealty in our lives. David, being the supportive husband that he is, jumped on board. After 20+ years he quit smoking!! The downside is that he is gaining weight. For the first time in his life he has to watch what he eats. Before, if I didn't buy junk food, he never complained, but if I did, he was so happy. Now he is actually encourging me to not buy crap and is finally backing me up when I tell the children "no".

For years I have been a huge Jamie Oliver fan. He's always been about healthy eating without having to have a bunch of crazy ingredients. When he started his show "Food Revolution", I was so excited. If you've never seen it you should check it out. You can see both seasons at The show really sheds light on what we are feeding our kids at school. He also talks about how bad we are eating as a nation. He did the show in England with huge success, but he is having a harder time here in the states.

This year, for the first time, we are celebrating "Food Revolution Day" on May 19th.  This Saturday!! It's not just in America, but all over the world. You can see what all is going on here:

So in honor of Food Revolution Day I am sharing one of my favorite recipes with you.  Not only is it easy to make, but cheap! It's also rich in all kinds of vitamens and protein. Anyone who tells you you can't get the protein you need from a plant based diet doen't know what they are talking about!

Brazilian Black Bean Stew
6 servings
30 minutes or fewer
Here's a quick vegetarian version of the Brazilian national dish known as feijoada. This stew entices the eye with the colorful contrast of black beans and sweet potatoes and pleases the palate with nourishing ingredients.
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 to 1 ¼ lbs.), peeled and diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small hot green chili pepper, or more to taste, minced
  • 2 16-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Meal plan:
  1. Steam some Swiss chard while the stew is simmering and serve with warmed flour tortillas.
    In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes (with liquid), chili and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in beans and simmer gently, uncovered, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in mango and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and salt. Serve hot.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 326
  • Protein: 16
  • Total Fat: 4
  • Saturated Fat:
  • Carbohydrates: 61
  • Cholesterol:
  • Sodium: 211
  • Fiber: 17
Enjoy!! And Happy Food Revolution Day!!!