Mr. D’s Cafe (Deluca Toyota)

No.  Really. Bear with me for a moment.

Y’all know how I love my car, right?  Her name is Lola and she’s a lipstick red, convertible Solara.  There was a problem with the dashboard cracking and peeling and about a year and a half ago, I got a notification that it was being recalled and to register with Toyota.  I was thrilled that they would repair it at no cost to me and I proceeded to wait.

Last week, I got the call and made an appointment to bring the car in – they told me it would take about 2.5 hours.

I brought books, my iPad, my phone, and showed up at the designated time.  The dealership is beautiful, but still, who wants to wait that long?  I figured it was worth it, however and settled in.  about 1:30 I started to get hungry and decided to try the cafe in the dealership.  I’d heard nice things about it, but I really didn’t believe that I’d be impressed.

I was wrong.

First of all, the people are so friendly and inviting – the menu is very eclectic and there’s quite a lot to choose from.

I went with the Highlander Panini. Thin sliced turkey with pesto and garlic aioli, melted cheese and caramelized onions with a side of German potato salad.  The potatoes were delicious and they were seasoned perfectly with just the right amount of parsley. But the sandwich.  Oh. my.  Gooey, yummy – absolutely delicious.

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While I was eating, they were talking about the “marion berry” dressing.  Of course, I couldn’t resist in asking what that was and instead of explaining it to me, the proprietress created a small plate for me to sample it – apparently it’s their “Field of Greens” salad and it was out of this world!  Mixed greens, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, candied pecans and bleu cheese, with this crazy good dressing.  Apparently marion berries grow in Oregon – I’d never heard of them, but that was delicious.

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Lunch was a mere $9 – including my bottle of water and it was worth every penny!   I would absolutely go there for lunch even if my car wasn’t being worked on.  Friendly, delicious, warm and inviting.

To make things even more interesting, every Friday that have Maine Lobster Rolls – they fly real Maine lobster in over night ever Thursday night, pick it up at the airport and make the rolls that morning.  When they’re gone, they’re gone, so they suggest you call and reserve yours on Thursday.

Rest assured I will be doing just that, very soon.  I’ll keep you posted. Check them out and tell them Christine sent you.

And look at my beautiful, new dash!

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CoSchedule

This is such a great resource – I’ve been using it for about a year and I just love it. Recently they made some changes and upgrades and now it’s even better! It really frees me up to create content and not spend all my time promoting it. There’s a free 14 day trial, so there’s absolutely no risk.  I thought I’d share with you, my CoSchedule review.

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar For WordPress Really simple to use, set up your account, install the plug in and get started. In your dashboard sidebar, you’ll see a link for “Calendar”. Hover over it and you have a few choices, Calendar, My Activity, My Team, Settings, Need Help and Open in Web App.

Getting Started with CoSchedule

Click on Calendar and start scheduling posts. This is a great area to brain storm post ideas, titles, series, etc., and to really commit to an editorial calendar. Drag and drop functionality makes it really easy to rearrange your scheduled posts and social media messages and have everything in such a visual format is a huge help to me! (Bonus: here’s what I’ll be writing about the next couple of weeks!)

CoSchedule with ChristineLeiser.com

I love that all your previous posts show up in the calendar when you look back.  Makes it really simple to promote your awesome content again to people who might not have been following you when you originally posted it!

Teams with CoSchedule

Have a team of writers for a blog?  You can add all the different authors and control what they each see, if you’re the account holder.  Very robust settings make CoSchedule highly configurable and therefore, super useful.

Social Media

My favorite part about CoSchedule, has to be the social media settings – this app differs in how customizable it is!  Set up Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Tumblr, and Google+ (through Buffer).  The great part is that each message can be different on each network, really allowing you to speak in your own voice for each audience.  Timing also can be set individually.  Post your article on Monday, automatically set up to Tweet on Monday, Facebook on Tuesday, Linked In on Wednesday, etc.  No more going back each day to rebroadcast your content.  Set it once and you’re done. I find that to be such a help in promoting my content, leaving me free to create more wonderful content!

Awesome Integrations

If that weren’t enough to convince you – the integrations surely will.  CoSchedule integrates with Bit.ly, Google Analytics, custom analytics, Google Calendar, and Evernote (Y’all know how I love Evernote!) – making it super easy to track your links, your page views, and more to help you really understand what content is successful, what your audience responds to, and where you need to focus to reach and connect with your tribe, fully.

Integrating with Google Calendar makes things really clear for me.  I have quite a few different calendars, color coded, and I can see my posts, and social media strategy, right next to my appointments, work schedule, client meetings, coaching sessions, family time and more.  I was surprised that by laying it all out visually, I actually was inspired by different ideas for topics and blog posts which is something every writer struggles with and I’m always looking for new ways to inspire the creativity and find topics relevant to my clients and prospective clients, readers, and tribe.

I really appreciate a good WordPress tool.  They’re are different tiers for what you need, start for as little as $19 a month.  Even less if you help to promote (which I totally did).  No contracts, cancel at any time.  I just love it.

Check out the video and go set up an account.  Let me know what you think, or if you have even more inspiring ideas to share!

All opinions are my own.



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Hudson at Waterway East

Last week I took a trip to Delray to see my mother. I was road tripping with my son who is going to stay with his grandmother for a while and we were looking forward to the trip.  Google maps said it was 257 miles and I was a little apprehensive about driving so far, through areas I’d never been.  I abhor traffic.  Like, road rage abhor and I was a little worried.  Turns out I was worried for nothing, the ride was a breeze and we made it in about 3.5 hours with one pit stop. When we got there, we were starving, a little road weary and very, very thirsty.  My mother had planned to take us to her favorite restaurant, but when we called to make reservations, the message on the voice mail said that they were no longer in business.  Not sure where else she should take us, I suggested that there had to be something on the water and I’d love to sit by some salt water for a bit. We drove down to the beach and found a spot that looked very promising.

Hudson at Waterway East

A beautiful place, large, airy, beautiful wood bar – and a gorgeous deck with a beautiful view.  I would have loved to sit outside, but it was almost 100 degrees and the air conditioning felt too good to leave.

Our server, Amanda, was delightful, very friendly, funny, and willing to answer my 80 million questions.  The menu wasn’t very big, but there were quite a few really interesting choices.  Apparently, the executive chef is the Season 9 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, but I don’t watch that show, so I have no idea who he is.  I do, however, know that he’s a very talented, creative chef and there’s a delightful quirkiness to his food, as well as a great sense of humor.

I had the Mahi Fish Tacos (I’m obsessed with fish tacos), napa cabbage slaw · sriracha lime emulsion · pommes frites.  My only complaint was that the slaw was really just dry cabbage with avocado, I would have loved it if the lime sriracha had been tossed in there as well, but I removed a lot of the cabbage, squirted the lime and it was delicious.  The fish was fresh and firm and the Sriracha lime emulsion was delicious!!  The pommes frites were perfect!

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My son chose the French Dip which was outstanding.  The bread was the perfect blend of toasted, yet tender and it was piled high with ribeye · caramelized onions · provolone · pommes frites, served with a yummy au jus.

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My mother went for the Hudson Burger which was out of this world.  Caramelized onion marmalade · fontina · applewood smoked bacon · lime & black pepper pommes frites – easily one of the most delicious burgers I have ever tried.

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And the view!

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Travis and his Grandma

We will definitely be back!

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Applebee’s In Ocala

My daughter has been obsessed with the commercial for Applebee’s and the free french fry refills (we love fries). So last Sunday, we were looking for someplace to go for dinner when we remembered the commercial that had us longing for crispy fries. We drove over to Applebee’s and were surprised when we walked in – the entire place had been remodeled.  It still has the same areas, but there were lovely banquettes in the bar area as well as the hightops that I love.  We got a table and started to look over the completely redesigned menu and I have to say, we were overwhelmed by the amount of choices.

Our server, whose name I regrettably can not remember (because she was awesome!), came over and we ordered margaritas and bloody marys – (It’s two for one).  The margarita was a little sweet for my liking (I’m a purist and really just want tequila, triple sec, lime juice and salt), but our dinner companion liked it just fine.  The bloody mary however was incredible!  Our server told me the secret was that she added A1 sauce as well as Worcestershire – whatever it was it was delicious, spicy, peppery, juicy, with olives and celery. It really hit the spot!

When we finally decided what to eat, which took quite a while, especially for me, we decided on:

Three Cheese Chicken Penne – but substitute the chicken for Salmon –

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The Mushroom Swiss Burger

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Shrimp and Sirloin Parmesan with broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes

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I have to say that normally, I’m never happy with chain restaurants – but this was definitely an exception.  Everything was cooked perfectly, the service was phenomenal and that burger was the best burger I’ve had in a very long time.  The prices were very reasonable and we even enjoyed the piped in music!

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Easy Gazpacho

This was so good that I don’t even need to tell you that it’s vegan, healthy, gluten free,  and that the only carbs in it come from the veggies and fruit.  But it’s true, so I’ll tell you.  Do not miss this cool, summery, Easy Gazpacho!

  • 1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and very rough chopped
  • 2 red bell pepper very rough chopped
  • 11 (that’s what I had left) peppadew peppers
  • 1 large cucumber (I like the English cuke for this, skin on – but any really good cucumber will do) halved length wise, very rough chopped
  • 5 tomatoes seeded, very rough chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion peeled, very rough chopped
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic (or 4 regular), very rough chopped
  • 46(ish) oz. of good vegetable juice – check the ingredients list – we want this healthy and fresh!
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper (I like the mixed)

The best way to do this is with a food processor – Get it out, with the big bowl attachment and put a large pot with a lid on the stove.  You will not be heating this pot at any time. (I know, so easy, right?)

You’re going to want to do this in batches as the different textures of the produce will have different results and times in the processor.

Process the melon

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

until it’s in small chunks and transfer to the pot.

You can process the bell peppers with the peppadews and transfer, then the cucumber and transfer…

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

The tomatoes and transfer…

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

Then the onions and garlic and transfer…

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

And add the vegetable juice, olive oil,  vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

Cover and refrigerate, overnight to let the flavors blend.

Ladle some into a bowl and serve.

Gazpacho from ColorMePink.com

Perfect with a salad on a hot summers day. Next time, I think I’d add some cilantro and sliced avocado before serving.  Surprisingly filling too.



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Some of the Coolest Women on the Web

Full disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, some aren’t.  ALL are programs, products, women I believe in, whose work I use and recommend whole-heartedly!  Enjoy!

Coming to the end of the year – I can’t believe it! – and as always it’s time to reevaluate, reconsider, dream, scheme next year’s plan,  and acknowledge the year that has passed.  For the third year in a row, I’m using Leonie Dawson’s  Gorgeous Planning Calendar!  I love this planner – it’s so thoughtful and beautiful.  I print it on really nice, 28 lb. paper so that it feels good under my hand and this year, I put it in a disc bound binder -I’m also a member of her “Amazing Biz and Life Academy” and I love it!

In joining the Academy, I’ve come across some really beautiful, interesting, brilliant women who have wonderful offerings.  I thought I’d list some of them here, for you to go off on your own journey.

Gorgeous Mermaid, Kris Oster Enchanted Circle Group.  I’m just finishing up her “Bewitch” course which has been an amazing journey of self discovery and the excavation of my soul’s path!

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Maria Bovin de Labbe Drummer. Artist. Teacher. Passionate Creative. Gorgeous artwork!

Kate from Daily Tarot Girl is a delight!  Daily cards, weekly readings and a post every week from her shadow, Veronica Noir.

Wonderful Dominee of Blessings Manifesting  – Monthly Challenge – Gorgeous Freebies – Self Love Planner… Her chakra challenge was awesome and I highly recommend it.

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy – Yummy crystal videos, courses, lots of great information.

Filipa from The Nature Freedom whose Living Nature eCourse, I’m currently taking (and loving).

So there are some of the coolest women on the web.   Do you have any to add?

 



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Kick N’ Back Cafe

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A while back, I took myself to the beach.  It’s about an hour and a half from my house and the drive has some gorgeous, scenic routes.  Basically, you drive through the Ocala National Forest and there’s plenty of beautiful, lush foliage and quaint little towns and places to look at.  I passed a place called the Kick N’ Back Cafe – about 25 minutes from my home and made a mental note to go back there, sometime.  Turns out, the next day was “sometime” and Haley found ourselves with time to kill, hungry and looking for something different.  I suggested Kick N’ Back – and off we went.

This place is a little gem – it looks like a tornado picked it up out of the Keys and set it down in the middle of the forest. Everything is painted the bright pastels that you expect to see in Southern Florida and there’s plenty of seating inside and out.  There are lots of little touches all over the restaurant and Haley and I spent a great deal of our time pointing things out to each other.

I’d heard about this place from a few different people, but everyone I spoke to loved it and now I know why.  What an adorable place, the people could not be friendlier and the food is quirky, unexpected and really good.

I had the Redneck Eggrolls which were stuffed with pork, coleslaw, and yummy BBQ sauce, then fried crispy and served with a side of BBQ sauce.  Really not much to look at, but delicious!

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Haley had the garden salad topped with blackened mahi, which was fresh, crisp, and also delicious.

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Now, y’all know how I love condiments, right?  The best thing about this place was that there is no shortage of condiments here – all made in house, everyone that I tried, delicious.  Hot sauce, salad dressings, all home made.

I have a friend who swears that the Cuban Sandwich here is the best he’s ever had. And after Haley and I told my husband that they had Conch Fritters, he started going every chance he had. He says they’re terrific. Their desserts are made on site as well and though I didn’t try it, I may have to go back for the Key Lime Pie.

The people were super friendly, the place was adorable, and the prices were very reasonable.  There’s lots of room to hang out, outside and I could totally see this as a Sunday afternoon hangout.  As a matter of fact, who wants to join me there this Sunday?

Outside

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Kick n’ Back Cafe

352.289.4069

14400 E Hwy 40
Silver Springs, FL 34488

Kick n' Back Cafe on Urbanspoon



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It Appears As Though I Took the Summer Off

Wow.  So much has happened since my last post – which, unbelievably was in June! It’s been a crazy summer here as I reinvent myself, yet again – and figure out what I want, who I want to be and how I might best serve.  It’s been an emotional, spiritually charged summer and while there have been many changes, I like to think that we’re headed in a positive direction. As a back to school, back to reality token, I’ve created a new eBook – Seven Easy Steps to Cleaner Eating. It’s written for those of us that are having a little bit (or a lot) of a hard time figuring out just where to start to make the changes to bring your kitchen, life, family, and self into a healthier direction.

I’m offering the book at a very discounted price of $.99 for my readers.  It probably won’t stay that inexpensive for long, so let’s see how it goes, shall we?

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It’s an easy payment with Paypal that links you to an automatic download once the payment clears.   I hope it helps and I hope we can get reacquainted for autumn!  Hope your summer was spectacular!

And just a reminder, my cookbook is full color, chock full of recipes, and free, just for signing up for my newsletter, so if you haven’t already – I’d love to have you jump on board!


Subscribe and get all the recipes from ColorMePink! in an eBook.



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Relish

noun

1. liking or enjoyment of the taste of something.
2. pleasurable appreciation of anything; liking: He has no relish for obscene jokes.
3.  Cookery.

  • a. something savory or appetizing added to a meal, as pickles or olives.
  • b. a sweet pickle made of various vegetables, usually chopped or minced.
  • c. an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
4. a pleasing or appetizing flavor.
5. a pleasing or enjoyable quality.

6. a taste or flavor.
7. a smack, trace, or touch of something.
verb (used with object)

8. to take pleasure in; like; enjoy: I don’t relish the long drive home.
9. to make pleasing to the taste.
10. to like the taste of.

 

Relish.  Just the word, evokes all kinds of feelings.  To relish is to is to take the time to truly enjoy something, to savor whatever it is, be it a moment, a taste, a feeling.  As a food, it reminds me so much of my grandmother. She loved relish and pickles and I don’t know whether it would be accurate to say that she instilled that love in me, but we certainly enjoyed a lot of relish together.  We put it on and in, everything: hot dogs, hamburgers, tuna salad, chicken salad, salami sandwiches, ham sandwiches, deviled eggs, of course tartar sauce.  Honestly?  I could eat it with a spoon.  In recent years, I’ve taken to buying the relish or sweet pickles that were sweetened with Splenda in an effort to avoid high fructose corn syrup – but I didn’t love that idea either as I like to keep things as natural as possible and I’m of a mind that these fake sugars aren’t good for us either.  I don’t relish (ha! see what I did there?) the idea of making my own pickles, though, so I keep looking for alternatives.

A few weeks ago, I spotted Wickles Relish on the top shelf of my supermarket and on impulse, I reached for it. The ingredients list was a welcome surprise!  No yucky stuff in there. I bought a jar and we went home.  That week we had the relish on hotdogs and I’m telling you, there’s something special about this relish.  It tastes like your grandmother made it. It tastes fresh and real and has this ever so slightly, spicy kick.

And for those of you who use Buycott:  Look!  No conflicts!

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Today I had gorgeous Ugly Tomatoes, ripe avocados and Haley was clamoring for her favorite food (bacon), so we put together this BLT Salad but without the cucumber and with avocado.  Haley took care of everything*, but the dressing.  This was outstanding.  Fresh, beautiful ingredients in a meal you can feel good about. I can’t seem to get enough of the tomato/avocado combination and the dressing with sriracha, Worcestershire, and that lovely relish.  Just, yum.

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Disclaimer: Wickles, in no way compensated me for this post – I just love the product and wanted to share.  However, if they wanted to send me a case of stuff to try, I wouldn’t turn them down!

*Tomorrow’s my birthday and the kids are being pretty nice to me.  Helping, doing chores without being asked, Travis even mowed the lawn and skimmed the pool!



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Courthouses, Old Wounds, & Letting Things Go

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in courthouses.  When I wasn’t being pulled from one or another parent’s home, I was in trouble for truancy, running away and was certainly considered a “Person in  Need of Supervision”.  I’m not mentioning this so that anyone will feel sorry for me, or think any way about it, it’s simply a fact.  As such, I never knew, when I entered a courtroom where I would be going when court was over.  My mother’s house?  My father’s?  A relative’s?  Foster home? Group home?  State run juvenile facility? Wayward Home for Girls? Yes, I really did spend a year in a “school for girls”, court appointed, a ward of the state.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounds and I’ve left most of that part of my life behind.  No grudges, no blame… Do I wish it had been different?  Maybe, but I do believe that everything I’ve ever done, everyone I’ve ever met, everything I’ve ever been through makes up who I am now – and I’m OK with who I am now.  More than OK with it.  There are a couple of residual things that sneak back into my life on occasion… I startle very easily, I jerk awake if there’s a noise that’s outside of ordinary, I can’t sleep with a bedroom door closed and I hate courthouses. I really hate courthouses. I’ve avoided them at all costs through the years, paying tickets I didn’t deserve, letting things go that were pretty egregious, because the idea of entering a courtroom was more than I could bear.

In the past year, I’ve been “invited by the universe” to look at this and been given the opportunity over and over again to put it behind me.  Each time I’ve tried – but in the end, chickened out.  Last May I received a speeding ticket, in a known speed trap and I believe I could have had it thrown out.  I planned to go, really, but on the very last day, I called the court and paid the fine.   Then over the summer, I received a parking ticket in a spot that was not clearly marked and as a matter of fact, since I received my ticket there has been a new sign erected there, clearly stating, “No parking here to corner”.  I was the last ticket issued there before the sign.  Again, I meant to fight it… I did.  I know I could have argued effectively against the ticket.  And again – the very last day, I paid the fine.

Then, in November, I went through a red light.  I knew it – the yellow light was so fast that there wasn’t really much time to stop, but I could have.  I could have jammed on the brakes and although it would have been uncomfortable, I could have done it.  It was at an intersection with a red light camera and I remember releasing a string of obscenities when I’d realized what I’d done. I went on with my life and waited for the ticket to come in the mail.  This time, I was wrong… clearly.  I would have to pay this fine, but no ticket ever showed up.  I Googled red light camera tickets in my area and read that people were fighting them and that the counties were shutting them down and I figured that they had turned this one off… The fine would have been $156.00 and I would have paid it.  In January, I received a letter by certified mail, informing me of my infraction and stating that my fine was $268!  I was outraged.  I called the county where I was supposed to pay the fine and told them the story – the woman there said that there had been lots of problems with these tickets and that what I had received was the second notice including the inflated fine.  She told me to call the town where the ticket was issued – that their police department could help me.  When I called there, the woman said that I had been sent a first notice (really?  I never got it) and that I had to pay the fine.  I called the county back and requested a hearing; all the while hyperventilating.  I called my husband, who’s very familiar with my courtphobia and told him the whole story.  I told him that I clearly needed to get over this and move on with my life – you know, in between sobs.

The hearing was this morning, so last night I took a “sleeping aid” so that I could stop hyperventilating and maybe get some sleep.  When I woke this morning I was strangely calm.  I took a shower, got ready and drove myself to the courthouse.  I didn’t know where to go and no one seemed to be able to tell me, but still I didn’t panic.  I got a “You Go Girl, You Got This”™ phone call from a great friend and I agreed with her, I did have this.  I finally found the right area, and when they started to call names, I got slightly panicked. We were all ushered into a courtroom and the man (not a judge, a “hearing officer”) hearing the cases didn’t look like an ogre at all. The first case was heard and after a long drawn out story, the hearing officer said, “So you never got the first notice and you just want to pay the original fine?”  The accused answered affirmatively.  He was asked to sit while they got his paper work ready.  “Is there anyone else who didn’t received their first notice and just wants to pay the original fine? If so please raise your hand”.  I raised mine.  He asked my name, called me up to the, what is it, a podium?  They have mics, did you know that?  I didn’t… He asked me to confirm that I, indeed, wanted to pay the original fine and did I agree that I had run the red light – I did.  He asked me to sit with the other gentlemen while they got my paperwork. It took about five minutes.  I received the paperwork and then the weirdest thing happened. They let me leave.  Yep, they let me just leave.  On my own recognizance. OK, well it’s not really on my own recognizance as I’m not awaiting trial or anything like that.  But they let me go home. No petitions, no group homes, no foster home (Ha!  Foster home at 47 – that would be interesting) – and I know it sounds ridiculous – but that’s really what I’ve been afraid of all these years. I walked to my car, called my friend to let her know I had survived and said, “and they let me go” – and she said, “that’s what happens to most people when they go to court”.  Huh.  Imagine that.  And then I cried.  Right there in the parking lot of the courthouse, I cried.  I cried in relief, I cried for that little girl who has carried this with her for so many years, and I cried because I knew I had finally put this behind me.  And I moved on with my life.  I picked up my groceries, ran to the fish market, did laundry – all the usual things that I might do in a day.  And nothing had changed even though I spent a small part of my morning in a court room.

 



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