Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oh So Vermischt - Banana-Applesauce Muffins

During my long and chaotic life, I have had a number of mortifying moments, but Friday's events took the cake.  Or the muffin, since that is the recipe I am hoping to share, at least before the weekend is up.

First, let me say that I have pretty much decided to use the cane most of the time.  Here's my logic:  using it on the really bad days goes without saying; on the not-so-bad days, I walk around normally, which is to say, often.  I am always getting up from my desk to get something, or to talk with my supervisor or my paralegal extraordinaire, or to walk the 2 blocks from my home to the courthouse entrance. So there is always impact, although in the real world, walking is considered low impact.  I love to walk. Apparently in my fibromyalgic nightmare world, it is enough to rattle my nerves and cause to me to have one or more bad days.  I figure if I use the cane most of the time, it will help to absorb some of that impact, and assist me to avoid some of those reactive bad days.  So I was using the cane all day Thursday in court and in the office.  As it turned out, good thing, because by midday, I was starting to hurt despite my best efforts.  The downside is that I look like a permanently handicapped person.  Well, maybe that's not all that far from the truth.  But it sets people to worrying about me.  I guess I hadn't realized just how much.

Second, I have not been able to summon the energy or the interest to make up my face in the morning.  Put that together with the fact that I am in some kind of chronic discomfort, and I can only describe my face as ghastly.  Clean, but ghastly.  Oh yes, and my weight hasn't been this low since my gastric bypass surgery, when it fell below my post-surgery goal weight and way below my Weight Watcher's goal weight.

To sum it all up, I look like a candidate for a casket-fitting, and with the omni-present brain fog, I act like one as well.  So, when I did not show up for an 8:30 hearing on Friday, did not call or email my supervisor and paralegal, did not answer my phone, or return any messages ...

... my husband comes running upstairs to tell me there is a policeman downstairs for me - something about missing court - and for one crazed moment I thought the judge had ordered I be taken into custody for missing a hearing I hadn't realized nor remembered that I'd had. (Turns out my mistake the day before was checking the stack of files rather than the printed docket, but I didn't know that at the time, and just ran down the hall muttering "I don't have a hearing this morning, I checked!")  That I could even think that I was being arrested gives you an idea about my state of mind these past few weeks.

However, the truth of the matter asserted therein, as we lawyers like to say, proving that there was at least one phrase we remembered from law school, was that because I had been feeling so noticeably awful lately, when I did not show up for court, someone called my poor, beleaguered supervisor, and, having run to court in my place, when she could not reach me, there was a concern something truly terrible had happened to me.  In other words, I wasn't being arrested.  The policeman, who was actually one of my regular court deputies, headed out to check on my well-being, since I hadn't had much of that lately.  This is the same court deputy who escorted me home about a year ago, after the judge granted my petition for termination of parental rights following a lengthy, contentious trial, and the parents were somewhat upset with me.  I told you I worked with nice people, and for that reason alone, I am sorry my deputy had to see me in a robe, hair uncombed (who combs their hair when they are being arrested), and lacking certain foundation garments as well as my dentures.  My most profuse apologies to a fine gentleman, who probably ran out during his lunch hour to buy some brain bleach, or perhaps mental floss.  Yeah, it was that bad.

Thinking everything was back in some kind of order, I headed upstairs to get dressed, left a phone message and an email for my supervisor, and started to pull myself together ...

... when I hear Maria, Robert's long-time assistant, calling me, to tell me that DCF was on Robert's office phone.  So I ran back down the hall, this time muttering "what does DCF want, I don't have any minor children", forgetting for one crazy second that I work for DCF.  Fortunately, it was not one of the protective investigators, but rather it was my paralegal extraordinaire, doing the same thing the deputy had been doing. Apparently my inexplicable absence scared the bejesus out of everyone, (there was that time I was passed out in the car) and when I did not respond to my cellphone as expected (as I look at it now, it seems I missed six different phone calls from four different numbers.  Never heard them, and did not see them until it was too late to stem the tide of panic) she called my other paralegal extraordinaire, who is home recovering from surgery, for the number to Robert's office.

Can a person feel gratified and mortified at the same time?  The answer to that is a big, fat, honking yes.

I managed to get into work for all of 2.5 hours, because there were things I had to do, besides assuring my coworkers I was neither dead nor lying in a ditch somewhere out in Yeehaw Junction.  I had to get into the office to sign a stack of files the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and I had to get to court for the 2:00 hearing I did know about. And then, because the day hadn't been weird enough, ouch, I got hit right across the back when the hatch back door of the Expedition fell on me as I was reaching for files.

So, as I told the only other MOT lawyer (this ain't New York, you know) during my 15 minutes in court (at which time the judge ordered me to go home and rest, which was nice to hear since just that morning I thought she was having me arrested) I was completely vermischt.  In fact, I added, I was on my way to verblunget.  Since we have a trial together on Monday morning, the poor man now has something else to worry about.

Despite my jocular writing style (too much watching Mel Brooks) none of this was really funny, and it all points to the bitter fact that I am going to have to make some tough decisions in the near future.  But not today. Today I am doing nothing more complicated than washing dishes, bathing dogs, and baking banana-applesauce muffins.

So far ... two out of three ain't bad.  The dogs still smell like dogs.

Banana-Applesauce Muffins

2 large, very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup Musselman's chunky applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
good pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Set up a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  Break the bananas into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, then mash them with a fork.  There should be just about one cup.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Add enough applesauce to make 2 cups, then transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the oil, beaten eggs and sugar to the bowl and with a wooden spoon, mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir till combined.  Do not over-mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each one to the top. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.  Move to a cooling rack and after 10 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan, and place them on a rack to cool completely.  These are wonderful.

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