Monday Memories

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about the time I got arrested?
It was February 15th, 2003. The United States was on the verge of starting a full blown war with Iraq. Most of the world was unhappy with this. So on February 15th, millions of people gathered in several different cities around the world to protest.

New York City was the only location out of all these cities that didn’t grant a marching permit. Everyone else in the world got to march, but not New York.

A few days earlier, I’d gotten on a bus and headed to New York to visit my sister. On the day of the protest, my sister, her boyfriend and I all packed lunch and snacks for the day, and bundled up as warm as we could, as the temperatures were sub-freezing. We started walking towards the protest area. Hundreds and thousands of people filled endless blocks, streaming out past the police barricades, going far beyond what anyone imagined. First Avenue filled up, and quickly people streamed into second and third.

We were desperately cold, but the passion I experienced at that rally is something I’ll probably never experience again. The sheer amount of people, the speakers, the puppets of Bush floating around, the clever posters, and the protestors lifting the police barricades and sending them overhead down through the crowd – it was hard to complain about the cold. I think people felt even stronger, perhaps more rebellious because we were the only city that wasn’t allowed to march.

Several hours later, the rally ended, and people started streaming out and filling the streets to go home. Inevitably, though, no matter where you looked, there was a group of people beginning to march. Peaceful marching, along the sidewalks – but still, it was marching, and the cops did not like this. They were not prepared for the numbers that they kept downplaying.

My sister’s boyfriend had left us to go to work, and feeling quite energized, I convinced my sister to follow one particularly large crowd. We marched past the U.N. building; we marched anywhere the police weren’t blocking, chanting anti-war slogans and feeling so full of hope. Eventually they started forcing our large group to break up, shoving their terrified horses into the crowds, blocking us with their bodies, telling us that we weren’t allowed to be walking on these sidewalks. Whose sidewalks?

We continued to march, turning corners and avoiding the cops. We played drums on anything we could bang on as we continued to walk, we became more and more invigorated as they tried to beat us down and separate us. At one point, we had to turn into a side street, and someone led us underneath very narrow scaffolding under a building where construction was taking place. There were about 30 of us on each side of the street at this point, and suddenly, we were surrounded by cops.

We tried to keep moving, but apparently the cops had a different idea. They blocked us from every corner, and we stood there in the cold, waiting. It took nearly an hour, but soon enough, a bunch of paddy wagons pulled up and it became obvious. We were being arrested.

Not one to remain calm in situations like this, my sister started freaking out, insisting we were getting out of this, making it seem like it was so much more than it really was. I explained to her it wasn’t a big deal – that obviously hundreds of us were being taken in and processed, and that no matter who she called; she wasn’t getting out of it. Some of the cops were assholes, but most were understanding. They didn’t want to be filling up the city’s precincts either, but some major asshole gave the word, and they had to follow orders.

I asked if I would be back to Massachusetts on time because I had to be at my job on Monday, and they said possibly. One by one, they took our names, hung our backpacks in front of us, hand cuffed us, and led us to the back of the police truck.

The separated women from men. There were about 6 guys in the front, who we weren’t aware of for a while, and 12 of us women. Because the arresting had become so widespread, they had no place to take us to. In below freezing weather, we all sat in the back of the wagon, turning numb, our shoulders aching, some of us singing beautiful songs, others screaming and breaking down, and others sitting quietly, not saying a word. There wasn’t a single source of light, as it was dark outside, so we were all faceless creatures with only voices to share.

We spent nearly 5 hours in the back of the wagon, and eventually figured out how to pry our hands out of the plastic handcuffs. We had to be careful, because we feared they could open the doors at any moment and we’d get caught. Those who had a hard time releasing themselves were helped by others. Some offered hand cream to making pulls the hands out of the plastic easier. Snacks were passed around, and some who could just not hold it any longer peed in a bag, the pee stream trickling onto the cold hard floor, some of us shrieking with amusement, others with disgust.

We banged on the door occasionally, demanding to know what was happening, explaining that we had to pee, we were hungry, cold, frozen-stiff. The cops really didn’t have a clue what was going on. All they knew is that they’d arrested so many people; they had nowhere to put us. My sister started screaming at them at one point, and one asshole from the outside responded “Well you should have thought about what you were doing” like we were two year olds. Crazy. Very often, people from peace groups or lawyers would talk to us through the wagon doors, letting us know they were working on helping us.

Finally, five hours later, were headed to Precinct 7. We quickly slid our hands back into the cuffs, hid all the evidence, and filed out of the wagon one by one. They put us in a large bright room, and couldn’t really contain us. We shared food, demanded to be released from our cuffs, and repeatedly asked to go to the bathroom immediately. They processed us quickly then, putting 4 people each in a cell that couldn’t have been larger than 8 by 8 feet. There was a cold, metal toilet in there, as well as a single short bench. They took our bags away and placed them on the walls opposite the cells, out of reach, and let us take whatever food we had in them to each. I was really thankful I’d packed lunch when they handed out cold cut sandwiches on white bread for dinner.

We all started to lighten up a little bit. We started singing “In the jungle” and many other songs. We cracked jokes that were truly funny, and we passed real food from one cell to another. Some people took out cigarettes and passed them around to our faceless neighbors from one cell to another. Hours passed, and one by one we were taken to be interviewed by someone who was possibly the world’s dumbest cop.

“Uh, what color are your shoes?”
“You mean the ones you’re staring at?”

“Ok, you’re wearing a…uh… sweatshirt?”

“So uh, what were you doing when you got arresting?”
“Walking.”
“Were you in the streets?”
“No. We were walking on the sidewalks.”
“Uh huhh…”

At some point, we really wanted something out of my sister’s bag which was against the wall opposite the cell. I came up with the brilliant idea of taking off a shoe, holding it by the shoelace, and swinging it through the bars to hook onto the bag. Once it was firmly against the bag, the plan was to drag it towards us and snatch some breath mints and a cell phone.

My sister failed terribly at her first time by swinging the shoe throw the bars and LETTING GO. We were now out one shoe, and everyone was laughing hysterically. I grabbed the other shoe before she could attempt again, and skillfully hooked the shoe onto the bag and dragged the bag nearer to us. We snatched what we wanted out of the bag and threw it back against the wall. One of the cops was really pissed later on when we asked for the other shoe – he couldn’t figure out why on earth we’d have thrown it out there.

The hours started to drag. They said some machine wasn’t working so that’s why it was taking so long to process us. Some of us tried to get comfy on the floor. We took turns on the hard bench. We talked to our faceless other cell mates about life.

Finally about 10 hours later, I was taken out. They took my picture and fingerprints and gave me a court date – ironically, the court date on a weekend that another anti-war rally was to take place. Finally, I was released into the lobby, where I found my sister’s boyfriend waiting for us. It was nearly 8:00 a.m. in the morning. We’d started this journey at 5 o’clock in the evening the day before. I was exhausted and famished.

For some reason it took another hour at least for my sister to get out. When she finally did, she was pissed as hell, because some officer tapped her on the head when she was dozing off and told her she’d have to “release” her shoe laces. ‘Cause, uh, she might suddenly decide to strangle herself or her cell mate after being in there for 10 hours.

We piled into her boyfriend’s car and he took us to a diner where we feasted for breakfast. We picked up the morning news paper and read the articles about our arrest, noting all the incorrect statements (the police department never wanted to admit that they arrested well into the hundreds of protestors) and we called our parents to let them know that we’d gotten arrested (because they knew we were at the rally) and that we were out and fine. My father was so proud – he really got a kick out of his two daughters being arrested in New York City.

On the bus ride home back to Massachusetts, I slept like a baby.

What happened later on at the court date (the day after the second rally I attended that year) they simply told us to stay out of trouble for six months and the records would be deleted from our files. The city essentially wasted millions of hours in man labor and court dates and whatnot because they didn’t want us to march through the streets of NYC.

Some people make it their life to be passionate and peacefully protest and get arrested. Unfortunately, reality gets in the way of life sometimes, and I really don’t think it does one any good to spend hours in a stinky jail cell – who are you teaching a lesson, anyway? From then on, any time I went to a rally, I was extra careful to just glare at the cops, and not to anything outrageous like, say, walk on a sidewalk in a city.

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How To Make Grapeleaves OR Proof That I’m An Idiot

You’d think the last think I would be do when visiting a chiropractor for a very painful shoulder is sit down and roll grape leaves. But why would I RELAX? That would be insane. Because I love you all, here is a picture essay depicting how to make grape leaves.

First you throw together 1.5 cups brown rice, 1 bunch of finely chopped parsely, 2-3 small roma tomatoes (minced), chickpeas, lemon juice, arabic pepper, sea salt, red pepper and a little bit of olive oil.

Rinse and drain the grape leaves.

Layer the bottom of pan with a few leaves, sliced onions and carrots, and potatoes too. I didn’t have any so I didn’t use potatoes.

Lay out a grape leaf, cut the stem, bang on the thick veins with the back of a knife, and put a spoonful of the filling lengthwise in the leaf.

Fold in the edges and then the top, and roll the leaf all the way down. Layer every rolled grape leaves on top of the veggies in the pan.

Experience excruciating pain in your shoulder.

Fill the pot with water and tomato paste (I just used water cause I’m lazy) to cover the grape leaves. Once the water boils, invert a dish on top of the grape leaves and place a heavy mug or can on top so they don’t float. Simmer 40-50 minutes or until rice is soft inside of the leaves. Put the leftover rice filling in a small pot, cover with water, and cook. The rice alone makes great leftovers.

Banana Bread

We’ve got the first of two six-hour natural childbirth classes tomorrow, so I decided to make banana bread. I needed something easy to snack on during the day, and filling, because I have a good feeling we’re going to lose Todd at some point during this six hour class if he isn’t constantly fed. Tonight I’ll be making a repeat of the stuffed shells to take for lunch.

I loosely followed this recipe with variations to make it healthier. I just tested a piece and it is moist, lightly sweet, and delicious. I don’t bake very often, and try to avoid whole wheat flours in general, but the occasional exception is fine. I used whole spelt for this bread. It is lighter than whole wheat.

Here’s the recipe that I adapted:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 unsweetened applesauce
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened plain soy milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I probably would have used a whole teaspoon, but I ran out)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Mash the bananas and add all the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. I used a 9×5 loaf pan, and as you can see it rose beautiful. Baked in the oven at 275-300 for at least an hour and a half. (I prefer to bake banana bread at longer and lower temps – I think this is what helped the bread come out so moist).

Oh, I also threw in a couple spoonfuls of raw unsweetened coacoa bean nibbles. It gives the bread a nice little crunch. Yes, baking with really expensive raw coacoa beans is kind of stupid.

This is really easy to make and quite delicious, I encourage you to try it. Of course you can use sugar or maple syrup instead of agave nectar, and regular flour instead of whole spelt – but why would you? 🙂