cake lover?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

christmas 2006

to me, christmas just keeps getting better and better. perhaps it's that we're older now and don't care so much about presents and they are not so much our focus. or perhaps it's because mom has the routine of timing and cooking breakfast, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, and decadent tiramisu and peppermint cheesecake desserts to an exact science. or perhaps it's because the kids are now around to make the days that much more enjoyable. but mostly, i think it is because more and more i appreciate being around my family, relaxing, laughing, and reminiscing with them. sure everyone has their quirky (read: annoying) moments, but even that predictability can be endearing (sometimes).

just as we have our traditions (check out everyone in their christmas eve pjs), we also go with the flow and welcome new changes and additions. Extra special additions this year were grandma trani and aunt mj making the trip from skaneateles. they haven't spent christmas with us in years and they hadn't even met paigey yet! uncle mark was off hiking (wishfully skiing, but that didn't happen) in maine, so grandma lowell didn't have her normal chauffeur. she drove herself to us on early christmas eve, in the safety of daylight and spent the night in my old room. it was such a treat to have both grandmas in the house for both christmas eve and christmas night. so nice to go to bed and wake up with a full house (including the 5 pups!) not to mention that everyone in those beds had on brand new pjs -- even the grandmas. (poor mj -- guess santa didn't get the memo on her and only got her earmuffs. hmm... maybe try again next year mj!)

there's lots more somethingsomething about christmas 2006, just not enough time to write about it and sleep!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

yuletide cheer

ah the holidays! i decorated my charlie brown xmas tree tonight. eva and i bought our christmas trees from city market yesterday ($20 to benefit COTS -- not a bad bargain -- a tree and a good deed!). it's crooked, misshapen, and the branches are still kind of all bunched up against the trunk, but the weight of the ornaments and lights seems to be doing its job.

i have been feeling so adult lately -- not only do i own my own place, but i have an entire box full of christmas decorations! on good advice from jennie, i have purchased at least one ornament for myself each year since i started trying this whole adult thing. this year danielle and i bought each other a friendship, hungarian, blown out, hand-painted egg. i have also amassed ornaments from various students over the years, post holiday sales, and hand-me-downs. when mom replaced her tree topper with an elegant red velvet saint nick, i proudly inherited our old angel. and since g'ma t is a pro cross-stitcher, i happen to be one of the lucky 5 grandchildren who has her very own 12 days of christmas tree skirt.

traditions are my favorite part of christmas. the comforting warmth of routine exercised with such love just can't be beat. every year since i was wearing feet pajamas, we have been allowed to open one present on christmas eve. i love that i can always count on a new pair of flannel pjs on december 24th. (except for the year that dad forgot to label which presents were the pjs and i opened up a purple sweater, turtleneck, sock combo...)

years ago, mom started buying each of us a snowbaby that was themed around the events of our year. the year i took astronomy, i got an astronomer, the year jules joined hockey, she got a hockey player, the year i tried to take my kiribati dog home with me, i got a snowbaby and her dog. mom used to display all of our figurines together, but since we've left the nest, our snowbabies have had to separate. i wonder what i'll get this year...

though the meaning of christmas, or the yuletide, or the holidays, or whatever it is we must call it these days to remain pc, has morphed from what it originally was, what remains at its heart is people trying to be as good and as loving and as caring and as grateful as they can be. whether we show it with presents or traditions or donations or charity, i have to believe that like the lights of the christmas trees, we're all trying as best we can to shine our light onto others and to celebrate the beauty that is life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

i heart clouds

i love clouds. they are fluffy and white and i just wish i could grab them all up and hug them in like a warm soft down blanket.

that is why i took the opportunity this afternoon to cut myself a nice big piece of cloud. boy did i create an offasty stir! it just so happened that there was an office birthday with office cake, and as happens with offices, most people sit at their desks all day and don't exercise and are always dieting and claim that they are not eating said birthday cake even though they really want to. and then they beg everyone else to eat the cake so that it won't tempt them.

i hate dieting and i've never been one to deprive myself of anything. so i pay no attention to these abstainers, except for the part when they say "eat the cake," and i eat the cake.

just as much as i love clouds, i love cake. i also love frosting, especially frosting roses. remember when you were little and at a friend's birthday party and everyone whined as the cake was cut and pieces doled out: "can i have the rose?," "i want a rose," "i want the pink one," "i want the red one..." somehow it seemed to me like i never got a rose.

(side note: my dream cake is a circle cake with a single red rose in the middle, surrounded by orange roses, surrounded by yellow roses, surrounded by green, then blue, then purple roses, and the roses just keep going out and out in a larger circle, in rainbow order until the entire cake is covered in roses. that way everyone gets a rose! and i just know that someday my sister jennie, who is a master cake decorator, will make my dream cake come true.)

(and on another side note: an assignment i once had in elementary school was to think about what i would love a pool to be filled with instead of water. my first thought was spaghetti and meatballs. wouldn't that just be so cool to go diving in spaghetti? but my second thought was a pool full of m&ms. and dream cake #2 was born: a dog-legged pool cake filled with m&ms and also a diving board. jennie?)

but, the cake that i ate today was rainbows and clouds, a close to many of my favorite things. i gave in to the dieters' wishes, and i ate the cake. actually, i ate the center of the cake.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


i babysat for baxter and baby paige tonight while their parents had a rare night out. now, i don't know who in their right mind would have let me, or any other 13-year old, for that matter, babysit their child when i was 13 -- but that is indeed when i started babysitting. and i was scared out of my mind. i didn't know what to do with a baby! i was always worried that i was doing something wrong and that the parents would be very unhappy when they got home. many times i called my mother in a panic and she would come help stop a crying baby who had been crying for over an hour. those were the days.

but babysitting my niece and nephew is a different story. i suppose it helps that i am now 28, over two times older than i was when i first started babysitting. or possibly that i was in the delivery room when both of them came into this world and we share a special bond. but mainly it is that they are so damn fun.

these are some of the fun and silly things that were said and done tonight: skump instead of skunk over and over again until we were in a fit of giggles and until baxter finally got the "unk" right; playing peak-a-boo with baxter's feet and suzie's eyes; baxter saying in perfect english, "naya (danielle's dog) is getting old;" baxter telling us that his friend "f*ck" was coming to his party next weekend (not really sure what he was trying to say, but it sure sounded bad and also he was playing with a duck at the time...); baxter getting out of bed after i'd already turned off the lights and shut the door, playing with his bongo drum that lights up and makes music, and telling me that he was having a "dance party;" baxter farting and peeing in the tub; baxter seeing a mommy dog and a baby dog that looked quite like oliver (julie's dog) in his bedtime book and saying, "there's two olivers"...

the list goes on and on, but i have to remember that not everyone is as enthralled with kids or baxter as i am.

oh, and i guess the fun and silly things that were said and done, were mainly done by baxter. paigey is too little to be funny yet, but she is the sweetest niece i've ever had. she takes her bottle like a pro, bounces up a storm in her jumperoo, and falls asleep so peacefully in the crook of my arms. she's damn cute too.

they just make the world that much better.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

stolen yogurt

in which eva gabor, abbie hepburn, and suzanne monroe are duped by the one and only deb lesh!

great minds...

...think alike. eva posted her vlog about fire the same evening i posted mine. allow me to give her some props. (currently experiencing technical difficulties. stay tuned.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


i recently bought myself a condo -- hoorah! a very adult thing to do. i also recently broke up with my boyfriend -- boo! a very sad thing to do. the two are related, though not really, as you soon will see.

my new place has a lovely feature that sold me immediately -- a wood stove right in the middle, nicely sectioning off the dining room from the living room. it makes it so warm and homey, even when a fire isn't burning, and then when you add the smell of the wood fire, mmmm, how can you not imagine a hot cup of cocoa and curling up with a good book?

anyway, the problem is, i'm not so adept at building said warm, good-smelling, homey fire. in fact, i downright suck at it. some people are born pyro-wizzes; i somehow lack that gene (which i just know comes directly from my father).

so, i bring in help. person # 1: danielle, my sort of sister-in-law, helped me gather kindling today. we went to the patchen road dog park and did two loops around the trails. we gathered four armloads of kindling! got to get back there before it actually snows to stock up on some more. (plus it's great running and play time for ms. ella and her friends).

what i've been trying is this: i crumple up paper, i put kindling in, i get it going, and then i put the larger log on and i just suffocate it. ok, way to solve this problem: buy an axe and cut up larger log into smaller pieces that have rough edges. rough edges are key, apparently, to really get those flames ablazing.

person #2: derek, my brother-in-law (danielle's older brother, married to my older sister, jennie) comes over. being the good brother-in-law and teacher that he is, he does not show me how to do it, but he watches me do it and gives me pointers. everyone knows that the best way to learn is to do -- thanks D! but he did help using the axe (which is sharp & scary!). hooray!

warm, homey, comfy, good-smelling fire with flames warmed my new home as we (derek, danielle, baxter & i -- jennie was on-call and at the hospital) ate yummy broccoli mushroom pie. who doesn't love pie for dinner?

who doesn't love pie for dessert? as we were being entertained by baxter eating his chocolate banana cream pie (the kid had it all over his face and was sitting in the big boy chair, without his big boy booster seat, so his head just barely cleared the table. didn't stop him from shovelling it in though)... anyway, as we were eating, the fire alarm went off! beep beep beep. beep beep beep. beep beep beep. and baby paige was sleeping! luckily she went right on sleeping. unluckily, the fire alarm went right on beeping.

but there was no fire. no, it was smoke coming from the wax that had been candles that had been on top of my wood stove. bad move. very bad move.

we turned on fans, opened windows, opened doors, fanned the alarm (i accidentally whipped danielle with the towel), got on a chair and tried to stop the damn thing to no avail, took out the battery and it kept beeping! beep beep beep. beep beep beep. no quicker way than that to make your new neighbors hate ya -- "oh great, the new girl in #10 is using her wood stove..." all the while, paigey is still sleeping, and baxter openly admitted: "i scared. i scared. all done with pie." i mean, for that kid to turn away pie, it's got to be pretty scary. probably pretty scary too for him to see 3 of the adults in his life running around like crazy people.

finally finally, derek unwired the alarm from the electricity and the beeping stopped. though baxter had cutely picked it up down to the cadence and repeated: beep beep beep. beep beep beep.

crisis averted. smoke dissipated. derek and kids packed up to go. danielle stayed to continue writing her paper. and i was left to tend the fire. uh oh.

the fire had been blazing, but needed more wood! basically, all attempts to split the log were feeble and futile. the only thing i got was a knick on my knee from a rogue hammer edge and a cooling fire. however, i did discover something in my multiple whacks at the log -- while paul is no longer here to help me build a fire (which he and his manly self would have taken charge of immediately and i never would have had to worry about it), i can and will do this on my own. it might take awhile, but the whacks just make everything feel better, whether i'm imagining the log is a log or someone else...