Friday, November 29, 2013

Counting my blessings and calories

Good morning! This is a quickie since I am in the office and have paperwork out the whazzoo. Yes, I am working on Black Friday rather than standing in a line outside the mall waiting for 50% of a Nike tee shirt that I do not need.

How was the big feast in the east? Well, pretty darn tasty. Everything turned out perfectly, although I spilled the gravy (again) in dad's car who was not pleased. Hey, it's a new aroma to embrace. Rather than using cologne, he can garner a neat smell by sitting in his car.

Anyway, all of the food was pretty good. Although Lil A and I mashed the potatoes and according to her palate, I did not use enough salt. Upon tasting them., she was right. I try not to use too much because I do not want to raise BP grandpop's blood pressure too high,  but the taters need more salt or something...even a stick of butter could not save them. Also, instead of using pork sausage, I tried turkey sausage which has no flavor hence the stuffing was a dud. On to the turkey...despite it burning my eyes and oven, smoking my house, dripping in the car,  and giving me a back spasms, it was quite tasty. The issue is now, why oh why does it seem that we have more turkey now than when we started dinner? It seems to have grown.

On to desserts....homemade pumpkin bread pudding with caramel and fresh whipped cream, homemade apple crumb pie, homemade (using fresh not canned) pumpkin pie, cannolis, birthday cake for Buttercup and Dr G, and cheesecake were on the table. OYE! I have to have a little of each, right? It's Thanksgiving, right? Knowing what was to come, my meal was tiny....yet when I left, I needed the crow bar to get into the car. Before desserts and coffee, I sheepishly made the announcement about the little lost plastic thing from my beaters as perhaps a door prize for the lucky diner. As of this moment, no one has choked. Also, I have not heard of any gastric distress except for too much food. And lastly, we had a marvelous day.

Special thanks to Big M, Big Sis, Dr G and Lil A for their hospitality. I would also like to thank BP Grandmom for her homemade and amazing soup and pies. Lastly, thank you to God for my blessings especially the one of the best families and extended family ever.....I am a very fortunate BP mom.....


Thursday, November 28, 2013

I hate turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope that you are having a good day. I am grateful that I have one reader for this convoluted blog....happy day, reader!

Actually, I am trying to work today before heading to Jersey but the online platform is reading error messages and I am locked out. I am tired of this stuff. When I have the time to work, I do not want to read 'error' on my screen and have to problem solve an unsolvable problem. My students are tired of this too. Therefore, Santa, for Christmas, please give my work a new online platform that never crashes...ahhh, I was on a roll too!!!!

And so, today is the day. What have I done to prepare the feast today for transport? Well, Big Sis gave to me a big turkey....big...huge....I could barely lift it. And as I was under the understanding that it was a fresh turkey, I needed a crow bar to remove its innards. All I could find was his neck and no internal organs (oh, this is gross), so I put Tom Turkey in one of those bags that was perhaps too small for him and placed him in the oven. Since he was 'fresh', he did not have a pop up thermometer which meant that I had to keep an eye on him. As the bird cooked, I could hear sizzle, pop, pop. Hmmm...upon opening the oven, black smoke wafted out, smoked my glasses, burned my eyes, and filled the kitchen and family room. Apparently the stupid too small bag busted and all of the juices ran over the edge of the baking dish onto the floor of the oven and began to smoke at the high temperatures. Oh joy. My house smells like a burned turkey. All the doors were opened and the fans were put on high. All this succeeded in doing was freeze me and Diva while the smoke left quite a stench. I hate turkey....

Anyway, I had to place a portable thermometer into the bird and waited for it to finish at 170. Once it hit the mark, I pulled him out with all of the energy that I had and poured lots of the juice onto the floor and my legs. nice....I really hate turkey.....

And so, I have a stinky house , wet legs, and sticky floor that I cannot see since my eyes were burned. I carried the stupid bird  leaving it the turkey on the counter to 'rest' as per the chefs on The Chew. During this time, I turned the oven on to self clean since it was burned beyond use and went to finish my cheesecake. Yes, I make the most amazing cheesecake, although this time, it may not be so good. The cake was in the bottom oven baking and I cleaned the beaters.  Much to my surprise, horror, and amazement, the little plastic bottom to one of the beaters was missing. It is small, round, plastic and could possibly lodge in someone's airway. Was it in the cheesecake? I hate cheesecake.....

On to slicing the turkey for transport. I was advised by two friends to slice the turkey and cover it with chicken broth then move it to Jersey. As I began to carve the huge bird, I got to the middle and could see that it was not finished....there was pink....oh Lawd! Further, I found the little plastic bag of internal organs that I also roasted with the turkey. Now I am not only going to kill someone with the little stopper on the bottom of the beater but I could take out an entire family with samonella. I hate turkey.....

Moving on, I finished carving and put the turkey, raw parts too, into an aluminum pan to return to the oven to heat and hopefully finish cooking; when I spilled lots of the broth onto the floor and down my leg again. I hate turkey.....

Once the meat was in the oven for further cooking, floor mopped again, leg damp, and I was composed, I drained the broken bag of the drippings and attempted to make gravy for the first time in my life. Why did I do this? Oh, I thought that it would be fairly easy. I had a recipe from Bon Appetit. Yeah, three hours later on the stove top, the gravy was still soup. I hate gravy......

Therefore, as I type this message of holiday cheer, I hope that you too will get together with family or friends and crack open a box of the finest wine. Then once everyone has eaten and retired to watch the football game, you can take the pulses of all diners to make sure that you did not kill them with undercooked turkey, little plastic stoppers, or soupy gravy. I hate football....

Enjoy the day, I still have some potatoes to peel and mash. Got a recipe from Betty Crocker.....I hate Crocker......


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I am pie

Greetings on this extremely wet travel day in the northeast. Eww. If I wasn't plan on staying home and cooking, I would be a bit salty with the weather....yet, I have all that I need except wine.

Yeah, I am low and have about 1/2 glass left for later....meaning.....I either have to go out or ration what I have until Friday. Hmmm...decisions....decisions....quick, someone grab my coat!

OK, whazzup? Why am I pie? Well, I spent most of yesterday and part of Monday making pies With Sparky, Big C, Baker, and Sweet C. Who is Sweet C? SC is a newbie on the staff who has her own bakery in her home and is looking to open a shop. She makes cupcakes and cakes and sells them through the internet. If the Christmas music wasn't being blasted in my ear, I would have asked her more about her business. Anyway, we had a competition on who could make the best and most double crusted apple pies. My job was merely to create a mountain of apples in a shell and adding butter, sugars and spices in the right way.

A mindless job, but very important, cause I kept getting the mountain of apples wrong. According to Sparky, I had to create an apple mountain that looked like J-Lo's butt rather than a pyramid. Not having studied the derriere of J-Lo, I used my imagination and tried to create lovely mounds of apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Yesterday, after the double crusted apple pies were done, I started to make the apple caramel pecan pies. That's right.....based on my J-Lo apple pies, I was moved up on the food chain and was asked to fill pie shells with apples and crumbs. Uh huh...yep....I am one step away from blueberry pies....just sayin'....not bragging.....

While stuffing the pies, I received yet another email from a student who decided to go home early from campus and not attend my 1 pm class. Yes, over half the class was cutting on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. So, I considered my options. Option A: Penalize them.....give a test to the students who stayed and not let the cutters take it.....Mean...very mean. When asked about my plans before class, I asked one of the students why she thought that I had this type of mean spiritedness in me. After all, I am a straight shooter. I do not give tests trying to get the students to fail. I would like to see them succeed. But I have no ulterior plans or motives.

Option B: Rather than penalize the people who left because 'it was raining', I decided to reward the people who stayed for the class. Therefore, as I stuffed my last pie, I grabbed a quarter sheet cake and had the decorators write on it: "Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for coming to class". Then I gave everyone who stayed for class a big hunk of chocolate and vanilla cake. The students who stayed took photos of the cake and sent them to the people who had cut class. it was beautiful.....I did not penalize the people who left but rewarded those who stayed.....isn't that what I am trying to teach them?

As I began to teach the class, I reminded them that they are going to seek jobs and therefore, potential employers will be asking for references. Guess who writes references for graduating seniors? Hmmmm....the faculty perhaps? Yeah, the people that they have been dissing for the past 6 months have their futures in the hands or shall I say 'keyboards'. When I mentioned this phenomenon in class, I could see the disrespectful students gulp loudly and look like they swallowed a whole turnip. Gotcha!

Do I take glee in this one? Naw. Look, I have been trying to teach manners to a manner-less society of individuals who are narcissistic at best. With their texting, tablets, Facebook, tweets, and so on, they have forgotten what it means to communicate in a respectful way. Therefore, I have to 'school 'em' before it is too late. The looks on their faces was priceless. I had asked the boss to relieve me of teaching this class next year, because I did not like the way the students treated me and each other, but now think that it is pretty fun as I have seen the 'ah hah' moment during yesterday's class.

And so, with apples and cinnamon firmly encrusted under my finger nail beds and my favorite robe on, it is time for me to put the turkey into the oven and start the cheesecake....that's right. Cheesecake. Why not? We will have gone over our daily allotment of calories by noon tomorrow; what is a few thousand more?

And with that said, Happy Day!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Organic and free range

Hey! You know what I have noticed this year? Well, I have noticed that formality and manners are gone in the newest generation. With my class of 20 year olds, they send emails to me that are addressed: "Hey, Dr. BP Mom....." That's right....'hey'...what happened to "Dear Dr. BP Mom"? Gone...out the window....Interesting phenomenon...they want employment, right? Once again, on Tuesday, I will have to squash the 'hey salutation' and share with them that employers like me prefer to be addressed by our professional names and not greeted with 'hey', 'yo', and 'uh'. Just sayin'

On to Confirmation...Lil A looked beautiful and so happy that her big cuz was her sponsor. She looks up to him like a big brother and he sees her as his little bud. So, it is all good. Although the bishop got her selected Confirmation name wrong when she approached the altar; dad said that it is written in stone and she has to go to the Vatican to change it. She laughed it off.....Although, she refused to have her photo taken with the Bishop after the ceremony saying that she was boycotting him for his faux pas.


The big kid chopped 20+ cases of apples yesterday and has 60 cases to go before Tuesday. I will stuff the pies for a few hours tomorrow and Tuesday, so I may not be able to update you on activities until Wednesday.


Yet, Wednesday is going to be a big day. Big Sis picked up the turkey yesterday, although I do not know how. He/she weighs 25 pounds and is massive. I needed a forklift to get him into the fridge. I made sure that he was humanely killed and organic, free-range, and so on. Big Sis says that she thinks so.

Why do I have the turkey? It all has to do with the pans that Big M has made for Thanksgiving. He wants to celebrate in his happy place, the Jersey shore. Don't laugh...Snooki and her pals live in northern Jersey. His house is in southern Jersey....big difference....anyway, Big M wants the family to come to his happy place. This is a great idea BUT they have one oven and we are talking about feeding the BP mom family. Why is this different than any other family?


Hmmm...let's see.....I believe that it is because we eat more, perhaps? Here is the way it goes.....yesterday, I created a menu and divided the activities among several of my family members. I am roasting the turkey, making sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chocolate bombs, and cheesecake. The rest of the family has the other dishes. I figured that I had it set and delegated....yes? NO!

Last night at Lil A's Confirmation party, brother C says we have to have homemade soup, corn, and a pasta dish. Huh? Oye? We have to transport this food across state lines and find places to heat it up before dinner. Given my time management grid, I believe that we do not have enough oven space, burners or microwave time to put everything together and serve it hot. Therefore, some of our favorite dishes will either be cool, cold, or not served. Men! They do not understand the skill of creating a big meal for a large gathering and serving it hot after a person has had several glasses of wine or cranberry vodkas. They just don't get it ;-)


With that said, it is time for me to clip coupons, change into Zumba clothes, return home to work on  finding my lost electronic presentations, run to the grocery store, cook dinner, and find a quiet chair to crack open the box. That's right....quiet.....'cause I can see the future and it has Christmas tree, decorations, and outdoor lights on it. I know that I can do it.....I know it....I know it.,.....I know it!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Finding files

Good morning! I am so sorry that I have not posted but this time of year is a bear in the academic profession. Thursday is my uber long day and Friday is a lost day. I cannot even move until noonish on Friday and lose valuable time. Further, with all of the papers that I have had to grade in the past four days, the mind is fried. lastly, I have to post four 1 hour presentations online by Tuesday and each time that I record, I lose the recording. I have gone to IT a number of times but they are not checking back with me so I am losing valuable time trying to figure out this program on my own as I should be just creating and not producing...hence my frustration and yes...aggravation. Is it too early to open the box?

The big kid is home, yeah! And he slept through four alarms this morning. I was the first one out of bed since I HAVE to get this done.....and now that he has overslept, let's say that he is a bit salty.....

He had lots of funny stories about the last few months of training and he looks fit, tone, and ready to throw. His arm does not hurt, but his legs do. Apparently, this week the guys had to go to the field at 4 am to run through something called Omaha. They were divided into teams and had to do some incredible feats of fitness like carrying heavy weights across a field on their knees; throw weighted balls over their heads, run around them, through again, run squats through a sand pit and so on. His team came in second after five days of grueling activities and again, he is salty. According to the big kid, he was robbed. OK, so what else is happening?

Hmmm...Tink is very happy with her job. If she works on Sundays, she makes $1.50 more per hour. Now that is an incentive. When she complained about bagging, I reminded her that she needs a college degree, 'cause right now, she is only qualified for this job. Like Buddy working in the bakery and seeing the big picture about completing college, she is learning the same message in the supermarket.

Diva is happy these days as both of her favorite people are in the house. OK, I have got to go. Lil A is being confirmed today and her favorite leftie pitcher is her sponsor, so I gotta shower and think about how I can somehow, someway find these files that I have created over the past two days and publish them to the online learning platform. If not, I will have to re-record and I DO NOT WANT TO!

I also promised Baker that I would help make apples pies this week and must create a Thanksgiving dinner and transport it to the Jersey shore by Thursday....and my own personal work is added and perhaps an hour or two of sleep.....Deep breath.....namaste......

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plans and plans and plans

Good morning! It is cold here. Yesterday, not so much....huh? is below freezing today which is appropriate for November. Yesterday seemed like a September day. And so, how do I dress for work? Who knows. By the way, I am happy to inform all interested readers that the fall clothes finally fit.

Yep, Weight Watchers worked like a charm. Now all I have to do is keep my resolve over the holidays, yet after meeting with Big M and BP Grandmom and Pop yesterday to develop the Thanksgiving menu, I realize that I have lots of hurdles to jump over next week to continue to be able to zip the pants post holiday.

Oh, the worries....actually, fitting into the fall clothes is not a big concern anymore. All I have to do is exercise and eliminate the sugar and carbs from the diet. However, as a food addict, this is pretty tough. I look at a cream puff and think...ahhhhh....with a cup of coffee in the left hand and the puff in the right hand, I could be on a sugar and  caffeine high all day.

On top of this addiction, I told the Baker and Sparky that I would fill apple pies and cut apples in the bakery next week for the holiday. Why would a sugar addict agree to it? I believe the answer is.....because I am a sugar addict...duh! Actually, Baker needs help and I am happy to comply. It gets my mind off of grading papers and teaching to a classroom where I see the sides of faces or the tops of their heads as they pretend not to look at their cell phones. They think that I don't see how they have tuned out, but mamma did not raise a fool. I decided that I would continue to teach for the students who give a hoot and keep their phones in their bags and laptops unplugged. This is why I am doing it and no other reason. Last week, the participation and attention was so weak that I considered taking a photo of the class as they had their attention on the computers and phones, send it to my email, open it in front of the class, and show them what I see in the front of the room as I teach. I believe that this would be an eye-opener for them as their attempt to look 'oh so  nonchalantly at their laps' does not go unnoticed by the pit bull in the front of the room.

Yep, the plans are made and all I have to do is work toward achieving the little goals for the following week. Lots of papers to grade....two courses to finish...three to start in the next week....a 4 hour class to upload....apples to cut.....pie crusts to fill...turkey....PT....side dishes....desserts.....big kid coming home....Lil A's Confirmation....

Big M wants to gather for Thanksgiving at his shore house in NJ. Whatever the big guy wants....the big guy is going to get. If he wants us to go to Alaska and cook turkey in an igloo with a Bunsen burner, we'll do it. Yesterday, I had the privilege of  taking him to his radiation and doctor's appointments. As you know, Big M has been part of my life since I was a teenager and I consider him a big brother and bestie, so I am happy that I can be part of the healing process. I also witness the strength of this guy as he battles this foe. Only 20% of individuals diagnosed with lung cancer make it through the first year. He is in year three. Yeah, that's what I am talking about...although, he has had multiple hurdles, he keeps jumping and we are all committed as a community to make sure that he makes it. Yesterday, I dropped a check off at the high school for him as he sponsored the annual play's program. When I handed it to the administrator, he asked how Big M was doing and then said: "I love that guy."

Yeah, we all do and as such will continue to fight with him in the trenches, foxholes, radiation, chemotherapy, and anywhere he needs us. By the way, Big M does NOT like attention or anyone helping him. He is a doer and giver, so this is more tough emotionally on him because he wants to give. After I dropped him off, he said: "Hey, I am going to buy you dinner...." Big M, believe it or not, I don't want to eat. I want you to be better....then we can go to the beach...hang out on the porch and drink your famous alcoholic concoctions that you have invented with cranberry juice, lemonade, vodka, and a splash of something that is yumm-y!

Uh oh.....It's getting late and I have to get ready for class and PT. I hope that you have a terrific day.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Little Red Hen

Good Sunday morning! I am in a bit of a hurry today so this one will be short. I am headed to Zumba then am attending a show with Big Sis and a friend. Another mutual friend is singing in a play in a local theater. When I told Tink and dad that I was going to the performance, I asked them if they wanted to go....their responses were....

"Gotta wash my hair..."
"Not a fan of Sondheim...."
"I am going to rake leaves...."
"The dog needs a bath...."
"I am allergic to local theater...."

Yeah, I get it, but a girl has to support her posse, right? By the way, I know that none of the aforementioned excuses will be accomplished. AND I already made dinner for them and it just turned 10 am. Oye! The Little Red Hen know the LRH, right? She found a seed and asked her crew if they would help her to plant it. Each animal said that they were too busy. Then she needed someone to water the wheat....again....they were too busy....Can anyone help the LRH bake the bread? Nope...all busy. Then the bread came out of the oven and when she asked who would help her to eat it, they all replied "YES!" But the LRH was no fool, and exclaimed that since they were too busy to help nurture and create the bread, she would eat it herself....where does that take me?

Well, a few years ago when I was the dean of the department, I had a bunch of newbies and oldbies working with me. Sadly, no one wanted to do the work that they were being paid to do. In fact, they refused certain tasks and I was stuck doing their work and my own. "Why, LRH, you may ask?" Well, for a number of reasons such as:
1. one director could not speak English (don't ask)

2. Another director was brand new and took her time getting to know the job and when she had it, she quit
3. Another instructor decided that she hated me and thought that I was inept and arrogant (OK....)
4. Another instructor had no clue what to do, and when I wanted her to have a mentor, she screamed at me and quit by throwing an index card at my chest (ouch)

5. Another instructor felt that the course load was too heavy. Anytime she had a problem, rather than dealing with it, it was my problem. And so, I took care of her student and curriculum issues as well as my own....
6. My assistant refused to assist me. When I took her job description to her, she reported me to HR. Then HR brought me into the office for a conference. All was good. HR supported me, yet my assistant continued to not assist me.

7. One of the angry, inept people who came at me tried to sue me telling her lawyer that I created a hostile working environment. The hostile environment was my own as I lost enamel on the back of my teeth from grinding so much and my gall bladder from the stress.
8. Another faculty member came at me so many times as it was my fault for the rain,  global warming, cancer, and the high price of milk. She also reported me when I did not ask her to chair a committee that she had refused over the years to take over. But the day that she found out that someone else took it was too much for her, so she sent a scathing letter to the dean. He, in turn, took her side and I had to cringe. What a crappy job.

9. There are so many other stories like the one where an adviser whom I did not hire went to one of our clinical partners and tried to extort money from them for finding staff for their organization from my student body. She wanted $500.00 per find. Oh, could it get much worse?

Yeah, it did...when I found out that I was making a mere extra $1000.00 for all this work 24/7 accountability, no vacations, breaks, and lots of grief, I resigned. Someone else can take over this madhouse and I am going back to the classroom. At least I would have control there.

Back to the I continued with this job that was destroying my health, I realized that I was the LRH. And I actually published a paper on the LRH Phenomenon. Yeah, it was published AND it was not my best work, but I will bet the readers could understand my theory and conceptual framework.

With that nostalgic review of one of the best times of my life, I am ready to work out then listen to some music with the girls.

Gotta run!