GUEST POST: Me At The Cafe

March 28, 2012 § 3 Comments

Another wonderful guest post written by Genevieve!  If you would like a small bio of Gen, or to read the rest of her posts, just click the “Genevieve’s Guest Posts” tag above.  Enjoy!

Me At The Cafe:

You know, when I write stories, I really get to picture me in them. I’m not in reality when I write. 🙂  Anyway, in reality I’m never taken to the Café, so I’m going to write about me at the Café so it seems like I am at the Café, make sense?

I would walk in to see the stone chef statue by the door with the specials menu marked in chalk, and Rose would go say hi to Jeff, and Ang would seat us at the bar or a table.  She would give us menus while Rose came back, her high-heels clicking against the ground. I don’t bother looking at the menu, I know what I want. Chicken Fingers and French Fries, WITH A PEPSI.

I would tell Rose what I want and sit still, watching the employees take out trays of food. “Can I have a Pepsi, Rose?” I ask Rose. Rose get up and takes the liberty, herself, to get the Pepsi. I would sip happily through a straw and wait for the bread and butter. As soon as it’s set down, I’m eating a piece of it already.

When my food gets there, I will eat at it happily and slowly to make it last. Jeff would come out to say hello to me.  “Haven’t seen you in awhile.” Jeff would exclaim. “You’re getting big!” Jeff would say with a tender smile. “Yes well, that’s how it goes in this family. You’re short until you’re 12 or” -I would cough- “13 and you shoot right up past Mom.” I would reply, returning the smile. “Yes, yes!” Jeff would smile. “How’s fantasy hockey going?” Jeff would ask Rose. “Championship!” Rose would grin; Jeff would nod and say “Good for you! Who are you facing?” “My mom.” Rose would answer.

Ang would come up and tell Jeff something, something about a table. Jeff would say “Ok.” And say goodbye and walk away. I would enjoy the rest of my evening watching their T.V. and help Ang put menus back and wipe off tables. Rose would finally say the worst words she could say: “Gen it’s time to go.” and I would slouch and walk to the car with her, after paying of course. That would be the end of my Café adventure which I enjoyed only too much. But alas, this was all writing, not reality.

Rose’s Note:  I don’t take Genevieve to the Cafe very often because I go there to watch hockey games and she gets bored.  Hockey games are three hours long.  Gen has no interest in hockey and there’s only so much a child can do at a restaurant before becoming bored.  This seems very understandable to me and yet apparently I have been lax in my sisterly duties.  Didn’t I just write a blog post about being a slave to my younger siblings…?  Sometime recently…..??


The Man, The Myth, The Legend

March 22, 2012 § 7 Comments

This is a true story.  All events described within did occur.   They may be exaggerated, caricatured, and otherwise misrepresented, but for the most part, they did occur.  Somewhat.  Enjoy learning the truth:

Peter Babetski walked into The Cafe on a warm Tuesday evening.  The restaurant was full of murmuring diners and the soft chime of silverware on china.  I followed behind him, keeping my head low and ducking to avoid eye contact.  Pete didn’t like it when I stole his thunder. 

“Hi, Pete!”  A couple of the waitstaff came rushing over to crowd around my little brother.  At 13, he hadn’t quite hit his growth spurt yet, but like Napolean, George Washington, and Tom Cruise, he was proof that even short men can be very important.  Pete nodded nonchalantly to the hovering servers.  “Hi guys,” he smiled.  “I’ve decided to grace you all with my presence tonight.”

“Thanks, man!”  “High-five, pal!”  “The customers always tip better when you’re here!”  The exclamations of the staff were acknowledged by Pete with a wave of his hand in aloof affirmation.  He walked up to the bar, pulled out a chair, and sat down.  “Rose,” he spoke without even looking to see where I was.  “Why don’t you have the TV tuned to the Pittsburgh Penguins game yet?”

“I’m sorry, Pete.”  I scuttled over to the bar as fast as my legs could move and reached for the remote.  Angela, who was serving that night, came up and knocked my hand away.  “I’ll do it for Pete.  You’ll just mess it up, Rose.”    She’s probably right, I thought in shame, as I sat down on a chair next to Pete and reached (with a feeble, trembling hand [Pete didn’t let me eat very often]) for the menu.  Pete was already looking at his menu, although I didn’t know why, since he always ordered chicken fingers and fries.  Every time.  Chicken fingers and fries.  It was enough chicken fingers and fries to feed an entire army of pint-sized punks.  I knew better than to question his tastes though.

After we placed our food order (Pete had indeed ordered his standard fare, and I had wistfully begged Channing for a small bowl of oatmeal that didn’t even have to be fully cooked), Jeff the owner came out to see us.  Well, to see my little brother.  No one ever actually wanted to see me.

“Hey, Pete!”  He shook hands very seriously with the diminutive dictator.  “It’s about time you came back to the Cafe!  You know, you should really have Rose bring you in more often.  I don’t think she’s a very good sister to you.”  He turned and glared at me as I cowered back into my seat.

“Now, now,” Pete dismissed the accusations with casual grace.  “She does her best.  We can’t expect more than humanly possible when working with, ahem, limited material.”

I couldn’t contain myself at that.  “Did you just call me stupid!?”  My mouth snapped shut in dismay as I realized what I had done.

Pete turned slowly, his eyes like ice.  “Yes.  And there is nothing you can do about it.  You are my servant.”

“Sorry Pete,” I mumbled with as much humility as I could possibly get into two syllables (you’d be surprised at how much fits).     

“I accept your apology, Rose, but be warned that I’ll probably eat two helpings of ice cream now and buy a Gatorade afterwards and you will have to pay for ALL OF IT.”

I nodded miserably, unable to even speak.  I had held some silly hope that perhaps tonight would different from normal, that maybe he would actually thank me for something… acknowledge my many long years of service and sister-hood.   

But as I peeked glances at the hockey game out of the corner of my eye, and morosely pushed around my gluey unsalted oatmeal, and heard Pete quoting hockey stats to Jeff that he’d made me research for him, I knew it had been nothing but a fool’s dream.  A fool’s hope.  Tonight would be no different.  I would suffer in silent agony for many more nights.  Years would pass before Pete turned 18. 

Oh, how this silent bondage seems endless!!!

Spring & Playoff Hockey Are In The Air

March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

We’re halfway through March and playoff hockey is on my mind.  I was listening to NHL Home Ice’s show ‘The Power Play’ in my car yesterday (with the windows down and the fresh spring breeze in my face!) and the two hosts, Scott Laughlin and Phil Esposito, were musing about something I’d never really considered before.  They were tossing around the “what-if” idea of the NHL going to a 1-16 playoff format.  For those of you unfamiliar with the NHL, right now they have two conferences (East & West) and the top 8 teams in each make the playoffs, in a 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc. format.  So what they were saying was the 1st overall seed would play the 16th-seeded team, and etc.  This totally intrigued me.  For some reason, I have never thought about it before. 

My first impression: I liked the idea.  Loving hockey the way I do (enough of a fan to play fantasy hockey, let’s put it that way), I am always disappointed that I don’t get to see the Western teams play mine more often.  I understand the logistics of it, but still…  I would love to see the teams out there playing East teams in the first few rounds, not just the best team from the West in the Finals.  I also like the idea of rivalries forming between East/West teams, something that I personally don’t really see right now.  I love a good Penguins/Flyers or Penguins/Capitals matchup, simply because it’s so much fun to hate on other teams as a sports fan.  The only team in the West I hate like that is Detroit and that’s definitely because of the 2-years-in-a-row Stanley Cup Finals between the Pens and Wings.  Rivalries get made during the playoffs.  Everything, every little thing, matters more in playoff games.  Someone throws hard hits on the boards, a goaltender gets bulldozed in the crease, somebody runs their mouth all game long, fingers get bitten (!)… when it happens during playoffs, it sticks in everyone’s mind.  Maybe I’m just crazy but I think playing a 1-16 format would accomplish that, at least more than it happens now.  And my final point, which was also made by Phil Esposito so I guess it’s really his point that I agree with, is about points.  Points in the standings, I mean.  It’s already crazy in the NHL, how those last few weeks of the season can completely change your playoff standing.  If you’re on the edge of making the playoffs, you know how crucial every single point is.  How insane and fun would it be as a fan to watch even more teams battle it out for those last few spots?  I don’t know if I’m explaining that clearly, I wish I could just quote whatever it was Espo said, because I loved it. 

What are your thoughts on the idea of a 1 vs 16 playoff setup?

A final quick thought, this one on NHL/AHL hockey.  I’ve always said I’m so glad I live in a city with an AHL team.  I can afford to have season tickets (although right now I’m going with a half-season plan, due to being a busy socialite) and get to see a ton of young talent on the ice.  Phil Esposito does the radio color commentary for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL, and their AHL affiliate is the Norfolk Admirals.  I see Norfolk play a lot, because they’re in the same division as my team, the WBS Penguins.   So yesterday Phil was talking about young players and AHL talent and he mentioned Cory Conacher on the Admirals.  I immediately thought to myself, “Oh yeah Conacher, he’s a speedy little devil.”  The last game I was at, we played Norfolk, and Conacher was zooming up and down the ice.  So anyway, Phil goes on to say something like, “He’s a real swift skater.”  And I gave myself a mental high five.  It’s always nice to know that you’re seeing what the professionals are seeing.  That’s all, really, I just wanted to make sure everyone who reads my blog knows that Espo and I are en rapport.  😀

Stairway To Heav- The Emergency Room

March 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

A recent study posted on Yahoo brought back some memories of my childhood.  The study was about the risk that stairs pose to children.  Apparently, children get injured on staircases.  Frequently. 

In fact, in this (heavilyeditedtomislead) quote from the study, we are astounded to realize that they “calculated that” “93,000 [children] altogether” “got injured on the stairs every year” “from” “riding a tricycle down the stairs.” 

Now, I know you all think I was some kind of goody-goody child who never did anything wrong and sat quietly all day long and read books… but that’s simply absurd.  Danger was part and parcel of my day as a child.  Many of my playtime activities took place on staircases and were not only fraught with danger, but probably outlawed in several conservative states.  My siblings and I risked injury (or worse) every day when we played on our stairs.  We laughed in the face of harm.    Our staircase was a battleground and we all knew it.  Only the strong would survive.

Mom often tried to stop us from defying death on a daily basis with our staircase antics, but she never really succeeded.  We knew the advantage the stairs offered when running away with a younger sibling’s toy.  Your more powerful legs could sprint to the top faster than the toddler, and this advantage gave you ample time to hide the toy somewhere in the depths of your closet.  We also enjoyed dragging chairs onto our steps, balancing them precariously with only a few millimeters to spare between their legs and the end of the step.  Sometimes, we ever had the back chair legs on one step, and the front chair legs on the step below!  We played “airplane” with these chairs, as the incredibly narrow corridor between the chairs and the wall reminded us of an airplane’s aisle.    (Technically, I think we played “stewardess”, because I had read a Nancy Drew book in which she chatted with a friendly stewardess and I thought it was the coolest job in the world, but to be politically correct [which you know my blog always is!] I have changed the name of the game to “airplane”.)  I would mince up and down the aisle/steps between the chairs and wall, handing out pretend drinks and pretzels, and having to duck and cover whenever our “airplane” inevitably hit turbulence.

On other occasions, much to Mom’s dismay, we would take the cushions from the couch in the living room and pile them at the foot of those steep, pitched, dangerous stairs.  After clambering to the top, Dan and I would grab our trusty old brown plaid sleeping bag and take turns sliding down the stairs in it!   Of course we would stuff the bottom of the sleeping bag with pillows, books, and stuffed animals (more weight gives you more speed!) and end up crashing into the cushions, so there wasn’t much chance of a stray limb severing or accidental decapitation, but you never knew.  That was the allure.

Probably the most valid reason to avoid staircases altogether, though, has to come from my boyfriend.  Danny was a mischievous child who delighted in tormenting his older sisters.  As a young boy, he played on his staircase many an afternoon.  Somewhere in his twisted child-mind, he devised a terrible plan that needed only three accomplices (willing or not): his sister’s doll, a jump rope, and his staircase of doom.   

What horrors did he devise on his stairs?  Are you sure you want to know? 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.






Staircases = dangerous.  Keep your children away from them.

Chocolate Cream Pie Soothes The Nerves

March 9, 2012 § 6 Comments

I decided to make chocolate cream pies this past Wednesday.  The Penguins were playing the Maple Leafs, so I figured it’d be nice to bake while listening to the game online.  I Googled up some pie recipes and was struck by the fact that the first four I found were all different.  I eventually decided to make chocolate cream pie MY way.  Here is what I used:

For the chocolate cream:
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the whipped cream on top:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

I combined the cream cheese, sugar, cocoa, milk, and vanilla in our big green mixing bowl and here I made a rookie mistake.  I didn’t stir it together at all before I started in with the beaters.  A huge puff of cocoa powder mushroomed up onto me when the beaters whirled.  I quickly rectified that mistake and my mother graciously pretended it had never happened.  I stirred the powder into the milk and cream cheese, and then beat it until the mixture became nice and fluffy.

 Then I… Well, I- Um…

I have a confession to make, guys.

I… I USED PRE-MADE PIE CRUSTS, OKAY!??  I’m sorry!!!  I don’t know what happened to me!!  I love making crusts!  I’m good at crusts!!  I’m better than my mother at pie crusts!  But I was kinda tired and the thought of all that measuring and the cutting the butter into the flour and then the rolling and the actual MUSCLE EXERTION… I collapsed.  I gave in.  I bought frozen Pillsbury pie shells.  They weren’t bad at all, actually.  You just pop them into the oven for about 9 minutes to thaw, and they tasted good.  Not as good as my homemade crust, I will definitely say that with no qualms.  But for a tired, hardworking girl, they were fine.  (To be specific: they were just a little thinner than I liked, and broke apart easier.  That’s all.  I like lots of crust.  Thick crust.  I am a crust fan.)

Anyway, okay, I feel better with that off my chest.  So where was I? 

Yes, I beat the chocolate mixture until fluffy and then poured it into the pie shells.  (I doubled this recipe to make two pies.  One for my house, and one for my office.  Those dudes I work with are a bunch of lucky men, that’s all I’m saying.) 

After I smoothed the chocolate mixture out, I put both pies in the freezer to chill and harden while I made the whipped cream topping.  I simply beat the heavy cream and sugar together util soft peaks formed.  This took a couple of minutes, during which time the Leafs scored twice on the Penguins.  I restrained my anger in case the pies could sense it and become bitter. 

Then I pulled the pies out of the freezer and spread the whipped cream on top.  I was going to garnish it with chocolate syrup but we didn’t have any.  (Inexcusable, Mom, okay??) 

Then I decided that the all-white top looked pretty.  Kind of like the sweeping frozen tundra of the Arctic, which is where I wanted to exile all the Penguins players until someone learned how to score a goal.

I popped both pies back in the freezer and gave them a good hour to chill.  Mom and I devoured slices later while watching an X Files episode where Mulder and Scully bash the Cigarette-Smoking Man over the head with a folding chair.

Oh no, wait sorry, that’s just what I wanted them to do.  In reality, the CSM played them like the pawns that they were to him.  The chocolate cream pie was great though.  It had hardened enough that it was almost like chocolate and vanilla ice cream pie.  Just a little softer.  If you don’t want that, then I suggest just chilling the pie in your fridge, not the freezer. 

I love Fox Mulder.  And chocolate cream pies.  And the Penguins when they come back to win hockey games.

GUEST POST: Beating Dan at NHL12 Two Times!!

March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dan, a child who always yells because our parents got softer over the years, comes over after his classes every Tuesday or Wednesday. So I faced him in NHL12 one day.  I was not able to get a goal the whole game, but lucky me, neither was he. Overtime passed with no goals.

“Okay, Gen. Step it up in this shootout.” I told myself.  Playing Pete and winning sometimes against him in shootouts, I was prepared. I shot the puck over Dan’s goalie’s leg pad and it flew into the goal, the goal horn sounded, the red light went off, and his dignity and pride, for sure, flew out the window.

I jumped up, having won my first three period game in NHL12, I was excited. I have yet another thing to never let Dan forget.

Things to Never Let Dan Forget:

Number 1: Talked and talked about how good he was in NFL the video game, then Pete let him throw a pass, interception!!

Number 2: Losing to me in a shootout after being so certain he would win.

Dan, coming over, oh I don’t know, probably two days later, DEMANDED a rematch. Obviously those two days helped him recover pride, and gave him dignity to lose once again. So I said “Why not, I’ll just win again.” So we sat down for another rematch. I wouldn’t even say half a minute, I skated down the ice, GOAL!!!!!!! The whole thing was the same, I won! 🙂

Things to Never Let Dan Forget:

Number 1: Talked and talked about how good he was in NFL the video game, Pete let him throw a pass, interception!!

Number 2: Losing to me in a shootout after being so certain he would win.

Number 3: Lost another game, only the goal was made sooner.


Forth, And Fear No Darkness

March 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

My head hurts.  My heart aches.  My soul mourns.  I want to cry.  Yet below all the hurt and the anger and frustration and sorrow and the disappointment in those who are supposed to ensure the foundations of my country, all I keep hearing is Matthew 16:18. 

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

And so I take heart.

Where Am I?

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