My little cake boss is now 17 years old but has had a devil of a time the past four months.
But since she moved in with me full time after school started in September last year, we had talked about getting another family member.
Well, it was time… Meet Jasper, a Corgi, now four months old.
It was not easy finding a Corgi pup – especially a “rescue”. There just weren’t any. Who would turn in an adorable Corgi pup anyways? So the search widened to a good kennel; indeed, there are quite a few scam sites preying on lonely people looking for four legged companionship as well. She had come across an “available” puppy but her instincts told her to ask her old man (me!) for advice. Indeed, it was a scammer.¹
Worse than scammers are the puppy mills.
But no pups were to be found within 500 miles of us – not a single one… but we finally came across a nice, family run kennel in Iowa. It was then I found out puppies can be shipped. I still don’t like the idea but there was no other choice.
…So the deal was struck.
The Cold, Bumpy Journey
His cold journey began at 8:30 am in Iowa on January 23, 2020. He was checked onto a Delta flight out of Des Moines which landed a couple of hours later at the Atlanta hub after a noon takeoff.
However, the flight tracker shows a number of altitude changes on the long leg to LAX – which to me means the flight crew was trying to escape chop. Imagine being a pup – it doesn’t even know what this large, cold machine is let along being artificially off the ground and being tossed around by chop.
The Arrival at Delta Cargo
My oldest daughter who lives miles away kindly offered to pick my Little Cake Boss and me up in Long Beach, CA. We got there just as Brooke’s new boy was deplaned and taken to Delta Cargo’s LAX facility.
Everyone was anxious.
It was like driving to the hospital for the birth of a first child. 🙂
The Delta team brought him up to the counter very quickly! But we could tell the poor thing was scared out of his wits from the flight.
He was quite damp and shied away from us humans. Of course, after spending his first four months of life on an isolated farmland and kennel in Iowa, the constant rambling of noisy big rigs and trucks just ten yards behind us didn’t help much, I’m sure.
My oldest daughter Robyn was a big help too, being the consummate dog lover since getting her first Golden Retriever at five years of age. Her soothing “doggie voice” helped soothe the poor thing… plus the portable dog carrier wouldn’t have fit into my Ford Mustang’s trunk.
Adjusting and a Surprise
Brooke wrapped Jasper in my old airline blankets and held him all the way home. He was still so scared – or so we thought.
After we first walked into our home, he tried to hide in dark spaces or corners. “What’s wrong, Jasper?” she would ask in dog speak – but he wouldn’t answer. He also wouldn’t eat much or drink.
Well, a couple of days later, Brooke looked at the papers from the kennel. As it turns out, Jasper was given a rabies vaccination right before being put on the flight. I recalled our other small dog; she hid under the bed for two days after getting one… So I figure his suppressed mood was from a one-two punch: the bumpy flight and the ill effects of the rabies shot.
Happily, its been five days since Brooke’s new boy joined our family… and he is doing super! His other ear is now beginning to stand up, He’s eating, drinking and follows his new mama wherever she goes. He sleeps right next to her; I’m sure it is very comforting. Jasper even sits on my lap!
Some scammer tipoffs include, but is not limited to, absence of a phone number, absence of a verified physical address, communication by email only, and much lower than normal pricing. They will also demand an upfront, non-refundable “deposit”.
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”
– John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog
Yogi, my oldest daughter Robyn’s lovable three-legged corgi, left us last week.
Yogi was such a happy dog. Her loving nicknames for Yogi included “Yogs” or “Yo-Yo”.
Yogs made me grin when he would run…if you can call it running. Indeed, it was like watching a huge log of Jimmy Dean sausage on steroids with four Vienna sausages¹ as legs chugging through the grass.
Man, he loved to play with a ball. You’d toss a tennis ball or a toy and he would just instantly turn his back on you and bound away with his tailless butt the only thing you could see… just like how the famous Willie Mays did after hearing the the crack of the bat. After he chased it down, he’d bring it back near your feet. He’d then stare at the now motionless ball… And if Yogi thought you were ignoring him, he’d use his long, skinny nose to nudge it closer to you if you didn’t pick it up. “Again! Again!” he was saying. The simple joy he must have had.
The only time he wasn’t happy was when fireworks went off. He would cower behind Robyn’s toilet, shaking in fear, with his two shivering rear legs protruding out from behind the toilet. He was such a lovable wuse.
And he always wanted to be alongside somebody. “Hey! Me! Me! Look at me!” he was saying in dog-speak.
Yogs loved everyone – at least everyone who loved dogs. He was always so happy to see you. And he also knew who loved him. He took in my dad and Old Man Jack very quickly on Father’s day in 2011.
When Robyn would bring Yogi to my house, I’m sure he sensed in her car with his doggy nose, “Ooo! Ooo! We’re near grandpa’s house… The house that I can jump onto comfy sofas all I want and leave my hair all over them…and mama can’t say no! Woof!”
And one of Yogi’s most favorite spots to sit was on my lap as I sat on my sofa; it was a silent doggy signal… His stubby little Vienna Sausage legs would propel him right onto my lap as soon as I sat down. No invite was necessary. Then, he would would lovingly lay his head on my nice round belly.
Once he made it to my lap, he didn’t have to say one bark; his face said, “Pet me, you dumb human, while I leave tons of my hair as souvenirs!”
Well, perhaps I was stretching it a bit. Yogs didn’t really care whose lap it was… It would become HIS spot. No matter what you were sitting on. No matter how little space there was… It was all his space.
But make no mistake about it. He knew who his mama was. When Robyn would bring him over to my home to look after him for part of the day and then grew tired of all the attention I was giving him (How rude!), he would patiently wait at the door for his mama to come home.
And of course, his “Feed me some of that human food!” face.
“Huh? I don’t care if it has preservatives! …What??? Mama said no??? Well, if you don’t tell her, I won’t!”²
It was right before Christmas last year; her usual happy boy Yogi was then not only limping, he would yelp after I patted him on the usual spot: his side near his shoulder. After a few persistent visits with different vets, Robyn tragically found out why her beloved son was limping.
Yogi had cancer. He was only eight.
She was devastated. We all were but I felt most badly for Robyn and I knew exactly how she felt. Yogi was a big part of her life and he provided much happiness. But just as if Yogs was her boy, she opted for surgery… but in order to remove the tumor, her beloved Corgi had to lose his leg.
He returned home the day after Christmas last year. Robyn was so happy Yo-Yo was back home.
We went to visit Robyn on August 23rd. Even with all my failings, Yogs would always greet me with great happiness at the door with his stocky Jimmy Dean Sausage body nearly bowling me over. But this time, he barely made it over to me as we walked in. I said, “Yogiiii… What’s wrong?” I secretly feared for the worst. I knew in my heart something was very wrong with Yogi.
She took Yogi to the vet on August 30th. Inoperable cancer had now spread to his spine; he was in great pain. She called me over that night to say goodbye as did many other family and friends. There was great sadness. But there was a happy moment. She said I could give Yogi some of my human food deli sandwich. I think we all gave Yogi some. He must’ve been so happy.
Yogi left us the next day, August 31st, while being lovingly held by my daughter and son-in-law, just like Masako held my grandma in her arms as she passed away, Yogi was blessed with having such an adoring mom and dad.
I know he is in doggy heaven. More precisely, the “Dogs That Brought the Most Happiness to Mom and Dad” wing of doggy heaven. While very, very sad, I know Robyn’s heart is at peace knowing her beloved Yogi is now free of pain.
I will dearly miss you, Yogs.
For those who don’t know what a Vienna Sausage is:
I had started out thinking this would be another “She’s Killing Me” story; it certainly qualified but this pasta dish turned out so well that it’ll just be another cooking story. Well, not completely.
But it’s my creamy Spaghetti Carbonara.
The kids were in Japan for over three weeks and landed at LAX at night on August 17th. In short, the ex insisted on picking them up and keeping them for a few days. But she decided it would behoove her to bring them to my house so she changed the schedule at 3 pm the next day. They were dropped off at my house at 5:30 pm. Of course, she had selfish reasons and yes, they were in la-la land from jet lag. They slept for the most part for the first couple of days.
Seriously, I had mentioned to the kids they should have some kids over since school begins August 31st. Jack just wanted to stay home but my Little Cake Boss Brooke… That’s a whole ‘nuther story.
All week, between snoozes, she was asking if I would take her and her friends shopping.
“Sure but DON’T make it last minute, OK?” said I.
Just like the previous two times… Wednesday, no plans. Thursday, no plans. Friday, no plans… Then Saturday, at 3:30 pm, she says, “Can ‘J’ come over?”
I never learn. “Sure,” I hesitatingly replied.
“…Can sheeee… eat with us,” she cunningly asked. Never mind I had gone to the supermarket already for just the three of us.
“Oookay” I replied even more hesitatingly.
Then the whammy: “…Can sheeeeeeeee… sleepover?”
So I decided to make Spaghetti Carbonara – for the first time. I thought her friend J would give some feedback if I asked her. So I went to Cook’s Illustrated… and the pasta dish turned out excellent if I say so myself.
The ingredients are simple and I had them in the fridge already – except for the Pecorino. Yes, because of my Little Cake Boss, I had to make another run to the supermarket just for the cheese. Well, actually two since the first place didn’t carry it:
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (They’re easier to slice up if you freeze them for a bit.)
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (1 1/4 cups)
3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 teaspoon salt
Putting it all together was a snap; their instructions are:
1. Bring bacon and water to simmer in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook until water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fat renders and bacon browns, 5 to 8 minutes longer.
Doing it in the above manner allows the bacon to remain chewy for the carbonara and not crisp up:
2. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl. Set aside bacon mixture. Measure out 1 tablespoon fat and place in medium bowl. Whisk Pecorino, eggs and yolk, and pepper into fat until combined.
3. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. (You use less water than normal for this dish to insure the water you will add to the sauce is real starchy.) Set colander in large bowl. Add spaghetti and salt to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 cup cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder. Return spaghetti to now-empty bowl.
4. Slowly whisk ½ cup reserved cooking water into Pecorino mixture. Gradually pour Pecorino mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat. Add bacon mixture and toss to combine. Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2 to 4 minutes, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed. Serve immediately.
Most of all, happy faces!
So give this easy and delicious dish a shot.
Someone will love it!
And by the way, they were up until 4 am. Let me ask you moms: Why do you even call it a sleepover??!
Well, my kids finally returned from Japan this past Monday; they had been gone for over three weeks. Believe me, I didn’t like it ONE bit. Worst part of it was my ex prevented me from emailing with them for longer than the last two weeks of their stay. What kind of parent would do that, I ask? There are some other irritating things about this trip – like her postponing applying for the Little Cake Boss’ passport until the last minute. They finally picked it up from the Federal Building in Westwood two working days before their departure in late July. No kidding.
But they are back albeit badly jet lagged; they went back to their mom’s today after a groggy week with me. I had asked them what they would like to eat their second night back now that they are home and Jack immediately, said, “Shepherd’s Pie!” So Shepherd’s Pie it was.
As a couple of my friends have asked me to provide them with the recipe, I thought I’d take a break from writing about my Leyte pilgrimage. The pilgrimage was emotionally draining; it still is weighing on my heart, especially when I write about it for my family’s sake.
The recipe is quite easy. I use Rachael Ray’s recipe for this one instead of my standby cooking bible, Cook’s Illustrated. Besides, she’s as cute as a button. (Did you know some “pro” chefs on TV don’t think she should be showing people how to cook?)
The ingredients are:
2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground beef (lean preferred for me)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For the potatoes, I use russets, about four of the potatoes found in your typical supermarket’s bulk bag. While I wash the skin, I leave the skin on and drop them into cold water with about an inch to cover. The reason I start with cold water is that I believe (ha) that the potatoes will cook more uniformly. I feel that dropping them into boiling water will cook them unevenly, from the outside-in.
Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into slightly mashed potatoes then mash until potatoes are almost smooth.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together two minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy one minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.
As a side note, I do cook the carrots a bit first, then add the ground beef and onions to brown. If still frozen, I throw the peas in for a minute before I add the gravy mixture.
Lastly, you’re not going to see the paprika and chopped parsley leaves in the picture above because… I forgot. Old age sucks.
Even way up in Seattle. Her killing me is not restricted to home. It is unrelenting.
While some of her photographs will be shown below, a quick she’s-killing-me story first.
We weren’t even in Seattle for three hours when the onslaught continued. (Don’t think she didn’t try to kill me during the flight. Even my warning her of plain clothes air marshals being on board didn’t deter her.).
After quickly checking in, we met my good friend Rick; like any good buddy, he treated my two kids and me to dinner.
As I had brought some cigars for him but forgot them in the room, we had to return to the hotel. While he and his gal waited in the lobby, I escorted the kids up to the room.
Knowing my Little Cake Boss Diva, I sternly said, “Brooke, do NOT touch anything, OK?”
“Okaaay-ah!” she replied… and I headed back down to the lobby, cigars in hand.
I wasn’t with him for more than fifteen minutes before I returned to the room. Yes, I was worried she was up to something.
So I opened the door. Wham. A rush of frigid artic air hit me. Mumbles (from Happy Feet) would have been pleased.
At the other end of the room, there she was on top of the air conditioner grill…sitting on a blue bed cover sheet with her butt square in the middle with her hands on either side trying to keep the sheet down. She was attempting to stop the flow of air conditioned air blasting out of the A/C. Talk about the Lucy Show. She was Lucy. I was Ricky, down to the “Ai-ya-yai, Lucy!”
Before I could yell, “Brooke!”, Jack immediately ratted out on his sister.
“Papa, she was doing something that she wasn’t supposed to and turned on the air conditioner! She doesn’t know how to turn it off so it’s freezing in here!” He was very pleased with himself for tattling.
Now I could yell, “Brooke! I told you NOT to touch anything!”
“Hee-hee…” she replied with her trademark “I’m VERY innocent” smile making for a happy face complete with adorable chubby cheeks..
I turned off the air then she scampered over to the one cup coffee brewer. What do you all that gizmo? A Keurig? Sure enough, there was one empty slot. She had brewed herself some coffee.
“Brooke! What were you doing brewing yourself coffee?! You don’t even know how to use that thing!”
“Welllll-ah! I was freezing-ah! And I can read (the directions) so I made myself something like a latte, okaaaay-ah? Sheesh!”
She’s only twelve. OMFG.
Anyways, that’s one of her traits…besides doing the opposite of what I say. She has to try everything…except clean her room.
So as in my previous post – and not being pleased with the way Jack was taking pictures – she commandeered my pretty new bazillion dollar Canon DSLR for pretty much the rest of the trip.
I only gave her one pointer: to cradle the lens with her left hand while shooting. For once, she actually followed my instructions.
But anyways, here are some of her photos taken with my bazillion dollar camera:
The last two weeks have been exciting if not challenging with all the kids’ activities.
In addition to an 8th grade party and his 14th birthday, my youngest son Jack has graduated 8th grade and is heading off to high school come September. Not only did he receive recognition for perfect attendance, he also made honor roll.
In addition, my Little Cake Boss Diva has had rehearsals – lots of them – culminating in recitals… Twelve performances in total Friday, Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday. During the past ten days or so, I must have made at least 25 round trips taking both her and food to and from dance rehearsals and performances. Believe me, I have enough for TWO “She’s Killing Me” stories but you won’t be bored with them now; I shall refrain.
Insofar as these rehearsals and recitals go, she needs to be dropped off in full makeup and costume an hour before the start of every event. But as I dropped her off on Saturday and watched her get to the entrance, it was clear that she was no longer my little girl.
Still scatterbrained, though…Her brain has ceased to function now that school is over except she still wouldn’t let me take her picture.
Well, maybe just this one, taken with my cell phone past 10pm and after tonight’s recital. It was taken in the light flowing out from the main lobby of the performing arts center.
But my girl and boy are not the focus of this post… “Some disappointment” is my focus.
While my Little Cake Boss Diva performed five routines flawlessly Friday night (opening number, lyrical, tap, jazz, ballet), it’s about what the dance school decided to name the recital: Arabian Nights. That is the source of the disappointment for me. Of course, I have no say-so in the matter.
Perhaps it’s just the patriotism in me that’s clouding my vision – but it’s there plain as day. Arabian Nights. No, I am not racist but I do feel we are at war. It is abundantly clear our young boys are dying each day in a godforsaken region in which Arabian Nights is based upon yet this implies something else to me.
Let us view it differently. If a dance school in 1942 were to name their recital “Celebration of Nazi Folklore” or “A Tokyo Love Story”, would there be some boycotting or outrage? I would think so. Remember there were death camps and executions of prisoners of war. Besides, it just wouldn’t make sense. We were at war… and we are now.
Their opening number was called “Arabian Jewels”. Other performances were entitled “40 Thieves” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” (talk about stereotyping).
How about a theme like “The Andrew Sisters” with tap dancing to songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”? Or how about celebrating the much needed morale boosting supplied by the Hollywood Canteen? Think of all the marvelous smiles these stars like Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger and Ginger Rogers provided our service men and women with their dance at the Hollywood Canteen. Wouldn’t that would be something that these girls could dance to?
Has the foundation upon which our country is based crumbled that far? At least we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at Jack’s graduation.
Anyways, I was just expressing some disappointment. I’m sure to many, this may be seen as cultural awareness. I do loathe sharia law which is intertwined in Arabian Nights. It is totally contra to our Constitution.
I guess the answer lies within which side of the fence you are on.
Unfortunately, I am a dog. A dog that loves to sit on a human’s legs. But unfortunately, dogs don’t have nine lives, you know.
Her mind is on summer vacation; school is out this week. It is a signal to her brain to cease functioning. Well, not completely. She can still text like crazy.
While her brain is normally stock full of smarts, it is now replaced with shades of nail polish, texts, BFFs, the mall(s), dance… and scatter-itis.
Scatter-itis, like scatter-brained in layman’s terms.
And she did not get that from me – but since it is me who is writing this, I can say that.
My Little Cake Boss Diva was with her mother last week and as in every school year before, she has to turn in her textbooks.
Simple…unless your brain has stopped functioning.
So my last visit to the gallows started at her orthodontist on Friday morning, June 12th. Not that her mother told me she was taking her.
I will let my Little Cake Boss Diva’s texts speak for themselves:
So I planned to be at home when school got out… so she could see for herself her textbook wasn’t here LIKE I SAID. One thing about my Little Cake Boss Diva: once she thinks she’s right, not even a jackhammer the size of Bumblebee can break it up. (She did not get that from me.)
I slowly bled to death in those seven hours. I had so many morphine shots administered that addiction is looming. And perhaps you may be wondering why we didn’t talk on her iPhone that I bought and pay for monthly?
Somebody, please help me.
I am running out of lives.
BUT, the saga of her killing me for the bazillionth time is not over… Not justyet. She is still with her mom who is supposed to take care of all her dance stuff by virtue of the divorce agreement. (You know, the same mom who apparently made no real effort to locate her textbook.)
The very next day – June 13th – my Little Cake Boss Diva was thoughtful enough to have arranged for my funeral services. She even gave the eulogy from her mid-day Saturday dance class via iPhone. Isn’t technology amazing?
Her eulogy via her iPhone began like this:
Luckily, I was an un-dead. I had not been cremated yet so I managed to get into my car and drive to her dance studio by 12:30. While I was certain her precious sheet of paper was not in my house, I knew she would not be satisfied unless she came to inspect her impeccably un-tidy room herself. She thinks she’s always right, you know.
So she comes out a few minutes late (as usual), lugging her abundantly odoriferous dance bag and her plastic “dance bucket” filled with 1,000 pairs of her various dance shoes.
As soon as she got in, I expertly maneuvered the car out of the battle zone filled with crazed dance moms driving their battle tanks. I think my Little Cake Boss Diva expected me to give her a piece of my mind for the textbook fiasco just the day before but I instead calmly asked, “Brooke, are you SURE it’s not at mama’s or in your dance bag?”
“Yessssss-ah! And it’s not at mama’s!” she annoying replies in her valley girl phonetics.
I look at her bucket and see a small corner of a piece of paper through the jumbled mess of 1,000 pairs of shoes. “Brooke, did you look in your bucket? The bucket you carry to dance class five days a week?”
“Yessssssssss-ah!” she instantly says while gesturing with her hands, palms up, fingers spread out… then looks down at the bucket, pushes around a couple of shoes, and pulls out the paper she was looking for… You know, the vital paper she said was not at her mother’s house but at my house…in the bucket she sticks her manicured fingers into many times a week.
“Oooops… Hee-hee-hee…” grinning then saying, “Sorry.” No sorrrrry-ah, though.
I turn the car around and drop her off without saying a word. My body is late for the cremation, you know.
So a number of months ago, my kids asked of me the unthinkable – again: “Papa, can you make something different?”
Jiminy Crickets. How can 12 and 13 year old kids want something different, especially when one likes cheese only pizza and the other only pepperoni? Trying to make something BOTH will like? Why couldn’t they be satisfied with my culinary masterpieces (LOL) like:
Let’s not even address breakfast, like my buttermilk pancakes or waffles from scratch even on school days. Well, I didn’t milk the cow nor grew the wheat that makes the (King Arthur) flour. I need to be honest about that.
So I went to my trusted source. No, not Cook’s Illustrated. This time, my oldest daughter Robyn, who’s become quite an accomplished cook herself (She got that from me.).
I forgot from which site the recipe came from, but as soon as I said to my kids, “Robyn has a new recipe for pasta,” they said OK!
That’s the magic word, you know. “Robyn”. It’s never my saying I’ll make something new.
But this recipe (with a couple of modifications) is ideal for a dutch oven… and it’s easy!
1 tablespoonolive oil
1 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage
4 clovesgarlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can Swanson chicken broth
Fresh basil chiffonade (to your liking but I use about two stalks of fresh leaves)
1 (14.5 ounce) candiced tomatoes
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1/2 cupgrated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Heat a skillet (or Dutch oven)
Add olive oil
Brown onion until transparent
Add Italian sausage. Crumble and cook until pink is almost gone
Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds
Add broth, basil and tomatoes with liquid
Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to slightly reduce. Add chopped spinach and fresh basil
Cover skillet and simmer on reduced heat until spinach is tender.
In meantime, aggressively boil your pasta (I like to use Penne or Ziti) until al dente. Drain.
Add pasta to skillet and mix together. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.
And you know what? The kids liked it…because it was Robyn’s recipe.
She reminds me of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. By virtue of his timepiece, the rabbit knows he is late and is frantic about it.
And my Little Cake Boss Diva Rabbit also has a clock; it is the world’s biggest clock and it is on the home screen of her iPhone. You know. She has to swipe through it to get to her precious texting screen.
But unlike the rabbit, she does not panic when she sees the world’s biggest clock for it apparently serves no useful purpose. Perhaps she is blind. For her, it is better to be three hours late than one minute early.
It is a daily school nightmare ritual when she stays with me. The school bell rings at 8:55 am. Sometimes, she finally gets into the car at 8:54 am… still barefoot. But by the time we get to the school, she is still barefoot because she has been messing around with her hair in the backseat while looking at herself on her iPhone… You know, the one with the world’s biggest clock.
Her precious dance classes are no different. Let us take one example; mind you, she has EIGHT dance classes a week.
Her ritual is this. Say her dance class starts at 6:30 pm.
Brooke at 6:15 pm from her bathroom (with a mirror that the vain and wicked stepmother in Snow White would be jealous of), “OK, I’m ready.”
I can still hear her hairbrush clanking against the sink along with the occasional hiss from her hair spray. I don’t move from my couch.
Me, at 6:25 pm: “Brooke, we need to go…”
Silence… but I can hear her rustling in her room. Maybe she’s looking for her dance shoes. She’s got four kinds of them, you know.
Me, at 6:29 pm: “Brooke, I’ll be waiting in the car, okaaay?”
A minute later, out she comes… Yes! Oops. She goes back in again. Half a minute later, she emerges and runs to the car…barefoot. But she drags along her bag that has Nordstrom’s entire shoe selection in it. No kidding. I guess she couldn’t decide which dance shoe to wear for this one class.
We get to her dance school in a couple of minutes but it’s 6:32 pm already. I carefully drive into the cramped war zone called a parking lot; it is filled with crazed dance moms who stop their battle tank dead in the middle of the aisle instead of off to one side to let their daughters off. One mother actually turns on her emergency blinkers. Nobody can move until that mother moves. But they don’t care… because their battle tank is equipped a 105mm cannon…front and rear. Nobody dares asks them to move to one side.
Brooke? She’s still putting hair pins into her “bun”.
There are other late mothers lining up behind me, still trying to battle their way through the war zone littered with SUVs and minivans going every which way except forward. I can see she still is not ready so I need to find a parking spot in this war zone. Unfortunately, these mothers in their SUVs think they truly are in M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and take up two spots. They do it on purpose, relegating us lowly men to one. They believe they are entitled to two spots. After all, this is California, land of entitlement.
After a minute or two, I step out of the car. I can’t stand to watch. She is still fussing with her hair bun. (Remember: she said she was ready at 6:15?)
Oh-oh… Here she comes. It’s 6:40 pm. Class started ten minutes ago.
What’s this?! She’s got her shoes on? Golly-gee-willikers. And she’s running like the rabbit? Perhaps she has finally realized she is… late?
By the way… I am always on time. My oldest daughter is always on time, too. She got that from me.
…But my Little Cake Boss Diva’s (non-)sense of time? You can figure that one out.
She is an 石頭. A rock head. Perhaps even a boulder-sized rock.
But she didn’t get that from me.
Well, maybe just a wee bit.
Five months ago, she asked for a new iPhone for Christmas.
“No. You’re getting a Samsung Galaxy because I don’t understand Apple one bit…and you know, Bu-chan, that you will do something to that phone and I will have to waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to fix it.”
Well… It was like talking to a…rock.
And yes, she got a new iPhone 5s.
I am weak.
For several weeks, I had told her to back up her photos to flickr to get ready for her new phone. Flickr’s free. Besides, she is always complaining that her storage is maxed out.
…that I am going to trade in her old phone so all her selfies and pictures of her BFFs will be gone. Poof.
So does she? No…
Both she and my son had concurrent science projects due for school at the same time. Criminy. I toldforced threatened my son to do his 8th grade experiment EARLY because both their experiments – and resulting terror – fall on my shoulders. Their mother refuses to take interest in their education. Really.
Well, Brooke’s first experiment failed. She wanted to see if there was an organic ant deterrent. Trouble was, it was too cold for the ants to venture out en masse. The ants didn’t come for the food, even when it was FREEEEEE (like the commercial).
So three weeks ago, and with her teacher’s blessing, we switched gears to see if there was any way to slow down mold from developing on her favorite berry – raspberries.
So for her experiment, I suggested pictures be taken from the beginning… so she did with her blessed iPhone.
I did, too.
“Papa! See how you are? You tell me to take pictures so I did. … So don’t, okkaaay-ah?!”
“But Bu-chan, just in case… You know…”
“Nooooo-ah! Why should I take them then?!” she mightily says in her valley girl talk.
I do as I’m told by my Little Cake Boss Diva, you know.
So she wraps up her experiment then starts to write up her results when she was with me a couple of weeks ago. Then as she left for her mom’s for the week that Monday, I tell her to share her report with me via Google Drive so I can help her edit it during the week. After all, the project is due the Thursday the week she comes back to me.
She reluctantly annoyingly says, “Okaaayyy-ah!”
Next evening (Tuesday – she’s back with her mom, now.), I text her while she’s at her dance class, asking her about the report’s progress. She was to email me a link to her document on Google Drive.
So I thought, well, she’s busy chit-chatting girlie stuff with her friends.
Wednesday… I text her to see if I can take her to dinner on Thursday since she has two hours between dance classes. Same thing. No answer. Now my totally flat Asian nose is getting bent out of shape.
I get smart on Thursday. I email her, too, on top of texting. I even sent her some new flower pictures I took. No answer! Old Faithful is but a tea kettle compared to the steam coming out my ears.
I actually called her… She must have been shocked her iPhone not only texts but actually functions as a phone. “Gee, is that my ringtone?” she must have thought.
But… NO ANSWER! Old Faithful has become an volcanic eruption.
In a futile attempt, I email her mother telling her to have Brooke answer my texts. The ex RARELY responds to any email or text although required by the divorce agreement. Sure enough – no response. Now I wish I had the twin .50 Browning machine guns Mustang_USMC has stashed away and hordes of ISIS jerks in front of me so I could take out my aggressions.
Then… I find out my aunt pretty much admitted herself to a hospital far, far away. It’s so far away that the Empire’s Death Star is at the halfway point. Long story but she didn’t need the surgery; her quack doctor put it in her head that she needed it.
So my phone rings at 7:30 am on Saturday. My aunt is calling from her hospital room and wants me to take her a dumb charger for her cell phone! Crap.
Needless to say, it took my attention away from the Little Cake Boss Diva’s audacious behavior… and the science report.
Monday comes. The ex (who never answered my email, of course) is late dropping them off again but unbelievably, the Little Cake Boss Diva just smiles, gives me a hug then prances right into her room as if nothing’s wrong. The nerve! Old Faithful redux.
“Brooke!! Why didn’t you answer my texts??!!!”
“Oh,” she begins with a not-my-fault smile, “the girls at dance on Tuesday figured out my password so I changed it.”
“What??!! Why did they have your phone and what does changing a password have to do with your science project??? But why didn’t you answer my texts??!! That’s the question!”
“Geez, you don’t have to get so mad! So I changed the password…but couldn’t remember it… So after I tried a number of times, it locked me out. It’s a brick. That’s all!”
“What?????!!!!!!!!! That’s it??!! Why didn’t you email me from your Galaxy Tab that I bought YOU when YOU broke your iPad and tell me???” Accent on the caps.
“Oh… Yeah… I guess I should have…but I don’t know how to check my iPhone email on it because its an ANDROOOIDDD… but can you fix my phone before I go to dance? Please?”
The tortoise could have made it to New York in the time it took me to figure out how to unlock it…but it had to be “set up as a new phone.”
I pick her up at 7:30 pm after another one of her EIGHT dance classes. Of course, she’s the last one to leave. We get into the car.
I’m refocused now since she came back four hours ago… “Brooke, how much more do you have on your science report?” I ask.
She’s texting like there’s no tomorrow on account she been deprived for a week. “Well, I still have to write up my procedures, results and conclusion. Yeah, I guess I should finish it tonight because its due tomorrow…………”
Mt. St. Helens has now exploded again; the top of my head is now missing. “Tomorrow?? I thought it was Thursday???!!!!”
“Noooo-ah! Why did you think that?”
After dinner then arguing for about an hour, she finishes the report but its in bits and pieces. She had each section set up as a new document even though I sent her a template. Criminy.
“Brooke, you need to insert your pictures of the experiment,” I said calmly.
“Umm… Papa… Remember YOU wiped out my phone when YOU restored it…” Snicker.
“Didn’t you upload them to flickr like I said?”
“Noooo-ah,” she very matter-of-factly says.
Luckily, I still had that ONE picture I took on Day One. “See Brooke. Even though you told me not to take any pictures, aren’t you glad I did? Huh? What do you say to that?!”
Silence. That’s what she said to that.
She hates being wrong.
It’s now 12:40 am… She’s still trying to arrange her poster board display summarizing her project:
This whole thing is due in seven hours!
She finishes at 1:45 am…
Stay tuned… Her Language Arts project is also due this Friday. She is with her mom. I sense a strong likelihood she will need to see me on Thursday to finish it.
Yes. She will text me if she does… but I will reply because I have an Android phone. 🙂
True stories about World War II – One war. Two Countries. One Family