Thursday, October 23, 2014

A very mental game

I'm back. It's my busy season so I am a bit preoccupied with work. This time of year is pretty intense. However, I do it with love (uh huh, yeah, love).

How is the big kid? Well, his homecoming tomorrow has been delayed because he has to attend a 'mental game' seminar at 4 pm. Sure, their first weekend off since August and they have to sit for at least an hour and listen to the Czar pontificate. That totally messes up a family dinner. He won't make it until 9 pm and by that time on a Friday night, I am stuporous and looking for a blanket and pillow as I wonder how to spell my name.

It seems that the Czar was in rare form this week and punished the guys with a 5 am run that left them breathless. According to the big kid, the players were breathless at one point as one of the pitchers, Groucho grimaced. The Czar asked him if he thought that the run was funny. Groucho responded 'no sir.' The Czar then proceeded to scream at him then kicked him out of the run but first humiliated him with the usual banter...'you suck (this is the clean version)...I am going to cut will never amount to anything....' and so on. Groucho left puzzled and confused and is now worried that he is going to be cut as a senior. As dad says: "He's a bully."

Yep, it's all a mental game, right folks?

The schedule has not been published yet, but I do know that they spend spring break in the Carolinas and head to Texas. I am looking forward to seeing where I will be traveling this year and hope that it is warm and cozy with a beach, cabanas, and little cocktails with umbrellas in them. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

With that said, I have to grade some papers and make sure that the pups are not eating the wall. Yeah, I caught the male with his teeth sunk into my leather sofa. Remind me why I adopted two of them again?

Gotta grade!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mean Girls?

Good morning! It's my long day as I go from morning until 10 pm tonight. No worries....I got it covered...done it before...not crazy about the schedule but I created it to be free in the spring. So, not wanting to complain about it, I move forward and do my job.

Yesterday, something interesting happened on the tennis court. I subbed in for a friend who was working out of town. As we played, the usual banter and dopey play was evident as we hit some great balls and hit more balls out. All in all, playing morning tennis does what it is supposed to do...give me an outlet for my stress, a little aerobic action, and fun with the girls. That's it. When we finish after 90 minutes, we go our separate ways and run to work.

Until yesterday.....

S mentioned that the ladies on the next court (and I now use the term 'ladies' with my tongue in my cheek) commented to her friend that they were surprised that she was playing with the 'mean girls.'

Huh? I did not play last year because of elbow issues and played twice this season. I am not sure which mean girls they were referring to, but I was shocked by the comment. Looking at the ladies in our contract time, I can't think of one mean girl, 'cause I don't roll with a group that is nasty to others, especially when they have the privilege of not working on a Monday morning and can afford indoor tennis. The courts are not cheap and we pay up front for a season. The gals are professionals or housewives who are active in the community. Who is a mean girl?

Odd? Was it me? Am I a mean girl? What does a mean girl mean? When I was in high school, there were mean girls. Looking back, they were the most insecure of the bunch. So, they acted as if they were better than anyone else and excluded the nerdy types (uh, that would be moi). And so, I was never included in the mean girl clique in high school.

College...let's my head was in a book too much to know any mean girls. I work mostly in a female dominated profession....yes, there are some mean girls there, but there are mean guys too. Really mean...nasty....this is just their personalities. I have to work with them, not party with them. Like college, I focused on the work and not someone's personality. However, I recall the time when an upper class man asked me how I could wear my shorts and ripped sneakers to tennis practice. After all, the cute guys were on the court next to us. bad....sorry, I did not have the money for new sneakers and the old Pumas worked pretty well.

On to today...mean housewives....Interesting television show concept, The Mean Housewives of the Tennis Court. Who are they? Well, some of them are the ladies who took up tennis after the kids were in pre school since they had a few hours to kill each day. They were never on a competitive team before and do not know how to act in a sportsmanlike manner. I know a few and stay away from them unless I have to play against them.

For example, a few years ago, I played with a woman who is a bit socially me, another book nerd. She is very nice and thoughtful...and anxious about her tennis. Anyway, I played with her against women that I have known for years. One of my pseudo-friends asked me why I was playing with her and said that her social group called my partner "Encyclopedia Brown."

Knowing that this was a major 'dis, I walked away and got pretty angry over the comment. First, they were gossiping about a nice woman. Second, they had a name for her....kind of like the other nicknames that I have heard players use for other women.

This made me sit back and think about who I hang out with and avoid a friendship with women who have nothing better to do than gossip.

Are all of these women 'mean girls'? Absolutely not. Most are the kindest, nicest, sweetest individuals a person could meet. They would help in a flash and are often the people who volunteer in community activities when the rest of us are working. They are the pillars of society and do not brag or boast about their volunteerism. 

Now, my new tennis group has been identified as mean girls. Startled, I think that they are wrong. The Monday morning ladies have life in perspective as their families and communities are first in their lives. A competitive tennis match is 9th on the top ten list.

And so, gossip does not end in high school or college. It stays in our society as women and men who have nothing else to do with their time manufacture identities and personalities to people that they do not know. Sad, I wish them well and a life to focus on rather than my little group of Monday morning misfits.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Good Sunday morning! Tink and I are headed to the apple orchard to pick apples. Why? Well, we could buy them for 79 cents a pound, but I would rather go "Amish" and show off my apple-picking skills. The orchard also sells these amazing apple cider donuts which are not on the weight watchers point list, but my tummy says "Who cares? Go for it, BPM!" Yep, listening to the stomach and not the head is often an issue when trying to lose enough weight to zip the fall pants. Since I can no longer get away with sweat pants at work, I am doomed to lose the weight and wear what I have in my closet. That's it....

How are the pups? Can anyone spell 'incontinent'? 'Nuff said.....

How is the big kid? Well, fall ball ends today. He gave up 1 run all season. This is pretty masterful since the others have not fared nearly as well, he looks like a season starter. Today, the Czar pointed out the two guys who had an amazing fall season....Fudge and Waldo. That's it. He told Fudge that he was a weekend starter. Waldo will start on third base.

Not once did the Czar mention the big guy's name...although he only gave up 1 run for the entire fall. When he struck out a batter after being in the hole 3-1, he jumped up and cheered. The Czar called him out, said to stop grandstanding, and act like you do it all the time. This guy will never give the kid a break nor offer a compliment. Here is my take on it:

The Czar is out of his league. The big lefty has great stuff and he cannot coach him. He does not have the skill or aptitude, so instead, he works on his mind. By belittling him on a routine basis, he is making him a tougher guy. So, when he finally makes it, the Czar can sit back and take all of the accolades for his amazing coaching.....I believe that is how it works.....

OK, does that make sense? Sure.....why not. The guy has nothing to offer and manages through fear. If I was the big guy, I would worry if he did say something nice. At least he is consistent in his inability to vocalize the guy's hard work, work ethic, and dedication to improving his performance. Oh yeah, he is one of the few guys to routinely pass the drug tests...just sayin'

With that said, I gotta run! Literally...if I am going to eat an apple cider donut or five!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nightwear Fashion Show

Good morning! I think that I am back in my flow as I sit at my desk and have now developed a daily routine....You see, with the travel, everything has been disrupted. Since we have been home for two weeks, I am feeling normal again....whatever normal and friends will debate that I never have nor never will have a 'normal'.

And so, the pups have been taken out twice this morning by moi. We have our routine....they wake me up at an un-Godly hour and I take them out....give them breakfast....they want to go out again....get their little greenies....take a short nap....go out again...and all of this is before 8 am. This morning after going to bed at midnight, I  said "screw it" and took them out in my flannel pajamas.

Much to my chagrin, my neighbor's limo driver had a bird's eye view of my Boscov gray and white night look and hair sticking up straight in the air. I was also wearing my black Timberlands that were unlaced and red rain coat. Pretty nice, huh? I waved at him and thought to myself..."screw it".......

( neighbor has a limo driver because he had surgery on his right foot, can't walk, and is the CEO of a local, he gets a limo to go to work. My limo is in the garage with 70,000 miles on it, a few dents, and Sirius radio....wouldn't trade it for anything).

So, what's going on with the Big lefty? Well, he cannot catch a break with the Czar. The players were asked to write down three guys on the team who they considered 'leaders'. The team picked three pitchers including the big kid who were walk ons....The Czar had a fit and started see, he feels that the leaders should be the scholarship guys not the walk-ons. And since the big guy was recruited as a preferred walk on who was promised scholarship money that never materialized, the coach was angry that the guys who got university money did not lead.

What is wrong with this? Well, using my Psych 101 and 102 cliff notes, these scholarship guys do not have to worry about a place on the team. They are secure with their money intact. The 'leaders' have had to work harder to be a presence on the field and be noticed. Hence the title of leader. The Czar should be congratulating these kids not knocking them down.

Once again, I offered my advice...."Keep your head down...say nothing...keep your nose clean...."

Yesterday, he called to report that he and his friend (another pitcher on the DL who trained with the Pitching Doctor) have done some research and developed a theory about the players whose bodies are breaking down during fall ball......Fall ball is the time to prepare for the season, so the Trainer works them mercilessly at 5 am to lift weights, run....then they go to back to the stadium by 2pm to practice until 5 or 6pm. They are exhausted.

With that said, the two guys are working on a theory as to why his body is not in as bad shape as the other players and guess what? They narrowed their perspective to  alcohol. Yep, booze...demon rum...grain alcohol....boxed wine.... and so on. The big lefty has not had a drink in three months (so he reports). The other guys are drinking steadily, working out, and attending they are breaking down. Although stressed, he feels pretty good. And so, he now has the routine of not drinking before games so that the alcohol will not wreak havoc with his body.

As a parent, I like this theory. Go with it....don't drink because your body can't handle it. This is great news. Although as we spoke yesterday, he admitted that during his first four years at school, he had 'numerous beers'. Reluctant to share this information, I already knew what he was doing there. I was not born yesterday and yes, I did go to college too. I know what happens. I know what the coeds do. I am not shocked nor surprised as he made this admission. Perhaps, I am now his confessor too.

I then acted shocked..."you drank? Underage? Oh my, I am so glad that you were not arrested for underage drinking when you were 18 because you would still be in the slammer today, since my debit card does not work on bail money." Just sayin'....

So, he's shape.....throwing heat...and not sleeping....more about that later...I have to grade some papers before the dogs have to go out again. 

Oh yeah, I want to change out of my pajamas before my next walk around the backyard. After all, the guys are replacing my other neighbor's gutters.  I am going to have to charge for my night wear fashion show if this keeps up.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not so petite

Good sleepy morning...I am starting my busy season of teaching 18 credits in three months...that is 6 classes...why? Why not?

OK, friends, you know why....I have to be in shape for the impending baseball season. That means I need the freedom to hop into the car and take off for regions of the country that have a stadium. Last year's travels included all states along the east coast south of Jersey, Ohiooo, Nebraska, Indiana, and Illinois. I skipped the west coast trip. But since this could be the last year for the kid to play, I am getting set to travel.

All of that begins with the BP Mom necessities which include: lucky sneakers, hand, feet, and body warmers, wool socks, new Timberlands (my old pair are almost unwearable), foul weather gear, hat, scarf, and sun screen (got to watch the skin for wrinkles, right), Kashi granola bars, and a case of water for the trunk. How about Skittles? Nope, I promised the Beast that I would lay off them. Although, I did purchase lucky cheetah sneakers that dad says are the ugliest thing he has ever seen which includes the Loft brown paisley pants that he felt looked like my Granny's sofa and were 'butt ugly'. That's right....butt ugly.....

Speaking of butts and how sensitive we are about our bottoms, I do recall an incident where having a big of a not-so-tiny derriere benefited me.....

Fade to black....

Picture this....Florence Italy....early 2000's....we were touring together as a was beautiful...the scenery, food, and people.....I could not put my finger on it, but the Italians were stunning. I was not sure why...I looked and looked and they were amazing and stylish....then I had it....Leather! Yes, leather! They all wore leather coats. That's it.....the answer is leather. So, I let dad know that I, I needed an Italian leather coat. He was not so convinced, but went along with me to keep me quiet as I focused on the gorgeous Italians in their leather jackets....and so we went.....

Leather coat shopping! There is a piazza in the center of Florence as well as a leather factory in the basement of a church....we looked and I tried jackets and coats on. Then it happened....something every person dreads, yet, I used it as an advantage....

As I tried this soft jacket on that came just below my waist, dad suggested a longer coat that hits my knees. Seriously? Hey, you pay for the amount of leather. That coat would be more expensive! Am I worth it? Obviously, at that moment, he thought so. Could it be the magic of Italy? Could it be that dad wanted to please me? Was it that he pulled a turn around and just handed my the Visa and said "go get 'em Tiger"? A knee length leather coat? Me? Wow!

And there it butta'...only's a scarf....oh wow! I look pretty dang good. Then I checked the price tag....$$$$. "Uh, we can't do this...too much money. I'll get a short jacket...."

Then it happened. He said it...I will never forget the moment or how I had mixed feelings about the comment....

"No, get the knee length coat as it covers your 'not-so-petite' bottom."

Gulp! Did he say what I thought that he said? Was 'not-so-petite' bottom code for fat butt?

Really? He's doing this in Italy in front of my children as I digest my last chocolate mint gelato? I began to feel queasy....then miffed...then...happy!

Yes, my 'not-so-petite' bottom helped me to score a knee length black leather jacket that I would wear until the end of time. And so, I was OK with this mixed message. Have I forgotten this moment? uh, no. BUT in a convoluted way, he was taking care of me so that I did not accentuate the asset that got me what I really wanted.

Do I still have the not-so-petite bottom? Yup. It stays and so does my leather coat as I bring it out when the bottom is more than not-so-petite as I formally announce that I have once again started Weight Watchers. OK, I overwhelmed my point allotment on Sunday but have been pretty darn faithful to the plan for the last three days as I look longingly at the  full size Halloween candy bars that are sitting on the counter. I will win this least for the next hour.

Gotta run....I have an appointment at 10a.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No crying in baseball

Gang...I am so sorry that I have not posted in a while. Life has a habit of getting in the way of plans. It is also full of unpredictable events. The aforementioned effects are wreaking havoc in my life. For example, I forgot to include Chill in an invitation to Thanksgiving. How could I do that? Hmmmm.....Next, as I ran to work yesterday, I looked in the car rear view mirror and noticed two earrings that did not match...were not even close to matching. On the right, I wore a pearl earring....on the left was a pretty gold love knot from Florence Italy given to me by BP Grandmom.....It was at that point that I accepted life the way it was at the moment and plowed through the day....

Speaking of BP family, we had a amazing weekend as we celebrated the nuptials of a cousin on a farm in Lancaster County, PA. The view and venue were beyond compare. The hospitality offered by my cousin was far beyond anything Martha Stewart could muster. It was the most elegant and sophisticated wedding I have ever attended...then I thought of what Tink's wedding would look like...a little roast pork or beef with sharp provolone on Italian kaiser rolls, baked ziti (full fat ricotta cheese not the fat free stuff), chips, spinach salad, bananas, cake (naturally), cheese and crackers....let's not forget the boxed wine....Big Sis could take the wedding photos and I will run to the outlets to find the dress befitting the mother of the bride....we can use the iPod shuffle for dancing....yep...a BPM all she needs is the groom....not that she is looking and is happy to take care of the puppies......thank goodness, since they are wearing me out....more about the twins later....

Back to the wedding....I think there were about plus or minus three hundred people...yep....then I heard that one of my favorite authors was there....yeah, that's of my top three.....actually, she moved from number 2 to number one on Sunday night....who was it? None other than the incomparable Lisa Scottolline!

That's right! She is the cousin of my cousin's husband...sort of making us cousins...sort an Italian sense....Anyway, Big Sis introduced herself to LS at the bar as I stood behind her grabbing some kind of red drink. I am unsure about what was in it, but at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. As I saw Big Sis and LS chatting. I started jumping up and down mouthing "Introduce me!!!! Puh-leeze!"

You know the story about the mismatched earrings? Well, this one is probably worse as I looked like I was seizing as the two women chatted about the beauty of the farm. Finally, the moment of truth came and I met my hero....

Why is she my hero? Well, if you have never read her books, there are some predominant themes that I love such as:
1. The protagonist is a strong professional woman
2. She has the support of a friend who never waivers or runs when the going gets tough
3. She stays true to her heritage
4. Her portrayal of elderly parents and friends is spot on accurate and with great respect.
5. Oh yeah, she is a Philly girl who has never forgotten her roots.

With that said, she is beyond nice and gracious and did not make me feel like a total dweeb. We had a nice conversation then parted as I went back to dad to fill his plate with appetizers. Although he was a bit disappointed that there were no pigs in a blanket on the trays, he still had a nice time. Sadly, he has a huge deadline this week and we left before dessert. That's accurate and probably unbelievable for dessert.....Weight Watchers would be so proud of me....unless we consider the two portions of gnocchi that I had since Big M was not feeling like eating them.... they were created like little clouds....I was in heaven....

Oh, have I forgotten to mention the big guy? How is he doing? Well, he is fluctuating from elation to somberness. He has still not paid his tuition and is flourishing in fall ball. He thought that he had the Friday night spot wrapped up. Until.....there is always an 'until' with this guy.....

Until, Fudge had a terrific outing last Friday. Now he thinks that Friday starts are in jeopardy....Dude, you gave up three runs in 6 weeks...your fast ball is fast...your slider is hitting its marks....I think that you are fine BUT what do I know?

I don't have too many campus stories today although the pressure has gotten to one of the freshmen and he had to leave campus after an anxiety attack. As far as I know, the Big Lefty vowed not to make fun of the guy anymore. sensitive...

He tried to call me today but I was in class. So, he did what any other guy would do...he texted me. The message was that the Czar is requiring the entire team to write another 5-page paper due on Friday. Yes, that's right. The baseball coach has decided to pile on more work to these exhausted guys and make them write an essay on something critical in their development as ball players. ....At the team meeting that he held after the freshman went home for anxiety, he launched into how tough he has had it over the years and his battle with depression in his late 20's. Once again, he turned a teachable moment for a bunch of lugheads into an 'all about me' diatribe.

And so, I sit with papers and projects to grade as well as puppies to train. Did I mention that the male needs 'extra' attention? No, well...he does...I took him on a long walk.....brought him into the house and as I took the leash off him, he piddled a puddle on the floor that I just scrubbed (on the knees....yep the knees....).

With that said, I have a mountain of papers as well as a bunch of phone calls to get George Carlin says:
"Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that."