Thursday, November 29, 2012

Santa is bringing a window

Good morning! I have been quietly sitting in the family room for the last 90 minutes waiting for a service company to knock on the door. The appointment was scheduled for 8:30 am and I am still waiting! Why does this happen? Why don't people stick to the time that they committed to? If they are running into trouble, I always thought that a phone call would be appropriate, yet, this is not always the case.

I cannot shower, get ready for work, exercise or start a project since I am waiting and waiting and waiting.....

Once I waited in a doctor's office for an appointment for four hours. Yeah, that's right....4 hours...I could not leave my seat as I began to melt physically and emotionally....then as I shared with the doctor my angst over the long wait, he had nothing to say but injected my knee with cortisone and handed me a bill. Let's just say that I would never ever give this practice a referral to any friend or foe. In fact, when the doctor was named as one of the "Best MDs" in the city, I had a good laugh....I am still laughing as I have flashbacks to this wonderful day spent in the doctor's office after countless patients who came in after me and went....of course, I had to pay $20 for parking too since they do not validate.

On another note, I just stopped typing this blog to check on the detained service team....according to the secretary, the service was scheduled for tomorrow and not today. Uh way....I wrote down today on the calender. Am I losing it? Now it is her word against mine. What to do? Do I call and demand that they come today because the appointment was for today? OR do I just suck it up and stay home tomorrow again?

I guess we all know the answer.....

While sitting on the sofa waiting for the work crew, I got a call from the window guy who wants to come next week to fix the broken bathroom window. He asked if I had gotten a price yet from the company. When I heard this, I knew that I was in for a very big bill and that this window could possibly be my Christmas gift from Santa. Not once while sitting on Santa's lap as a kid did I ask for a bathroom window. I wanted a Barbie, bike, dolls, games, and window on the list....and naturally, this year I have been nice and not naughty (I think). Perhaps a bathroom window is Santa's modern version of coal in the stocking. Will he put it on the back of his sleigh with bubble wrap and a bow?

I also got a call from the Big Kid who had sent his paper on John Adams to me to edit. He is developing into a pretty good writer. I only had a few suggestions with multiple grammatical changes. This texting phenomenon has ruined this generation's ability to write. They cannot develop complete sentences or form coherent thoughts. In other words, I wonder what the next generation of literary works will focus on....electronics, texting, software, and computer tablets in a fragmented manner....we would need a score card to decipher what they are trying to say.

By the way, he now reports that his competitive juices are flowing as he had a huge fight with Dog. Yeah....a love hate room mate situation. Do girls act this way or do they just ignore the room mate when she makes a catty remark? I am not sure which way is more effective, but Buddy was pretty happy that he snapped back at Dog. "I'm back!" he says with glee.

Uh, super....the temper is back as well as the drive to succeed and slay the foe. Yummy....good to hear....let's see if this translates into a 90 mile per hour fast ball. OK, gotta run. I have been on the sofa way too long!

See ya!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A quiet moment to reflect

Hi! I finally have a quiet moment to catch up on the blog. Hope that the holiday weekend was enjoyable for you. We had a lovely time on the road and in the airport. I still cannot believe the price of a hot pretzel in the Atlanta airport. My next (and perhaps only business venture) will be to open an Auntie Anne's pretzel place in an airport somewhere on the east coast.

As we enter back into the daily grind, life goes on and on. BP grandpop is on the mend at home. He had crazy electrolytes...who knew? Tink, Diva and I stopped by the house yesterday and he seemed back to his sweet self serving us homemade soup and apple pie.

And the next question is the big kid? How is he indeed? Oye! What his physical therapist predicted came true....he is worried that he will re-injure himself therefore he is altering his perfect mechanics and cannot find the plate. Yes, this was predicted in the summer and I was hoping that it would not happen to my kid. But, what else is new?

Let's review....lyme disease...mono....flu....strept throat....shoulder case.....

Yeah, head case....Believe it or not, I completely understand. On Saturday after watching him mourn the loss of his special powers, I took him to breakfast...just the two of us. As I watched him inhale the breakfast special with extra bacon, I started the dialogue...

"Honey, I know what you are going through...." She sweetly said....

Eyes rolled..."Yah, right..."

"No really...after my knee surgery, I was afraid that I was going to injure it again and would not work out, run, or even go to Zumba classes....I lost every tennis match this summer (OK, almost every one)...


"And so, once I got over this fear, I went on a two game winning streak!" She smiled broadly and with great pride.

"Uh huh" he stuffed his pancakes into his mouth....

"Yeah, so I think that you just have to get over the fear. You are stronger than ever AND your arm has been rehabb-ed and let the balls fly..."

No reply, just eyes that looked through me like I was a flaming idiot.

"May I suggest that you speak with the sports psychologist who deals with these types of issues each day? He seems like a good egg who completely  understands the psyche of an athlete....."


And as our mother son meal and conversation ended, I thought that perhaps I need to see the Sports psychologist myself....or maybe a college professor about a parenting expert? Actually, I don't need a counselor since I have my family, friends, and happy hour. We cover the woes and issues of the world as we crack open the box and pour 3 ounces of red into the plastic cups. Happy hour is the time for frank discussions about the issues that we face and for eating fried cheap foods that I have to work off the next day on the treadmill.

And so, I leave you with one of the funniest videos I have seen in a long is something that we all consider as we celebrate the holidays. My special thanks to Jimmy Fallon and John Rich for this very funny song....

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stress and pies

Good morning! I hope all is well in your lives. We had Thanksgiving in the south while BP grandmom and Pop had their turkey dinner in the hospital. Is there ever a good time to be admitted to the hospital? Probably not....but Pop is now home and we'll see him tomorrow when we return home to the northeast.

I heard from Wildcat who was very interested in finding out whether I have killed anyone with my little black stopper thingamajing in the apple pies. Here is how it went.....I made about 85+ pies last week and can attest that no black stoppers made it into a pie. You see....when the pies are filled with apples, the little black thingamajing would have stood out like a a little black thingamajing. Therefore, no pie filler reported seeing it and one will choke on it because it is not in a pie but in some corner of the bakery that the guys could not clean.

And so, I am so happy that I have not contributed to anyone's demise. Yes, I have filled their bellies with wholesome apples, sugar, butter, and cinnamon. According to Sparky, they sold thousands of pies, cakes, and cookies on Tuesday and Wednesday. A major league profitable two days. Yet, the gang slept only two hours in three days. I am sure that they are still sleeping today trying to catch up on their sleep and dreaming of carrot cakes, pumpkin pies, and pecans.

As I was filling the pies, one of the bakers suggested that I do not let the stress get to me. Stress? Huh? No way....I was having fun filling the pies and not worried about my own students and work. It was relaxing for me. Strange? Perhaps...then again, stress to one person is a delight to another.

For example, I think that teaching a course on death and dying is stressful 'cause everyone cries the entire time. I also think that watching my son play football is stressful...flying in a rain storm....stressful....labor and delivery...stressful....breaking down on the turnpike....stressful....making dinner for 20 wondering if you are poisoning them...stress....filling apple pies...not so bad. But then again, it is not my livelihood and therefore I am not relying on selling enough to pay the mortgage. I am merely helping a friend in need of assistance. I love doing that....I want to do a good poison anyone or choke them...maybe I should have felt more stress. Oye!

OK, time for me to run an errand. see you next week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Slicing 101

Good morning! It was quite an afternoon in the bakery. Buddy, Tink and I joined Tuna, Johnny Appleseed, Baker, and Sparky to create some detectible pastries and pies for Thanksgiving. I realized at the beginning that I had to keep focused to not make a mistake. After all, this is someone's business and livelihood and mistakes are not welcomed.

And so, we all got down to work. Tink had the joy and pleasure of zesting several cases of lemons. Buddy put together 1,000 cake boxes, and I learned how to construct the perfect apple pie and slice and dice apples. I would like to take the title of "Johnny or Jane Appleseed", but Cupcake's daddy owns it since he peeled and cored thousands and thousands of apples over a two day period.

Where to begin? Let's start with the number of double crusted apple pies that were ordered for Monday pick up (91 pies). This is not in addition to the 5000 to be picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday. So, I got to work and filled several pie crusts. I would tell you what I did, but I would lose my job if I revealed the secret. You know the one....the one that adds lots of apples.....

Once I finished the pies, I was assigned the task of dicing two large buckets of apples. This took two hours to dice the most lovely apples into the smaller chunks for muffins and apple cakes.

Then it happened....the big apple know the cost $5000 and could peel, core and chop an apple in ten seconds was jammed. By jammed, I mean broken, I mean unusable.....Now, if it was me, I would have sat on the floor, and stared at the wall until the holiday was over....not Baker and Sparky...they got right to work and dismantled the machine. It took 90 minutes from start to finish, but they never said a word except systematically work to fix the machine. Until then, we (Johnny Appleseed, Buddy, Tuna, and I) were sent to peel apples with the old peeler. That's when I incurred my first injury....the one that I did not see as Johnny A proclaimed that I was bleeding into the apples (ew). OK, I am a health care professional, I can apply a band aid and continue my job. Fortunately...or unfortunately, lots of folks seem to find their fingers with the knives and therefore there are lots of band aids in the bakery.....Moving on.....

Baker fixes the big apple machine and a policy is announced. Only Johnny A can use it. No one else. She only trusts Johnny....Fine...I can continue to slice the apples, which was my new job after I finished dicing. here is where it gets really good...or maybe scary. I sliced thousands of little slices and stored them in containers and bags. The way that it is done, is the slicer is placed in a large bowl and the apples are sliced into the bowl until there are enough to fill these large bags. Then the bowl's contents are dumped into the bags and taken away for processing. That's when I saw it and had a major melt down....

One of the rubber stoppers on the bottom of the slicer was missing. That's right...the size of a quarter, black, and rubber....missing....where did it go? OMG! Was it in one of the bags that was headed for a pie? Was I going to be arrested for choking a person with a little rubber stopper? It's not even like a saw in a cake for a prisoner to saw through the bars. No! It's a little black thing that could choke someone!

What to do? What to do? What to do? Think, fast, BP mom! Hurry before the stopper is baked into a pie.....OK, quick, Johnny, Buddy...get the cases of sliced apples and start looking for the am about to kill someone.....

We looked and looked and could not find it. Now, I am not sure that I was the one who lost the stopper since I never really looked to see if it was there. But...I sliced a heck of a lot of apples....and I could not find it....And so, I did what any idiot who discovered that she was not the genius that she thought she was...yeah....

I walked up to poor Baker who had grease all over her from the busted apple peeler and confessed my sin to her. I showed her the machine and told her that I could not locate the stopper. She smiled (or was that an "I'm gonna kill u grin"?) and said that it would be found and we would be very diligent when filling pies and cakes with the apples. After all, the bakers who fill the pies inspect the apples that are poured in. If the stopper is in with apples, it will be found. Did this help my fear?

Yes...and no....not really. I felt terrible and that I had let her down....geez....I had an important job of slicing apples and screwed it up. I better go back to the job that pays me and stay on the other side of the display counter or just eat the pies.

Today, Buddy and I will return to the bakery for a few hours. I am not sure if I will be welcomed or not. Perhaps I will be given the job or sweeping the basement...what could happen there? Or maybe, I will be sentenced to the fridge to look for the stopper. I guess I need an idiot-proof job.....

Am I being hard on myself? After all, it might not have been me who lost the stopper...maybe...maybe not....Maybe it was always missing and I did not notice it when I started to slice apples.....but I was the person to discover it. What if I didn't realize the stopper was missing? Maybe it would have been baked into a muffin....Perhaps, instead of a dolt, I am a hero...OK, let's not go that far. One day...maybe today...we will laugh about it......I will go in later to see if they found the little rubber thingamjing and finally relax.

Until then...

have a good day....!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Looking for a large box to live in

Good morning! Tink, Buddy and I are preparing to head for the bakery. I am actually eating a huge breakfast so that I am NOT hungry when I get there. I am looking forward to scooping apples and singing a little song in my head.

Why? Well, in the old days (here she goes....)...before iPods....I worked in a kitchen. We put the radio on when the supervisor wasn't there and would sing until it was time to serve dinner. Listening to tunes and singing helped the time to go quickly and pleasantly. Music is actually quite therapeutic....when I played singles in matches or tournaments, I would sing a song over and over in my head and sometimes out loud to get me in the rhythm of the game and keep my mind off of choking. Yep, I do believe that music has a great deal of power and can lull someone to sleep or motivate them to perform at their peak.

I suppose this is why the baseball players have their "walk out" songs. This is also true for the pitchers. Buddy has been working on his walk out song for years. It seems to change every few weeks. I actually suggested a Lenny Kravitz song that had an amazing guitar opening (Are You Going My Way?). Initially he loved it, but is now leaning toward a Toby Keith song. Whatever he wants, it is meant to inspire and keep his level of motivation and concentration at its highest level. My only request that he does not choose a song with 'cuss words, 'cause his momma and grandparents are listening....oh yea and his young impressionable cousins and any other little kid in the stands.

On to their living conditions....yes, there was yet another citation....what does this mean? Well, the room mates have to pay yet another fine for not putting the trash out or bringing the cans back in. Also, if there is trash on the lawn, the police drive by and write out a ticket and hand it to the landlord. From her latest email (yesterday), she is beyond peeved and probably muttering some 'cuss words that won't be found in any walk out song. If she receives another citation, these party boys are out on their !(#^@#))*%. Yeah...then what?

Well, they continue to pay for the house that they rented plus rent on another place as they search for another apartment to live in. If the landlords are organized, then Buddy and his posse have their faces posted on bulletin boards and telephone poles throughout the borough as students NOT to rent to...then what? Hmmm....perhaps if we get a television to replace the one that is not working well, they can live in the box in an alley. No cable...internet...electricity....heat...air conditioning.... oh yeah, no trash to take out. To say that dad is livid would be an understatement. We all know that if they are evicted, then we are responsible for providing the big box for him to live in. Yes, that's will be a box and not a neat condo with a trash compacter but a box with a few holes poked into it for ventilation. After all, his sneakers stink.

Gotta head out....have a good one....however, if you see a big television box with air holes near a large university campus in the future, it could be my son and his friends living in luxury until they leave for the summer recess.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hypnosis anyone?

A night time post. Yep, I did not post after coffee today probably due to apathy. Yes, I was apathetic this morning, even though I was so happy waking up with everyone in the house for a change. Buddy arrived home yesterday afternoon and brought Gopher with him. He was taking a flight to Minnesota from an airport near us. So, he stopped by to say hi and eat a cheese steak. He seems like a nice guy.

And so, we are reunited and my son tells me once again that he is changing his major but is not sure to what. OK, this is the third, fourth, or maybe fifth time....and he is not really sure where he wants to go with his education. Um, does he realize that he needs to graduate in June 2014? Maybe not....

And so, life goes on without really changing. He is very excited about 21st birthday. Me? Not so much. Twenty one means several things...first, he is eligible to drink....second, I have a 21 year old son. I am not sure which is more distressing. Perhaps, his 21-ness will grow on me and he can go to happy hour with me. That would be nice. Mom and her boy at the bar, sipping a Merlot and chatting about life and the Yankees and eating fish tacos and flatbread pizzas. What more can a person want?

On to other the neighborhood and their Christmas lights. Come on people....we have not even had Thanksgiving yet. My pumpkins are still outside. What is going on with rushing the season? I need to pace myself. I want to enjoy each holiday. I am still eating Halloween Snickers bars. I don't want to merge these holidays.

What else is going on? Well, Tink, Buddy, Tuna, Buttercup, Big Sis and Scoob are joining the "pie-filling team" beginning tomorrow. I am hoping that by hanging around the dough, sugar, pies, and cakes, I will no longer be interested in eating these lovely, fat-laden desserts. Perhaps, it will be therapeutic for me.

Speaking of therapeutic, I made a big family announcement at dinner. I am going to learn hypnotherapy. That's right...I am going to school to learn how to hypnotize do you like that one? Actually, I have been thinking about this for a while and figure I can either set up a practice or hypnotize my kids into finishing school, getting a job, and taking the trash out. Maybe I can practice on Diva Dog or Cupcake..... Perhaps I can also hypnotize dad too, although I am not sure which suggestion I want to give him....I have everything that I need or want....Maybe I can hypnotize him into fixing the screen in the back of the house. It's been busted for quite a while and needs his touch. I tried to fix it and failed. It's his turn....

Time for some down time. By the way, good luck to girl friend, Menopausal Marathoner....tomorrow is the day~ She has been training for her first she nuts?, girl run!

Take care!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Filling pies

Good morning! I sort of have a day off and have to say after yesterday's marathon teaching session that the only ones more tired than I am is the students. They are having trouble sleeping, are stressed, and having physical symptoms such as neck pain and headaches. I have to be more aware that they are victims of my ramblings and need for perfection...sorry gang...but you will be better off at the end of the semester.

I promised the class that if they all pass the final exam, I would bring them a cake from the bakery to celebrate. Now, for 26+ slices of cake, I may need a loan or take out a floating mortgage, nonetheless, a promise is a promise.

Speaking of bakeries, I also promised Sparky and the Baker that I would help to fill pies this week in between classes. According to Baker, they sell 5000 apple pies, 2000 pecan pies, and 2000 pumpkins pies in three days. This is crazy! All of the pies will be placed in a large truck in the front of the bakery and people will pick up their orders in the truck. Keep in mind that this bakery is tiny. Baker just expanded to the second floor, but she still needs a big truck for the orders. Amazing....that's a lot of dough!

As far as the big kid is concerned, he was "blue" yesterday because he worked out and did not have any energy. Imagine....he has mono and no energy....Today, he worked out again with the team and blew threw it. Then he blew out his dinner last night as he vomited in front of the team. The guys and coaches congratulated him and felt that he was bacck! What a scene....

Today, Cupcake is with us. She has a bit of a cold and is more cranky than usual. Diva dog has run from the scene and Tink is doing her best to keep our little sweetness from crying too much. Usually Cupcake is a happy little camper, but since she is having trouble breathing from her nose, she is sad.
Yes, Cupcake....I need a nose to breathe quietly. Poor kid....

And so, today I have the privilege of playing tennis with one of my favorite partners, Red. She is a super player and always runs the ball down...even with the two knee braces that she wears. Red is one tough cookie. I am sure that she also vomits after her work outs like Buddy.

With that said, I have to check on little Cupcake before I leave. Have a great day....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sore knees and term papers

hi! I'm back! I have a quick reprieve from work. Trying to squeeze 12 months of work into 6 months has been a challenge. I think that I can handle it, although the students wonder why their papers are not graded as soon as they hand them in. Note to all students in the world: unless you are taking an independent study and the only person in the class, chances are that your professor has other students to assist and grade. You are not the only one. Just sayin'

Did that sound a bit salty? Maybe...just a bit of post traumatic stress....needing some therapy...time to hit a ball or two with my racquet.

On to what is going on....while drinking my coffee this morning, I saw "Meatball Man" on the Today Show. MM is a well known meatball expert. He is running a fund raiser for Covenant House in NYC. This is a terrific cause and MM is the star of the show...which leads me to muse...did he always want the title of "Meatball Man"? Did he say to his mother at the age of 6, "Mom, I see meatballs in my future..." Did mom look at her baby with adoration and say: "Good choice of professions, honey. Let's work toward entrance into Meatball University where you can major in meat." Yes, MM probably has a Bachelors of Arts in Meat.

Why am I going on about Meatball Man? Oh, I don't know. Perhaps I am reflecting on the days when my son would say to me: "Mom, I want to become a marine biologist....but live in Pennsylvania...."  Why not Iowa?


"Mom, I want to be a priest. They only work on Sundays...." That lasted 1 minute.....


"Mom, I want a job where I can make mistakes all the time..." What mother doesn't want to hear those words?

Of course, the desire and commitment to higher education has turned into a passion for a sport and therefore, the major continues to change and morph into a convoluted journey. Currently, he is taking Spanish, marketing, and two communication courses. This is a bit of a hodge podge and I may see where it leads by the end of next year when he either graduates or is in the minor leagues.

Speaking of baseball, let's go onto the next subject. "Mom, my knees are sore." OK, well then, do not run until they feel better.....of course, this fell onto deaf ears when he reported: "The knees are still sore and I saw a trainer after I worked out." Hmmm...two things...1. he has not been cleared to return to training 2. why the heck would he run knowing that there was something weird going on with his knees?
Where is the critical thinking? Oh, I forgot...there is none.

And so, the big guy comes home on Friday morning for the week and will either be cleared by the doctor or told to stay out of the gym for a longer period of time.

He has time to prepare for the season. His grades are great (yes, that is what I said...great) and he can hit the gym with full force when he is cleared. Until then, grab the remote control and open a textbook, write a paper, get some sleep....I got an your momma every now and then...She would love to hear from someone who is not complaining that they did not get an A for a two paragraph term paper.

Gotta go read more papers....have a good day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Learning to cope with disappointment on television

Good Sunday morning! It's a beautiful day in the northeast and I have just finished my Starbucks grande Pike coffee. There's no better way to start the day if you ask me...and if your aren't...then so be it.

So, where do we stand with the big leftie? Well, he has a final appointment with the doctor who saved his life a few weeks ago when his throat was closing. Got to give credit where credit is due...the health care team saved the big guy's life. And now, he will be granted permission to work out and pitch once more.

Yep, he is going to be back on the mound. I cannot believe the barriers that have been in front of him over the years such as Lyme disease during the recruiting season, mono, shoulder surgery, hit with a line drive in the head, and lack of belief by his coaches. Yes, it has been an uphill battle. And guess what? he is stronger than ever. I guess Kelly Clarkson's song: "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger....." is legitimate.

By not having an easy road, he has had to develop problem solving skills that most of his team mates do not have. He has learned to get out of trouble and pitch out of jams. He has sobbed on the way home from Little League games and cussed when someone hit a home run off him.

These pitchers are a different breed of guys. They are a bit crazy and have to have short memories. They can't let a bad pitch or home run get to them or they are sunk. Consequently, they develop coping mechanisms to handle these road blocks. In a way, I admire that they let themselves be so vulnerable and open to criticism. They are the ones throwing the ball....they are the ones who "lose" the game.

Yesterday, I watched a college football game. The score was very close and the end of the game was approaching. One team was close to giving the ball back to the opposing team when a defensive player committed a very stupid penalty. The ball was placed near the goal line and if this team scored, they would have won the game. Well, the coach pulled the defensive player who committed the penalty, he took off his helmet and walked to the back of the bench. As the other team came toward the goal line, the offensive player fumbled the ball as he started to cross the goal line giving the back back to the home team. The camera focused on the player who committed the penalty and he was on his knees crying as if he a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. His vulnerability and shame were so evident that I wanted to cry with him. Imagine...he's on national television and he is seen crying on the sidelines after he possibly committed a game losing penalty.

Where am I going with this? Actually, I am not sure. I think what I am saying is that Buddy is going to be cleared to play baseball and I should start planning my spring travels. By the way, there is no Florida trip (a very sad face), but we are headed to Virginia, Tennessee, the Midwest, and Texas. The guys are getting themselves together for the season but first we have to tackle Thanksgiving, finals,  and Christmas. Buddy gave me permission not to buy him anything for Christmas. He says that I have given him enough over his lifetime and therefore, I am off the hook for the season. Hmmmm....let's think about this...I have been asked not to give him any tooth brush, shaving cream, life savers, tic tacs, sweaters, 50 pound bag of rice, sneakers, gift cards, boots, gas, jeans, cool shirts, car, and so on. Has my little boy grown up?

What the heck?! He is trying to deny me the pleasure of standing in long lines, overpaying for an acrylic sweater or shirt with a polo pony on it, and sorting through the sales until I find a XXL?

I am sorry. I cannot grant his lovely wish. In fact, I get more from the shopping than he does when he opens it. So I will be selfish and continue searching for the perfect cool party shirt that he can wear on campus. Perhaps I can get a case of hand warmers at Costco or Sam's Club. He loves the short black sweat socks...and the Phillies.....oh yeah, he also likes Hershey's cookies and cream bars and brownies....Sorry, kid, I cannot honor your request. it is time for me to head to Costco after my Zumba class....
Peace out....