Saturday, February 13, 2010

That's my kind of project

Just wanted to post real quick about a little project I did yesterday. It was really fun and super easy to do, the longest part was just cutting all the hearts out, sewing it was a breeze. Here is where I found the tutorial. Isn't it cute? Now I just need a pretty mantel to hang it on.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tonight I made some yummy potato and leek soup for dinner. I couldn't resist taking a picture, mostly for Blake's sake. This is the recipe I used, with the addition of some chili powder and cumin.

Owen was busy entertaining Ella...and himself. He came running into the kitchen saying, "Hat, Hat!" and pointing into the living room.
This is how he was entertaining himself.

Here's another picture of Ella with part of Owen's potty chair on her head. Unused potty chair, mind you.

I need to remember to take more pictures because I don't want to forget these kind of nights. I love my kids!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Locked Down in Springfield

Last week I had a really unique opportunity.  I spent the night in the Springfield Municipal Jail which is the largest municipal jail in Oregon.  (Well . . . the experience was unique among the company that I keep).  Now before you run off and start trying to figure out where Blake went wrong, you should know that I volunteered to do it.  I even paid $20 to spend a night in the new jail.  The city of Springfield, OR is opening their new jail and wanted citizens to come try it out to help train the staff.  It is kind of like when a new Applebees opens up and they invite locals to eat for free to help train the cooks.  This experience, however, was not so delicious.

The jail itself is a bare bones operation.  No television, weight room, ball yard, and inmates cannot bring anything with them.  There are no rehab programs and inmates get no special treatment for detox or smoking.  It was literally designed to be a miserable as possible within the limits of the law.  I love it.  We went through a mock booking process, we ate jail food, and spent the nights in our cells in lock down.  We were released in the morning.  Here are a few highlights from my experience:

This is almost what the cells look like with two beds rather than one.
  1. The food is terrible.  Little T.V. dinner looking things made by Washington State inmates.  No salt or pepper (considered weapons in prison) and the food really needed it.  This food made every serving of elementary school goulash seem like it could be served at the Ritz Carlton.  Breakfast was the worst.  As I sat down with my cellmate to a delicious meal, I noticed that I got the really bad option.  Powdered milk (dry), plain instant oatmeal (dry), a biscuit beyond description (dry), peaches my dog couldn't even tear through, and powdered "juice" mix of some sort.  I had red flavored.  Luckily we had drinking fountains to reconstitute our food.  I noticed that others fared better with cheerios, and some sort of sweet roll.  I'm assuming my snoring annoyed the guards enough to merit my selection.  The chief of police touts that they feed inmates for less that $5 a day.  I don't doubt it.  They gave us a glimpse of lunch before releasing us.  Poor souls will be given 2 slices of frozen white bread, frozen "lunch meat," a slice of frozen American cheese, and some chips.  The food was enough for me to stay away for a second night. 
  2. They don't turn the lights off at night.  My perception of jail (perhaps from the Shawshanke Redemption) always included a dark cell in which inmates scheme, cry, or dig through the wall.  No such luck for me.  Never have I known a 5 watt bulb to put out so much light, but we had to tie t-shirts around our heads to fall asleep at night.  The guards say it is so they can make sure the inmates are breathing during bed checks.  Have they never heard of flashlights? 
  3. One hard mat on a steel platform is called a "bed" in this jail.  I missed my warm pillowtop at home with my wife next to me. 
  4. Did I mention the steel toilet 4 feet from my bed?  Luckily I "planned ahead" before I went to jail fully aware of the toilet issue.  Inmates don't get the luxury of ultra thoughtful cell mates like myself.  Picture yourself trying to use the facilities while your cell mate is right next to you.  Now imagine sharing a cell with someone with a touchy digestive system.  Enough said.
  5. Finally, I was very surprised that even I was beginning to be frustrated with my inability to make decisions for myself.  Being told not to stand in certain places, get away from the doors, line up against the wall.  I felt like I was in Jr. High again.  Here are some thoughts from a local reporter that also volunteered.
In conclusion, don't commit crimes in Springfield Oregon.  We have a serious lack of jail facilities in Eugene because the citizens have a very strange approach to law enforcement.  The mentality they adopt is that a criminal simply needs a warm meal and a helping hand.  For this reason, the county refuses to build an adequate jail.  As a result, nobody in this area will serve time for misdemeanors like theft.  Tired of the old hippie mentality of Eugene, Springfield City decided to build their own jail.  Now criminals in Springfield will go to jail for their crimes.  This upsets Eugene city leaders because they fear the criminals will commit crimes in Eugene because jail is not an option.  Maybe rather than complain, Eugene should just pony up the money it takes to get tough on crime.  To the leaders of Eugene I say, "Sucks to your ass-mar.  You're on your own." - George (Lord of the Flies).