365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 344/365: The Things We Don’t Say


These are my favorite patent leather flats.  I wore them to work today, and then it rained all day.  I would have been better off with rain boots.

My Lifers Group was scheduled this afternoon, and I had to leave our building to get to the group room.  I didn’t have an umbrella, and I had to carefully step around puddles to keep from getting my feet soaked.  The lifers were waiting outside the door, watching as I approached.

One of them commented, “All of them days you come to group wearing Converse or closed shoes, and today when it’s raining, you got on those open shoes.”

To some people, that may have sounded like a criticism.  What I heard underneath that gruff, convicted murderer/formerly active gang member’s comment, though, was, “It’s raining, and I’m concerned that your feet will get wet and you could catch a cold.”  He may not have articulated those words, but I knew the sentiment was there.

“Yeah,” I said.  “When I put these on this morning, I didn’t think it was going to rain.”

What I meant and didn’t say was, “Thanks.  I know you care about my welfare.”

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Day 343/365: Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

The other night I made Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes to take to work.  (You can search online to find any variations of recipes; I used the one from Tasty.)


Cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and sugar whipped together to make cheesecake. Yum.


Place an Oreo on the bottom of each cupcake liner and dollop the cheesecake mixture on top of that. I used mint Oreos for the holiday season.

I made the mistake of doubling the recipe when I only had one muffin tin.  This meant that I had to wait a half hour for the first batch to cool before I could remove the cheesecake cupcakes and prep the second dozen.  It took 45 minutes for each batch to bake.  By the time the second batch was cool enough to refrigerate, it was almost midnight.


I wanted to sprinkle crushed peppermint candies and chocolate chips on the tops, but I didn’t have any mints.

I didn’t get around to taking any After photos, and there were no leftovers to bring back home.  So you will just have to imagine how they looked and tasted, or you can make a batch and see for yourself.  I highly recommend it.


Day 342/365: No Major Progress

Sadly, I have nothing new or interesting to report today.  I went back to work (Tuesdays are my Mondays), and then I had to run some errands, complete my workout, and make dinner.  The crocheted afghan has not grown much; I’ve only added a few more stitches in the little amount of time I’d had.  I didn’t take any photos because there’s not a whole lot of progress there to show.  So I leave you instead with this pretty picture from Sunday.



Day 340/365: Beach Break

This afternoon I made the very poor choice of going out for some holiday shopping at Target and Trader Joe’s while Sean watched the 2015 MLS Cup championship game between Portland and Columbus.  What with all the waiting in line at the stores, it took me two hours to accomplish what should have been a half-hour errand.  I did witness an amusing moment at Trader Joe’s when a little girl decided to drop her baby doll on the floor in front of the dairy case.  I gathered that the little girl had gotten tired of carrying her baby and blamed it on the poor doll’s weight.  I heard the mother saying, as she stopped pushing her cart and knelt to pick up the doll, “Oh, honey, she’s not chubby.  She’s as light as a feather.”

By the time I got home, the game was over.  (Not that I really cared to watch any of it.)  Sean had been rooting for Columbus, and they lost.  We both decided a walk would be a good idea.  We headed out for the Promenade and enjoyed the view:  the beach, the ocean, surfers catching waves, the Channel Islands off in the distance, the setting sun.  It was far better than looking at a TV screen or standing in line at a box store.






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Day 339/365: Ventura Holiday Street Fair

Sean had work stuff to do on Friday evening, so I drove down from Morro Bay to Ventura this morning.  We ate a late breakfast at The Golden Egg Cafe and then checked out the downtown Ventura Holiday Street Fair on Main Street.  There were your usual booths of assorted handmade crafts and various commercial vendors, and then there was the UniProShow.


See those knives on the bottom left hand corner?  He juggled them.




I don’t have any photos of him juggling three knives because I was so absorbed in watching that part of the show that I forgot to take a picture.  Sometimes you just have to set aside the camera and enjoy the experience in real time.


Day 337/365: There Still Are Superheroes

I was feeling really disillusioned with the world yesterday.  I had to remind myself that there still are good people out there and that happy, positive things happen, too.  But it was tough.  Today was a lot better.  It was fairly uneventful at work, anyway.  Or at least on our yard.  There was about an hour this morning when the entire facility was recalled because of two separate staff assaults that happened within a matter of minutes from each other, in two different locations.  I heard that one of the assaults involved an inmate biting a correctional officer.  Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

Anyway, so as I was saying…  I wanted to have a more positive outlook today.  I wanted to think less about the awful things that happen every day and remember good moments in my life.  I looked through the photo gallery stored in my phone over the past year and found a few that made me smile.

Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying.


My superhero.  And my husband.



Day 336/365: A Bad Day


One of the occupational hazards of working in a prison is that you will inevitably encounter an individual so criminal and disordered in his thinking, so entitled, confrontational and combative, that you will have to terminate the interview and order him to get out of your office before you activate your alarm to summon custody.  Depending on your nature and character, you will experience any number of emotions as a result of this interaction, and then you will have to deal with it.  For me, there was mainly the feeling of being straight up pissed off.

I took a break and went out to the parking lot, where I sat in my car and scrolled through my phone and checked Facebook.  And that is where I first saw the news about the San Bernardino shootings at the Inland Regional Center.  The Inland Regional Center, in case you don’t know, is a state agency that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

There are a handful of Regional Centers throughout the state of California, and I know people who have either provided or received services at these facilities.  I also know people who are capable of murder and people who have committed murder.  I don’t know all of them.  We don’t know all of them.  There are those who are locked up now, and others who are still out there.  These days, when I learn about a new shooting incident, I can’t help thinking that there will inevitably be another one.  It’s only a matter of time.

I sat in my car for a few more minutes and tried not to let things bother me, but eventually I had to get out and start walking back to the prison.