Friday, March 14, 2014

Gotta Have pi

I work part-time at a school. Therefore I am surrounded by nerdy math teachers and science geeks, all of whom spent the week reminding the rest of the staff that today is pi day. You know – March 14, or the number 3.14, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. (Why is this important? I don't know.) My children also reminded me, more than once, that today is pi day. That's because they are nerds, too.

However the idea got planted, I couldn't get it out of my brain that I needed to eat some pie. It doesn't take much to convince me to eat pie. Pie is my favorite dessert in the entire universe. The crust is the best part. If you put me on a deserted island and gave me lifetime supply of pie crust and water coffee, I would definitely survive.

My other mission today was to acquire some much needed groceries for the family. They can be so demanding, this brood of mine. They insist on having some “new” food in the house every week or so. “Good food,” they say.  By this they mean food that has the maximum amount of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fat, and the minimal amount of fiber or nutrients. They also regularly request food that food that hasn't expired. (I'm a bargain shopper, what can I say?) There is just no pleasing them.

That being said, I knew I could easily combine the day's two missions into one: get food and get pie. Well, pie is food, but you know what I mean. I'm happy to give in to my children's sweet tooth once in a while, especially if it involves pie.

First, I went to Horrocks. I love Horrocks, and I normally wouldn't pick on one of my favorite stores, but today they had a total of three pies. Apparently they didn't get the memo that today is pi day. None of the available flavors promised to satisfy my family.

Next, I went to Aldi, which has a little bit of everything. Except pie.

On the way home, I stopped at Quality Dairy, home of donuts, muffins, scones, coffee cake, and a wide variety of other addictive, yet legal, sugary baked goods (and, oh yeah, dairy products; hence the name Quality Dairy). But guess what? No pie.

The helpful QD staff suggested that I try Roma Bakery just down the street. Nope, no pie.

I came home and unloaded the groceries. I was tired. I took a nap. But I still wanted some damn pie!

I had to take my daughter to a babysitting gig at 2:00, so I decided I would continue my quest for pie. And then it hit me, “Why not go to the Grand Traverse Pie Company?” Really? It took at least eight hours for my brain to dig deep into its fatigued memory stores and come up with that? It has the word pie in its name, for heaven's sake!

After dropping my daughter off, I drove downtown. If you haven't been here, Lansing has a nice little downtown area:  neat shops and restaurants, brick streets, and....parking meters. Shoot. I forgot about the meters. Did I have one stinking quarter on my person or anywhere in my van? No. But instead of doing the sane thing and going inside to ask for change, I decided that I would drive a few blocks south and hit my favorite thrift store. I needed to look for some household items anyway.

I bought three pairs of shoes. And of course, I got a few quarters for the meters.

I headed back north on Washington Avenue and, just as I came up to Kalamazoo Street, I realized, “Oh, yeah, the library is just a block away.” I had been meaning to go to the downtown library to do a bit of research on a book I want to write. I parked, sloshed through the melting snow in order to feed the meter, and entered the library.

I wandered around aimlessly, looking for inspiration. I finally decided to check out Lost in Yonkers, which has absolutely nothing to do with the book I want to write.

The library is now so high-tech that I just had to scan my library key tag, then scan the book and I was on my way. However, when I passed through the security sensors, the alarm went off and I returned to the customer service desk, feeling sheepish that I had ignored the reminder on the screen that I owed $.80 in library fines. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry,” I gushed. “I can pay the fine.”

The library ladies had a hearty laugh and assured me that the alarm hadn't gone off because of my unpaid fines. The scan just hadn't registered yet. I got my book, and they had a good chuckle at my expense.

Finally, finally, FINALLY, I arrived at GT Pie. Another meter, another quarter, and another pile of slush to wade through. All in the name of freaking pie! (Oh, my gosh, did I just say that out loud? I'm sorry, pie, I'm so sorry. I love you. I would do anything for you.)

In the end, I bought one chocolate cream pie. The bonus was that GT Pie was not only aware of pi day, but they were also promoting it shamelessly by offering a free slice of pie with every purchase. I promptly ate my free slice of strawberry rhubarb with crumbly topping, so that I wouldn't have to share it with the rest of the family. 

I told you I love pie. Don't judge me.

And so, here I sit, enjoying my slice of chocolate cream, relaxing after my lengthy pursuit of pie and other things. The only thing left in my mind is: why is pi so important?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Neck Injury

When I was in college, I overextended a muscle in my neck. I was doing something so foolish, so extreme, that I deserved the vicious pain that followed.

I was getting out of bed.

More specifically, my loft. Getting out of a loft bed is much more strenuous than getting out of a normal bed, just so you know. It involves turning over with exact precision so as not to fall on the floor from six feet up, finding a ladder with only your feet because it's too dark and you can't turn on the light to wake up your roommates, and then positioning your body accurately over the ladder, again so as not to fall from your six-foot-tall bed.

I know, I know. You can't believe I endured such a wretched situation. But I lived to tell about it.

That one particular day, I turned over and got ready to hoist myself out of bed and toward the ladder when I felt a snap in my neck. The next thing I knew, I couldn't move my neck or head without excruciating pain. So I made my way, very carefully, down the ladder and called the campus health clinic. I canceled my morning classes and made my way to the clinic.

My car was parked in the dreaded F-lot. If you lived in any of the south campus dorms, you know that F-lot was where all cars went to die, or at least hibernate for all of the semester, because it was much easier to walk anywhere, including Detroit, than to retrieve your car from F-lot. Even if I had been able to retrieve my car, I would have had no place to park, since MSU has about 27 total parking spaces for a campus that serves 50,000 students.

In short, I walked many, many miles that day, with my head held high, and not because I felt proud. I just couldn't move. I arrived only to have the doctor tell me that I had pulled a muscle. He gave me a soft cervical collar, and probably some heavy-duty pain meds and sent me on my way.

The most embarrassing part of all this was that, during dinner in my dorm's dining hall, I was swarmed by concerned friends all asking, “What happened? Did you get in a car accident?” Imagine my embarrassment if I had told them I had sustained the injury by getting out of bed. So my response was, “Yes, it was horrible. Ambulances and fire trucks everywhere. My car was totaled.” At least I didn't have to worry about them discovering that my car was, in fact, still intact.

It was still parked in F-lot.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beauty Wars

A long time ago, in a hospital not too far away....

Three young maidens were born within three years of one another, maidens of unsurpassed beauty:  two with golden curls and blueberry eyes, one with chestnut locks and orbs the color of cocoa.

During their young lives, they drew the admiration of nearly everyone who knew them. They wore frilly frocks of pink, yellow, and purple, with ribbons in their hair and sparkly shoes adorning their feet.

However, as with all fair young maidens, they had been relentlessly pursued by a force so evil, so insidious, that none had ever escaped its power.

The enchanting young maidens slowly and painfully succumbed to the power of....adolescence.

The sweet innocence of childhood has been replaced by moodiness and rebellion. Flaxen hair once content with a mere brushing is now subject to the heat of curling and straightening and the suffocation of a multitude of hair care products.

Cherubs who once carried the sweet scent of babyhood now battle the funk of body odor.

The home of the young maidens is now drenched in estrogen.

Where once lay fair skin, now there is acne.

The young maidens have waged war against their mother, the one who once had sole access to the beauty products in the home. The girls regularly plunder their mother's wealth of cosmetics, leaving the poor woman to her own devices. It is now a common occurrence for their mother to resort to using men's deodorant in the absence of her own feminine antiperspirant. Not only that, but she must use dried out lipstick, her husband's boar bristle hair brush, and a skin-colored crayon to finish out her look for the day.

Adolescence is a frightening time for all. Pursued by her daughter's insatiable hunger for beauty, the mother races against time to find a way to protect her own beloved skin from the ravages of age. Will she emerge victorious?

Please stay tuned for the next episode of “Beauty Wars.”

(I'm just kidding. There is no next episode. I'm going to bed. I hope I can find the toothpaste.)