Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If ugly crying were an Olympic sport, I'd lose, then win

Joannie Rochette.

This morning just seeing her name can bring tears to my eyes.  But nothing like last night.  (Joannie is the young Canadian figure skater whose 55 year-old mother had a heart attack and died three days ago at the Olympics.)

So last night Joannie skated her short program.  And I watched it and just had to keep taking deep breaths to avoid a flood of tears.  How this girl mustered the composure to skate was beyond me.  And I'm one of those people who can cry on command while viewing any emotionally charged sporting event, especially when there's heartbreak involved.  So I knew watching Joannie's performance would be a challenge.
Dwayne was watching, too, only he also picked up my Weight Watchers magazine.  I think he was desperate for anything to avert his attention from Joannie's skating…I’m just guessing since he’s never read WW mag before in his life.
So I made it all the way through her intro and the shots of her father in the stands and all the way through every stuck landing and I was still taking deep breaths because I knew that I was going to cry if she fell or if she didn’t fall: either way I was a timebomb.
And then I start noticing the crowd…I knew there was not a dry eye in that whole place and I could just imagine being there watching her and how I’d be out of control.  More deep breaths...
So then she takes her final bow and I’m like screw it and I bawled nearly to the point of the ugly cry and by the way Dwayne’s asking me FROM BEHIND THE PAGES OF WW MAG “how’s she doing?” because I know him and if he takes one look at her he is toast.  And I’m like “she’s…doing…fine…” and I'm still trying not to ugly cry.  So then I think I’m okay and she’s leaving the ice and I think I'm ugly-crying-home-free, and then...then I hear Scotty Hamilton’s voice crack.  And I just give up and let the ugly cry take over our living room.  Then she got her wonderful score and I finished up the cry and got it together.
And then Dwayne still holding WW magazine:  "How exactly do you say chamomile?"
It was a touching moment...

Monday, February 22, 2010


His favorite puppy.
His favorite pajamas.
His favorite person taking photo (Daddy).

My favorite way to start Monday.

Word verification for comments

Now don't freak out, but I had to turn on "word verification" for my comments.  Seems some spammers have discovered me and think I need some unsolicited junk mail on my blog.  I had to turn it on in order to keep the trash from from piling up.

So now you'll have to type in some gobbledygook word in order to post a comment here.

But I know that won't keep you from commenting, right?  Right?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And they say Catholic services aren't entertaining

Things you really don't expect to hear at Ash Wednesday Mass:

-- Whispered while walking up with me to Communion: "Mom, I really want to tell the priest I can jump rope."

-- While receiving a blessing from the priest at Communion: "Ouch!" And from the priest after accidentally knocking him in the head with that holds all the hosts: "ooohh, sorry little guy!"

-- "Can you see my ash? Can you see my ash?" Only "ash" didn't quite sound like that.

-- Shot out of the end of the pew as the closing procession goes by "Did you know I can jump rope?"

-- And last but not least "what's up, priest?!" Across the sidewalk in the general vicinity of the priest. And it was NOT whispered.

I should also say: this was a church we don't normally attend, so Cooper (THAT'S HIS NAME, NOT ALEX!) didn't know the priest's name.

And thankfully I think the priest doesn't know ours either.

Six. For real.

Today's Mickey's birthday. I think it's a perfect time to let you know that Mickey's not his real name.

It's Carson. And I want the world to know it.

I'm tired of using Mickey and dang it I like the name we've given him so I'm using it now.


See? We're all okay. And Carson is six years old today.

In honor, here are six things you may not know about him:

1. He came into this world by emergency c-section. My entire pregnancy was uneventful until then. I would say something snarky like "we should have recognized this sign that this kid would never cooperate..." but that wouldn't make any sense. Really. The kid cooperates. Except...

2. When I was transitioning him to his big boy bed, I once locked him in his room to keep him from coming out. I know. I hope he never reads this.

3. He's told me he never wants to move out of our house.

4. He says "Star Hors" for Star Wars. I can't bring myself to correct him (I don't say it that way, FYI). He did grow out of saying " 'swich " for sandwich. I was sad that day.

5. In the past week or so his library selections have included two books entirely about the color pink. And I've read them both to him.

6. I have never been so sad to see another year with him disappear, or so happy to embark on another one.

I know it's cliche, but I truly do cherish every day I get to be his mom. I just hope he always knows that. Feels it. And never forgets it as long as he lives.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fon-don't. Ever.

I admit it: I'm a Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes addict. I watch both Buddy and Duff create cakes with finesse and ease and the end product is always breathtaking. (Although I'm starting to prefer Duff's show over Buddy's, simply because I think his cakes are more creative and also he and his fellow bakers don't yell curse words at each other.)

These two guys are always using fondant. (Fondant is basically sugar and water and maybe one other simple ingredient, and it looks and feels like Play-Doh.) They roll it, shape it, cut it and it comes out looking perfect every time. I've watched them and a host of YouTube videos that show people rolling and shaping it with ease.

Why couldn't I achieve a simple fondant cake in my own kitchen?

So I set about to find the right brand, first of all. I'd heard the kind you get at craft stores doesn't taste good, so I sought out Satin Ice fondant at a bakery supply store. I was set.

I thought I'd start small, with cupcakes. I had a wonderful fondant/cupcake experience with my nieces last year...I figured I was home free this time.

So for Friday night's Olympic Kickoff Party at our house, I opened the tub of white fondant and prepared to create. My little plan was to do just five cupcakes in fondant and the rest in buttercream icing, just so I could practice rolling and handling the fondant for Mickey's 10-inch square birthday cake the next day. Two layers.

I rolled out five white circles, cut them and fastened them with buttercream to my cupcakes. Beautiful.

Then I had to color pieces of fondant for the Olympic rings I wanted to cut out and attach to the top of each one. Olympic rings, in case you live under a rock, are blue, black, red, yellow, and green.

And at the end of coloring little balls of fondant each color, so were my hands.

And my fingernails. And all the dead skin around my cuticles.

For three days now my hands have looked somewhat diseased.

But I had my colored fondant, by golly. And I cut the little rings out and displayed my Olympic cupcakes next to the buttercreams and it was cool. And our party guests thought they were cool, too.

But apparently not cool enough to actually eat.

They ate the buttercream ones, though.

So I could have saved myself the trouble and bought the cheap, easily-accessible fondant.

Pictures, you ask?

Didn't even take any. I guess I was mad at the cupcakes because no one ate one. They sat on my counter for 48 hours before I slid all five of them, sorta rock solid at that point, into the trashcan.

I think I totally satisfied my fondant urge with five cupcakes.

So then I'm staring at a tub of chocolate-flavored fondant (five pounds of it) that is supposed to be lovingly nestled around Mickey's birthday cake the very next day. The birthday cake that he and his friends would be served.

And I thought about how much work I'd likely put into that cake. And how I'd slave to decorate it just so. And stress about the cracks and crookedness of the large piece of fondant.

And I thought about how Mickey and his friends would prefer little clouds of buttercream icing.

So that's what I served.

And I decorated those babies in under three minutes.

And that chocolate buttercream was the kind that melts in your mouth and then you taste it and you don't even really care about the cupcake underneath it. It's that good.

So the five-pound tub of fondant is now making a nice doorstop. Or I guess I could sleep with it on my nightstand when Pete's out of town; if slung properly I believe it would put a burglar out cold.

The good thing about the stuff is that it keeps for many months. So if I get the urge to serve a cake that no one will eat, I'll be prepared.

In the meantime, I believe I'll stick with the tried and true, and leave the fancy stuff up to Duff and Buddy.

P.S. That yellow rose, the one that looks woefully out of place? That came in a package of six and apparently spoke to Mickey in the grocery store. How could I say no?