First and foremost, I don't want to ever be less than just to the victims of the crimes of which I am speaking. They and their families deserve peace and dignity. I don't reveal names, but sometimes they're easy enough to identify. How many times could it have happened that a man killed his wife and twin boys with a hammer? But my post was not public, and I think my friends will not pass it around.
Second...it's some horrible stuff. Do I really want to talk about that? Do people really want to see it? Don't we live in a world that is gratuitous enough?
Believe it or not, I actually held back on many of the worst details. I tried to walk a line. I think that people need to hear and understand what cops are going through. "Cumulative PTSD" isn't just a buzz word. Officers see horrendous things. Really really awful stuff that nobody should ever have to see. I feel like maybe I say this too often, or I'm too preachy, but I think it can't be underscored enough.
As I mentioned in my note there too, I don't even talk about the stuff that (for me) is the worst. Child sex crimes is a world of depravity and horror. Full stop. It makes homicide seem comparatively easy.
I don't know where I'm going with this. Mostly I'm just sort of letting stuff well out of my brain. I think I can't keep it contained forever.
Life is going well. I'm adjusting to my new job. This week I had a day where I walked into the building and didn't have that sense of, "Do I work here?" (At the old job, I worked for ten years on the same floor of he same building, and that autopilot and familiarity are difficult to forget.)
I've stopped worrying every time I meet with my boss. I feel like I'm on a good course. I got a raise this year (small, but it existed, which didn't happen in eight years at the old job). They seem to value my contributions.
I was on the phone for probably 45 minutes. He also talked about how they have "Game of Thrones" night at their house every Sunday, and how excited they are that we will have babies almost the same age.
It makes me so homesick I was a sobbing ball of feels on the way into work this morning. When I was 22 and moving to Georgia, it never occurred to me that my brother (then 18) and my sister (then 12 or 13) would grow up into really neat people that I would want to be around, or that I might meet someone in Georgia and have a family and a life here, so far away from where I grew up. I was selfish and I wanted to get out of the Midwest and see another part of the country. I could take care of myself!
But I hate that I don't know when I will get to see my brother's baby. I hate that the cousins, even if close in age, will only get to see each other a couple times a year at most. I hate that my mom and dad can't come to events like grandparents day at school, or ...whatever activities my children eventually end up in. I hate that I can't go have Easter dinner where my brother makes pieroge for 20 people, and that I can't go to Game of Thrones night.
Don't get me wrong, I love my life here in Georgia. My friends are here, my husband's entire wonderful family, our farm, my job, our games...I don't want to give all that up. But my heart aches that we are so far away from Minnesota and I'm pregnant so I'm feeling it a lot more than usual right now.
Today, as a part of my police training, I got tased. The instructor stands behind us, says "sir, stop resisting" and then "taser, taser" and then shoots us with the probes.
I cannot adequately describe the pain. It renders you completely immobile. There is no fighting back.
All I can say is this: if a police officer says "do this or I will deploy my taser," trust me, you REALLY want to do whatever they told you to do.
On the bright side, there's no lasting damage once it's done.
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A while back, our large 60-inch tv stopped working. My husband has several ideas of what is wrong with it, but he's not a tv-repair man, and the ideas could cost up to several hundred dollars to repair. So we had been watching a small tv on a table in the livingroom, which was placed in front of the large tv while we were figuring out what to do. (As an aside: My Sergeant assured me that this is only White Trash if you place the smaller tv on top of the larger tv.)
So yesterday, the smaller tv went out. This leaves us, in the house, with only the oldest, smallest television that we own, a 32-inch old box tv that currently resides in the bedroom.
In my mind, this is not acceptable. And it placed me in the somewhat odd position of having to try and convince my husband that we need a new tv. He's right, we don't need it. We absolutely don't need a new tv. But it is unacceptable, in my mind, with my mom flying in today, to have two broken televisions sitting in the livingroom. And it was driving me bonkers.
So instead of using the tax return to pay off an entire credit card, we're paying off half a credit card and buying a plasma tv. *sigh* I feel wrong about doing this. But at the same time, it simply must be done, in my head.
[Edited to add: I'm now up to eight boxes to go to Goodwill, and ten boxes that the husband has to look through (my husband is a pack rat, I have always known this, and love him anyway).
I haven't yet looked in Alex's closet, which contains a bunch more stuff that hasn't seen the light of day in quite some time. I'm also going to go through the kitchen. To touch Danny's coffee cups would be to die a slow death, but I think I can prune out some pans and other sundries.
Also on the chopping block will be some of Alex's toys and stuffed animals. We took all of her stuffed animals out of her room the other day due to misbehavior, so this affords me the opportunity to look through them and lose a few.]
We gathered at South DeKalb Mall, off Flat Shoals and I-20, for the motorcade to Newbirth (which is in Lithonia, off Evans Mill Road). At one point, while on the Interstate, I found myself at the crest of a hill. As far as I could see in front of me, and as far back behind me as I could see in my rearview mirror, were blue lights. The Interstate was shut down, and there were people out of their vehicles standing and watching on all of the entrance ramps and bridges -- many of them were waving or saluting, and even the construction workers were standing by with their hard hats over their hearts. There were firemen at every bridge saluting. The motorcade had officers from all over the State of Georgia and even some agencies outside of Georgia. It was truly amazing.
When I was already on Evans Mill Road, I heard over the radio that the last car had just gotten on the Interstate back at Flat Shoals. The means that the motorcade was about 8 miles long...imagine looking on eight miles of bumper-to-bumper police cards with their blue lights on, traveling down the highway.
At the funeral, I got pointed at and told to move to fill in a gap near the front of the church. As a result, I ended up sitting in the fourth row in the exact middle of the church. The three rows in front of me contained Captains, Majors, and Chiefs. The rows behind me contained Lieutenants and Sergeants. To my left were five County Commissioners. It's a good thing I didn't have to get up to pee.
Some parts of the service were very moving. When the Chief presented the badges of the officers to the widows, it was hard to watch. Looking around and seeing literally thousands of officers was breathtaking. The singing was outstanding, especially the Sheriff's Officer who got up to sing. The family members who got up to speak, even if they did not do so quite as eloquently as the practiced politicians, were genuine and hearbreaking. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, and that's something to say for a church full of police officers. Even the honor guard were wiping their eyes.
Some parts of the service were distracting and political. I didn't care for the ego stroking and thanking. The focus should have remained on the officers and their families. While I have been told that he is a sincere and prayerful person, the ostentatious presentation of "Bishop" Eddie Long (and by that I mean his person -- the purple robes, cashmere stole, diamond rings, gem-encrusted cross, versace-type glasses etc.) really put me off. His speaking was fine, but he was introduced as "God's angel on earth," a title which I found ridiculous.
After the service, we lined up outside while they brought the coffins out to the hearse. We saluted the fallen officers while the helicopters did a fly-over. The part that really got to me was the radio traffic afterwards:
Radio Operator: Radio to Badge #X and #Y, please respond.
Radio Operator: Radio to Badge #X and #Y, please respond.
Supervisor: Radio, be advised, Officer Barker, Badge #X and Officer Bryant, Badge #Y are 10-42 [off-duty] for the duration.
Radio Operator: All units 10-3 [maintain radio silence] for Officers Barker and Bryant.
Oh, that radio traffic was pretty tough. I'm crying now, just typing it out. The motorcade left the church headed for the burial sites. The situation was the same on the Interstate, with citizens and firemen. We passed by a school next to the church where a bunch of little children (elementary age) were outside waving and holding signs that said, "You are in our prayers," and "We support you."
After two days of funerals and memorial services, I'm wiped out. I don't think I have a whole lot left to give this week. I'm going to try and work my cases and just be quiet.
Middle Eastern "Lamb" Slow Cooker Soup (Lamb in quotes because I substituted beef)
1 lb lean lamb (in my case 1 lb flank steak) cut into cubes
1/2 cup canned beef broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatos, undrained
15 oz canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. ginger root, freshly grated
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp table salt
1/3 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Place "lamb" in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, stir well. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 7 hours.
Stir in lemon juice and let stand for five minutes for flavors to blend. Yields about 1 and 1/2 cups per serving. Serve in bowls.
It also mentions that if you want to tints the stew gold you can add a pinch of saffron threads. Surprisingly enough, Kroger does not sell those.