Not the TEEN Mom

“She’s the teen mom.” That’s what I thought I heard Carter’s basketball coach say as she was presenting the third and final award at the awards ceremony tonight. The first thing that went through my head is, “Who is the teen mom?”  
Then I realized she said, “Team Mom,” and she was talking about Carter for the Captain’s Award. It was a cherry on top of a fun basketball career. Carter was not the best player, but she was the coaches right hand.  
“She was the team Mom and organizer as well as a great listener and motivator. She always wanted to sit directly on my left shoulder on the bench in order to best communicate my thoughtsto the team and I also think she liked that seat in order to better communicate her opinion to the refs.” No one knows a player better than their coach. But Carter also studied what her coaches wanted and tried to help make that happen any way she could.
Being a TEAM Mom has been a highlight of her high school career. Thanks to Krista and Robert for being tough loving coaches. Thanks to the team for being a family. Good luck next season. Now who is going to be the new Mom?


How to Really Drive 45 Crazy

The news has been rife with polls showing that people who voted for Trump think he is doing a great a job and people who didn’t think he is doing the worst job ever. There is no middle ground. No “he’s our new President so I’ll cut him a break” bump that almost all previous presidents have gotten. Everyone is standing their ground, or at least the Trump lovers see nothing wrong in what he is doing.
High on my list of concerns for this POTUS is his slamming of all the press, save CBN or other far far right media outlets. An uneducated populous is his best friend. Yet, Trump is a guy who always wants to be in the media, the center of the universe, the most talked about. Given that no one is changing their minds about him I think the thing that would make him the most crazy is if all the news stopped talking about him.  
Imagine if Trump opened the newspaper, wait, not sure he reads, OK turned on the TV news and there was not one mention of him. Late night comics stopped referring to him ever. I know that Trump jokes are the low hanging fruit of comedy, but try it, just for a month. I can’t think of anything that would make him madder than to be ignored.  
I am not suggesting that the opposition stop working to improve the country, but just never mention the president by name, number or title. You can talk about the “administration” but not the man. It would drive him crazy. What if all the White House reporters just stopped going to the White House? They are already locked out of meetings, already ignored during question time, already told to sit down and be quiet. Rather than chase the man and give him the spot light, which he loves, go out and do investigative journalism on the issues, not the President.  
Now to Twitter… What if everyone just gave up Tweeting and retweeting and looking at twitter and reporting on what he puts on twitter for a month. He could be sitting on the throne in the White House screaming out in all caps on Twitter,”WHY AREN’T YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO ME?” and no one would respond.
We can’t let him go unchecked. We have to find other ways to fight him, but we don’t need to feed the ego that fuels him. Neither the news, nor comedians are going to change anyone’s minds, so let’s just drive him crazy with lack of coverage. This means we have to cover everyone else who works for him so that none of the stuff they are trying to do, like spend 23 billions dollars to build a wall, goes on without us trying to stop it, but just credit everything to an underling and not the POTUS. Soon enough the spotlight on the underlings will rub him the wrong way and he will turn on them.  
The only sad part about this plan is that if 45 called a press conference and no cameras or reporters were there we would not get to see him implode because no one was paying attention to him. Just an idea.


Surprise Baby Shower


Today we had the basketball team for lunch. Traditionally we this has been a farewell to the seniors, but today it was a surprise baby shower for their coaches, Krista and Robert.  
Carter did the inviting over group text which had me completely out of the loop, except that I had to be the shopper, cook and setter upper. Thankfully freshman center Claire Middleton generously offered to bring dessert. That meant I only had to make the main meal.  
As Carter was going off to Philly with Russ she told me that one girl was now a vegan and one a vegetarian. I decided to make pasta carbonara, one traditional with bacon, one veggie with peas and I had plain pasta for the vegan. I also had a deconstructed salad so the vegan could leave off the cheese and make a meal with the nuts and pears in her salad. She also had plain peas without butter or cheese. I am not sure if I could be a vegan. Thank goodness carbonara is easy to make for a crowd and the basketball girls are very appreciative and polite.
After lunch Carter invited the team to come up to the “gathering room,” the pretentious name for our family room. If this party was not at our house it might have been the time when the seniors were celebrated, but instead there were presents and a welcome baby balloon. Krista said she was surprised, but Robert said he thought this was what was going on.
Since the sex of the baby is a surprise the girls gave a great group of unisex presents. The most important one was a kid sized Duke Basketball signed by the whole team. Toys, books, a sleep sound machine and a boppy pillow were all things the new baby will use.
Krista and Robert have had lots of practice with many high school girls. It will be a change for them to have a baby. I hope that this baby likes basketball because it would be a terrible waste to have two parents with so much basketball experience not get to pass it on. Tuesday night is the winter sports awards and that will officially end Carter’s high school basketball career. The shower was a fun way for it to end.


Dogs Don’t Understand Weather Delays

Russ and Carter went to Philly for the last two days to visit the Lange side of the family. This meant that Shay Shay was getting two solid days of bonding time with me. OK, not her first choice. I know that Shay would prefer to be with Russ.
Every time a noise happens outside my bedroom window Shay thinks it is the garage door going up returning Russ home to her. So many times in the last two days I have had to tell her that sound was not Russ, which I know she fully understood by the way she would settle back down with a big sigh and look of disappointment.
Yesterday I had to be in Raleigh all day at a Food Bank retreat and Christy came by with her dog Lucy and generously took Shay on a walk with Lucy. That bought me a little bit of love when I got home rather than a huge guilt trip of “you left me all day.” Last night Shay slept on Russ’ side of the bed so she at least could smell like him.
This morning she gave me the “when, when, for god’s sake, tell me when he is coming back look.” I told her straight up. “He will be home at five thirty tonight.” She was happier knowing this and went about her day with less remorse than before.  
Russ and Carter got to the airport and were happily on the plane when they texted that weather was delaying them. Carter was unhappy since she wants to get home to go to a school dance. I did not tell Shay about the weather delay.
Five-thirty came and Shay started pacing in front of the front door, looking out the glass. I thought she wanted to go out and when I opened the door she just stood there. No going out, but instead looking down the road for Russ’ little car. She lay back down, nose to the glass. I decided I should try and tell her. “The plane is delayed, I don’t know when he is getting home.”
Shay howled at me. Honest to goodness, a sound like a wounded bear I have never heard her make before. I hugged her and told her he would be home. I went to get her some chicken to cheer her up, she just looked at it and went back to staring out the door leaving the chicken untouched. Such a broken heart for a two day trip. Don’t tell me dogs don’t understand everything, except weather delays. Next time I am going to tell her he is coming I later than his actual time just so I won’t have to live with such disappointment.


Arugula Salad Addiction


Since Russ and Carter went to Buck’s County to visit Russ’ family I have had the luxury of not cooking for myself. For the last two days I have eaten nothing but arugula salad and cereal, save the vegetarian lunch I had at the Food Bank today. I wonder if I were to live alone if I would even bother to buy anything other than chicken, pears, blue cheese, arugula, raspberries and special K? Oh yeah, I would need milk, ice tea and limes.
Despite my love of cooking I am perfectly happy to eat the same thing day in and day out. Especially when I am being extra good on my diet. When Carter goes to college and Russ is on a long business trip I am going to see how many days I can go eating just these things before I get bored. I predict it will be more than five days.
One reason I am happy to eat this arugula salad for two meals everyday is that I almost always have all the ingredients prepared and waiting in the fridge. I caramelize a couple of thinly sliced pears every few days. I cook 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs and keep them in the fridge. Thighs warm up beautifully in the microwave because they have more fat than breasts so they don’t get dried out. With those things prepped it takes less than minute to put the arugula in a bowl, crumble a little blue cheese on top, add the pears and the warmed chicken and douse with balsamic vinegar. It is a taste I hope I never tire of.
I remember when my Grandmother, Mima moved to a retirement home and I was in my early twenties. She had a little apartment with a small kitchen. She ate her breakfast and lunch in her rooms, but went to the dining room every night for a nice dinner. When I went to visit her at lunch time she always offered me the same thing, a small bowl of couscous with Parmesan cheese. She ate it everyday. I knew she had never been much of a cook, but I thought this lack of variety in her diet was not good.
I realize that I have turned into my grandmother. Perfectly happy to eat the same thing day in and day out, despite my well studied talent for cooking. I worry for Russ what life will be like in our house when it is just the two of us. He will have avocado toast with eggs and spicy sauce every morning and if he is given his druthers a kale salad and pizza bread for dinner.
I guess that you might say we will have variety in our house because we will have two different salad greens. I am going to have to give a lot of dinner parties to ensure I am cooking other things. Russ will be happy with any party leftovers and I can still have arugula.


Gratitude Tour Four – Sandhills Edition

I know I sound like a broken record, but I spent my day going to visit the Sandhills branch of the food bank and I was blown away by the people who work there. This gratitude tour started as a way for me to go and visit every Food Bank employee to thank them for the job they do, but it has turned into a much more inspirational tour for me.
One of the things the Food Bank does is called Back Pack Buddies where volunteers pack a bag of food for children who have very little food at home over the weekends. A wonderful woman in Southern Pines, named Joanne runs the program. She told me about the 1,100 children they provide a bag of food for every Friday in just Moore County alone. Nine hundred of them are homeless. This number broke my heart.  
Joanne said she had a dedicated group of volunteers who come in on Thursdays and pack the bags with food which always includes an apple for the children. On Fridays more volunteers come and drive the bags to the 28 school these children attend week after week. The Food Bank is great at gathering the right foods for these back packs and always making sure they have the right amount so no child goes hungry, but it takes these dedicated volunteers to pack 1,100 bags and deliver them.
I wish that my gratitude tour could include every volunteer who are helping feed children, seniors and those who need help. I was lucky enough to meet Austin, who is the Sandhills number one volunteer. He has been coming to the Food Bank every morning for twenty years. He told me today he can’t play golf that much of the Food Bank is the best place to spend his time. What a love.


Volunteering to help any worthy organization makes for a more fulfilling life. For my birthday this year I am going to invite my friends to come and do a volunteer morning at the Raliegh branch and have a lunch. Before I retire from the board (not from volunteering for the Food Bank) I want to show everyone the beautiful branch we spent the last five years making happen. Save May 4 to come and have some fun helping others at the Food Bank.


Arrested at the Post Office?

Today I had the fun errand of getting something notarized and then taking it to the post office to send it certified mail. Seemed like an easy enough job. What did I know?
After waiting fifteen minutes at my bank for the guy who is the official notary I was off to the post office. Since it was three in the afternoon I thought the lines would be short. I should have known that the lines are never short at the post office. I counted eleven people in front of me. I can survive that, until I noticed just one Postal guy working.
Seems like today no one was doing anything easy at the Post office. One woman was trying to mail two bras to her mother in France. Why you would send American bras to the country that invented beautiful lingerie? The number of forms she had to fill out about those bras made no sense to any of the people who had to listen to the whole embarrassing conversation.  
“Is there any liquid in this package?”
“No, as we have already discussed they are bras.”
“Are you sure there is no liquid?”
“Yes, they are not padded.”
This questioning went on for many minutes. You would think that the current administration had instructed the Post Office to start keeping tabs on all Americans to determine who is next for deportation, whether you are American or not.
I bonded with my fellow linemates as we took bets about how long we would all be there. I lost when I guessed twenty minutes and I was off by fifty percent. At minute twenty five a second postal worker appeared giving us false hope of a second line opening. It did not. I took a selfie while standing in line and this superfluous “worker” practically took my head off.
“No, photos in the Post Office,” he screamed at me.  
“Sorry, I don’t see any signs saying that.” I responded. He did not go so far as to ask me to delete it.  
I have not studied the law about taking pictures at the post office, nor about posting them. This may be my farewell blog post as I am certain to be dragged off to jail. It can’t be any worse than being at the actual post office.