<![CDATA[FreshAppleSnyder - The Whinery]]>Wed, 04 Oct 2017 23:19:36 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Simple Baking is a Pain in the Allergies]]>Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:45:00 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/simple-baking-is-a-pain-in-the-allergiesAh, it’s been awhile since I’ve been here.  Winter and the subsequent depressed mood that accompanied it this year was not inspiring.

But it’s almost summer now, and I have time now that I’ve put in a second garden, watered, weeded, mulched, stained and painted, and whatever else has taken my time away from writing.  Oh yeah, family and work, too.

So today I wanted something simple and healthy.  It’s close enough to one of my favorite times of year (blueberry season) to make blueberry muffins.  But alas, my family has allergies. A lot of allergies to be exact.  And that limits my freedom. For some people that would offer the opportunity to be creative, but I really just wanted regular ol’ blueberry muffins. Cue pout.

The cookbook comes out and I get excited.  First ingredient is flour.  Huh.  I now have a kid who may be gluten sensitive. Full glutenized (yes, I believe I just made that up) muffins (yum) might cause her to have an uncomfortable ‘food baby.’ I try to compromise by using half flour and half a mixture of rice, potato, tapioca and pea stuff. I never thought that I’d make food with pea starch so maybe this will count towards a veggie serving. Hurray for gluten free.

Next is sugar. I will never submit to artificial sweeteners. Don’t even get me going on this, so diabetic girl will just have to account for the cane. On the other hand, she and two other siblings also have tree nut allergies so I go back to the non-flour powder to double check.  Yes, I’m in the clear!

I add the binding ingredients and salt (thank goodness no one, so far, has issues with sodium). When I get to egg I hesitate.  Two of my children can have anaphylaxis from raw egg yolk and raw egg whites.  Gotta make sure these babies are baked well.  In goes the egg. The batter isn’t the consistency I’m used to. I add a little more milk because it’s dry.  Screw the daughter who is trying to be lactose free and really wants to be vegan; eggs and milk belong in muffins, dammit!

I can’t just toss blueberries in the batch because the daughter has a severe allergy to them (growl). I will persevere.  I add a few chocolate chips and spoon that mixture into muffin cups different from the others. That should make her happy. Then I add lemon extract and fold in the glorious blue gems to make me happy. Luckily, muffin tins have dividers so everyone can play nicely in the oven.

I remember there is also a kid with fish allergies. You’d think by now I have way more than four children, hah! The ingredients list goes through my head and I think I’ve done it. I’ve made homemade food. At least food that tastes a bit gritty, but at least won’t kill anyone. Sigh.

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<![CDATA['Twas the Week before Christmas]]>Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:13:47 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/twas-the-week-before-christmas ‘Twas the week before Christmas, the morning so quiet and calm
‘cause the world wasn’t up yet, the peace was a balm
 
The weather was nasty; all snow and freezing ice
While inside by the gas fireplace ‘twas warm and very nice
 
I turned on the computer to catch up on the time
There was nothing good to see there, not worth nary a dime
 
The internet’s all politics since there’s nothing better to do
Polar opposites debate loudly ‘till all their faces turn blue
 
The paper screams of seasonal savings, sales and rebates
Because a holiday without everything just doesn’t quite rate
 
Instead of spending our time wisely to give and not receive

Our world reels with the material and hatred to deceive
 
If it’s not perfect and most expensive we’re not up to the trends
What happened to just loving and enjoying our family and friends?
 
None of it matters; the gifts, the wrapping, the hype
I’ve never been a person of that particular type
 
So this holiday, maybe we should take a moment and try
To appreciate all we’ve been given, those things we don’t buy

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<![CDATA[DIY dishes are Really a PIA]]>Sun, 30 Oct 2016 12:29:15 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/diy-dishes-are-really-a-pia
I know better than to believe everything I read on the Internet. I apparently also have too much trust in DIY projects I've found on the Internet.  The latest: Gelatin worms in dirt.

As my youngest daughter's birthday is Halloween I've had the opportunity to make weird food for her parties. I relish this creativity and have a built-in audience to be acknowledged as a superior parent figure and master chef (I might have taken some liberties there). After 15 years I have to 'up' my game to continue sparking disgust and delight. Unfortunately, there are several kids in the family with food allergies so I always have to be careful. The latest craze to hit my Facebook page is making gelatin worms in dirt. Allergy friendly and easy instructions had me on board, but the simplicity and speed to make it was what really sold me. Sucker.

The recipe called for making 2 packages of raspberry gelatin and adding 1 package of plain to give them more of a firm texture (think KnoxBlox). Instead, I used the 2 raspberry and decreased the water to achieve the same. It called for more liquid, in the form of heavy cream.  Heavy cream is fattening so I used milk but less than suggested. The mixture looked pretty funky already before the 7 drops of green food coloring to achieve that real worm color. Eesh.

The instructions said once it's mixed to refrigerate for 20 minutes for it to firm up so I did that. What it should have said was "if it's not really thickened wait 30." To achieve the wormlike shape bendy straws should be packed into a tall glass. One website suggested putting a piece of bread in the bottom and pushing the straws into it to make a seal.  I tried that but when I poured my (not thick enough) mixture into the straws the bread sucked the liquid back out of the straws. I took the straws out and fished for the piece of soggy bread, getting sticky red spots all over the counter. Now that my hands were stained I found a pair of latex gloves and continued.

I discovered the mixture didn't fill the whole straw so I took the bunch out once again to flip them bendy side down. I re-poured the liquid and let it set in the fridge. Now that I've been in the kitchen for hours already baking and decorating 2 different kinds of cupcakes and making Indoor S'Mores it's time to take the jello out of the molds before I spend time on my costume.  With only 2 hours left before the party there was already no time for lunch.

I found the perfect bowl for my dish and had the hubby crush up a few chocolate graham crackers for the dirt. I pulled the first straw (I think there was about 50 in the glass) to squeeze out my worms. There's a suction thing with trapped air that I had to work around. The jello didn't want to come out. The internet instructions never really mentioned this obstacle. I tried to stabilize the end of the straw to milk the other side but it kept slipping.  Tiny pieces of red gelatinous masses flew onto the walls and window. The only thing I was concerned with was the form.  It certainly didn't look like the pictures on Facebook. After washing my red (again) hands and cleaning my kitchen I put on another pair of gloves. The first half dozen tries yielded more flying red pieces.  It looked like someone's innards blew up in my kitchen as pieces wiggled as they hung from my cupboards. Talk about gruesome. Fast forward an hour and a half...

There's a learning curve to squeezing gelatin out of a straw; break the suction seal by pushing down in the middle and squeeze each side out. This takes a while and makes smaller worms. Still, if I took my time I could place them on the side of the bowl in a realistic way. Unfortunately, every time we sprinkled the 'dirt' it covered my strategically placed worms so I had to start another layer.

Finally I was done. I had enough time to throw on my costume but no time to fix my hair up or apply makeup.  Besides, my fingers were cramped and numb from the repetition. My finished product looked nothing like the Facebook version. But it did fill the disgust quota and was actually kind of tasty. Next time I want to try an 'easy' project I'll wait until April first so the joke can still be on me. 
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<![CDATA[Music Review: Kaleo's A/B]]>Sat, 06 Aug 2016 19:05:44 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/music-review-kaleos-abI love Taylor and Meghan as much as the next person, but there’s always room to experience a different voice.  A/B, the debut album by Islandic group Kaleo is going to be the next Big Thing here in America. With their retro genres firmly planted within 21st century bass lines, they’re sure to be a breath of fresh air.

Giving themselves a Hawaiian name which literally means “the sound”, Kaleo has taken off.  With 3 of the 4 members being friends since elementary school in Rajkjavik, their music evolved naturally. The lead singer, Jökull Júlíusson (JJ Julius Son) takes possession from second tenor to falsetto and his strong warbles stand out with their mostly original music.  Rubin Pollock, Daniel Ægir Kristjánsson, and Daviδ Antonsson round out the instrumentals.  It’s as though they’ve found their niche to shine and share with the world.  The blend ties the sound of electric rock riff to what the ears of today’s youth are drawn to, while appealing to those who appreciate the roots of rock. As a viral sensation on YouTube their sound has transcended their continent. With a degree in music and love for the same, here’s a peek into my thoughts.

Way Down We Go is the best song on the track and the most commercial.  It’s a bluesy mix, reminiscent of the soul BB King puts into The Thrill is Gone. Toe tapping and body swaying, it’ll stay with you long after your ears have heard the notes. Listen to the live version recorded in the Thríhnúkagigur volcano in Iceland. For anyone who can appreciate the difference certain acoustics can make, it’s evident on the track.  It must have been incredible being there in person.

Broken Bones is my second favorite.  It’s a mix of rockabilly and an African American spiritual.  It brings to mind those on a chain gang or working a field. Catchy and sing-able the end has a refreshing surprise.  It builds to a clever round that not many bands will attempt.  They nailed it.

Automobile is a country-folksy song done in acoustics.  It’s something I could see Johnny Cash digging.

Vor í Vaglaskόgi is a gamble in their native language but it pays off.  It’s a haunting version of an old Icelandic love story from the 1960’s, complete with violins. We may not understand the lyrics but the melody will move you, regardless.

For a modest release it’s packed with goodness, but by the 9th or 10th track its one dimensional show becomes weary.  For their next album I hope they spread their wings to expand the flavor of their vision by allowing one of the other band-mates to step up to vocals, or collaborate with other rockers.

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<![CDATA[The Journey through Hell: Menopause]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2016 00:00:14 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/the-journey-through-hell-menopauseTo channel Joan Rivers, “Can we talk?”
It seems there’s this little monster Mother Nature has been holding back on. It’s called Menopause. For the sake of making it sound better than it is, let’s call it The Journey.  By the way, since ladies have been dumped on with everything from PMS, periods, child bearing and childbirth I will offer my opinion on the Grande Dame.  She’s a bitch.
With that said, I’d like to vent a little about this ‘hot flash’ issue.  That is actually a misnomer. It isn’t a flash of heat.  It’s an overall feeling of dread, as if something bad is about to happen. Like a panic attack aimed at the internal organs.  Which it is.  The body is gearing up to slam 100 thousand therms at you in a matter of 2.3 seconds.  Maybe it’s joules or maybe I’m making this up just to make my point. The meaning is clear.  One second you’re fine and the next you can’t understand why you’re wearing clothes in the first place.
These hot flashes are, I believe, actually incinerating your baby making parts, as if using them (or not using them) was a punishable offense.  Unlike the ability to be discreet like the monthly visitor, these are on display for all to see.  As the red blush creeps from the neck up and you break out in a shiny, drippy mess, the cashier now thinks you’re trying to pass a counterfeit ten, the boss wonders if you’ve been padding your expense report, and the grocery clerk suspects you may be stealing a hidden melon under your shirt (no, that’s just random weight gain in the gut). Every few minutes I wear a sweater at work, sometimes two.  On and off they go.  It gives the illusion I’m some sort of deranged Mister Rogers who will bark complaints about life instead of asking to be your neighbor. You heard me King Friday.
These lovely experiences will wake me out of a deep sleep at night, causing the blankets to be catapulted to the end of the bed.  Husbands everywhere are getting whiplash in agreement. They don’t understand…we’re DYING here.  And as soon as I’ve adjusted to the lack of cool air flow (even when there is some) I wonder what the hell I was thinking because it’s COLD in here.  The blankets are ratcheted up to my necks while I shiver.  Now the perspiration has seeped into the bed linen making everything soggy and damp. In another quarter hour the cycle will repeat.  In the meantime the hamster that resides in my brain awakens and jumps on his wheel, “Oh boy, oh boy, what can we obsess about for the next hour and a half?”
After about 7 hours of tossing and turning with blankets and sans blankets I give up on the whole idea of sleep.  Kinda like the newborn years but without the reward of the intoxicating baby smell that assures you having children was a good idea. This leads to what is known as the mood swing issue. It’s not really.  It’s sleep deprivation. Forgetfulness, stress and general crankiness can be chalked up to this unfair decade (yeah, ladies, I know) of life.
I’m sorry, but abstaining from caffeine and alcohol while exercising more is just not going to cut it. Plus, I tried it already and wouldn’t suggest it to others.  It’s a miserable way to live even when not taking The Journey. My advice: invest in a sexy and expensive bra.  This way you’ll get your monies worth as it will be viewed at home, at work, in the library and on your mug shot.

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<![CDATA[The Resume of a Baby]]>Sun, 10 Apr 2016 19:23:43 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/the-resume-of-a-babyWe, as the ultimate consumer, are savvy about what we purchase and own.  We look up safety stats on new cars, buy refrigerators with only good ratings, and read reviews on which vacations offer the most fun for our memories.  Why?  We want a good investment. We have been known to make educated decisions on having children, but would we do it if it were based on resumes?  I think not.
 
Baby X
100 Anytown Road
Every City, Le Monde
 
Objective:       To secure the position of son/daughter by bestowing the title of parent on the person accepting this offer.
 
Education:     Absolutely none. No consciousness to better myself other than to have my own needs met immediately.
I will require my needs to be met exclusively by the person accepting this offer for at least two years. From that point forward I will still demand my needs to be met however, I will fight obstinately and loudly in doing so for sixteen more years because I will think I can do it myself when I actually can’t. For at least four years after that my fees will increase fivefold while I physically vacate the family unit to live in a party atmosphere while cohabitating with the opposite sex to earn a piece of paper. As a disclaimer I may return to the family unit to ‘find myself’ and a job to eventually move out on my own for good.
 
Experience:    Limited.  Breathing, eating, drinking, making waste in whatever I’m wearing. I will eventually learn how to throw things, yell, spill, talk-back, sulk, lie and defy you.
 
Professional Activites: Crying, holding my breath, being obstinate, pushing buttons
 
References:    Everyone has one as every person has held this job title.
 
 
It’s a good thing there is copious amounts of love involved.

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<![CDATA[Body Art: Tattoos, Piercings and Parents]]>Sat, 12 Mar 2016 14:03:53 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/body-art-tattoos-piercings-and-parentsPicture
     Decades ago, fashions like dyed hair, Mohawks and body glitter were temporary ways for teens to express their individuality.  Today, tattoos are trendy, as are piercings such as on the nose, above the corner of the mouth, and the lip. There are also plugs and tunnels—jewelry worn in piercings (usually in the ear) to stretch the piercing and accommodate larger pieces.  Teens call the jewelry and piercings “gauges,” although tattooists dislike the term.)
 
All of these modifications are, to some degree, lasting. Such forms of body modification identify our kids; they’re Generation Z. And, as Will Smith once sang, “Parents just don’t understand.”
 
But parents of a different generation, one less accustomed to prominent body modifications, may have a variety of concerns on behalf of their young adult children. I will admit I’m one of them.  Certainly, we parents are better able to take the long view about workplace standards in various careers. A young person may need help deciding if he or she might someday want the option to enter a conservative profession such as banking or the military.
 
If kids over age 18 want to get piercings or tattoos, they can, legally. But parents who do their own research may be able to help a young person determine the location and type of modifications (so they’re not visible under most clothes), and assist in vetting reputable body art studios that follow best practices to avoid transmission of disease and other hazards.
 
Permanent body art is not new. Otzi the Iceman (3,300 B.C.) had stretched earlobes, the Bible mentions nose piercings, and dangly earrings were all the rage in the 18th century. Martin Hildebrandt, considered the country’s first professional tattooist, opened his New York City shop in the 1846, where he covered his adult daughter, Nora, with examples of his art, turning her into America’s first professional tattooed lady. Other than on circus performers, until relatively recently tattoos in the United States have appealed primarily to men in certain groups such as sailors or soldiers.
 
But in the 21st century, tattooing and other forms of body modification surged in popularity among young people. A 2014 Fox News poll found 34 percent of U.S. citizens under 30 have tattoos. Forty-seven percent of women under 35 have at least one tattoo.
 
Other polls have noted the trend as well. A 2009 Pew Research Center survey found nearly 40 percent of people ages 18 to 29 had a tattoo and nearly 25 percent had a piercing in a place other than an earlobe.

Today it is commonplace to see teens with body art. However, a parent whose minor teen wants body modification must accept the responsibility for a change that is lasting (unless the young person undergoes expensive plastic surgery at a later date).
 
In New York state, child can receive a piercing in a body part other than the ear, with a parent’s written consent. A parent or legal guardian must fill out and sign the consent form—which specifies the location of the piercings—in the presence of the body piercing studio owner or the studio’s piercing specialist.
A young person under 18 cannot legally receive a tattoo in New York state under any circumstances. New York state allows an 18-year-old to make decisions about tattoos and piercings alone.
 
Though they are legally able to receive permanent body modifications when they are 18, that does not always mean young adults can anticipate how such changes will affect them. A young person’s brain does not reach maturity until his or her early 20s, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That means brain functions such as the ability to plan ahead and control impulses are still growing.
   
Parents hoping to persuade their young adult children to carefully weigh their options before receiving body art may feel they’re swimming against the social current.  My oldest child, Danielle, turned 18 last year, and I’ve had difficulty accepting her decision to express herself with tattoos.
 
It was an eye opener to discover her path has already been trod by those a few years older than herself.  These young adults may be newly married with young children, and they’re proving to be more responsible and forward-thinking than I had acknowledged.
 
Old school or not, should parents intervene? It can be a way to retain some control over the location of the body art, and it can also allow parents to help find safe and reputable artists. New York’s Department of Health requires tattoo and piercing artists to have individual permits and follow the state’s laws and codes.
   
Tattoos and piercings carry several risks other than infection and transmission of diseases. Besides allergic reactions, scarring and sensitivity, another common complication for all art is granulomas. This small knotty tissue can develop around new art in response to ink or jewelry. Nerve damage and prolonged bleeding are potential side effects of all piercings.
   
Mike Hines is the owner and artist of The Ink Spot in Clinton and has been tattooing for almost six years. We met five months ago when I was referred to him by a friend after I decided to get my first tattoo.  Ultimately, he did the only two I have. 
 
He keeps his studio spotlessly clean, which is one sign of a trustworthy establishment. His ink bottles are covered tightly and kept together in a cabinet.  The shiny metal trays and washable tables are easily covered with plastic wrap that can be disposed of so they can be disinfected between clients.  He uses hospital-grade disinfectants, Cavicide and Madacide, because they kill not only tuberculosis but HIV, hepatitis and other stubborn pathogens.  Hines believes the more precautions taken, the better.  Some shops use only bleach, and while that isn’t wrong it also isn’t the most effective.
 
Hines says a reputable artist will shave an area to be tattooed and will have a client stand in a natural position, not sitting or lying, while the transfer is applied. This way the art will be exactly where it’s supposed to be. (A list of what to look for in a trustworthy body art studio is found in the sidebar.)
 
Parents have various concerns about tattoos, but one mother in Canastota, Jodee Love (using her maiden name to protect her child’s privacy), discovered that allowing her daughter to get a tattoo was a healing experience. McKenzie was in therapy because she often cut her arm to release emotional pain, and she bore scars as reminders. McKenzie wanted a tattoo, and her counselors supported the move.
 
Love stipulated her daughter had to earn the money to pay for the tattoo and to stop cutting. Eight weeks later, when she had the money, McKenzie got a tattoo of a lotus flower, known for beauty that grows and blooms out of dark, muddy water. McKenzie has gone eight months and counting without cutting.  The symbolism is not lost on both of them.
   
Other parental fears about body modification may similarly be unfounded. Colleges, for example, take no notice of tattoos or piercings, according to Sean Kesselring, guidance counselor in the Cicero-North Syracuse school district for 23 years. “It’s almost like a non-issue,” he says.
   
Nonetheless, some parents remain opposed. “I think that’s too young for something that will last the rest of their lives,” says Belinda Kairis, mother of a 17-year-old senior in Brewerton. She believes there should be more consistency in age restrictions. “That age is vulnerable.”
   
Parents I interviewed who have their own art—mostly tattoos that can be covered—agree they may not be happy with their children’s choices at 18 but also defend their right to do it. None, however, support their children getting stretched piercings.
 
Joanna Bishop is a registered nurse and home care case manager and mother of three in Bridgeport.  She has several large tattoos over the majority of her back as well as other smaller pieces.  At one time she had a tongue piercing but removed it when she was expecting.  She says, “I’d heavily discourage any visible deviant mods simply because I’d like my kids not to have anything hinder a chance at a job.”  
   
My recently acquired tattoos have caused my daughter to suggest I’m a hypocrite and am using a double standard.  But I’m 46 and have had enough real-world experience to know what difficulties I might face and how I would handle them.  Knowing it’s against my employer’s policy to have visible tattoos, I decided to get one on each foot where I can easily keep them hidden but also admire them when I’m not working.  Although I worry about her future professional decisions, my daughter isn’t concerned her eight tattoos will affect her career choices.
 
Yet many tattooed young adults haven’t encountered many obstacles. The Fox News Poll found most respondents said they would hire someone with a visible tattoo. At 25 years old, Ashle Vanelli of Syracuse has 22 tattoos. She says she has never been discouraged by employers but also notes that she wears long sleeves during interviews.
   
And Rochester-based Wegmans, which employs nearly 45,000 people and owns more than 87 grocery stores, allows workers to display tattoos and piercings. Evelyn Carter, Syracuse media representative, says, “Our people are what make us different. Personal appearance standards contribute to the morale of all employees and affect the business image Wegmans presents.”
   
The pastor of First English Lutheran Church on James Street in Syracuse, A.J. Striffler, is a registered nurse in his mid-40s with ear piercings, a Mohawk, and several tattoos. “Society wants conformity,” he says, but “we are a society of perpetual body modification.” He believes it’s about time we all embrace difference.
   
On the other hand, some young people may find themselves seeking jobs in professions with strict rules about visible body modification, such as the military, health care or finance. Sang Kim, M.D., of Syracuse Facial Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery in East Syracuse says his office each year treats a handful of patients who have regretted earlobe enlargement and now require corrective surgery. Many of his patients come in to satisfy military requirements before service.
 
Young people about to turn 18 and dead set on getting art may tend to focus on the design and where it will be to the exclusion of other concerns. This conversation may need to take place sooner rather than later.
 
On her 18th birthday, my daughter came home with her first tattoo.  She had already planned on getting body art and was just waiting to be legal.  She started small and on an area that could be covered.  Parents can play a role by suggesting young people ask themselves questions such as “What will this look like when I’m walking down the aisle?” or “How about when I’m 50?” As with any other important decision that relates to health, getting referrals for a trusted artist can add to peace of mind for both the parent and teen.
 
What my daughter and I have agreed on is the meaning behind the art.  For most people what they decide on is symbolic to them.  Everyone I talked to agreed that although they might now choose today the art they got when they were younger, they have no regrets.  They accept the art as part of their life’s journey.
 
My daughter sums it up this way: “I feel they are reminders for me on what I believe in and what I live by.”  I might not understand today’s teens and their body art, but maybe there’s more than maturity involved after all.
 
 
SIDEBAR
Basics health practices every artist should follow:
* The work area should be clean.
* The artist washes his or her hands and uses clean, disposable gloves.
* Packaged single-use needles should be opened in front of the client and disposed of in a sharps container.
* Equipment should be wrapped and work area covered for each client.
* The artist should clean the area to be tattooed or pierced.
* The artist should shave the area to be tattooed, if necessary, with a new, disposable razor.
* The artist does not use a piercing gun for areas other than the ears.
* The artist covers the tattooed skin with bandages once done.
* The artist provides after-care instructions.
* The artist uses a disinfectant between clients that kills tuberculosis, such as Cavicide. Tuberculosis is one of the most difficult to kill pathogens, and a disinfectant that kills it is also effective against HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B and C.
 
The Centers for Disease Control has information about sanitary procedures at cdc.gov/niosh/topics/body art/contamination.html.

 


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<![CDATA[If a Mouse Finds a Cubicle]]>Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:42:39 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/if-a-mouse-finds-a-cubicleWe recently acquired a new small friend at work. He wasn't invited and he made himself at home. This is in homage to Laura Joffe Numeroff and her cute books.

If you have a building with a hole a mouse will find it.
Once he does he'll probably make himself at home.
Once he's home he'll realize he's hungry so he'll find a cubicle with delicious treats.


When he's found the jackpot of leftover holiday chocolates he will help himself.
And not clean up the wrappers, making you think you might have eaten the chocolate yourself.


When he comes to visit the next time he'll be settling in like it's his own room, eating more chocolate and making more of a mess.
Will he find a broom to clean it up? No, he won't. But since he's comfortable he'll messy up his space with mouse presents for you to take care of.


One day he will sleep in too late and be discovered hiding in an overhead compartment you thought would be safe for your food to be stored. Now that you know he's there you remove all the remaining temptation.


This will make the mouse very unhappy and he will fling mouse poo everywhere he possibly can all around the cubicle to show how mad he is. After a few days of this you will begin to regret naming him Felix. You hope he'll pack up and things and leave but he won't.
He will get a cold a need to find the nurse (namely you). He will unwrap and eat half a cough drop for the tickle in his throat, chew on a few sealed tea bags to settle his tummy, and wiggle himself into your tissue box to wipe his nose. He will not leave.
You will have to stop thinking of humane catch and release traps to evict him. All the while you will be cleaning up pee spots and poo droppings hoping you don't catch the plague.
Eventually the Boss of the Critter Wranglers will set a trap which will too enticing not to check out and Felix will go to the great big Outside in the Sky. But the traps will attract ants.
So if you give an ant a sweet it will want to eat it.....
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<![CDATA[The Big M's: Moodiness, Motherhood and Menopause]]>Sun, 10 Jan 2016 18:13:37 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/the-big-ms-moodiness-motherhood-and-menopauseMy latest Family Times article will be the next issue, February 2016, so the cat's almost out of the bag. I am 46, and next month the number will inch upward another notch.  These are the years our bodies betray us and confirm our suspicions that whoever made us was, in fact, a guy.

I understand if the testosterone fueled readers stopped here before we get into the details of all the Big M's, but it would be nice if they read on.  Getting a point of view from someone other than their wife or girlfriend will prove their loved one hasn't been periodically replaced by an alien.

Amazing things, our bodies. We start childhood as lovable, fair minded kids. Around eleven or so (earlier these days) we start to morph. Moodiness is the first Big M. It's lovely to experience and especially nice to try to raise. I remember those days well. I'd wake up hot, then cold. And my mom putting away my laundry was not a problem one day but the next it put me in a rage. I'd be a sobbing mess when I couldn't figure out my math homework and would get frustrated and holler when my dad tried to help. Why? I couldn't answer that, everything was just a primal feeling. Sound familiar? We may have better technology today than back then but the cycles of the moon are the same. I know for sure because I have two girls ages 18 and 16.

There are a few years in the middle of this where our moods even out a bit (except that week every month but who's counting?) and we generally know what to expect. Unfortunately, we're so busy finishing college, working two jobs, and trying to find Mr. Right to appreciate it. Just as soon as we start to realize we got this the stick shows a plus sign. Motherhood is the next Big M. Pregnancy is like taking every human mood and putting it on a roulette table (my husband would agree the betting and risk idea is a great analogy). It gets spun every few minutes or so without warning. "Surely once the baby is born I'll be back to my old self." [Snort]. Not. Early motherhood is like puberty on speed. No wonder new dads are scared. It's not of fatherhood or a tiny infant it's the creature their wife has turned into.

Things settle down while we're busy shuttling kids to dance class or baseball practice. While we're patting ourselves on the shoulder looking backwards at the crazy mess we thought was behind us we run into the baddest Big M; Menopause.  The mood swings are back and have evolved in intensity. Hello again pimples. Pregnancy Brain seems like child's play. The monthly visitor seems to be on WTF steroids. Like the black sheep of the family it has also decided to hang around longer and more frequently just because it can. Whatever its schedule used to be is gone and replaced by an f-you pattern. The poor husband has no idea of bedroom availability anymore (Yes, some guys keep their own calendar). Life as we know it stops completely during hot flashes. It's amazing how we can be a little chilly one second and the next we are a ball of sweat being incinerated from the inside out.

Am I on my way to becoming a vampire like in Twilight? At least in Stephenie Meyer's books the burning up takes only 3 days. And the end result is looking beautiful and rocking the energy level. Alas, that's mere fiction. I've read hot flashes last up to 10 years. Blankets yanked up, blankets thrown down. Hubby starts asking you to take drugs so he can get some sleep. What are we changing into? At this point becoming an alien doesn't look so bad.  They at least seem to be okay with an androgynous body and aren't freaking out about thinning hair.
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<![CDATA[Save the Earth a Footprint at a Time]]>Sun, 01 Nov 2015 17:01:19 GMThttp://freshapplesnyder.com/the-whinery/save-the-earth-a-footprint-at-a-timeI'm not an enthusiast, I'm just enthusiastic about being responsible for my own actions.  There are those who can devote their lives to this cause and for that I am eternally grateful. Every little bit helps. Here are some ideas I've adopted.

I've brought a set of inexpensive silverware to work to replace wasting plastic forks and knives. I have a ceramic bowl at work, too. Not only is it healthier than eating out of Styrofoam, it's safe for the microwave and not going to a landfill after lunch each day.

Coffee shops are the worst.  Investing in a reusable mug is earth friendly and saves me a bit of money for refills. I have one for each of my favorite restaurants, tucked in my car for when I need to re-java. I also write in to  customer comments suggesting a switching to a paper form for cups. My next challenge is to address Styrofoam ware in the hospital setting.  Some refuse is not up for discussion and must be thrown away, but with some there is leeway. Cafeterias come to mind. I wonder if someone has worked it out on paper for saving with plastic versus garbage removal. Maybe it's time to put the value on going green.

Walking instead of driving is one I'm not able to change.  Much. If I'm shopping in a large mall I'll make a point to hoof it, but I'll never be the employee who bikes in to my job. I've made peace with that.  There are those, however, who are capable of taking more steps despite the time involved. They should plan for the extra minutes and just do it.  I was disgusted last night to see parents in running vehicles inching along in a housing development while their children ran from house to house. Exhaust and laziness isn't only uncool, it's not healthy for anyone. Ask a cardiologist. Or maybe have that dialogue in a graveyard. They're filled with those who put off moving for later and ultimately left too soon.

Recycling is something we are all doing now.  But is there a way to repurpose items instead of tossing? Even getting a few uses out of something is better than nothing. Can a local school use items like toilet paper rolls and egg cartons for craft projects? It might be worth looking into.

And finally there are the old standbys. Shut lights off when out of a room, don't run water while brushing (I'm still working on that one), and keep windows and doors closed to fit the weather. I'm cold intolerant but still try to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Air conditioning only goes on so the rest of the family doesn't melt or disown me. We lower our shades in the sunny windows in the summer, too.  That's about the only thing I learned in 9th grade Earth Science; white deflects and darks absorb heat. It's also why I wear black and sit in the sun spots in my kitchen in the winter, and fight the cats for the space.

There are lots of things I do that are bad for the environment. Every day I get a new chance to change it. Making sure my kids, grandkids and greats have a good life isn't only about how we raise them, it's how we'll leave the earth to them to live on.  One tiny footprint less each day.

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