Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 224-230 5/4/15-5/10/15 "Mothers Day without You"

Day 224 5/4/15
Dukats went out last night and my name wasn't on the list to see committee this week, have to wait another week. Some of the women that I came on the bus with got a dukat and get to see committee this week. That was frustrating especially because half of them don't even want to go to camp, but I am keeping my head up and remind myself everything happens for a reason. Chris and I are at the rec yard at 8:30 am; at aerobics by 11 am, followed by the gym and sometimes back to the rec yard. Spend most of my day just exercising and getting ready for camp.

Went to education today to try and find some classes to take, first teacher we talked to told Chris and I we were "not stupid enough" to take any of his classes, did he really use the word "stupid"? Yes he did! I am very rarely offended but was so offended with his comment, I get it most of the women are not very educated, without a high school diploma or GED, but maybe try and change that and get them the basic education so they can function in society and stay out of prison.

Day 225 5/5/16
Got a job in the kitchen today, I work the breakfast shift, it requires me to get up early but I don't mind. For working in the kitchen you get the "extras" any food left over from breakfast we get, along with two lunches. I am not really interested in tons of food but will gladly take the extra fruit and any protein I can get. I am burning way more calories then they are feeding us.

Spent the day exercising again, out the door at 8:30 every morning, it is really nice to be out all day. I have a good routine going and I love having phone calls everyday. The days are going by much faster.

Went back to education today and talked to a different teacher, she was much more helpful she runs the college classes, I got signed up for two classes for the summer session, once completed I earn two weeks of milestones. You can earn up to 6 weeks of milestones a year, and each milestone is a week off of your sentence. I am trying to do everything I can to earn those 6 weeks. I have two weeks for the college classes and I earn another milestone for completing fire camp training. Three weeks down, three more to earn. They offer other self-help classes, most of them are six weeks long or longer and I won't be here long enough to complete them and you are unable to take them at the same time as camp. So it is a struggle to earn the extra milestones and be in fire camp.

Day 226 - 229 5/6/16-5/9/16
Have a regular routine going, working in the kitchen every morning, working out, going to aerobics, reading, watching TV in the afternoons, making my daily phone call, walking in the evenings, then off to bed to wake up and do it again. No one wants to be here but I am making the best of it. I am in a good place, happy, pushing through every day, looking forward to getting to camp. Camp is my final stop before I get home. It can't come fast enough.

Day 230 5/10/16
Happy Mother's Day! Wishing all the mothers a happy mothers day, especially the ones that are not with their children right now. Today is a hard day but I'm staying busy to keep me from dwelling on my situation. I know my kids are safe, loved, and well taken care of and as a mom that is all you can ask for when you are unable to be with them. Being away from my kids is hard, my son and daughter are my life, and being away from this just reminds me not to take things for granted. To enjoy the little things in life and don't miss out on the small stuff. All those times I was to tired, too busy, the not now later, you want to take them all back. I'll never be to tired or to busy ever again. As a mom you think back to the climbing all over you, the little toddler pulling your hair, hitting your leg for attention, the "mommy, mommy" I need juice, I want a snack, I'm hungry, the whining, the crying, the fights, the tantrums, it drives you crazy but when its gone you miss it. I would give anything to hear my kids fighting and arguing, the loud noise of them running in the house and playing. I miss tucking them in, watching them sleep, the hugs, the kisses, and the I love you's. I love being a mom and wouldn't trade it for anything, I can't wait to get home to them.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 222-223 5/2/15-5/3/15 "Visiting Day.........finally"

Day 222 5/2/15
After breakfast I get ready to go to the rec yard at 8, Chris and I are going to work out with some of the other campers today. We are tying to find out what the workouts are and how the program works.Both of us want to get out of here and off to camp as quick as possible.

Before we can even start the program we have to wait to see committee, and get officially classified and endorsed to camp. This usually takes two weeks, of course more waiting. Then once you are endorsed and "officially" classified you have to wait to start the training. It has been 8 months just to get to this point, at this rate I am going to be released before I ever get through the process.

After you are officially classified you wait for your dukat to start PFT (Physical Fitness Training), this is part one of the fire camp training. PFT is 6 weeks of intense training from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm Monday thru Friday, exercising all day long. Most of the women complain about it, how its hard and they hate it, PFT is hell. Of course it is; imagine going form sitting in a cell, laying around and sleeping  12 plus hours a day to exercising for 6 hours a day. Some of these women have never exercised a day in their life, others are so over weight and out of shape I am not sure if it is even safe for them to be exerting themselves like the training requires.

After the 6 weeks of PFT, you test out. The test consists of a one mile run in under 9:30, do 50 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, boxes for 5 minutes on each leg (up down on a set of boxes for 5 minutes without stopping, at the required pace) and a three mile walk in under 52 minutes.I can easily take the test now and pass, but the program no longer allows you to "test out" and skip PFT, everyone has to participate in PFT.

I just can't wait to get going, and get to camp, I'll use this time to keep working out while I wait for committee.Now that I know what the test is, I will start practicing.

Day 223 5/3/15
Visiting day is today, I have been waiting for this day for a very long time. I am so excited, the last time I saw my family was back in January. I can't wait to hug them, its been just too long.

All the excitement and anticipation comes crashing down as I found out that its a non-contact visit? What!?! I am standing outside the visiting area while the officer goes and double checks, that it is a non-contact visit, I am standing there just thinking about my family, my husband and kids driving all the way here and they don't even get to see me except through the glass. How upsetting, disappointing, and crushing it is for them. At this point I don't even care its through the glass I just want to be able to talk to them and see them, of course a hug would be better. Just seeing them and talking to them longer than 15 minutes (phone call time) is incredible for me. I don't think the experience was the same for them, we had a lot of catching up to do so it was nice just to talk and talk and talk to them. The situation was not ideal, but it was better then nothing. I left feeling great, after 4 long months of being without my family to see them and spend time with them; even if it was through the glass it meant a lot to me.

They Say: You don't know what you had until its gone. The truth is you knew exactly what you had; you just never thought you would lose it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 219-221 4/29-5/1 The Bus Ride to CIW, the next chapter begins

Day 219 4/29/14
Happy Birthday to my sister and friend! I love and miss you. Thank you for always being there for me!

I could hardly sleep last night, the anticipation of finally leaving left me restless and excited. I got my wake up call at 3:30 am, I got ready and was at R&R (receiving and release) by 4 am. There was 33 of us heading to CIW (CA Institute for Women). It was a long process in R&R, we had to get cleared, fed breakfast (peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch), changed into muumuus, chained (wrist and ankle restraints), and then seated on the bus. It was 7 am by the time all 33 of us were on the bus, and it was almost 7:30 am by the time we actually left the prison and got on the road. They assigned us our seats so there was no choosing where you got to sit or who you sat with. I was toward the back of the bus, no window seat, and I sat with Top Model. Top Model was a runner up on the show America's Next Top Model, just shows you shit can happen to anyone. Top Model was nice. I knew her from A-yard and we got along. We are both tall so the ride was very uncomfortable for both of us.

The rules were simple, no talking when the bus was in motion. It was a very long, hot and quiet ride. We had to stop at McFarland to pick-up two more women, that stop only added to the length of the trip.We were given peanut butter and jelly lunches, we had nothing to drink so I was very dehydrated. I tried my best to sleep, but the bus was really uncomfortable so it was difficult. We finally arrived at CIW around 3 pm. Just when I thought it was almost over, the long drawn out receiving process was just getting started.

It was very hot (high 90's), I was tired, I was hungry, and I was getting a headache. We were not done in time for dinner so it was peanut butter and jelly again. We had to watch an orientation video, get our property, we had to see the doctor, we had to meet with the Sargent for housing assignments, it was just a painful slow process. As usual a lot of waiting around, the prison motto "hurry up and wait."

I was exhausted, my stomach hurt, my head hurt, I just wanted to get finished. It was 6:30 by the time we headed to our housing assignments. The campers (women endorsed to fire camp) are housed in CIW's old receiving facility, as the campers are kept separate from the general population for training. The receiving facility is old, dirty, and beat-up. The housing unit has two day rooms, 4 hallways each containing 30 (2) man cells with the cop shop (the office/bubble where the officers work/sit around) in the middle, we have are own chow hall and kitchen in the building along with a yard in the front and the Cal-Fire offices and classroom across the way. I was assigned to hall 2, room 139, as I come down the hall I am greeted by Adrian, it was so good to see her. She is only three doors down from me. Adrian helped me clean my room, gave me some clothes, found me a pair of workout shoes, and gave me the rundown of how things worked at CIW. At CIW  you no longer have to share a room with 7 women, only 1, but the best part is the windows that open so you can actually have fresh air come through your cell.

My roommate is Boxer she came on the bus with me, she is 21 and from LA. We unpacked, made our beds, showered, and off to bed. We were exhausted I was out in seconds of my head hitting the pillow. It feels good to finally be here and getting this journey started, the sooner its started the sooner its over with.

Day 220 4/30/15
Day one at CIW, I was up at 6:30 am for breakfast, orientation at 7 and out the door by 8 to pick up my state issued clothes. I didn't waste anytime, I was off to the track, went to aerobics class, and checked out some books from the library. It felt incredible to be out all day and feel productive. It also feels good to just be closer to home its still a 90 minute drive but its better than 6 hours. I got a phone call into my family, enjoyed the rec yard after dinner and am looking forward to a visit this weekend, its been 3 1/2 months since I have seen my husband and kids I can't wait. I have not felt this good in a long time.

We are out of our cells most of the day, they open the doors at 6 am for breakfast and they stay open all day. We lock down at 3:30 for count, then we have dinner and the unit is open until 8:30 pm.

Day 221 5/1/15
Today is annual TB testing in all the women's facilities so we are in lock down until everyone has been tested. I finally get here and we are in lock down, but of all the places to be locked down I'd rather it be here. They finished by 11 am and they release us from lock down, so Chris and I are the only crazy ones that go to the track and go running its 90+ out, its hot and there is no air conditioning, but I don't care just to be out feels amazing.I'm looking forward to my visit with my family this weekend.