Friday, March 28, 2014

The Importance of Communication

Opie and I are traveling today and as we drive toward St. Louis I can't help but reflect on the odd conversations he gets to have now that he's lucky enough to have hitched his star to my lunatic wagon.

Here's what happened: we're heading to St. Louis to celebrate our niece's second birthday (and, as always, he likes me to alert potential blog reading thieves that the house is NOT empty. We have a dog sitter and a large dog--seek elsewhere for your burglary victims!). Anyway, the plan was we would pack the night before, I would go teach my morning class, and as soon as I got home, we would jump in the car and speed away.

Unfortunately, this has been kind of a busy week and when I got up this morning, I not only wasn't packed, I still had several things to do to get the house ready for the dog sitter's arrival.

In my defense, it has been a stressful week. Plus, we went to Florida 2 weeks ago and I packed early for that trip. I hardly think I should be expected to curb the artistic procrastinating nature of my creative brain twice in the same month.

But he feels about punctuality the same way Vince Lombardi feels about winning: it's not everything, it's the only thing.

Of course, instead of quietly informing him of the problem and asking for a little help, I preferred to stew about it while I got ready for work, imagine an argument in my head, WIN the argument in my head, and then launch a preemptive strike.

"I'm not ready to go." I burst out with absolutely no provocation.  "I'm going to have to pack when I get home and do a couple of things around the house and I'm totally stressed out about it! So, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to give you a list of things NOT to do so you don't stress me out further."

At which point he gave me an odd look and said "Ohhhhhkay." In the kind of calm, half hesitant tone one uses when dealing with escaped mental patients.

Which, oddly, did nothing at all to lower my stress level.

"First, don't ask me when l will be ready to leave! I'll be ready when I'm done with everything and who knows when that will be?!"

"I can't even get an ETA?" He asked.

"Second," I continued without even bothering to address the sheer ridiculousness of that question. "Don't give me advice about how to get ready faster or mention things I should have done earlier to avoid the situation we're in today."

And he was smart enough not to share any of the suggestions that I could already see percolating away in his well organized brain.

"Third, don't do that thing where you talk to the dogs and make suggestions to them about what I should be doing which are clearly meant for my ears."

"YOU do that all the time." He accused.

"It's funny when I do it," I explained.  "But, must importantly, don't do that thing where you pretend to be pretending to be mad. And you say a bunch of things in a fake angry tone to disguise your real angry tone and make jokes that aren't jokes at all but sound enough like jokes that you can say 'I was JOKING' like I'm the crazy person when we both know you're not joking and only pretending to be pretending to be mad!"

And I think it's a testament to the strength of our relationship that he didn't even need a translation of this rather convoluted statement.

Although, to be fair, that could have been more due to a deep-seeded sense of terror more than true understanding.

Please note, I specifically did NOT tell him that he couldn't get mad. He is all kinds of punctual and prepared; I know these lapses in planning send him right over the edge. So I know he gets mad. I just basically don't want him to tell me he's mad when I'm already freaking out. Otherwise, in the words of comedian Mike Birbiglia, I get counter mad, freak out more, cry, and then he feels the need to apologize and buy me a cupcake.

And this may sound crazy to you, dear readers, but I would like to point out that it worked. We got packed and on the road only about half an hour later than we intended, we didn't argue at all, and are having a calm cross country drive.

Crisis averted!

But I still kind of want a cupcake.

This is the face of a man too focused on "making good time" to go on a cupcake shop reconnaissance mission.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Great Cupcake Search -- Not Your Grandma's Cupcakes

Here's some advice you probably never thought you'd read on a cupcake review: Don't rent your house to drug dealers.

But I can explain!

Short version: I rented my old house to drug dealers which resulted in a larger than normal cupcake purchase.

For those of you not familiar with my particular brand of crazy let me explain further.

Long version:

When Opie and I got married two and half years ago, we each had a house. Mine was in St. Louis, his was in Oklahoma. I was going to sell my house when I moved to Oklahoma but the housing market was in really bad shape so instead we made the insane decision to rent my house out.

In our defense this didn't seem like an insane decision at first. I mean, I rented for years before I bought my house and in all that time I ALWAYS paid my rent and I NEVER sold drugs out of the basement.

Who knew that this wasn’t universally accepted as appropriate renter behavior?

The first woman we rented to—my next-door neighbor’s daughter, by-the-way—stopped paying rent almost immediately.

After we finally got rid of her, we hired a property manager, did a background check and a new set of tenants who did pay their rent…they could afford to, you see, because of the DRUG DEALING.

An activity that we only became aware of after the Missouri police called me in Oklahoma, told me they’d performed a drug raid on the premises, and that if we didn’t “take action” against the tenants and “remove them” that the city could actually come in and take my house away.

I allowed as how, considering all the trouble we’d had with the place, I would cheerfully let the city have the house if they also took over the mortgage. Heck, I’d put the keys in the mail immediately.

It is interesting to note that that’s not exactly how the house confiscation program works.

And I’m pretty sure that particular police detective doesn’t think I’m funny AT all.

The drug dealers also don’t think I’m funny—and they think I’m a complete killjoy because not only did we not let them continue their (apparently lucrative) business on our property, we also wouldn’t let them continue to live on our property.

Clearly, we are unreasonable people.

But if you feel sorry for the poor, evicted drug dealers,  don’t worry, they got their revenge by turning off the heat before they left—in the middle of one of the coldest weekends in St. Louis history.

There’s nothing like thousands of dollars of damage from frozen pipes to really put a shine on the whole “being a landlord” experience.

Which, though interesting, probably doesn’t seem to have any connection to cupcakes.

The thing is, yet another bill for the repairs showed up on the same day that I discovered yet another cupcake place in Tulsa…And I am an emotional eater.

I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m angry, and I definitely eat when I’m frustrated by bills to remodel a house I don’t even live in.

I walked into this new cupcakery called  Not Your Grandma’s Cupcakes and instead of buying 1 or 2 like I usually do, I bought 4 cupcakes.

And not all of them made it to the car.

You know what?

I don’t have a single regret.

Because they were GREAT.

My favorite one was Death By Oreo:

Chocolate cake with little bits of Oreo mixed in, and a whole Oreo baked into the bottom—which gave it a yummy crunch when I bit into it. The frosting was thick Oreo-flavored cream cheese.


Definitely not homemade--I suspect doctored up cake mix and canned frosting, especially since on their website, the owner admits that she’s not exactly a “made from scratch” bakery but just tries to make the tastiest concoctions possible.

And it works.

So, final verdict:

Size: Average
Price: Average (2.75 or 10.50 for 4)
Cake: Moist and just a touch of tasty crunch.
Icing: Not from scratch but sweet and tangy.

The kind of cake that almost makes you forget that you let drug dealers trash your house.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sometimes They Lie

Here's some info that would have been helpful a few months ago:

Sometimes the dog books lie.

This is devastating to me because I'm a teacher. I believe in books. I think books are the one thing that separates us from the animals. Almost anything in the world worth knowing can be learned from a book.

Except, apparently, dog care.

See, when we were planning to bring Princess Snowflake Sassypants home, I got a book about the proper care of a Maltese. It specifically said, if you're planning to grow out your puppy's hair, you should get a pin brush.

This is a pin brush.

The theory is that this type of brush will work gently through the tangles leaving the dog's hair soft and smooth as a baby's butt.

The truth of the matter is that, if your dog's hair is thick and full, a pin brush will work gently through the tangles IN THE TOP LAYER of hair,  leaving that as soft and smooth as a baby's butt. Unfortunately, the hair UNDERNEATH that smooth top layer is tangled and matted in the manner of Rastafarian dreadlocks. But SECRET Rastafarian dreadlocks, way down near the surface of the skin.

I mean, does this picture look like a dog with hidden dreadlocks?

Even this ultra staticky mess after her bath doesn't look like dreadlocks!

In fact, I didn't even know she had dreadlocks until I took her to the groomers and she told me they would need to SHAVE HER EARS.

I did NOT take this news well.

"Maltese are a lot of work," the groomer told me. "You have to brush them every day."

"I do brush her every day," I protested. 

"With what?" She asked skeptically.

Which was a little insulting...I mean, come on, what did she think I was going to say? "Oh, you know, a mixer. That's what I use to really stir those tangles up!"

"A pin brush!" I said instead.

"Ohh," she said, shaking her head and making a face the way I do when one of my students asks something particularly obtuse. "You can't use a PIN BRUSH."

"The book said to use a pin brush," I told her. 

"Well," she said making the face again. "Books!"

And just like that, she completely negated my entire world view.

The irony of this is that I already own the stupid slicker brush the groomer recommended.

This is a slicker brush:

I used to use it on the late great Peek-a-boo. I just hadn't used it on Sassy because the BOOK SAID NOT TO.

I will be using it on her in the future, though, because I'm not sure which of us was more traumatized by this look:

It is interesting to note that I have clearly, at some time in the past, convinced the groomers that I am a crazy person. Because, even though they had warned me this might occur, and even though I gave them the go ahead in advance, every groomer in the store plus the manager of the store was  waiting with my groomer to give her moral support when I walked in.

A situation not helped by the fact that I burst out "Holy shit!" When I saw my dog and I kept saying it for the next five minutes.

Then I tried to be funny and said "You're sure that one's mine, right? You're not giving me some imposter dog, right?"

At which point I'm pretty sure they were sure I was a nut job.

It's also interesting to note that Opie also must think I'm a nut job because when I texted him a picture of our poor, shorn puppy he texted back "Did you ask them to do that?"

Yes, I decided to throw caution to the wind and bald my dog.

In any case, to summarize,  I'll be using the slicker brush in the future, the groomer is a little afraid of me, Opie should be more afraid of me and I'm considering spending the intervening weeks of puppy hair regrowth cyberstalking the authors of the maltese book and bombarding them with hate mail.

Be afraid.
Darling Dame

Friday, March 21, 2014


I'm not in school anymore but I am a teacher and that usually means maximum drama because, let's face it, kids are funny.

Especially college kids who think they're smarter than the average professor.

Like last week when I had a conversation with a girl who is concurrently enrolled in high school and my college class.

Which is usually the sign of an above average student

Usually but not always.

And definitely not this girl. As evidenced when she approached me and told me that she needed that she have this form that needed to be signed saying she was passing my class so she would be continued to be eligible for high school activities.

And actually she was supposed to turn them in every week and had just forgotten but never fear she had enough for the rest of the semester so if I would just go ahead and sign them in advance and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.

To be honest, I hadn't been worried...largely because I hadn't known about the existence of the form until that exact moment.

Her brilliant plan, though, did worry me.

"I can't sign a whole semester's worth of forms in advance," I told her. "I can't see the future; I've no idea if you'll be passing six weeks from now."

Judging by the look on her face, this might be the most confusing thing anyone had ever said to her.

"I just have to have the form signed," she said in a slow, careful voice,

"I just have to tell the truth on it," I said.

And she stared me like she honestly couldn't figure out what my problem was.

Since I am a teacher, I decided to use this as an educational moment.

"Look," I told her, "if I sign that I'm saying that you're passing the class.  What if you stop coming? What if you're not passing? I can't sign a form that says you're passing six weeks from today's date when I have no idea what your situation will be then."

And she just kept staring at me like I'm the one who wasn't making any sense.

"I just have to have a form that says I'm passing." She explained one more time.

"But you're not even passing NOW," I told her.

And she stormed away in a fury.

I still can't figure out if I should be insulted that she thinks I'm dumb enough to fall for this or if I should be horrified that she honestly can't see the flaw in her plan.
This post is part of a weekly blog hop called Finish The Sentence Friday. For other school related posts, please click below:
Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Great Cupcake Search -- Cookiedoodle

The world of cupcake reviewing is not for the faint of heart, let me assure you. It is a long road of struggle, fraught with obstacles and obstructions at every turn.

And I'm not just saying that because I like the word fraught.

Case in point:  Cookiedoodle!

They are, as the name implies, a little bakery shop that's slightly more well known for their cookies (which are fabulous!) but they also have cupcakes. They are actually one of the places that I wanted to review first because the shop is pretty close to home; unfortunately, it's also really close to this place called George's Pub.

Which probably doesn't sound like a problem until you realize that --in some weird, physics-defying way--George's Pub apparently has a gravitational pull on a par with a black hole. Any time Opie and I are anywhere near the place, we get sucked into the front doors, thrown into a chair, and are unable to move until we have consumed an appetizer sampler and at least three drinks.

Considering my favorite drink there is this little concoction called a "Soccer Mom" that has several shots of flavored vodka and maybe two drops of pineapple juice, it's easy to see why, after a few hours at George’s, I somewhat lose focus on cupcake shop reconnaissance.

The one occasion we did try to go to Cookiedoodle immediately after leaving George's was a disaster. We stuffed ourselves to oblivion, wandered down the street, and got to the shop approximately 10 minutes after the place closed.

At this point one of us began making wild suggestions about “Storming the Doodle!” like French Revolutionaries.

I blame George’s.

It took promises of more vodka and red wine to talk this nameless wannabe felon out of a life of cupcake-related crime.

So, instead of writing cupcake reviews, we spent the rest of that afternoon at home playing Rock Band on the Wii--with me belting out Alannis Morrissette's "You Oughta Know" with an intensity that I'm pretty sure scared Opie to the very silence of his soul.

Clearly the only answer was to try to go to Cookiedoodle early in the day when George's is closed. But that's kind of a pain because then I have to make a detour on my way home from class
(and seriously, once I leave class, I usually fly home like I've been shot from a gun) or make a special trip.

So, it took me awhile to get to Cookiedoodle...but  they were totally worth the wait.

This is the chocolate one:

"Best cake we've tried," said Opie.

And I agreed. These tasted more "homemade" than others we've sampled. They were a denser, thicker cake but packed with flavor.  The icing was a touch too sweet for me (which I would have thought impossible, particularly after the Cupcakes by Lu debacle) especially when eaten in the ideal 90/10 icing to cake ratio but when paired with the cake in the manner of a dainty cupcake connoisseur, they went well together.

So, final verdict:

Size: Average
Price: Average (2.50)
Cake: Great!
Icing: A little too sweet on its own

The kind of cake that you might leave George's early for--though not so good that you'd skip George's altogether~though, to be fair, I can't think of anything that would make me leave George's early.

Stay tuned for future installments or let me know if there's a cupcakery you recommend by clicking here. Or read the post that started it all: The Great Cupcake Search.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


So, just a few minutes ago, a couple hours after Opie and I had gone to bed, someone rang the doorbell.


The dogs, of course, went insane. 

I also went insane because we just don't know that many people here in Oklahoma and the people we do know don't "drop by for a visit" unannounced in the middle of the night.

Opie went down to see what was going on and I crept after him, hovering 
around the back door, 9 and 1 already dialed, fully prepared to flee the the house and run for help.

It is interesting to note that while this dog might look big and brave:

he stayed back with me.  He says he was trying to protect me but I suspect he was also ready to flee for help.  However in his defense, he did provide the occasional frightening bark.

Opie then engaged in a brief discussion with our nocturnal visitor about some chick named Trudy and why she wasn't here and when she had moved etc. "I don't know!" Opie kept saying through the closed door.  "Never heard of her!" and basically shut the door in her face. "I could hardly understand a word she was saying," he told me. "I think she was drunk. That or totally high."

After all this, did the woman leave?


She left her car parked on our driveway then walked up the street, clearly in the middle of a life or death substance induced Trudy recon mission. Which I know because I stood peering out the window like a modern day Mrs. Kravtiz (and if you don't know who Mrs. Kravitz is, please keep that info to your self or Google her or looming birthday is making me feel old enough without other reminders from young whippersnappers about my outdated cultural references)

In any case, after rousing another set of neighbors the woman has, I'm pleased to report, returned for the car and driven out of the neighborhood. And Opie and I have returned to bed (but not until we, at my insistence, turned on the lights in the backyard and made sure there was no one lurking in the darkness).

But that's where Opie and my fundamental difference comes in. "That  was weird," he said and immediately went back to sleep--as I type this, he is snoring away next to me like the very soul of snoring snorapotamus.

I, on the other hand, am replaying the entire plot of The Strangers in my head, have locked us all in the bedroom, am jumping at every sound and  and am waiting for the home invading to begin.

So, here's the question: which one of us is acting irrationally?

Silent Sunday

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation Might Be Evil

Ok, let's just get the hard part out of the way right up front:

Opie was right.
And, yes, that's painful to say. Not because Opie is never right--he's frequently right. He's a smart guy and he makes good decisions (like marrying me!). However, when I have to specifically acknowledge that he was right about something, that usually means that I was wrong about something.

And I really, really hate to be wrong...almost as much as I hate to admit I was wrong.

Here's what happened:

As you may know, I'm a liberal.  Opie is not a liberal. He says that he's basically a Libertarian but the truth of the matter is that I’m pretty sure he's a government hating anarchist.

I base this on the fact that any time a political discussion comes up, he spends a long time ranting about government should keep out of peoples’ business and how politicians are thieves and idiots and all out to screw somebody else.

This is bad enough when it comes to health care, smoking bans, and seat belt laws—all of which are clear examples of nefarious government forces exerting their vicious control over the populace—but don’t even get him started on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the numerous toll roads across our fair state. 

Opie maintains of these toll roads are a total scam designed to screw the common man out of his money and line the pockets of politicians.

I, on the other hand, have always been a fan of toll roads, maintaining that the people who use the roads are the ones who pay for them and that's a great and fair thing.

And then I plug my ears as Opie screams things like, “Thieves! The government is full of thieves! Those toll roads were supposed to be paid for in  few years but they're STILL CHARGING TOLLS. Why? To improve all the roads in Oklahoma and have they? NO! All that’s happened is a bunch of rich people got richer and the roads stayed crappy because the government is full of THIEVES!”

I’m not going to lie, it’s a little frightening

But after last Thursday, I might be a bit more on his side.

I was using a toll road as I was driving to my night class in a small town north of Tulsa and as I pulled off I hit a pothole that was roughly the size of the Grand Canyon.

I would like to point out two things before continuing: One, my tires are almost brand-new; we got four new tires for my car less than a year ago.

Two, I was not going excessively fast because I never go excessively fast. I hate to drive and thus I tend to drive like a 90-year-old woman on Valium. I firmly maintain that 70 mph is the speed limit, the limit you understand, you certainly don't have to drive that fast.

And yet, that pothole flattened not ONE but TWO of my tires.

And of course I only had one spare

Which, to be fair, didn't really matter that much as I am almost as likely to disarm a nuclear weapon as I am to change my own tire.

Needless to say, I called Opie and dropped the problem hysterically yet squarely in his lap.

We called AAA,  they came to tow the car; however, because it's a small town in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and it was after six, the local tire shop had already closed for the night.  So, we had it towed there but we had to leave it overnight and Opie had to drive out to get me.

When we went back to retrieve it the next day we realized that not only did I have two flat tires but one rim was damaged beyond repair and we had to order a new one in from California. Therefore, the shop could only put one new tire on it and we had to use the spare while waiting for the rim to come in.

The screaming and cursing that accompanied this revelation is far too horrifying to relate.

Now, you may be telling yourselves this is was really some bad luck but not proof that Opie is right about the pernicious devils in Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

But the thing is, I'm not done with my story.

We still had to get the car home. Which means that one of us had to drive 50 miles on the tiny and wobbly donut spare tire.

And I'm a strong powerful woman of the modern age (even if I can’t change my own tire) so I offered to do it.

“Give me the keys,” Opie said firmly.

So, once again, I was denied my God-given rights by a male-dominated misogynist society! I feel so oppressed.

In any case, Opie drove home on the horrible donut wheel, traveling on the highway at about 45 miles per hour, getting honked and screamed at and being the recipient of many obscene gestures.

And then when he was about 5 miles from home, he also hit a pothole on the Oklahoma toll road and got ANOTHER flat tire and damaged ANOTHER rim beyond repair.

So the long and short of it is that I am now convinced Opie was right. Because there is no way the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is spending all that toll road money on road maintenance.  The roads are obviously not fit for human transportation.

While I probably (hopefully) won’t start screaming about miscreants and thieves, if I hit another pothole I don’t know if I’ll be able to maintain my somewhat tenuous grip on sanity. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Favorite Decade

It's Finish The Sentence Friday and today's sentence was "My favorite decade was..."

Easiest blog post easy that I'm not even going to finish the sentence with words.  One guess what my favorite decade was:

 This was one of my favorite shirts, I wore it all the time.

This was deep in my "visible undergarments phase."

No, I'm not getting married in this one--it was when I was presented
as a candidate for the Arts Society Ball. 
Which sounds slightly more pretentious than it actually was.

I should probably say something like "This is my favorite decade because I have finally married my darling Opie and we are blissfully happy." But we are still early into this decade--I'll say that in 2020.  Besides, this was when I actually met my Opie.

This is Opie circa 1989-what a blondie bear he was!

Besides, what's not to love: Big hair (you should hear about the time I got a perm), I was soooooo skinny (though I thought I was fat, go figure), I had no responsibilities, dance music was fun and not so aggressive (Mike Birbiglia has a hilarious bit about this!), and clothes of questionable taste (wasn't a teacher then so didn't care about inappropriate attire!)

FTSF is brought to you by:

Kate at Can I get Another Bottle of Whine with My Morning Quiet Time

Janine at Confession of a Mommyaholic

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real

Finding Ninee

Read other favorite decade posts here:

Finish the Sentence Friday

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Great Cupcake Search -- The Mad Hatter's

I think it's time to face a bitter truth:

The Great Cupcake Search might be making me a little bit completely insane.

I came to this realization a week or so ago when I took the search on the road. I was in the Ozarks for the weekend and decided to check out a little local place called The Mad Hatter's Cupcakes.

I pulled up in front of the store, got out of the car, saw the closed sign in the window and asked a woman passing by if they were closed for the day or forever,

"Permanently," she said.

And I started to cry.

That's right, actual tears.

Don't judge me! Just keep in mind that emotional triggers are weird. See, the whole reason I wanted to go to The Mad Hatter's was the Alice in Wonderland connection.  I love Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem from the book, Jabberwocky. Especially the opening lines:

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son
   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
   The frumious Bandersnatch!"

It always makes me think of my late, great Chihuahua, Peek-A-Boo because I used to call him the Frumious Peeker-Snatch.

Seriously, doesn't he LOOK frumious?

So I thought of him, got all weepy remembering what a great little dog he was for our 13 years together and started to cry.

And if you, dear reader, still think that was a little odd, you should have seen the poor woman I was talking to. I get the distinct feeling that not too many people walk around the Ozarks weeping over closed cupcakeries. A situation made infinitely more uncomfortable when I told her "Gone forever! Just like the  poor Peekersnatch!"

The thing is, as soon as those words flew out of my mouth, I knew they sounded weird (and in retrospect, probably a little dirty) so I wanted to explain--and reassure her that I wasn't a dangerous psycho--but I was still upset and not thinking clearly so instead of saying "I'm sorry, I named my dog after Alice in Wonderland." or something normal like that, I chose to sigh and tell her "He was so frumious!"

I think it's safe to say that woman thinks I'm crazy.

Final Verdict:

Cake & Icing: Non existent
Sanity: Questionable

All in all an experience that makes me laugh now but also makes me wonder what in the world that other woman is writing on HER blog.

Stay tuned for future installments--especially those that might include actual cupcakes--or let me know if there's a cupcakery you recommend by clicking here. Or read the post that started it all: The Great Cupcake Search.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?!

Finally participating in Finish the Sentence Friday again but I should probably start this post was saying that I do love my job. I've been a teacher for over 15 years and now that I'm teaching college instead of high school, I actually love it even more.

But it's midterm time and even though I love my job and most of my students there's just something about this time of year when what I really want to scream out loud is "Are you flipping kidding me?”

(Actually, there's another word I'd like to insert for "flipping" but I am an educator, molding young minds, I should at least pretend to be appropriate).

Anyway, the problem is, this is the make or break point—the time of year a few of the kiddos realize that this isn't high school anymore and that there is a really good possibility that, if they don’t start doing some actual work, they will probably fail.

Some of them decide that means it’s time to get it in gear. Some of them decide to drop. And some of them decide that, perhaps, I’m not too bright and they can continue slacking off but somehow convince me they are dedicated students.

One of my favorites of these conversations was with a girl who told me she was going to miss the midterm test with me the following Friday because she was going to have an emergency appendectomy.

“Wow,” I said. “You know you're going to have an emergency appendectomy on Friday? Two days in advance?

“It's been coming and going,” she agreed. “The doctor said we should just wait and see how it goes.”

Which, call me crazy, doesn’t sound like an emergency appendectomy to me.

“I know it's weird,” she said.

“Borderline unbelievable,” I agreed. “And you know what else is weird? The fact that you have a loud voice, just like I do, and before class I could hear you talking to your friend about going to Oklahoma City this weekend for her 21st birthday.”

She didn't even have the good grace to look embarrassed.

“So,” she said after a long pause. “When can I make the midterm up?”

“The day after never,” I told her. Which I thought was kind of funny (she did NOT agree). But, seriously, are you flipping kidding me with that? Could you at least trying to come up with a plausible story? One that doesn't completely insult my intelligence?

Then just I was ready to throw in the towel and declare our future generation beyond saving one of my best students approached me. He doesn’t have the best grade in the class but he does his work, he turns everything in on time, he pays attention in class, and he really seems to want to learn.

Plus—and I’m not proud of this—he laughs at my jokes.

Not in a suck up, “you’re so hysterical, you’re the funniest woman I've ever heard” way but in a “I totally got that and we have the same sense of humor” way.

If there any students reading this, trust me when I tell you laugh at your teacher’s jokes. It won’t get you an A but it will make her feel better.

In any case, we frequently talk after class because English is his second language and that’s always a struggle in a writing class. Today he stopped and asked me if, even though it wasn't in the scope of our class, would I be kind enough to give him my wise advisements (yes, he actually used those words ‘wise advisements.’) about a scholarship opportunity he'd been sent.

And thank goodness he did because it had scam written all over it.  “You shouldn’t have to pay $8,000 to get scholarship information,” I assured him. “Most of the information is out there, free of charge.  These people are trying to steal your money.”

Then I showed him how to research it on the Internet and check the Better Business Bureau (this group got an F rating, by the way) and so on.

“My father and I worried over this,” he said gratefully. “And he told me to ask a teacher because they would give me the wise advisements.”

And just like that I love my job again.

For other scream out loud posts, please click below:

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

The Great Cupcake Search -- Cupcakes By Lu

Opie and I are still trying to lose weight.

Which, once again, means that Opie is still losing weight and wandering around the house saying things like "Hey, these pants fit again!"

Meanwhile I am pretending to be happy and supportive but am secretly seething with resentment and muttering profanities under my breath.

Which may sound like a reason to eschew The Great Cupcake Search.

As a matter of fact, Opie even suggested this radical course of action. Which is, of course, complete insanity.  I mean, why don’t we just give up red wine and move into the woods and live like savages??!!

As Patrick Henry's wife would have said (if, of course, Patrick Henry's wife had been a chubby chocolate fiend) "Give me cupcakes or give me death!"

It has, however, added a new criterion to the judging process. Now, in addition to evaluating taste and texture and other culinary details, I also have to decide if the cupcake’s caloric value is worth the extra time on the medieval torture machine that Opie bought to help us on our weight loss journey.

If you’re a fan of late-night infomercials, you may be familiar with the exercise equipment known as the Bowflex Treadclimber. If you haven't, no worries, just picture the most exhausting, ridiculously hard, exercise machine ever created.

It's supposed to burn 700 calories an hour. And it might, but right now I'm on that thing five minutes and I'm pretty sure my heart is going to explode.

So it was with all of this in mind that I went into our newest cupcakery find: Cupcakes by Lu.

And the thing is I really, really wanted to like them. The shop is convenient, I met the owner—Lu herself—and not only is she sweet and adorable, she has an economy-sized bottle of hand-sanitizer on the counter and used it twice when I was in the shop. Clearly, a fellow germaphobe!

And, best of all, they have a punch card—once you buy 12 cupcakes, you get one free.
Is interesting to note that Opie thinks the punch card thing is kind of silly.  He's all "You're basically spending 30 dollars to get 1 free cupcake!" Whereas I think "Hey, the more cupcakes I buy, the more cupcakes I get!"

So, I started my punch card with a cake that I assumed would be a sure winner: M&M Fun—chocolate with buttercream frosting and garnished with M&Ms.
Anyway, as I said, I really wanted to like them...But I didn't.

The cake itself was fine. Light, fluffy, chocolatey.

But the frosting was also light and fluffy. Too light and fluffy—a whipped buttercream that was too heavy on the butter and too light on the sugar.  When I eat a cupcake, I like it to be smothered in a frosting that smacks you in the face with sweetness.

Don't get me wrong, they weren't awful--I certainly didn't spit them out like I did with the black anise cupcakes of death that prompted this whole search--but they were only ok...
Final verdict:

Size: Average
Price: Average ($2.50)
Cake: Good
Frosting: Not sweet enough.

Overall, I'd eat them in a cupcake related emergency but they're not good enough to spend an extra 15 minutes on the treadclimber...though I'll probably give them a second chance down the road because, after all, PUNCH CARD!