Monday, February 28, 2011

And I Should Open a Bakery?

We finally got around to officially celebrating T. Bone's 10th birthday over the weekend at a local gym. It was probably the most go with the flow, no fuss party I've ever planned. I didn't even feel like I was planning a party. Well, that was until Friday night when I had royal icing here, there and everywhere.

I had icing in my hair, on the floor, on the chair and on the door.
It was on my cat, a bit on the cookies, in my hat...what can I say I was behaving like a total rookie.
My fingers were stained orange and then black.
I'm still wondering when oh when I'll get my cuticles back.
To my rescue came my brother and his wife.
They came bearing chilled cocktails and willing each to brandish a knife.
Together we outlined, flooded, and decorated turning boring circles into basketballs to be celebrated.
When my mixer conked out whipping butter cream, it is time for another cocktail I was only too happy to scream.
It's not meant to be, oh no it is not...this cake business is no and that dough boy...we've got to talk.
What else was this baker to think?
So I poured another drink, abandoned the dirty dishes in the sink, and slowly made my way back from the brink.
Tomorrow's another day...isn't that what they say?
Not to worry. The next morning I was up with the sun.
Up bright and early to get the job done.
My hubby the fixer was able to work his magic on my mixer.
A cup of strong coffee the morning's elixir.
No cake went unfrosted or cookie forsaken...
all the treats were packaged up ready by the friends to be taken.
Seriously, I never want to see them again!
I promise not to ever grumble or groan...
or make jokes about needing a six figure loan when the girl at the bakery tells me the price.
I'll pay that three dollar per cookie fee with glee,
If only someone else will make them for me!

The boys had a blast playing hoops and dodging balls...
There were sweaty smiles on and all.
Pizza pies disappeared quickly before my very eyes.
To my ears, two hours have never lasted so #@*! long.
Let me tell you...the noise that assailed them did not come from sweet song.
But at the end of the party I was glad they had such fun...
And even more over the moon that I only have one!

( I fear my 10 year old T. Bone wished for a birthday party again next year!)
It was back to the kitchen after the hooping and hollerin' for we had another cake to bake as the very next day more guests would come calling.
If my Step-Mom has a say, a nutty German Chocolate number is her choice flavor of the day.
Never mind that I only knew the name...
I found myself a recipe and stepped up my game.
It didn't go as planned and sadly it appeared as if my recipe would be panned.
Then I baked another layer and said an urgent prayer.
Please God be good and let this cake turn out the way it should!
Not a single guest knew that my three layer cake was supposed to be four!
I call that divine intervention and the power of noble intention.
We ate and talked and sang as we rang in a new decade for someone dear to our hearts.
I'm hanging up my apron this week...
And I call that smarts!

Happy Birthday Grandma J., Aunt A., T. Bone and Dr. Suess!!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Jazz hands.
My girl wants to sign up for the next session of dance. She came home from class this week. plopped in her cd and danced up a sweat.

A boy, his cat and his guitar.

Bread made from fresh sprouted wheat.
I have yet to beat my hubby at Scrabble, but I'm not about to stop trying. Qat that!
My mixer survived my first, and maybe last, attempt at fondant. It's better tasting than store bought, but it has an unpleasant aftertaste and is tons and tons of work.
Amazing Race returns.
A weekend alone with my man.
Time to work on birthday books this week. I'm almost caught up. I spent some time the other night reading through Miss Bit's with her and she just loved hearing all the anecdotes, all the funny things she used to say. We both were reduced to tears when I read her what her Nanny wrote her on her second birthday. What a gift it is to have her own loving words in her own handwriting. It was like hearing her voice. She was in disbelief when we read what T. Bone wrote at her third birthday: "Miss Bit you are the best sister in the whole world." She questioned, "He really said that? I don't believe it!"
My boy's lexicon is growing. His new word...beast. It's the rad of my generation.
The fact that I'm uncertain as to whether my kids or their grandparents had more fun together last weekend.
The possum and the raccoon came together for dinner the other night.
My generous girl. She wanted to give me $20 from her piggy bank for my massage last week. Then she tried to give her Dad money for lunch and pay him for the mug of hot cocoa he made her too.
Being spoiled by another heavenly massage this week.
Williams Sonoma and a new pan in which to make much loved chocolate madeleines.
Dutch cocoa.
Pretty new mugs for my tea.
Games of Yahtzee with my girl this week.
Minestrone topped with fresh Parmesan.
A birthday weekend. Finally having T. Bone's 10th birthday celebration, my sil's and step-mom's too.
More snow in our weekend forecast.

Monday, February 21, 2011

my monday

t. bone and miss bit are off to school. t. bone wasn't overly enthusiastic. i think he was dreaming of a snow day (especially since he completely spaced today's math test until 10 minutes before school), and quick to find the inequity in the fact that many of his friends have off for today's holiday. so much of life is unfair when you are a tween. miss bit was mostly happy to go to school to "learn and grow her brain." i'm convinced that all six year olds own several sets of rose colored glasses and don them daily.

it's snowing again or maybe still. the animals are holed up under boughs and branches, and have yet to visit the critter buffet for breakfast. the pines look like they were flocked overnight and the ashes, aspens and oaks are heavy with the weight of the accumulating snow. the streets are a mess so i plan to stay put today. i have numerous half finished projects crowding my dining room table calling my name.

the truth is that i am happy to be alone today. the heaviness in my heart is a beating metaphor for the snow laden branches skirting my yard. today i'm rife with rue because it was a tradition to spend this holiday with my mom every year. a late winter monday off to enjoy the day the two of us together. so since i cannot join her for a leisurely lunch, it seems fitting that i spend the day by myself, alone with my grief and in solidarity with my sadness. it's true what they say: you never know when you'll miss a loved one lost most. stealth and sly, sadness has a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect it.

today's salve will come from things like hot tea, quiet spaces and the smiles of the ones i love most.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowed In

I couldn't be happier. It's snowing and our world is once again wonderful white. I know I'm in the minority and that most of my neighbors are probably cursing or dreaming of warmer weather that is not likely here yet for some time. Snowy Sundays say slow down...just be...and I'm good with that.

Miss Bit is curled up on the couch with Peanut watching a movie. They missed each other. She's got krazy kaleidoscope eyes. Too much fun and too little sleep at Grandma and Grandpa's. It came as no surprise that one night turned into two, and T. Bone was even hinting that he'd like to go back next weekend. Hmmm...homemade pizzas one night and dinner at his favorite wing place the next and bowling and a movie date and building jumps for his snow board...of course he does.

I enjoyed plenty of quality time alone with my man whilst the littles were being spoiled sweet. We went out for dinner and a movie. It is not known to us exactly what happened in Unknown. We both fell asleep. Yea it wasn't too titillating and it started at 9:50, which is darn close to our bedtime most nights. Yesterday was a lazy day, although we didn't really get to sleep in as if I even could anymore. The first of T. Bone's friends called at 8:59 a.m. looking for him. Hubby made delicious veggie omelettes for brunch and we enjoyed a walk. I made fondant for the first time and tried new royal icing and sugar cookie recipes in preparation for T. Bone's birthday party treats for next weekend. It's official: I am baked out, and that rarely happens. Last night we made our favorite chicken Marsala served with a side of roasted asparagus, listened to loud music and played Scrabble. Hubby won, but it was very close and now I'm waiting for my boys to get home from T. Bone's basketball game so I can challenge him to a rematch. After I win, I'm going to chop everything up for tonight's dinner, spicy Szechuan noodles, and hubby will play wok man. I'm soaking up all of the goodness of these days.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Both of my man's sweet gestures this week. Two books by one of my favorite authors...Erdrich novels I have not yet read despite the fact that I've been reading her since college. And second row center seats to see my beloved Rickie come belt out her first two albums this summer.

This quote from Erdrich's Shadow Tag...
Infatuation, sudden attraction, is partly a fever of surfaces, an absence of knowledge. Enduring love comes when we love most of what we learn about the other person and can tolerate the faults they cannot change.

Heart shaped pizzas.

Another massage. More relaxing than penetrating this week.

Late start days this week. Slow starts to the day are always a welcome respite.

T. Bone and Miss Bit are slated for a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's tonight. Me and hubby get a night out. Everyone's happy.

A friend sharing a long ago saved voicemail from my Mom this week. It was sooooo great to hear her voice and remember her sass and spirit.

Promise keeping politicians and
the fact that the teachers in my children's school chose to come to work this week. Many in our state threw their students under the bus so to speak.

A secret valentine from a friend waiting outside my door Monday tickled me pink.

Festive sugar sprinkles.

The sweet look of surprise upon these actor's animated faces.

Before bling...


These two for escorting Miss Bit and I during our dinner out last weekend.

The love I have for my littles.

A long holiday weekend.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out!

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's hoping your day is filled with love and dark chocolate!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Skating into the gloaming two ethereal evenings in a row. Saturday we were statutes trapped in a snow globe. Big fat fluffy flakes danced all around us as we skated figure 8s and scored goals. I’m in awe of my boy’s fancy footwork on the ice. He cruises along the slick surface with complete confidence and chutzpah.

Gussying my girl up for a spontaneous invitation to a sock hop. All pretty in piggy tails and poufy, pink poodle skirts primed for a party.

An impromptu end of week gathering with my brother and sil during which we engaged in heated debate over the week’s events in Egypt and other relevant and not so relevant issues.

Attending Miss Bit’s little performance Saturday morning and finding that she was the big star of the small show. I could see that she was nervous, yet she told her jokes with confidence, sang and danced with feeling and delivered her lines clearly. T. Bone congratulated his little sister as they embraced after the show. With one arm around his waist, she looked up at him beaming and said, “You’re getting so big T. Bone.” She's so eager to share the spotlight.

We stopped at the mall on the way home so Miss Bit could get her ears pierced. She almost didn’t because she was absolutely terrified when she saw the needle. Let’s just say that our little damsel has mastered the art of drama. She now admits that she’s happy she went through with it and also that she’s not sure she would do it again. In 6 weeks, Miss Bit will have her pick of pink dolphins or purple dolphins or rainbow unicorns or chubby cheeked bunnies or fawn colored felines. Her own astute observation: “It’s a whole new world with earrings!” Ah…yes, a world of high fashion.

Dinner around the hibachi grill. T. Bone and Miss Bit both tried and even enjoyed new tastes. They weren’t sold on the shrimp, but they did like the fried rice. When the chef sailed a zucchini straight into T. Bone’s mouth, he ate it up. Dessert was a Wii bowling tournament.

A date to window shop our way through the public market whilst the littles were at Sunday school....spices and seafood and sweets and steaming coffee.

A brisk walk through the neighborhood in the quiet of a snowy afternoon.

Cheering T. Bone on during his basketball game from the stands. Miss Bit squealed every time he made a basket…and he made many…most. She was proud to tell whomever would listen that #6 is her brother…oh, and that she got her ears pierced the day before.

Hunkering down at the heart of the house…the kitchen table…to help Miss Bit with the rest of her Valentines and to help T. Bone complete a social studies project. The order in which a 6 year old fancies her cards is so very telling. Each classmate received two silly bands in his or her envelope, and those selections were illuminating too. Both kids worked hard and long and felt pride in their impressive creations.

The kitchen floor was (and still is) a sea of hot pink sprinkles and red jimmies and pearly nonpareils, and yet some candies even made it atop the heart shaped cookies my master decorator…My Bit…festooned.

So much time to read that Shadow Tag is almost a figment of my imagination already. To think the pressing question now is what to read next? I love just that kind of dilemma.

No computers. No Call of Duty. Next to no television.

Time together to talk, share and play, create and celebrate.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

This salad: greens, roasted almonds, blue cheese, and tart apple all dressed with my homemade Dijon vinaigrette. I was reminded of this delicious combination at my friend S.'s last weekend and I cannot get enough of it since.
A girl's night in last weekend...bountiful vino and conversation for the ladies and endless fondue and fun for the girlies.
Another deep tissue massage with Auriel this week. This session she took care of my anterior...specifically my shoulders, collar bone and neck. What a difference her work has made for my posture.
Watching Miss Bit during the final stretch at Jazzercize this week. She was dramatically feeling the movements and the music.
My man is the Craig's List king. This week he sold his car!
This quote this week: Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be any different (Oprah).
Scoring Louise Erdrich's latest novel at the library this week.
Family date night tomorrow. Plans to go ice skating and then out to the local hibachi grill for dinner.
The look on my T. Bone's and Miss Bit's faces when I served them fresh berry short cake for breakfast yesterday. Surely it's healthier than donuts!
A dark chocolate carmel topped with sea salt and my friend for sharing one with me. It was worth going a whole week without chocolate for the indulgence.
The way Little Red waits on the patio for his breakfast every morning.
The question game during last night's dinner: If you could spend a month on an island with only 2 people, who would you bring? Nanny made Miss Bit's list. Uncle B. Bone made T. Bone's.
Making valentine's with my girl.

Team huddles.

Time outs.

Running plays.

Blinding snow squalls.

Throw downs.

Time together.


Touch downs.

Fires to warm up beside.

Football fans.

Peace, pink, pillow puppies and Packer parties.

A weekend mostly free and clear.