Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Cake

Hubby's family hails from Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Lucky for me I love islands and oceans and Carribean food. Granny and Bita have told me about island recipes one being Bun, yes just Bun. It's a bread of sorts, very dense slightly sweet white buns. Tried to make that a couple of years ago, mine was not so good. So this year I have made Black Cake. Essentially it's the island version of fruit cake. I have seen several versions, but here is the recipe I used.  Also a lovely article about Black Cake.

Cakes are currently in the oven - they must bake several hours. The fruit did not "stew" for months in the rum, but it did complete 2 days and looked like this!

Oh yummy smells are coming from the oven. Black Cake doesn't have large chunks of fruit, you grind the fruit and it looks like
The most fun comes when you make the burnt sugar - for once burning something is a good thing. White sugar, a hot pan and a wooden spoon. 

The sugar gets very dark and starts to smoke then you pour in water.
and there you have burnt sugar! Tangy and sweet

The cakes baked up very nice. Not as "Black" as the Black cake I have seen from relatives in Belize, but oh so rum-fruity tasting!
Buh-bye to 2010 and getting our feet wet in fost/adopt world. Hello 2011 and our new forever family - whatever that looks like!
May your reality be bigger and better than you ever dared to dream. I have loved gaining new readers and finding my bloggy people out there on the "interweb."
Peace out . . . . bee

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas break

For the past several years I have taken vacation between Christmas and New Year's Day. I love it. I am reminded of being in school and that glorious winter break! Of course just getting a break from my office is wonderful as well.
Of course the son has school break and Hubby has taken the week off as well. And the best part - we have no real plans :o) . No major tasks to complete, just taking each day as it comes. We have been playing with our new toy Kinect for Xbox 360. Amazing, futuristic and physically exhausting! Today I will be entertaining my nieces and nephew while their brother has surgery. Cats are going to the vet for one more immunization. I have partially cleaned up my crafty area. I made pralines (meh.) And I will be making Black Cake in the next couple of days, right now the fruit is soaking in booze.
Christmas was fun playing with friends and our small family. Having this week off makes it feel like a continuation of the celebration. Not sure what are plans are for the New Year, but we will probably be at home as usual. I love home.
The week before Christmas I had some hope about transferring out of my position at Child Protective services. Unfortunately a nurse in our county suddenly died of a brain bleed just after Thanksgiving. It was shocking for us all and left a hole in a busy program within our department. Budget crisis being what it is in California, we have not been allowed to fill positions as we are expecting more cuts. At our department holiday party, I was speaking with the direct coworkers of the nurse we lost and found out they did plan to fill her position! It hit me like a ray of sunshine - if I could transfer into that position then I could adopt a child from my own county!!! Right away I pulled the director (Big Boss Jr.) aside and told her I would like the opportunity to interview and expressed how it would help my husband and I. I was tearful of course 'cause that is how I roll. The BBJ said she would make it happen and that she had no idea my job was a barrier. Over the next few days I followed up and BBJ got more details from me about the conflict of interest so she could explain the need to our Grand Poobah Nurse. They had a meeting and I was asked to write a memo requesting the transfer.
I sent my memo and GPN responded the same day with a horribly disappointing email. She was "glad" to inform me that she had found a solution that would keep me in my position - NNnnOOOOOoooooo! She had spoken to the high up in county adoptions and came up with a "solution" that my agency and I ruled out months ago - fuck! I spoke with the adoptions people and explained that we had been down this road and agreed that it is inappropriate to have a SW that I sit beside place a child in my home! duh!!!
After several calls and a few very controlled emails, I was left hopeless. Clearly my direct supervisor is against this move. I have directly stated that my options are to transfer within the county or leave county service. I made a call to my agency SW to do damage control, because I feel it might look like I am trying to get around the rules we have long ago discussed. Voice mail was the best I could do before a holiday.
I will take up the fight again when I get back to work. I have given 17 years to this county and I'm asking for something small. My direct supervisor is an idiot and had been unable to learn our program. That's why she doesn't want me to leave. Bitch.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When in Doubt . . .


Today I mailed out packages to family containing goodies of distraction. Baking is a wonderful avoidance technique for me, but it is unfortunately weight inducing :o(. So in these times of WTF sharing the calories is the best plan I have.

This year's list of goodies includes: homemade jacks, cocoa rum balls, almond chocolate toffee,
gingerbread cookies, Grandma's date nut rolls, coconut joys AND I still want to attempt (drum roll please)Pralines!
Of course my kitchen is left looking quite a mess. I don't have a problem with the mess, eventually it will get cleaned up. This year we can't wait for eventually as we have two crazed kittens who love the counter tops and drinking water from everything except their water dish. In addition kittens have an endearing way of making everything a toy . . . right now I can't find the decorating tips from the cookie icing earlier this week. Probably under the couch with the toy mice and several of my earrings.
Ahh kittens.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WTF adoption fail meeting

So we went into our agency yesterday for our WTF!? meeting. Both hubby and I were pleased that they seemed equally horrified at how everything went down. Clearly our New Stork is a very new stork, but she seems to have a very experienced supervisor. It felt good to give feedback about how things could have gone better, and how they could have supported us.
Counseling was offered, and we were told we should take a 3 month break for healing. I am a little surprised at how "okay" I feel about taking a break. I have been on a fast timeline since we got married, no breaks for me, times-a-wasting! Hubby would like a slow down, I know, so there we are.
February is the next Family Faire and will be our new "coming out". So my focus will be on us, craftiness, holidays, and keeping the kittens from destroying the house. I am SO glad we have these fur boys. Constant entertainment!

Peace on Earth 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the one that got away

Bee, baby girl and Dorian kitten

We still have not spoke with our agency since giving back the baby. I guess because of the holiday and weekend. Not sure what we think of the whole situation and how to move on.
Many thoughts have come to mind, some of them actually NOT containing four letter words.
First of all I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to take care of a newborn in my home. I have lots of baby experience from my work, but this was so different. Hubby and I worked together like a well oiled machine. We are parental Rock Stars! After the initial buckling into the car seat I didn't have a moment of doubt. We could meet this baby's needs for ever and ever! I really had nothing but sympathy for the birth parents and was eager to take her on a visit so they could see she is well cared for.
Another realization - that might have been my only trip to a hospital to pick up a baby ever. Foster/adoption doesn't usually begin at the hospital. Really, baby girl should have gone to an emergency placement while they worked out who had claims on her. She took a detour to our house before landing with her already adopted sister.

This was amazing - It hit me last night.
I have never been able to pour that kind of love on anyone before. Hubby is different, stepson is different, kittens are different. Nothing is like mommy love on a baby. I feel like it's been pent up inside, eating at me. I didn't really know what that feeling was; like I had been wasting something. So part of me got a taste and I want more. Another part just wants to be satisfied with the little bit I got and end the suffering for myself and our family. We'll see.