Saturday, December 31, 2011

And the answer is......

New Year's Eve....I cannot believe it. Last week, I was furiously trying to finish preparations for the Christmas holiday and now it is all over. Last night Buddy commented that the decorations should come down after the Epiphany (Little Christmas) at the end of next week. Naturally, he will be back in school and would not have the privilege of helping me to take down the 9 foot tree and outdoor lights. Guess what Dude? Tag, you're it....I am looking forward to dismantling the holiday decorations with my children almost as much as they are....

Onto the the big mystery: "What is wrong with my shoulder?" Yes, it was time for BP mom to take the trip to college and have a thorough conversation with the orthopedic doctor and his sports medicine fellow. Not the type of conversation where I ask how his holiday was...but the kind in which I basically say, "you have had two months to deal with my son's shoulder...he is not any it time for me to go over your head?" His eyes opened widely when he saw dad and me sitting in the exam room with the big leftie. Yes, sir, we are here and not leaving until we have answers.

As Buddy described his pain upon motion, the doctor did a pretty thorough assessment and still did not have answers. Then it was time for the MRI discussion....yes, he should have a MRI and we will schedule it after the new year...."Uh,'s do this have had this kid's arm on the exam table since late October....let's confirm the diagnosis..." Oh yeah...did I say the word "today?" I think so....BPM was taking no prisoners....LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION....

And so, the doctor ordered the MRI and we went to the scheduling desk. Once again, we were not going to take 'no' for an answer. The test was to be done now as I kept my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed. Abby, the girl at the desk was trying to convince X-ray to take Buddy immediately. She would say: "uh huh....uh-huh...hmmmm....." Nothing....Dr wants it....."hmmmm....OK..." Nothing....Then she said, "well, he is a university athlete..." "2 pm....great...." And so, ladies and gentleman...those are the magic words at this university...."he is a university athlete." they hold more value than Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid combined. Those words are more desirable than Liz Taylor's jewelry or money in the bank. The words open doors like nothing I have ever seen before and holding them in my memory, I will use them at another point when I need them.

We had two hours to kill before the test and went to one of Buddy's favorite Mexican restaurants for lunch. As we sat there, I watched two massive burritos that had to be held with two hands, eaten by Buddy and his dad (it was pretty grisly. I had to turn my head). Even eating at his favorite place, the big kid was quiet. It seemed that the doctor had mentioned surgery as an option and that if the MRI shows calcium deposits or a labral tear, he would be out for the year. This was not a good scenario. Nor was it confirmed, but the word 'surgery' was all that he heard and could not get it out of his head. I told him to think of his 'happy place'...It seemed that relaxation visualizations led him to picture a scalpel and sterile operating room rather than a warm and sunny beach. I could tell that he was extremely upset.

The only thing that I could think of to take his mind off the MRI results was to find him a Hershey's Cookies and Creme candy bar. It's his favorite and perhaps this is all that I can do for him besides pray (which is ongoing).

Naturally, the candy bar lightened the spirit for 30 seconds and he went back to being despondent as we parked the car at the hospital's MRI parking lot. The test would take a few hours once he had to be injected with dye. As the technician took him back for the injection, dad and I sat there not talking....just sitting....and hoping for the best. He came back after 30 minutes with a pained look on his face....apparently they had to stick him several times with the needle which did not please him. At least he was not like Tink who had kicked the doctor after she was given a shot. He took it like a man (I think). Then it was time for the MRI and I exited. I felt that dad and Buddy could handle the rest of the day without my interference, so I drove home.

After the test, they walked back to the doctor's office and he read the MRI in front of them. With great anticipation, the three of them plus the sports medicine fellow stared at the images. Surgery? no surgery? tear? tendonitis? malformation? calcium deposits? physical therapy? cortisone shots? Come on, man! What is it?

The answer is...drum roll please!......"no labral tear...some calcium although not enough to cause pain....tendonitis.....To treat the issue, ibuprofen and rehab...that's it...

I do know a few things about tendonitis and it can be tough to treat although not impossible, and take a long time to heal. Honestly, he did not offer anything else except rehab. This leads me to ponder the question, 'is that it?'. What about massage? Should he throw? How long is he out? When should he see you again? There are still many unanswered questions and I am not sure how to react.

And there you have it....a confirmed diagnosis, yet treatment is still fuzzy. Pop said that Buddy should buy a new pillow and not sleep on his left side....Interesting...perhaps one of the best pieces of advice given in the last 24 hours. Never mentioned by the doctor, what if all it took was switching sleep positions and another fluffy pillow? Wouldn't that be a hoot? All the time and money spent on diagnosing and rehab-ing the problem and all he needed was a $24 pillow with feathers rather than foam? Pop, you may be a genius....

Have a wonderful new year and be safe!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Highs, Lows, and Resolutions

New Year's Day is on its way. Time is going by so fast. When I was a kid, I could not wait to be 13 'cause I believed that life began in high school. Then I wanted to drive, graduate high school and go to college. I accomplished these goals and more over the years. Now, I want time to slow down a bit. It's time to sit back and relax and reflect on the year...the highs and the lows....lows....lows...

There were so many highs in 2011. I started this blog to set the record straight about Buddy and his climb in baseball. Boy, were there highs and lows over these years. Recalling the years of development and what he had to do to be noticed by a division I school made me realize that he is a bit of a hero. I think that a hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. In my mind, he never gave up...verbally, he may have sounded off a few "I quits" and expletives but the negative comments and shots that he took especially from his peers made him stronger. He is a different person than he was in high school as he is more determined than ever to succeed. I wish him the best as I continue to support him while sitting in the stands and by the telephone. He knows that he can count on BP mom to stand in his corner and be his 'wing man' should he need one.

Then there is Tink...Tink who has taken a back seat on her brother's journeys. She, too is a hero, as she works diligently toward her goal of being a preschool teacher. Starting college, she studies more than Buddy and I have combined. Dad did not need to study, 'cause he is blessed with a great memory and common sense. The rest of us have the challenge of trying to focus on our tasks and retain some knowledge for testing and passing courses. Yet, Tink works furiously as she sits in a corner of the house (there are at least 4 desks that she can work from, but she prefers the corner of the living room) and tries to figure out college math. Sadly, I am not the person to help her through this journey, since I am pretty sure that the calculator was invented for numbskulls like me. Tink gets a high five from me and a high paw from Diva Dog.

Some of the 2011 lows include Buddy's hair raising line drive to the face in which I saw his and my lives flash before my eyes. I do believe that his guardian angel deflected that ball, 'cause it was headed for disaster. The fact that he was able to move let alone stand up after the hit was a miracle. Amen....

Another low has been the living situation with LW. Oy! I hate saying that I was right...but I was right about this with a narcissist can lead to nothing but trouble. I am hoping that 2012 is one that brings this young man some peace in his life.

As we look to the next year, I am a tad worried about Buddy's shoulder. I know that tendonitis can take a long time to heal, but the season is set to begin in 6 weeks in Tampa. He needs to work on his curve ball and throw without pain. Tomorrow, dad and I meet with the university's specialist to go over the diagnosis and plan. Knowing my son, he will want to return to pitching sooner than later which can only aggravate the shoulder. Let time heal this wound, please....

Do I have any goals for the upcoming years....besides sanity, perhaps? Sure...I am going to take one day at a time and be the best person that I can be. I want to be as helpful as possible to the people that need me and stay positive and upbeat. I would like to pay the bills and lose ten pounds. Further, I would like peace on earth and lower taxes, affordable housing for the poor, and enough food in the soup kitchens to feed the hungry. Also, I would like for once and for all, for the concept of global warming to be defined...what exactly is it and do I really have to give up using hair spray? Am I really leaving a carbon footprint? And can someone define carbon footprints? Another resolution.....clean my shoes to eliminate my carbon footprint....

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Contentment and happiness

Good Morning...Big Sis posted on her facebook: "Contentment and happiness is everyone under the same roof...." Boy, is she right...think about it...When a member of the family is missing, a piece of your heart is missing, too. That's what I am feeling right now as Buddy is at school working at a baseball camp. It infringes on my time with him and I feel a bit cheated.

Ouch! When did this feeling start? I am not really sure since I am accustomed to not having him around the house, but since it is the Christmas season, I really want him home if only to text him that dinner is ready, make his favorite foods, talk to him through a closed door, and empty the checking account at the food store. I have run out of peanut butter, paper towels, small bottles of water (the empties are under his bed), gasoline, and toilet paper. Truly, this makes me very happy. Although he is only gone one day, I miss having the big and ofttimes grumpy guy around the house.

It's funny, but when my kids are happy, I am happy....Consequently, when they are sad, so am I. Is this psychotic or what being a mother or human being is all about? During his formative years, the big kid would have issues with friends, kids at school who were bullying him, and teachers. When he had a bad game, I would sweat it out with him. When they would cry, I would cry too....what an emotional mess of a person I am or am I?

yeah, that's right....I will go on record right now: "I am an emotional mess when it comes to my children...." and I will not apologize. The way that I look at it is that they are my gifts and as such they are my treasures. The material possessions rank far far far below the gift of my family. If it meant all of us staying together, I would live in a box over a vent with them (hopefully, I would have one of those coats that Good Morning America collected over the holiday season).....nevertheless, together, through thick and thin is what it is all about. Going to every game whether he plays or not, sitting through Tink's choral recitals or's just being together that is what makes life so special.

Although I do have one funny story about one of Tink's musicals, Once Upon a Mattress. Buddy, Big Sis, and Tuna (who was 9 at the time) attended the afternoon showing with me. At intermission, Tuna stated: "I hope that they sell bullets at the refreshment table, 'cause I am going to kill myself...." In other words, the musical was so bad, that Tuna was looking for ways to get out of watching the end of it. I laughed at his remarks, but wondered how I could escape too.....nope, can't do it, I the to stay until the bitter end.

There you have it...through the good and not-so-good....togetherness is now taking on a new definition. It is newly defined as a 'state of mind' since we no longer live under the same roof. Togetherness is the psychic and emotional connection that you have with the person that you love. Whether the person is playing video games in the basement, at school studying algebra, working at a camp, or traveling with a baseball league, I have to adjust. A child growing up is inevitable and desired. Therefore, it is up to me as the mom to help to make the transition from living comfortably at home to new living arrangements to be as smooth as possible. However, first, I have to adjust my own mind and prepare for this inevitability. Bear with me...this may sting a bit....

Have a good day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Look out

Cloudy and overcast and Buddy is hitting the road and heading back to college for a few days to cover a baseball camp for the coaches. Yes, he will be paid...further, he is one happy guy to leave and return to campus although he will miss the boys. Last night they were in the basement playing video games and hooked up Tink's Dance Party III game....I could hear the laughing from the second one is allowed to know this...but they love the game....I could envision them dancing to the oldies and having a great time while looking over their shoulders to make sure that no one was watching the fun. From what I understand, there is video of the evening and someone will pay the price when it hits Facebook. I am always glad when the guys stop by especially this week since they polished off the rest of the Christmas cookies (whew!).

Now, however, before he left, we had to make some strategic plans. As he packed his clothes in his ever reliable hefty bag, we had a conversation about what to do about his arm pain.

Yesterday, he threw his typical bullpen session and had shoulder pain...not the excruciating, need morphine stat kind of pain, rather it was stiff and sore which should not be the case. Obviously, the kid has not completely healed from his tendonitis and will need more therapy. Perhaps, he does not have tendonitis but something more insidious. I am not sure whether I trust the university physicians at this time because the pain is not gone yet and they have had two months to figure it out....therefore I have to get involved and have asked Buddy to make an appointment with the doctor this week and I will be there....look out...BPM, not Santa, is coming to town. Guess what? I am no longer Christmas week exhausted and my mind has begun to fully function and I have a few probing questions to ask this physician. So, look out, gang...momma is not going away until her questions and concerns are answered.

Consequently, I have to first sit back and reflect on this entity...perhaps the doctors are overworked and not treating the athletes as individuals. Their goal is to get them back on the field as soon as possible even if it may mean playing with pain. Some of the pitchers had surgery the past year and are not throwing until they rehab...which could mean up to a year. What is this 'win at all price' mentality? In the end, aren't they really losing because the players may be permanently harmed by the inappropriate overuse of their arms?

I understand the intense desire to play BUT not at the risk of long term damage or surgical repairs. Let's be real is a game...True, the kids want to be major league players but their careers will be over if they are permanently injured.
Hmmmm...what to do? There has to be a balance between the number of innings thrown and adequate rest...

And so, I will wait until I hear from the big kid as to when he has scheduled the appointment. If I do not receive the answers that I seek, then I am taking over....yes, the person who took him out of the locker room when he had been violently knocked down with a line drive to have a cat scan. I actually care about the kid and his future, therefore, I will be an imposing force of a strong hurricane wind....They will not know what hit them once I finish with the group...that is...physical therapists, trainers, and physicians. I want a diagnosis that has been generated by the analysis of tests, a plan for PT, rehabilitation, and a long term strategy to prevent re-occurrence.

Lemme tell ya: "My momma did not raise a fool..." BPM is on a mission....take cover!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The day after.....

Oh boy...the day after the big anyone tired...more tired than normal? There are many things that I missed as I sit back and reflect on the frenzied week and doubt if anyone noticed or cared besides myself. For example, I forgot to send cards to a few family and they care? Does it matter? I doubt it in the long run.

Christmas Day was the climax of two months of anticipation. What do I mean by "two months?" Well, I began to see decorations in the mall, receive e-mail notices, and hear Carols in late September. I had not bought the Halloween candy and the Christmas Shoes song was on the radio with the announcer asking the audience when we want to start hearing the 24/7 holiday music. Is this crazy? You betcha!

Then the music began and I tried not to notice....seriously, if I hear Paul McCartney's Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time again, I will pass out. It has to be the most overplayed, horrible song on the Christmas list. Other BPM bad and almost UN-listenable songs include: Karen Carpenter's (sorry)Merry Christmas Darling, Alvin and the Chipmunk's, and Grandma got run over by a reindeer. And now, it is more holiday cheer...back to normal and wondering when to take down the sad.

To boost the spirit back to holiday level, I will share the details of the first annual ping pong tournament. It was a highly anticipated event as dad and Buddy ran off to Dr G's during the day to practice. In their minds, they were favored to win. But I began to think that there would be a dark horse victor and I was right.

We were the first family to arrive at the party, so Buddy and I played a practice game and I smoked him...boy was he peeved! I began to feel confident knowing that I took down one of the biggest challengers in a preliminary match up. Then the actual matches began...As the brackets were played, winners and losers emerged. I won my first round match against Big (and I mean Big) G. Big G made a tactical error when he prematurely considered himself a winner. In a rookie mistake, he began to gloat when we were tied at 10. Then he proceeded to hit the next two balls out. I moved into the second round to face another competitor, Buddy. he had worked his way into the next round in a quick match against a 12 year old. The kid had no chance and Buddy was not even going to give him a point...OY!

As I waited for my next round match, I made a huge mistake....on hindsight, what was I thinking? I must have lost my head and all sensibilities as I sat down in front of the hor dourves and ate my body weight's worth of brie and crab dip. naturally I had to wash it all down with a Merlot or two...or possibly three (I wasn't driving or was Christmas....). Then it happened, I was called for my next round match against Buddy. He was fueled on Gatorade and I had one or two glasses of wine. Did you know that you can lose your ability to react after a few sips of wine? Further, you can lose the competitive spirit when you have had a few more sips and so I was toast and knew it. He won easily even after I beat him earlier in the day.

As the tournament moved on, Buttercup's boyfriend, Da Coach began to dismantle his competition. He even beat Lil A (oops). She ran to the bathroom and I thought that she was having a meltdown. She emerged in a few minutes composed and ready to play Wii. Disaster was averted. Then it was time for the finals of the tournament and the opposing players were dad and Da Coach....It went down to a tie-breaker and Da C won the first annual tournament. As he made a speech, he gave the trophy and money back to Lil A who grabbed it with great excitement. I whispered in her ear...."give him the trophy, but keep your $20...." which she did and ran up to her room to hide her money. Game, set, match...a successful tournament....wonderful it is time to clear away the boxes and move back into reality. Buddy wants to spend his gift cards before he forgets about them, as if that would ever happen.

We have made a pledge that we are going to have a cookie-free house once the current batch is gone. I have to now squeeze myself into my sweatpants and hit the treadmill.....have a great day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

As Andy Williams has sung a billion or more times: "It's the most wonderful time of the year....."

Happy Christmas! It's a beautiful morning in the northeast and I would like to send a holiday shout-out to family, friends, and BP mom readers. The day is here and I must say that it came and is almost over. I am trying to enjoy every minute and still in my Christmas morning robe and slippers.

We went to Mass last night in the chapel of the retirement home for Roman Catholic nuns. During the first part of the evening, the Sisters sang and read from Scripture. The second half was the Christmas Mass. As the congregation began to sit to listen to the sermon, the priest said: "Merry Christmas, there is no sermon." I looked at Buddy and the big kid pumped his fist in a gesture of thanksgiving and was a Christmas miracle...

As we walked to the car, I mentioned that his now favorite priest was ill and on kidney dialysis. Almost on beat....he said: "he can have one of mine...." Was he kidding? No? Yes? Hmmmm.....another Christmas miracle...

After a quick trip to Grandmom's for a toast and holiday cannoli (the first of a few), we worked our way home and to bed before midnight....another holiday miracle....

Opening the gifts has been a bit odd as the kids grew. In the old days, I would have to wait it out for them to finally fall asleep. Sometimes, Tink would come into my room in the middle of the night and land up in my bed because she was so excited. Then Buddy would hear her because he never fell asleep and would want to run downstairs and start opening gifts. My rule was not until dawn...which came very very early. I would then end up in his bed trying to keep him in it and hopefully watch him fall asleep. Everyone would finally sleep for a few hours except me because I was in the fetal position in a toddler bed with my head resting on a Beanie baby monkey named Bongo. The first glimmer of dawn came and boom! Chaos! It was truly a memorable and wonderful day for all of us.

Now we celebrate Christmas at Uncle G's and are preparing for the ping pong tournament. Dad and Buddy want to sneak into Dr G's house while he is in the operating room this morning. Yesterday, Buddy went over and practiced. His great motivation is the $20 dollar prize money and the trophy. The trophy itself is about 6 inches tall and not very impressive. Really, the tournament is about bragging rights for a year. Lil A, Tink, and Buddy made sponsorship signage for the living room as well as the bracket of tournament play. Lil A also created a sign that had words of encouragement. I think that she is the most excited. She actually took $20 out of her wallet, and placed it in the cup of the trophy. That's where the prize money came from....I did not want a 9 year old to place so much of her own money as the prize but she insisted. She thinks that she is going to win with her patented "spin serve". However, Buddy is more than motivated because he wants the money to go to Mexican restaurant Chipotle with the boys.

Now here is the dilemma...Lil A put her money into the cup for the winner. She thinks that she is going to win...the rest of us are afraid that if we win, she will get upset and her day will be ruined. What would you do? Would you throw the game so that the kid could win OR do you 'school' her and teach her a lesson about overconfidence and competition? My vote is the former...come on...she's a little need for us to show that we are bigger and stronger....let's show her that we are good and decent people...let the kid win....She can have her money back and the trophy....after all, she is one of the sponsors, it's her house and table....come on gang....lose one for the Lil 'gipper'....

And so, it is time to take the turkey and ham out of the oven and wrap the few remaining presents. Christmas family time is set to begin at 3 pm, which really means 3:30-4p....they are always late.....which is fine, because I expect it and am grateful for the extra moments to prepare.....however, once the day is done...I mean really opened, wrappings cleared and bagged, toys lost or broken, dinner served and not eaten because there are too many cookies, dessert (a cannoli or two...come on! It's Christmas!), kids and parents falling asleep in front of the fireplace, and the lights on the tree twinkle, it will be my time.....

My time begins once the party is over.....As everyone snuggles at the end of a fast paced holiday season, I take the last hour of the day, pour myself a drink, and sit in front of the manger to reflect on the real meaning of the season. It's not the chaos, gifts, and's family, friends, giving of yourself, and the time that you spend helping others. This is my time to ponder and be grateful for the multitude of blessings. I am blessed beyond belief with family and friends and will never forget to thank the sleeping Baby in the manger.....the greatest Christmas miracle of all......

Peace to you all......

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Greetings

Merry Christmas! I would like to apologize to my Jewish readers for not wishing them a Happy Hanukkah on Tuesday..where was my head? Oh, I know...a 7.5 hour meeting....yes, Christmas week and we had an all day meeting. At first, I cringed, but it was actually pretty productive, so I will go on record as reporting Christmas week meetings can take your mind off the unfinished preparations.

However, let me share with you my day yesterday. It was not as I written in the blog. The plan was to meet Scooby at the mall to pick up Tink and Buddy's presents that she bought for me, then run to Sam's with Dr. G to help with his holiday party needs. I was going to be home by noon. It was a great deviations.....

As fate would have it, the road to the mall was closed indefinitely due to a pretty bad accident, so I turned around and never met Scoob. Dr. G and I planned to meet in the morning and then he called as I was turning the car around on the expressway (a feat that is not for the faint of heart), and shared that he had three simple surgical cases to finish before meeting me. Perhaps it would take two hours. I was cool with waiting for him, 'cause I was still not finished with my shopping.

Well, one hour turned to two, then three, then four. I was still waiting for him since I did not want to go home and go out again. I stopped off to exercise and continued to wait. After the grocery store, I really wanted to be home. Five hours away from gift wrapping, cooking, and baking was too much and I had my schedule printed on an Excel worksheet and did not want to deviate from it. This is the time of year where I am not very flexible and have to achieve my goals. The elves took the holiday off and they are working in the North Pole, so BP family's holiday was up to me. Was I up for the challenge? You bet!

So I turned my sleigh loaded with food and gifts toward home. Five minutes before pulling into the garage, he called and was finished. Do I still want to meet? OY! This deviation was not on the schedule. The whole thing would have to be amended.

Sure, no problem...but I asked him to come and pick me up, 'cause I was tired of driving in the traffic. I decided not to start a project since I knew that he was on his way. What I did not know was that he was going to take two hours to get to the house. Fortunately, while waiting I made Granny and Ice's chicken tortilla soup which had 75% of the family doing cartwheels around the kitchen. The other 25% had a ham and cheese sandwich and refused to try it. The soup has amazing flavor and has become 3/4 of the family's favorite meal.

As we sat down for soup, Dr. G finally joined us and was no longer interested in going to Sam's Club. He and Lil A were headed for sushi. Double oy! Oh no you don't...I have been waiting all day for you, I changed my schedule...check out the red ink on the spreadsheet..... We're going to Sam's....and you are going to like it! By the way, before I arrived home the first time, I stopped at Sam's for a rotisserie chicken for the soup. I am sure that the door guy is going to laugh at me when he sees me coming back in only a few hours but it is Christmas and we want to be prepared. I must note that going back may have been an error, because I purchased more gifts as I walked around with the little family.

With that said, Dr G bought what he needed as we browsed through the bakery, frozen foods, and cheese sections. He loaded his car up and headed for sushi, while I turned the key to the car and drove home. That's right, I doing so, he and Lil A could go out to dinner without having to drive me home. As I arrived home, everyone was in their rooms doing what they like to do at night....sleep or watch television....There was no one there to greet me as I slowly walked into the kitchen...the Christmas tree lights were on...the first floor was was time...a little late, but it was time for a little holiday cheer. Breaking into the box of wine, I sipped my glass of vino, stared at the tree and turned on a Christmas movie. It was the perfect ending for a not so perfect...yet fun day....

Have a wonderful Christmas...we're off to see the elderly nuns in their retirement home...they have the best and most moving Christmas eve Mass....Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two places at once.....

I am quickly running out of time. No, I am not finished with preparations. I looked at the kids' gifts and think that they need a bit more. What is that all about? Aren't I the one who is trying to abide by the true meaning of the season? Am I a hypocrite as I run to the mall, Sam's Club, and vegetable stand for dinner and produce today? With the unwrapped presents scattered over the floor in my office, I have not exercised for a few days. What is going on?

Actually, I know what is going on...I am a victim of consumerism and sinister marketing strategies. That's right....I have not evolved since I watched the early McDonald's advertisements on television and immediately felt that a quarter pounder with cheese and french fries should be my birthday dinner. I have to buy named brand bread, cereal, and chips. Aren't they all the same? What's the difference between a Herr's potato chip and a brand that I never heard of? I ask you, how did I fall so hard and deep that I cannot pull myself out of this downward spiral? I can only answer this question if I head to therapy...perhaps after years of peeling away the layers of my mind like an onion, I can figure it out.

And so, I have to meet Scooby at one mall in 30 minutes then Dr G at Sam's club in 90 minutes after he finishes surgery. Can I do it? I think so...I was born to compete. I can be at two places at one time....what modern woman can't? I will leave Tink, Lil A, and Buddy to clean up the house (right....) and throw on the track suit. Not the velour one like my Uncle T wears (major fashion faux pas) but the one that has racing stripes on the legs like Sue Sylvester on Glee. First, I have to put on the Adidas sneakers.....Got to run, Scoob is waiting.
Have a good day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Annual Holiday Classic

The big day approaches and I have not completed my goals. I need boxes...imagine, I must have had zillions over the past year and they are gone. So I have to run to the Dollar Store to actually buy them. Further, I am going to pick up the trophies that I ordered for the family holiday ping pong tournament.....

What did I say? It's true. This year, I am sponsoring a ping pong tournament at Dr G's and actually created an advertisement banner to display over the living room window (like Nike or Adidas). Perhaps you need the background information here....My youngest brother, Dr. G bought a house a few years ago and has not completely furnished it. He lives the life of a typical bachelor and therefore has some frat house decorating sensibilities. For example, last year, Santa gave his daughter, Lil A a ping pong table. The table was immediately set up in the living room and has stayed there with no ambition to move it anywhere else. I could never get away with this decorating idea, but Dr G has and it is a pretty neat addition to the first floor. Therefore, with parties and gatherings, people congregate around the table and have a few games.

With the number of people in our family who will be in attendance at Christmas dinner, I thought that it would be fun to host a tournament...everyone plays...single down after cannolis for the trophy and bragging rights. In my mind, I plan on winning the tournament, yet, I have some fierce competition from bro-in-law Big M who grew up with a table in his basement. Lil A and Dr G have the table in the living room for practice sessions and Buttercup's boyfriend, Da Coach is also a ping pong native. So, I have great competition....and these people are real competitors. They would take their mothers down before they would acquiesce a point. I can foresee the need for a mediator....perhaps, we can have Grandmom or Grandpop be the official referees for the tournament.

The games will be 11 points and win by two. Trophies for first and second place will be awarded during the ceremony with the Star Spangled Banner sung by Lil A before the show down....too much? perhaps....but let me tell you, no one will fall asleep on the sofa after they eat dinner. They can sit in the stands and cheer for their favorite players. Autographs will be signed after the champion is crowned.

There you have it....with my dropping IQ as I multitask, I have written down, "pick up trophies" on my list and have to get going.....thanks for being part of the BP mom world....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ponder the gift

Good morning...Christmas Day is looming, not approaching...looming....too much to do before the big day. So what does that say about me? Are the preparations and shopping to celebrate the true reason for the holiday or to continue a tradition set forth by previous generations? I guess as I get older, I reflect more on its significance yet continue to embrace the traditions. Does that mean that I am anti-Christmas? Nope, I love the day but sometimes I think that we have lost the true meaning and let marketers tell us how we should decorate and live it. No one can have that idealistic Rockwell Christmas unless your last name is Rockwell.

Sorry to be so introspective today, but BP mom is growing old and wants to live a life of significance. I want to demonstrate true values rather than lecture about them. My prototype has been Grandmom and Grandpop who attend Mass every day, volunteer their time, and continue to give of themselves. We call them the "saints". Grandpop does not move forward on his day until he has said his prayers which can take an hour or so.

When you think about it, saints are different. They do not embrace materialism and consumerism, could care less about cashmere, and think Ferragamo is a candy rather than a famous designer. Which leads me to the annual question: "What do you buy a saint for Christmas?" A saint is happy with a hug or smile. Furthermore, saints look at the true meaning of Christmas and are not caught up in the frenzy. Therefore, buying a Christmas gift is a particular challenge. And since I am quite competitive, I view this test as something that I can handle each December with finesse. Unfortunately, when a person multitasks, the IQ drops (see previous post) and therefore coming up with a great idea for a present is even more challenging since I am not working with a "full deck."

So, the annual brain teaser is being mulled around like hot apple cider in my head. I suppose that I could go with a festive sweater (naw) or some socks and a tie…eww…no! Perhaps a trip to Vegas….nope…. Atlantic City? Really, BP mom…really? I'm lost…help… No, I can do this, yes, I can do it….

Last year I gave BP Grandparents the cleats that attach to boots that grip in icy and snowy weather so that they would not slip after church and break a hip or two. 'Cause they usually hold hands and if one slips, both of them would go down. To this day, I am not sure if they are using them. Additionally, they don't eat much, so a fruit basket is out. Maybe a gift card…no…too impersonal…..They have too many photos…too many frames and limited space in their home…. Also, Grandmom has been diligently giving away heirlooms to her children and grandchildren, so I doubt if they want any more items that will collect dust…..

As a result, here we are…four days before Christmas and my head is empty. Yet, there is nothing new about this phenomenon. It's always a bit empty and non functional....why do you think that I drink so much coffee? The caffeine actually helps me to think clearly. My secretary would say: "OK, now that the caffeine has kicked in, what do you want done?" Therefore, once fully caffeinated, I will continue to ponder the true meaning of Christmas and think about a gift that says: "I know you, am thinking about you, and want to show you how much I love you…enjoy the X-Box 360 with the two remote controls and Mario game…I know that you will love it."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lassie, Come Home!

It's a very cold Sunday morning in the northeast and two kids and a dog are tucked snugly into bed. I have not heard any movement from their rooms in hours. It's amazing how much they can sleep. I know that eating, sitting around, watching television, and playing video games can be exhausting, so I will let them sleep a little longer.

Although, "it" came sooner than the last time. "It" is our first minor disagreement which was launched around 10 pm last night. As the temperature dropped during the evening, a light dusting of snow began to fall. From a BP mom's perspective, there could have been snow or black ice on the road. Therefore, I texted the big kid to leave his party and return home around 9:30 pm before the roads began to ice. Nothing wrong with this type of critical thinking, right? Icy roads + an inexperienced driver ='s an equation that I developed over the years of pondering this phenomenon. Therefore, I sent out the "Lassie, come home..." signal which was immediately returned with a "WHAT?" "NOW?!" Yes, the party, put the key into the ignition of my car and drive home with my gas to my home where you live during the off season for free.

As he entered the door, I was greeted with a few sentences that I cannot really remember but the implication was that he was too old to be summoned home on a Saturday evening. Perhaps, yes, perhaps he is too old (in his youthful mind), however, as long as he has the privilege of driving the car with my gas and living here with me worrying about him, he is not too old. Dad had a friend whose daughter was home for the Christmas holidays. She slept over at a friend's house, drove home, and hit black ice. We buried her three days later. I never forgot this event and never will. If I have to go through a few angry words to keep a few kids safe and alive, then so be it.

Remember, Santa is watching all activities and keeping a list of who is naughty and nice.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The perils of multitasking

Yes, I know that it has been a few days since my last post, but you have to understand....I have to grade papers, teach classes, edit a huge project for a publisher that is officially three days late (and I am only half done), Christmas shop, work, and pick up the big kid at college. Yes, that's right, he's home and already made an impact on the family room rug....more about that later....

It has been pretty hectic, so I am caffeinated earlier than usual and have been shopping online. I like the sites with free shipping and no tax. However, once I find something, it is generally too expensive or out of stock. So, my next maneuver is to stand in line at the mall before I go to graduation this afternoon. First, I have to finish a project that I started and (oh, by the way, mail a few cards before it is too late). Yesterday I read an article about multitasking. According to this article: "Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you’re stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women" (Pozen, 2011). Yes, ladies and gentleman....I am dumber than being stoned and my already low IQ has dropped precipitously as I switch daily gears.

AS a person who has never been stoned (yes, you can believe it), I am now confident that the feeling is not one of peacefulness, but one of desperation to complete the next project. Therefore, why try something that can hurt the body such as drugs, when all you need to do is multitask to feel stoned? As far as my IQ dropping...this phenomenon happened long ago when I had children. Sure, they are sweet and cuddly at first, but as they age, they tell you in no uncertain terms how stupid you are...with the rolled eyes, shrugged shoulders, and incensed looks on their faces when you tell them that the ice cream that they want to put in their lunch kit will melt before noon. I have experienced it a number of times and did not realize that it was related to my IQ dropping as I would shop, cook, clean, work on dioramas, and figure out second grade math (it's harder than you think).

And so, now that I realize that I am dumber than being stoned, I will work diligently to keep multitasking from exploding during this holiday season. Honestly, since the IQ is now so low, I am not sure how to do this. For example, yesterday, I took a trip to pick up the big kid. It took the entire day. I left at 9 am and stopped at the bank and pharmacy, grabbed a Starbucks tall coffee and hit the turnpike. Once I got there, we loaded the car, grabbed lunch, went to the store to pick up ice cream for Christmas dinner, and stopped for a few items as gifts. As we left campus, my IQ continued to drop. We drove home and as Buddy proceeded to drink an entire half gallon of chocolate milk, he wanted to go over potential walk-out songs for the impending season. Honestly, I only knew three of the hundreds of songs that he played for me. I think that he narrowed it down as I said: "I like that one..." I saw on his face a look that said the songs that I liked were now crossed off his list forever. I assume, even with my lowered level of cognition, that he would eliminate the songs based on my preference. He cannot possibly be cool and pumped up if he walks out to a song that his mother major league dude can do something like just is not done.

I get it...even with my IQ bordering in the gutter....

Now that the kids are both home, the fights and negotiation for the car begins. Last night at 1 am, I awoke to the blaring sound of televisions. As I pulled myself out of bed, TV number one in my office was on with no one watching it. Television number two was set on MTV and a very big kid was asleep watching it with all of the lights on....I turned the television off and encouraged the sleeping bear to head to bed rather than sleep on the sofa. When I rolled out of bed this morning, I saw that he took my advice and relocated to his room. Sitting down on the sofa to drink my coffee, I noted a big chocolate stain on the carpet which can only be made from melted ice cream. Not seeing any dirty chocolate bowl in the sink, I realized that he must have taken the entire carton, sat on the sofa, turned on MTV, and fell asleep leaving quite a chocolatey mess. In my dumber than usual state, I was not upset, 'cause I know that he can take care of the stain with big deal. I am just happy to have them both home....

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yoga the Bear

It's coming down to the last two days of finals. Tink finished her exam yesterday and Buddy has two exams today. He called a few times yesterday when he took a break from reading (it is joy to my heart when I hear that he has opened his books). The last call was filled with excitement as he relayed that he had found his mentor Coach T.

It seems Coach T was in the Caribbean for the fall with some baseball league. He has applied for waivers from his current team and has been negotiating with other major league teams. He will have a major league home by Christmas. Naturally, my leftie is one happy kid. First, he found Coach T after looking for him for a few months..then to find out he will have a new home has him elated. And so, after chatting about working out together over the holidays, Coach told him that he has been doing yoga for flexibility and strength. This made me laugh for two reasons.

First, I just bought myself a yoga mat two days ago at the Home Goods store. Tink and I have a DVD and planned on starting yesterday. Second, if I had mentioned this to Buddy, he would have scoffed at us and told us that we were crazy. He would have said: "What does Yogi the Bear know about flexibility?" Yet, Coach T mentions yoga and he is ready to run to the Y and start deep breathing and centering. It just demonstrates the influence other people have on your kids. I might as well hang up my BP mom stained apron and hand the keys to the house to Coach T. He can take over...all I ask is that he locks up after he is through influencing my son.

And so it least Coach T is a decent guy whom my son looks to for friendship and advice. He has not gone "all major league" on his old friends and continues his relationships. I like this aspect because I always tell my son..."Do not forget where you came from and who helped you to achieve your dreams."
I want him to never let success go to his head, stay the humble, crazy, funny guy that he is, go to church, pray, and remember that he is one blessed kid. If he does all of these things, then I can retire and let Coach T take over the second 3/4's of his life. Here are the keys, some old photos, and my recipe for Chicken Parmesan. Make sure that he eats his veggies and gets enough sleep.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finals are upon us

Good morning! It is final exams week in the BP mom home and I wonder who is prepared and who is not. Sadly, Tink is stuck with me watching over her shoulder and looking for a book to be cracked open. She just left for the exam. There was a short review this morning at 8 am. She left at 7:55 which tells me that there is no way that she will make it to the review because it will begin before she makes a right hand turn at the end of the street. Therefore, good luck, girl friend. I expect a passing grade.

As far as Buddy is concerned, I can only report that he states that he is studying in between eating pizza and playing video games. OK, here I go....when I went to college (the first time, not the second or third), I was pasted to my books. My notes never left my hand for a game controller. I would study all night for a week, take the finals, run to Woolworths (today's WalMart) and pick out a few Christmas presents with the $4.00 I had to spend. It was tough dividing the $4.00 into 7 to buy gifts for my immediate family. They would receive cheap (and I mean stinky cheap) cologne, pencils, stickers, and candy bars. I would wrap them on Christmas eve with my brother the Runner and all would be well in our family. We would go to Midnight Mass, return home to open gifts from one another, and Grandmom made breakfast before we went to bed around 2 am.

Christmas Eve Mass was usually poignant and entertaining. I could not believe that I could stay up until midnight to go to Mass. Those days are long over...then the number of people who would arrive drunk was somewhat alarming. The church was always full of people and parishioners had to stand five deep around the church and entry ways and in the aisles. We had to arrive by 11:20 to find a seat and then sat there looking at the beautifully decorated church and the families and friends arriving late and standing in the alcoves.

And so it goes...those days are gone and a fond memory yet stay alive when I begin to reminisce about the neighborhood and family. As I start a story, someone usually says: "Did someone die in this one?" No, someone does not always die in my stories yet it seems like there are more weird ways of dying stories in my brain that I have recalled over the years. Generally my immediate family does not believe the odd death stories that I have until we gather as an extended family and someone would say: "Remember so and so and how he was hit by a car when he drunkenly fell off the roof at the corner house?" Thank goodness I have siblings who share a mutual past and can tell a "guess how so and so died story" as well as me....have a great day and stay off the roof!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Uncle Bob

Good Morning! It's the day after Cookie-fest III and I am breaking my code by wearing loose sweat pants. Today is definitely a gym day or I will be wearing sweat pants forever and ever.....Cookie-fest was a success as we have hundreds and hundreds of cookies lined up on the table. I made some new recipes which is a daring move with family coming in to the house.

Since we are part Slovak, I made a pierogi-bake which was amazing, if I may say so myself. It had a number of 'no-no's' in it but I altered the recipe with fat-free cream cheese, fresh tomatoes and fat free chicken broth. I also made Paula Deen's Uncle Bob's Apple Cake which was supposed to be a hit. Instead it was a big bomb as I could not pry it out of the bundt pan. It began to tear apart and was lopsided. Oh, well, besides looking like someone had dropped it, the cake was dry too. I am not sure what I did wrong, but might attempt it again some day. Fortunately, the cookies were the stars of the day. Everyone left with a tray full of cookies and a slice of Uncle Bob's cake....which I am sure hit the dumpster at some point.

I did hear from Buddy a few times and I had to rush him through the daily problems. There was one call about a pitcher on the team calling him out at a party and telling a girl that he was hanging out with to stay away from him because he is a psycho....she did move away after she received the warning. Then they were eating pizza out and some drunk guy put his hand on his slice causing a bit of a brawl. Of course, there was the "my laptop charger is not working" phone call in which I referred him to the computer store in the center of campus. Some of his 'problems' are funny...others are pathetic. I never know what is coming my way which makes it a lot of fun. The calls were quick, since I had other things on my mind and people in my home. One of these days, he will call and tell me how he handled the pizza finger incident or the broken charger problem. Either way, I enjoy getting calls that begin with: "Problems...I have problems...." Then someone ate his cookies, took his soap, clogged his toilet, turned his internet off, or stole the snuggie that his sister gave him last Christmas.....Yes, a new snuggie is on this year's list.

I have the pleasure of picking him up at school on Friday and bringing him home for a few weeks. Immediately, the food bill will double and cookies will disappear. There will be bottles of water left on the counter and on the floor as well as doors left unlocked and dishes in the sink. I am looking forward to it. However, this time, I am developing a PowerPoint presentation to reorient him to family rules of etiquette and policies of the home. A written and oral test will be given on Saturday. I think that my biggest peeve is texting at the dinner table. He thinks that I don't see it, but he is not sitting next to Helen Keller. I can see what is going on despite his greatest attempts to hide the quick look at his left pant pocket.

And so it goes. Now it is time for me to try to catch up on work. There is also Christmas shopping to do, since I have absolutely nothing done. Fortunately, my kids do not need the next super fantastic electronic game or Fisher price toy. They like anything fashionable or money...They also love traditional Christmas, so I am not going to disappoint them. With that said, have a wonderful day.....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Generic butter

Good Morning! I am sorry that I did not post yesterday, but with the classes, Cookie- Fest III, and holidays, my mind is mush and I could not write a cogent paragraph. But I am going to try to break out of the holiday fuzziness and update readers on life, baseball, and cookies.

Yesterday, I did not have even ten minutes to myself until my 8 pm Happy Hour in my family room. As I sat down with a fire lit in the fireplace and Christmas tree lights on, I reflected on the hectic day and decided that I did accomplish some personal and professional goals. it was not all about running around and grading papers....I had some family time, shopping, and planning sessions with Tink.

After a crazy morning and early afternoon, Tink and I returned the favor to Grandmom and Grandpop and stopped by their home to help with cookies and decorating the tree. After all, they were the only people to help me in 20 years to decorate the Christmas tree. Sure, I know that it is usually a family event but dad is usually M.I.A., Buddy is indifferent, and Tink will place two ornaments on the tree and disappear. Once it is done, they look at it and say: "nice job." Nice job was more than a job....decorating a 9 foot tree is a career or a profession. Come on guys...nice job?

OK, so after helping Grandmom and Buttercup bake some great cookies and sampling them for quality purposes (naturally), Tink and I helped Grandpop and his tree. It is nice seeing a man taking such tender care of the ornaments and caring about the tree. How refreshing! As we were sampling and admiring our work, Buddy called and said: "Hi mom, how are you?"

"How are you?" Really? How are you? You mean mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and perhaps financially? How am I? "Yes, how are you?" Wow, "I am fine...and you?" "I am great...."

Here is goes....he finished classes yesterday and if all goes as planned by next Friday he will be an official second semester sophomore and eligible to play spring baseball. Nice...he had a baseball party to attend last night and bought a $1.00 Santa hat. Did I know that some stores sell them for $20.00? Dude, I have been shopping for years, of course I the way, do not get caught in the rain with your dollar hat because the ink will run and you will have a red head....just a F.Y.I....

After saying good bye and have fun, Tink and I fueled on sugar, butter, and pretty green and red sprinkles headed for the mall. She has a Christmas party to attend on Sunday with her friend and needed an outfit. It seems all of clothes are laying on the floor of her closet are not in any condition to attend Home Depot's Christmas party. Once we finished there, we headed to the food store for Cookie-fest III ingredients. Grabbing the shopping cart, we received a call from dad...."I just moved $100.00 to Buddy's account for food. Don't spend more than $20.00 until I can transfer money into the account." it makes sense as Mr. Trump is sitting pretty in a Santa hat at a baseball party with my Cookie-fest money in his pocket. No wonder he asked how I was....if I needed money, he would have peeled $20.00 bucks from the wad of cash in his pocket and tell me to go buy something pretty.....It all makes sense...or does it?

As far as I am concerned with a fuzzy Christmas brain and papers to grade, I am not going to work on figuring it out. I am going to accept things as they generic butter and not Land-O-Lakes, rummage for change at the bottom of my purse and on the floor of the car...then have a quiet Happy hour at's time...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Employment Opportunities

Good Morning! Tink just left the house for school on time...not Tink-time but really on time. Hmmmmm. I wonder what's up here. I happen to know that she did not go to bed until 2 am. So, not only is she on time but she got out of bed on her own. What's going on? Am I dying and do not know it? Does she want to make my last days happy knowing that she can leave the house responsibly for school and work?

With that said, I have way too much to do before my last breath....Papers to grade...classes to teach...prepare for Christmas.....stand in line at the mall...wrap the few pitiful gifts that I already bought.....make cookies for Cookie-fest III.....

What is Cookie-fest III? Well, Cookie-fest I and II were great hits so I decided to keep up the tradition and every year, we have a cookie exchange at the house. The purpose is to decrease the amount of time family members have to spend in the kitchen. A person bakes several batches of cookies and brings them to the house. We place the cookies in a pile on the kitchen table, arrange them in individual tins, eat, drink, and be merry....What I did not mention was to add one more adjective to cookie, drink, be merry and add a few pounds to the waistline. It's's Christmas and I expect a miracle of not gaining cookie weight this year. It's all I want under the tree on the 25th.

Last year Santa gave me a Zumba DVD and a basket full of wine. What does that tell my family and friends? Perhaps it says that I am a 'fat lush'.....Not sure, but does Santa know me or what?

On to my favorite leftie who is preparing for his final exams. Last night he called asking the usual question: "Where is dad?" Dude! I you ever listen to anyone else besides yourself? Your dad left yesterday to take care of his parents in the south as Pop has thoracic surgery. "Oh yeah.....I remember...ooops...."

Yeah, ooops is right....."Sorry...I will call him to find out how Pop is." That's more like it. Keep in mind, that you are not an island. Life goes on while you and Angel attend school and crack each other up as you look under piles of clothes and trash for your text books and find the one piece of paper with your semester's notes on it. It also continues as you relax playing play video games and place Christmas lights on Irene. And so, on occasion it would be nice to hear: "How is it going? how is Pop? Did you decorate the tree? Is there anything that I can bring home from school besides my laundry?"

I guess that I was venting a bit. Perhaps I expect too much from a 19 year old kid who is away at college. He is not around to be reminded of the family's daily activities, so why would I expect him to remember with all of the pressures that he has at school? His shoulder continues to nag him and that worries me a bit. When he comes home, I will send him for another opinion and a massage from my favorite masseuse. I have not gone to her for over a year, but she did wonders with my elbow tendonitis. Hopefully, she can work her magic on Buddy's sore shoulder. As long as there is not a tear, he probably needs to rest it until full time training begins in January.

With that said, I have to grade these papers. Students get a bit salty if they do not have feedback in record, speed of light time. Actually, I could use an elf with a doctorate to help me out. I will look on Craig's List for out of work elves...perhaps the economy has affected North Pole employment opportunities.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Up and Out

Good morning...although I feel like it is the middle of the night. I drove dad to the airport this morning (or middle of the night) at 4:00ish. It is shocking to see how many people are on the road at that hour. Once he was safe in the airport, I drove to the nearest open convenience store for some freshly brewed coffee. As I paid, I noticed the look on the clerk's face as he took my card. It was a look of shock and wonder. Hmmm...what's his problem....then I looked in the rear view mirror in the car. It was not a pretty was more of a "who let me out of the house looking like this?" sight. Hair matted against my right ear and sticking up in the back. If I had looked at myself as an outsider, I would have put 2 quarters in the coffee cup, 'cause I looked like I slept on the street rather than on my tempur-pedic mattress. I guess that I cannot go back to this store for a while. Oh to home and perhaps a relaxing cup of coffee at 5 am.

As I sipped the morning brew, I played with the TV remote. Guess what? Nothing on television and I needed some companionship, so I landed on QVC. That's right....QVC..24 hour shopping..impulse looks better on TV than in person (I know this from first-hand experience...don't judge). The woman was selling Christmas trees that were plastic but looked real. They were also hand-painted green which is a nice feature, don't you think? The assembly was quite simple with only three parts to the tree and a large bag for storage. Quick....get my Visa card....oh will be denied....never mind. Back to reality.

And so, what is going on in the life our our favorite left hander? Not much, he called me twice yesterday to only ask for three things. I have until Friday to send them to him. Thanks for the advanced notice. I suppose there will be a point where he no longer needs maternal help, because he will have an administrative assistant or wife to do these things. He'll place me on the shelf in his bedroom with the other things that he loved and out grew, such as his shredded blankie, Beanie Baby Bongo the monkey, and Curious George (a manly monkey). I'll be a fond and distant memory as the new woman in his life takes care of the details such as unclogging the tub and toilet and editing his papers. No worries as of now, I think that I have job security.

Enough said, it's a raining and a good day to catch up on my work.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Catching up and falling behind

Good morning! It's a yukky day in the northeast as Tink leaves for school late....yes late....late is the new early for her. She operates on "Tink-time." Tink time is 15-20 minutes late on my watch. I have tried working with her and motivating her in any way that I can, but I have failed miserably. I have given her multiple watches and alarm clocks (she has three). I have let her be late thinking that her professor would deduct points or embarrass her. But Tink is a strong one....she will do what she wants to do when she wants to do it...get it?

Speaking of late, I finally have the tree and lights up with Grandmom and Grandpop's help. They were instrumental in helping Tink and me to decorate a very large tree. I must say that Grandmom's eyesight is still pretty good, as I stood on a chair trying to fix the star so that it was not lopsided. There was a point where I finally did not care and if the star was upside down, I was not going to lose any sleep on it. But Grandmom would not let me down from the chair until the star was perfect. Even though I was ready to jump, she kept me up there..."a little to the left...a little to the right...move it lateral.., no, to the right....too much...left, left, left....." ahhhhhh! And now, the star is perfect, don't touch it or face the wrath of Grandmom!

As I caught up on holiday preparations, I fell behind in my work. And so, today is catch up day. Does this happen to anyone else? As a task is completed, another one comes along and instead of being ahead of the game and sitting back and enjoying the fruits of your labor, you have to jump into another project.... then another....then another...then another....What's the deal? Who designed this life? Don't answer the pressure builds, my mind and body turn to mush. So, it is important for me to keep lists and notes and refer to them on a regular basis to keep me on track.

My students discovered this lack of concentration and ability to stay on track in me last week as they kept changing the subject so that I could not meet the goals of the class. As I was on target, they would ask a huge question like: "Why did God make me?" or "Why aren't there enough minorities represented in health care?" Oy! These are big, philosophical questions that pull me away from the lesson at hand which was scholarly writing! Did I allow myself to move away from topic to reflect on the answers? Sure! They had questions and part of learning is following the flow of thought to develop a philosophy on the subject. I always add time in class for these side discussions which are generally the ones that the students remember. I doubt if they can recall the goals of last week's class versus the results of our discussions based on questions. I guess this is the way that I 'roll' as a teacher....which is a curvy and crooked road to achieving the course's objectives.

I do remember as a kid in Catholic school asking the teacher in second grade two very important questions. Question 1: "If the priest dies during mass, can we leave?" Question 2: "If we hold our hands down instead of up to heaven, will God get our prayer?" She looked at me baffled and sort-of answered the 8 year old question with a "Seriously? are you kidding me kind of look..." And so, I now have the answers to these questions and think that I am much smarter than I was in second grade.

Moving on to college and Mr. Buddy, I heard from him twice yesterday. Both times were to talk to me about a clogged bath tub. Why didn't he ask his dad? I will let you answer that puzzler....anyway, when he got home, he put me on speaker phone to talk him and Angel through the process of de-clogging the tub (by the way, I am awesome at de-clogging the toilet too). Here is how it went:

"The water has not gone down in two days and it is pretty gross...."

"Eww...OK, can you see the drain?"...."No"

"OK, you have to find a bucket or large beer mug and begin to bail the tub out. Make sure you throw the dirty water into either the bathroom sink or outside...When you finish, call me back and we will talk about taking the drain off and using a wire hanger to pull the hair and gunk out..."

They never called me back which tells me that the drain is unclogged and the water flows freely. Problem solved...time for a shower in a very dirty, cruddy, bacteria laden tub...unless, yes, unless, they had the forethought to clean the tub before they used it. What does BP mom think the answer to that is? What do you think....ewww...

Have a great day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Insights

Good Morning. It's pretty foggy in the northeast. I am very happy that I am not flying today, 'cause I doubt if we would leave the ground in this mess. Actually, there are no worries about that since I am not leaving town until President's weekend for the big Tampa tournament. I had the best time last year since I have forgotten about the stomach virus, getting lost, and Buddy throwing 5 pitches in his debut as a college pitcher, then being yanked out for another pitcher against a big name school. Yep, lots of fun....I did get a tan on the right side of my face as I turned on my left side during the games to vomit. Lots of memories!

On to the big kid.....yesterday he called in a 'blue mood'. A blue mood has nothing to do with being in a salty or foul mood and definitely not to be confused with happiness and joy. He was forlorn about something. After further probing, he was just 'sad'. That's when a button was pushed in my doughy head and exclaimed: "What!!! Depressed? You? Get over it!" How's that for a therapeutic interaction?

My take on it is that he is tired and has lots of school work to do and very little time for video games. Exams are creeping up and he has to study. That's a book, take notes, memorize or ponder the content. He knows that he has to do it and does not want to...hence the "blue-ness" of his spirit.

As far as the rest of our discussion is concerned, it went like this after my 'get over it' pep talk....."You are so are living your dream...the dream that you have had since you were a toddler hitting off the plastic tee in the backyard. Guys wish they were you. Girls wish they were with you. You have great hair, a killer grin, height, and are extraordinarily handsome. Furthermore, you are pretty smart...time to put things into perspective, dude. You have it

That's right. The kid is anxious because he is down to a few bucks and needs a job in a hurry while he is home. Perhaps he should contact the President. From recent reports, the economy is on the rebound. Yep, tell that statistic to the people who are unemployed, like my son.

And so, we have narrowed the blue frame of mind to lack of money which can be corrected with a job. So, family and friends of BP mom....if you have anything that needs to be done by a tall kid, he's available....Think of the possibilities. He can put the star on your tree....string lights around the garage and house, move bulky items out of your garage and take them to the dump. He is also qualified to shred paper and take out the trash. his qualifications are endless. He will even travel and does not require batteries.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Good Morning! The neighbors' (all of them) lights are up and look really pretty. My house, on the other hand, looks lonely. If I don't string a few lights today, Santa will not be able to find my home. Tink and Buddy would never forgive this elf for a major violation in the Christmas code. I could be given a written citation for the infraction.

Speaking of violation, my favorite left hander is not speaking to me right now. He called on Friday night and reported that two seniors from the team invited him and Angel to a private party to watch basketball and hang out together. This was a huge invitation. It's like the President or Pope had sent an engraved invitation for a meeting with a reception afterwards. Or it was like winning the lottery...the big one...$240 million after paying taxes. This invitation meant that they were in "da club" and one of the big boys. They had made it....they were 'dope'.....there was one catch.....they were NOT bring LW. He is not not bring him. It is a private party by invitation only.

And so, our hero called home to report the invitation and the lack of invitation for the LW. He was going to lie and sneak out with Angel. Great plan, genius....My response was "don't lie...tell him that you and Angel have been invited to a private party and leave...." "No, he'll kill himself and I can't have that on my conscience..."

Sigh....OK....he'll kill himself...are you kidding? He has you two knuckleheads wrapped around his finger. he has you where he wants you at his beckon call....this to me does not indicate someone who is depressed and ready for the party in the sky. Nope, this is a person who is manipulative and will say anything to be accepted including the phony suicide attempt.

Let's back up a bit. As a health care provider, I understand that when people say that they are going to kill themselves, they are desperately seeking attention. However, is this a 19 year old's issue or the parents and mental health professionals? Why are they letting him get away with this? If he needs help, he has to get it, but his teenage room mates should not be held responsible for watching him night and day.

Also, as a person of faith, let's say that we are all God's children and have to care for each other. Yet, these kids do not have the tools and should not be twisted into pretzels because the LW is not invited to a party.

Back to Friday night....I got the report on Saturday morning that LW followed them out the door and to the party and the hosts were not pleased especially when they deliberately told him not to bring LW. However, LW follows them out every Friday night and insists that they leave with him after the party so that he has someone to walk home with so that he does not look like a loser....OK? How is that for twisting these kids around the index finger. LW says: "jump!" and they reply: "How high?" The good news is: Buddy and Angel are good guys with soft hearts. The bad news is: with these traits, they care a great deal for other people. I cannot fault them for that since these are wonderful traits.

Yet, as he called home yesterday, I told him that he committed a major violation by letting LW tag along to the party. Angel tried to explain it to the host, but they did not buy it. Needless to say, the trio left early and went on to another party hosted by the field hockey team. One of Buddy's friends, who happens to be a girl, clearly told him not to bring LW because he is "creepy and texts and IMs her room mates like a stalker" would. So, as I spoke to the kid about the violation, he got upset that I called him out on it. I am sure that he wanted me to say: "What a shame....too bad for you..." I did not give him what he wanted. I told him that he and Angel need backbones and to start working on it. They are not to lie to LW, just be assertive and move on.

Am I peeved? Yeah, a bit. I'll tell you why since Buddy does not listen to me. He is allowing LW to lead him around by the nose. He is not standing up for himself and rather than face conflict, he is showing passivity that I have not witnessed before. The kid is a ferocious pitcher and he cannot tell LW that he cannot accompany them to a party? Are we kidding here? What is wrong with this picture? He dominates on the baseball diamond but is a mouse in the apartment. Wow! What to do? He has got to figure this one out in a hurry or he and Angel will be sitting in the apartment every Friday and Saturday night playing Parcheesi with the LW.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Good Morning! It's the day after my long day and I am almost ashamed to say it, but I am currently fueled on coffee and an authentic Italian cannoli. It's disgustingly true. I could not wait until later today after I would have done some running, crunching, and fasting...nope, I dug right in to the crunchy shell and ricotta and chocolate chip center and you know what? I don't regret it for one minute. It was good...a great way to start the day. Why were the cannolis in the refrigerator? Well, dad was in Little Italy yesterday after a meeting and knew that they were my absolute 'would dive off a cliff to get one' favorite food in the world. True, there is not much nutritional value and this could set my waistline into a post-Christmas look, but it was sooo worth it.

And so, there is not much going on in the world of college baseball. The big Kid registered for his classes (late) and is not happy with his three day a week 8 am and 9 am classes. Shall I say: "boohoo?" Nope....he's a sophomore and should have known better. Let's look ahead to late February when the team will arrive back on campus at 3 am in a snow storm and he will have about 3.5 hours of sleep, get up in the dark, and walk one mile to class in the snow and sleet in a very grumpy mood. Again, does this bother me? The answer is yes and no. No, because he procrastinated. Yes, because he is going to call me every other day and complain vociferously that life is unfair as I listen on the other end of the phone. Then I will say: "get over it." And he will hang up the phone and call someone else who will be more sympathetic. Can I see into the future or what?

Speaking of what I can office is by the window in the front of the house. I can see the entire neighborhood if I am interested. Well, I am interested...for the last three days, the neighbors down the street have had professional decorators stringing Christmas lights around the house and trees. Three days!! Can you imagine the wattage that will be used on this display? I can't wait to see it. I know that it will be beautiful because she has amazing taste and polish in everything that she does. However, I am going to panic with my dinky little lit trees and wreaths. My house is going to look like the old lady's house on the know the one...she only puts up a wreath and as people drive or walk by they think..."an old lady must live there..." I have to do something to correct it. Knowing that I will not have any help from Buddy or dad, I have to strategize how to string lights around the house by myself. I have done it before, but they have laughed at my lopsided attempt for Christmas displays. I have lots of ideas but no one to help implement them....unless...yes, I have the answer...."GRANDMOM!!!!! Can you help? Please?" She can climb the ladder as I hand her the string of lights. Unless she strings them perfectly, I won't let her down from the roof. Come makes perfect sense...she has been decorating for years. Her new challenge will be to place a plastic Santa with 8 reindeer along with a Nativity scene, wise men, and a few angels on the roof. She will have to figure out a way to make them stick in the rain, snow and wind. I don't want to find my Santa in my neighbor's back yard during the next storm. Then Grandmom will have to climb the ladder again. Don't worry, I will hold it and lay out some soft grass and leaves in case she falls.

So much to to call Grandmom AND have to meet Ice in an hour. It's a Starbucks, non alcoholic Happy Hour. We have to work on the issues of the world, make some plans, and submit them to the President by noon.

Have a great day!