leftovers.

It’s been a while since I have written (you know, life and all), and I promise I am not turning this into a recipe blog, but I do have one that I must share due to popular request.

If you’ve read this post, you’d know my feelings about Halloween. If not, don’t worry- you won’t miss anything. I digress. 

This year I had a bunch of leftover Halloween candy. Big bars. I pondered what to do with the leftovers (I was shocked to have leftovers, considering I let people take 2), so instinctually I thought of my colligate step son, Gunnar. I feel bad because the moment I text him about mailing it down to him- to which he replied “YES!”- I already had another idea for what I was going to do with it. Oops. Sorry, Gunnar. Next time. Maybe. 

Disclaimer: it doesn’t have to be “leftover” Halloween candy to make these. You can totally make them on purpose with purchased candy bars from the grocery store.  I’ll allow it.  

Katie’s Left-Over Halloween Candy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients:  (caveat: I do NOT measure, all sizing is approximate)

Before we begin- preheat that oven to 375. If you have access to music or a Kitchen TV, please put on your favorite background noise. I believe I was watching Nurse Jackie at the time. It very well could have been Gossip Girl, but I’m pretty confident it was NJ. 

NOW, what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of Oats (I mean really, start the day with Quaker)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Flour 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla extract. To me, you can NEVER have enough vanilla- as it cuts the “floury” flavor.  Also, if you click the link, there are apparently healthy benefits of it as well.
  • Brown & White Sugar (recipes will say 3/4 cup of each, but I do a cup of brown and 1/4 of raw sugar)
  • tsp of baking soda
  • 2 eggs (no link for this- mine came from my back yard chickens)
  • 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of butter.  I discovered THIS BUTTER at Market Basket- and I will never use another.
  • Salt.  Most people will say 1/4 tsp, but I like the salt with the chocolate, so I add a little more. Perhaps you are on a diet without salt. No harm no foul. Simply omit this step.
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • Extra Halloween Candy chopped.  For mine, I used Snickers, Reese’s Fast Break and Reese’s Outrageous Pieces. Don’t chop them tiny- I suggest once down the center and then in 1/4 inch cuts. I believe I used a bout 4 BIG bars in all.

I like to melt the butter, then blend the sugar until its smooth. Add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl- combine flour, salt and baking soda. Then add oats to the powder mix.  SLOWLY combine the powder to the sugar/butter/vanilla mix until all combined.  NOW add our chocolate chips, then finally the candy pieces. Should be a nice thick mix of wonderfulness at this point. If I missed anything, just add it. 

Put tsp or TBS spoon size portions on a baking sheet (cookie sheet silicone is a miracle)- about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool on cookie rack. They WILL be mushy right out of the oven, so be delicate about getting them onto cooling rack. That will change to a chewy deliciousness you can hide in a cookie jar or do something a little more adventurous.

Enjoy.

these are not fat free.

 

tomato soup for the soul.

On this very cold March day, I decided to create a meal that isn’t very diet friendly: tomato basil bisque & grilled cheese with truffle butter. I’ll start planning for bikini season tomorrow.

After a first tasting, I decided I would share my recipes for all to enjoy. They are that good.

I used a crockpot and a Ninja for the soup. A stove with a frying pan for the sandwich.

Spices needed: pepper, sea salt, garlic powder (or save yourself some time and just buy Camp Mix)

When you hit the grocery store, this is your list for the soup:

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 cans of 14oz organic diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes diced that would equal 28oz- if you have the time)
  • 1 CAN (yes, can-not a jar) of organic tomato sauce
  • either a block of parmesan cheese or a bag of fresh grated parmesan
  • 1 container of organic chicken broth
  • butter (I like the sea-salted)
  • 1 small container of heavy cream (I went with Hood).

And for the sandwich:

  • 1 block of cheese (I went with gouda, but you pick the kind you like best)
  • truffle butter (most Whole Food-like grocery stores will carry this, if not, then find a nice truffle oil and we can melt down the butter and mix this in)

    oh hey, little friend.
  • bread (Listen, we NEVER have bread in the house, so you know this is a big deal. Anyway, I went with a gorgeous Tuscan Pane White)

    best thing since betty white.
  • Optional ingredients I know my husband will request: tomato and/or any kind of meat.

As far as how much of what to add for the soup- I never follow recipes to a T. I always wing it for taste. Gordon Ramsey would be pleased. The only ingredients I actually “limited” before throwing into the crockpot were of the dairy and spice categories. I used 4 tbsp of butter and a good pour of the cream that probably amounted to 3/4 a cup.  The parmesan cheese I did a healthy handful…and then added some more. As for the spices, just add to taste.  It’s all up to you, really.  

To cook soup: add ingredients to the crockpot and set on high for 3 hours. I went ahead and blended all the ingredients (to make it a more smooth consistency, but you can keep it chunky if you like) in my Ninja after about an hour, and then added it back to the crockpot to continue to simmer. Add fresh basil on top to garnish.

For the sandwich, I would start by truffle-buttering one side two slices of bread. I might even use the truffle butter to oil the pan. Hey- I love truffles and butter, don’t judge. I think by this point if you don’t know how to make a grilled cheese from here then I certainly would be delighted to help you: butter-side-down bread to pan, cheese (add as much as you like), bread-butter-side-up. Heat on medium. I would do 3 minutes and then flip, making sure the butter side is again down (but you keep checking to make sure it gets a nice brown, not black). My husband would have me add two slices of tomato with the cheese, but I go with the basics.

to answer your question, yes, he wanted tomatoes. told you.

I suggest making more than one sandwich. Don’t worry, it will get eaten. Now serve, dip and enjoy.

 

enough!

I’m in an “accident prone phase” and I don’t like it one bit. Sigh.

I won’t deny that clumsiness runs in my family because it totally does. My father has had fireworks blow up in his face, my mom face-planted onto a sidewalk and my sister used to get into her own bits of accidents. I have done a damn good job of avoiding it, until recently. I have always believed that things come in 3s- and in this instance I REALLY need to believe that the third annoying, painful, frustrating and downright stupid third thing has already occurred. Meaning: I am safe now. Nothing else can go wrong.

Side note: I use to think that if you get pulled over by police for speeding, that you are solid for a while because you had your turn. I thought that, until I was pulled over 3 times, 3 weeks in a row. You might remember my letter (Well, okay, Laura’s letter) to the great state of Maine? 

I bring you to the phase: I have sciatic pain in my legs. It gets really annoying when trying to sleep, sit still at all, go to the movies, work, drive, etc. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. I know, I know “stretch more, Katie.” Yeah, no. Won’t happen. I can lie to you and say I will, but we all know I won’t.  Anyway, my father told me to buy this cream: Capsaicin. I have used it and while it burns like hell, typically it’s no issue for me. That is- until the phase started. I took a bath one night after work and applied the cream. No big deal. 15 minutes passed and I found myself standing over the freezer, putting ice on my legs. 20 minutes later- I find myself in the bathtub, with freezing water. All of a sudden, my face is equally burning. Brad walks upstairs because it has been a while since I have been seen. Where does he find me? Butt-ass naked in front of the fan in the bedroom- trying to get the air to blow on my legs that felt as if the skin was burning off of them, bawling. Awesome. And hot. (note sarcasm and the tricky pun I used there) “Did you get it on your face too?”  Yes, Brad. I did. Next thing we have Brad on the phone with poison control, trying to figure out how to make it stop. Note: there is no cure. You have to wait it out. Fanfuckingtastic.

Next portion of my phase was this past weekend. This is about 4 days after the Capsaicin incident. I was not feeling well at all, in fact, I even stopped at an urgent care on the way home from work Friday. Well, carry that feeling into the weekend. You with me this far? Okay, so Sundays are Brad’s “Officer Von Haden” days- leaving me home alone. Typically I will go grocery shopping, clean, do laundry, meanwhile binge-watching Netflix. Usually, I like my Sundays. Usually is over; I did not like this Sunday. 

Gunnar needed to leave for work and he asked me to move my car, as I was blocking him in the driveway. Sure. No problem! Well, my stomach had started to really hurt me. Like stabbing pain. I tried ignoring it, and decided that instead of moving my car, I would go grocery shopping. That made it worse. I got home and found myself laying down, trying to get it to pass. UGH.  My leg pain was making it hard to lay down. I shall wash the dog! This would help.

deep down, i know she loves baths.
deep down, i know she loves baths, despite the face i always get from her.
Washing the dog went fine, but she left a trail of water all over the house- that I could not see. Think black ice on a winter morning, but worse. 

black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term "black ice".
black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term “black ice”.
Fast forward to me, walking down the stairs, in flip flops… that hit the water, causing my feet to slide out from under me. The entire weight of my back SLAMMED on the stairs, and proceed to fall fast, SLAMMING me against the front door, one stair at a time.

Julius Caesar would have been disgusted, as I did exactly the opposite of him: I paused. I felt. I CRIED. I think I was hyperventilating by the time I was able to crawl over to the phone and call Brad.  You know that ugly 2 year old cry you never thought was possible past that age? Well, it is. As I am typing this, I feel the pain of my back, butt and the bruising all up my arms.

Feel bad for me yet? It gets worse.

Last night we got home from back-to-school shopping and dinner, and were all watching TV. I decided to get my bunny to snuggle with me before bed.  (yes, an actually pet bunny, this is not a strange nickname I have for Brad). Well, as bunny is being sweet, licking my neck, being the cute little woodland creature he was meant to be, I decide to give him a kiss on his belly. Well, before you think I am giving TMI of my snuggle-session, out of NOWHERE, Mr. Bunny decided to KICK. My face. My eye. I saw stars. Not wanting to draw attention to what just happened- I slowly get up and put bunny back in his enclosure. I then walk upstairs, and proceed to see blood and scratch marks dripping down my face.

Brad had no words when I called him into the bathroom other than, “you want me to take care of the bunny for you?” Nice. And no.

I’m going to go ahead and be more careful for the next few days. You know, until the phase passes.  Scarlet O’Hara said it best: After all, tomorrow is another day. 

that's all folks.
that’s all folks.

UPDATE: 2 days post attack.

#selfie #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown
#selfie #seriousface #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown

the first 24 hours.

The first 24 hours of owning a home were certainly not boring. I’ll explain in 6 instances.

1. It rained the morning of the close. I had this theory, like some people do with weddings, that if it rains, that must be good luck! Well, it rained. It eventually cleared up, but it was a wet start to the day- which ruined my “really good hair” I had planned on sporting when signing the dotted line 50 times- and also put a little damper in not getting our stuff wet. Bring on the good luck!

2. Most the documents had “Kathleen Schmidt” on them. I pointed out that it wasn’t my name, and I guess this was a big deal. So, other than the fact the closing went smoothly, there was a small delay as they fixed the name. Apparently, Siri has a cousin in PC computers, making typos for all the world to enjoy. 

3. There is a random sheet you have to sign that lists your public aliases on it. Interesting. I signed, but I am pretty sure that I am not the only “K Schmidt” out there, nor did I know I went by “K.” Guess my Men in Black career is done. They know who I am. 

Okay, I will stop boring you and get to the good stuff:

4. The oops I made. We ALL have dealt with service providers before and the complete road-rage-esque feeling when you have to get an actual human on the phone, a bill to be correct or an appointment to be on time. I’m always the one to set up utilities, so let’s call me a pro at dealing with these people and getting a desired result. OR I just yell until they fold. I was on the phone with 3 different people, 2 different times to get my wifi/cable/landline set up, initially. I thought it was set. Done and done- got an appointment for the next day between 8-10am. I was mistaken (kinda).

Fast-forward to next morning. I decide to call and make sure that we were on schedule. I call and get some guy who can’t pronounce my name, barely speaks English, and has no clue where New Hampshire is on a map.  He couldn’t find my phone number in their records, so I gave him the address- while also going up one side of him and down the other with frustration. I’m right, dammit! This is preposterous! There is a pause and the man on the phone gently states, “ma’am Time Warner Cable actually does not service that part of New Hampshire.”  Oops.

I’m quiet. “oh. Time Warner Cable, you say? Ha! I have the wrong number.”  I hang up, feeling like an asshole. Why, you ask? My appointment was with Comcast.

oops o͝ops,o͞ops/ exclamation informal
  1. used to show recognition of a mistake or minor accident, often as part of an apology.
    ““Oops! I’m sorry. I just made you miss your bus.””

5. Karma in the form of the totally paranoid and insulting Cable guy. Now, while I will forever and always immediately say the title “cable guy” in my head exactly as Jim Carrey says it in the movie, I don’t ever expect Chip Douglas to be standing at my door. That being said, I also don’t expect the super insulting, paranoid Comcast man either. Where do I begin? Well, he walks in and only actually seeing the staircase and one room states “Well, this house looks a lot bigger from the outside.” Thanks, jackass. You have seen one whole room, but I appreciate the judgement. He said some other comments while he was there, but I am withholding those, as I am still wounded. Bottom line: he was rude.

“Joe” goes to install the cable, wifi and phone. When he is done, he gave me this very long and angry nervous schpeel about how if I have an issue PLEASE call him and not Comcast. Something about how they dock his pay and black marks on his file. I got the feeling this guy gets more than a few complaints about him. He went on and on and on and on about it for a good 15 minutes. “Put my number in your cell phone” he commanded. “Uh, sure…” I put it in the “notes” section and not the address book. Take that, JOE. 

this concludes our broadcast day. click
this concludes our broadcast day. click

6. The million dollar dog strikes again.  This is how it went: I got home from bringing Brad a snack and running at the gym. All good. I let the dogs go out to pee. All good. I let the dogs in. All good. I fixed the dogs dinner. All good. I poor myself a well-deserved glass of champagne. Alllllllll good. Buddy starts doing the throw-up dance. Not good. I open the door to let him out. Not good. He comes back in. Better. He starts scratching something on his person. Not bad, but not better. I check him out, nothing. Better. I look at his face. Shocked. HOLY SHIT WHAT HAPPENED TO BUDDY! REALLY BAD. His face looked like he was the victim of getting hit in the face during a baseball game.

his modeling days are over.
his modeling days are over.

I race to the store to get Benedryl because Brad thought he must have been stung by something. I look like I’m abusing him in the parking lot, as I am not only trying to hold him down, hold his VERY swollen head, but also open his clenched jaw to put pills down his throat. Took me about 10 minutes, but I was successful. Poor Little Buddy.

In conclusion: I’m having friends over for dinner tonight to show them the new house. Let’s hope the next 24 hours go a lot smoother. Can I please have a glass of champagne now?!

By the way, does anyone remember which boxes I put my clothing in? 🙂 

fifty shades of horrible.

So, as I have divulged previously, I am a reader. I picture the story as a movie in my head and get lost in the words. However, I get nervous when filmmakers decide to cash in on a best seller. Don’t get me wrong, the movies basically raised me. While my parents were working, I was watching movies- yet I just can’t handle a bad adaptation from book to silver screen.

There is one exception: Fifty Shades of Grey.  Now, I know I wrote about my experience reading it, but I never told you my honest opinion on this work of fiction.

Putting all of Stephen King‘s work aside (because there is no need to explain how his cocaine-infused brilliance could never be depicted in film- you all know the films are a shy comparison), and forgetting how most of the fun plot lines in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter franchise were omitted (where is Peeves?!), I actually put effort into forgetting the horrible prose of E. L. James in the hopes that the movie MIGHT be halfway decent. This would be the ONLY instance where the movie could be better than the book. I was wrong. BOTH are horrible.

It has been a while since I read the books. I read all three of them in a week, with the last book taking the longest. I remember actually wishing it would end, but refused to be a quitter. I read until the end and believe I threw it. Done, I say! Be gone with you forever!

Not quite.

Side note: I have a strange memory, where I remember mundane details that no one else would bother. I’m fantastic as a trivia partner, but it makes it hard to slip anything by me. I know they compare “50” to Twilight, but she literally steals scenes and lines verbatim from the Thomas Crown Affair (circa 1999, not 1968) too. It drove me insane reading it. 

This morning Brad had to work early, so I decided to get up and be productive. What shall I do today? I shall go see a movie! I saw that there was a 10:05am viewing of “the film.” Fuck it, I’ll go. I saw Sex and the City and Pitch Perfect by myself, why couldn’t I see this one? I shot a text to Brad- announcing my plans and off I went!

the evidence.
the evidence.

I walk in to the movie theater and immediately feel like a pervert. Instead of going to the teenagers in the little box to buy my ticket, I go to the kiosk. No shame if no one knows, right? Now the thinking begins: do I get popcorn for a 10am movie? I haven’t had breakfast yet, so this counts? I walked towards the ticket-checking chick, who then lets me know that she doesn’t know if it’s good, to which I finish for her “because you are not 17 yet are you?” Inside thought: ahhh, I’m old. I’m that old 30something chick going to see the mommy-porn movie and I’m not a mom! 

I have to say that the previews were better than this movie. There was no chemistry between characters and about 45 minutes in I wanted to leave. I decided to stay. I waited a little longer- this hurts.  The casting was bad. The acting was “acting” (you know, when you can tell they are acting) and I just wasn’t lost in the movie. I didn’t expect to be running out- grasping for Brad to take me after, but I expected to feel something. Nothing. Watching this made me feel bad that Brad wasn’t staring in this movie! Why would I want to watch this cold, young horribly cast character, when I have the real deal at home?

I finally looked at my phone: 12:05! I had sat here for two whole hours and this flick is nowhere near done! I stood up, grabbed my water and left. I will NOW be a quitter with this franchise. This is two hours of my life I cannot get back.

Lesson learned: When every single one of your friends tells you they have no desire to see a movie, listen to them. There is a reason you are sitting in there alone!

I shall now finish my weekend Fifty Shades mortified, ashamed and appreciative that this book is finally behind me.

The End.

 

good karma.

kar·ma
ˈkärmə/
noun
  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
    • informal
      destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

If I can remember anything from high school, it was the sole value my principal was trying to instill into the student body: integrity. For some reason, this was the one word I remember from every single time he would speak. He was that principal who would make the varsity basketball team practice on one half of the gym, so his spoiled, obnoxious sons could take foul shots on the other half the day before a game. I once got yelled at and called to his office for calling him an asshole, during class, for saying to Vanessa Kermick that women were never going to be as smart as men. I’m not even a feminist. I just remember the look on her face when he said it, and the words came out. My point in telling you this is that my principal wasn’t the nicest man, but he did teach me about integrity. Regardless, the word integrity has become part of something I have always admired in people- and the most attractive quality someone can have. Good thing Brad has more integrity than anyone I have ever met. Perhaps that’s why I love him so much.

With integrity, comes living your life well. Brad said something to me once that has always stuck out. “At the end of the day, the only one who has to look in the mirror at yourself is you.” So, for the almost three years we have been together, I have striven to live my life with the utmost integrity. Not for the return on investment, but because it’s true. I’m the one who has to look at myself at the end of the day. I can’t tell you how fantastic it has been to smile every day I do so.

This past weekend, however, I have learned that my actions have resulted in FANTASTIC karma! I shall relay the past 24 hours to you, as it’s insane.

This weekend, we decided to go to see Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols.

Side note: The history of the name “Lady Antebellum” stems from pre-Civil War, before the north won and celebrating the south.  A little surprised that name went over so well, especially given the omnipresent racial war. Being I was raised in NH, I didn’t know the meaning of the Confederate flag, much more than that was the decor of the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee, but I learned very quickly the real meaning of it once college came. Don’t judge my lack of knowledge, my history teacher wasn’t that great- and New England tends to focus the curriculum on Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party.

just a good ole boy.
just a good ole boy. Never meanin’ no harm.

First act of good karma: I was looking for a hotel room in walking distance to the venue. Not only did someone cancel 5 minutes prior to me calling, but the woman was so nice she gave me an additional $20 off the room.

Second act of good karma: It started to rain like something out of a comedy. We got lawn seats, and of course assumed that we would be in the 20th percentile when it said there was an 80% chance of rain. I went to buy us ponchos and of course they had just sold the last one. Well, the woman behind the counter gave me one look, and simply reached into her bag and gave me her own poncho to take. “Seriously? What will you use?” I asked. “I have an umbrella.” I was in awe of her kindness.

advice: invest in an umbrella.
advice: invest in an umbrella.

Third act of good karma: I only got one poncho, so when I walked back to the completely soaked and smiling Brad, I had nothing to hand him, but the plastic bag the poncho was in. He smiled and proceeded to poke a hole and place it around his head. The people in back of us then handed him a brand new poncho to use.

Fourth act of good karma: 45 minutes in the pouring rain came an angle in our sight with an umbrella. “I have two extra seats inside if you would like them?”  So then our luck moved to the 4th row of the upper section- inside, out of the rain.

you deserve to be inside.
you deserve to be inside.

Fifth act of good karma: I had new earrings in- somewhere in between my dripping wet hair and the slow process of it drying, my earring ripped out of my ear and dropped on the ground. I found it within 3 minutes, directly in front of me.

Sixth act of good karma: I was waiting in a very long line, in the rain, for the bathroom. Upon entering, even though I was third in line to go, the women in front of me insisted I go- for no other reason than I made them laugh.

When things go shitty in your life you can get angry at the higher power or everything around you, even reflecting and blaming within, but it is these little moments of happy that give you hope that good karma really does exist. Either that, or I am one lucky girl.  If I am being honest, it’s probably a little bit of both.

Hope your weekend was as nice as mine.

 

 

 

 

obsessions.

Good morning! Sitting in bed, watching a rerun of MadMen and thinking about dinner last night at the York Harbor Inn’s Ship’s Cellar Pub. The food was amazing, as per usual, but it was the dessert that is lingering in my mind. So, I thought I would share that- and some other of my obsessions. Who knows, perhaps I will introduce you to something you didn’t know existed, or had yet to try. I’ll limit it to five.

Obsession #1. Flourless chocolate cake from YHI. After dinner, we ordered dessert to go. It came with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry sauce. Holy party in my mouth. Okay, I shared a couple bites with Brad- even though he had his own apple crisp. Dessert isn’t something I usually save room for, but in this instance- don’t mind if I do.

hello beautiful.
hello beautiful.

Obsession #2. J Lohr Chardonnay. The first time I had this wine was at a dinner with my roommate’s parents in Boston 2004. We were dining at Aujourd’hui, within the Four Seasons, before the Broadway show The Lion King. Looks like it’s just event space now, but it was a gorgeous restaurant. They ordered a bottle and I have been hooked ever since. It pairs wonderfully with seafood and Thanksgiving dinner.

buttery goodness.
buttery goodness.

Obsession #3. Fairy Drops mascara. I have very thick, but short lashes. These make my lashes look like I got extensions! Apparently, the Japanese are the best when it comes to mascara. Who knew?! I found this cute YouTube video, which tells a little more about it in detail. Take my advice and switch brands.

lashes for days.
lashes for days.

Obsession #4. Pinterest. Need a recipe? Want a new fitness routine? Don’t know what to wear to that party? Not sure how to decorate the house for Christmas? Looking for a quote or new book? Curious what common birthday gifts are for men? Pinterest. I love searching this site and getting lost in the pins. Next time you are at a loss for words: Pinterest will come to the rescue.

search. pin. like. share.
search. pin. like. share.

Obsession #5. Netflix. I was angry, along with the rest of the world, when they jacked the prices and decided to charge for the home streaming. However, I have had a change of heart and now I can’t stop watching it. Brad’s son, Gunnar, was nice enough to put the Xbox downstairs. We watch at dinner time. Okay, I might also watch/listen to it on my commute to work…which may or may not cause my data usage to equal that of an entire family plan. I can’t help it! Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are amazing! I’m honestly considering cancelling our cable, as it’s basically useless to us now.

“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.” -frank underwood.
“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.”                                        -frank underwood, house of cards.

As I lay in my bed, petting my golden retriever (who isn’t supposed to be in the bed, but as Brad is at work- he won’t know) and looking out the window, two thoughts cross my mind: Do I go to the gym and try out that new fitness plan I found, or do I go downstairs and watch more Breaking Bad? Decisions, decisions. Either way, my lashes will look fabulous.

Don’t you just love lazy Sundays?

when in doubt: consult with laura.

Okay, so since my horrible dining experience, it has been a while since something struck my fancy enough to post about- until today.  I’ll start.

On my way to work this morning, I had an inkling that I was supposed to attend traffic court today for a speeding ticket I was given back in January of this year.  I was positive the time was 1pm, so I went to work as usual for 8:30am.  Well, that little feeling in my stomach (I guess it was more my head because that would be strange if my stomach was talking to me) told me it might be in the morning.  So while driving, I waited until the court house was open (8am) and called. I didn’t get through until about 16 minutes later.

(8:16am) me: Hi! I think I have court today, but have no idea what time it is for, do you mind checking?  My name is Katherine Schmidt.

lady who answered the phone: “Katherine Schmidt? Please hold. Yes, I see your name on the list for 8:30am.”

me: Um. I’m in Scarborough at this point (40 minutes from the courthouse) can you tell them I am running late, or like bump me to the next time? (only I would say something like that) Or does it not work like that?

lady: Doesn’t work like that. Do your best to get here.

I walked in the door at 8:45 (yes I understand I probably sped to get to traffic court on time for a speeding ticket, but it was necessary and not ironic at all).  They had not called my name yet.  phew.  I will note- to the rather large guy who made the “great timing” sarcastic comment as I was standing in the hallway- mind your own business.  I digress.

Back story: I started working in Maine while still living in NH, so the hour and a half drive was killing me.  I decided to up my MPH to 85-90 and cut the drive by 30 minutes. I had not received a speeding ticket since I was 20 years old, so it never occurred to me that it was possible.  I mean, I’m driving to work- not trying to break the law.  Well, I got one.  Then another one a week later.  SERIOUSLY?! I decided to slow down, and seek guidance from my brilliant lawyer friend in DC, who HAPPENED to work with traffic related issues.  Can’t hurt to see legal counsel, right?  Laura (my brilliant lawyer friend) proceeded to construct a letter for me to mail to the state of Maine, defending my case. What I received back in my email inbox was nothing short of Pulitzer Prize winning legal jargon!  I immediately put it on my letterhead, and with and stamp and a smile it was in the mail! Ho-ray! I would be saved from the land of increased insurance and silly points on my license!

Fast forward to today. When they called my name, I was to meet with the citing officer. I walked over and immediately remembered how nice he was when he first pulled me over.  Well, as he was reviewing the ticket I see paperwork attached to my name.  I scanned the materials in his hand- until I saw it.  The letter.  OMG.  He has it. I froze.  He was reviewing it with a huge smile on his face.  When he was complete he gives me a look and says, “What would you like me to do?”  I told him I would gladly pay the fine, as long as my record could stay clean.  He agreed (as long as I don’t speed for 6 months). Success! I immediately want to call Laura at this point and express my love for her.

So, as I am waiting to get my final paperwork, I look up.  The officer is reading the letter again off in a corner.  Smiling. I’m telling you- it was an AWESOME letter.  I mean I didn’t even understand half of it to be honest. 🙂

You want to see the letter, don’t you?  Okay, okay- and you’re welcome.

January 4, 2013

To the Great State of Maine:

Please accept this letter as a proclamation of my protest to the moving violation citation #XXXXXX issued to me on the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013.  Setting aside issues of appropriate calibration of the speed detection device used by the citing office, I believe the illustrious and exalted State of Maine should release me from liability associated with the alleged violation of exceeding the posted speed limit on the basis that (i) I was operating my vehicle during rush hour traffic at the rate of speed considered by leading researchers to be optimal for improved highway safety and (ii) I have no history of prior moving violations.

First, Dr. Stephen Johnson of the University of Arkansas Transportation Research Center is the nation’s leading research expert on highway safety, particularly in the area of speed differentials.  Dr. Johnson’s research indicates that the vehicle interaction rate (aka accidents) increases by 227% for every 10 miles per hour speed differential present on rural highways.  Allegedly, (again I am phrasing this in the hypothetical as I do not accept that the citing officer had a properly functioning and calibrated speed detection device) my vehicle was traveling 14 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Considering this was during heavy rush hour traffic, I was simply operating my vehicle at the rate of speed which was the safest for the conditions at that moment and that was with the flow of traffic.  Should I have slowed the vehicle down to the rate of speed where the officers “gun” would have registered compliance with the posted rate of speed, my chances of being involved in an accident would have exceeded 227%.  Surely, the State of Maine has a history of making exceptions for law violations where common sense are safety are so obvious to reasonably minded folk that it far exceeds the impetus of the underlying law so much so that compliance with the underlying law becomes non-sensical and in fact jeopardizes our collective well-being.  For example, do we support the issuing of citations during a blizzard where the motor vehicle operator has slowed the vehicle far below the minimum speed compliance rules?  Certainly not.  The State recognizes that conditions demand safety to surmount pre-determined speed limitations which are designed to be in operation during usual conditions.  On the morning of January 4, I respectfully submit to you that I was simply operating my vehicle under conditions that any reasonable person would have deemed to be the safest which was the rate of speed with the rest of the heavy flow of traffic.

Secondarily, the State must consider my stellar driving record while operating within its boundaries.  As a frequent, if not daily, traveler of the great state for nearly seventeen years, I am immensely proud of my prior safety record, which fails to include not only any history of moving violations, but any trace of criminal activity whatsoever.  Surely, upstanding citizens with such a dedication to safety, so much so that they are willing to read and cite leading research from one of the most reputable transportation research centers in the world, should be encouraged to continue to travel on the State’s highways and not discouraged.  If I may be so bold I am, in fact, the sort of safe operator the State wishes to embrace.  Therefore, should the State wish to not outright dismiss the citation, I would suggest that we reduce the violation to a warning so that I may reflect upon this as a learning experience and we may all move forward…safely.

I would also like to note that the ticket issuing officer was very professional and kindhearted about the ticket and alerting me to the safety of the cold and its effects on the roads.  I was appreciative and, in return, I would hope the State would provide him with a properly functioning radar gun. It is a shame to have such a nice fellow be continuously wrong on how fast vehicles are traveling.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Katherine Dawn Schmidt.

My advice to anyone reading this that gets a speeding ticket: fight it with facts, wit and have an attorney (you know, if Laura is unavailable) construct it for you.  A smile won’t get you everywhere (trust me, I tried that first), but a brilliant retort just might.