Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bright Spots

I met quite a lot of resistance to painting this cabinet. A person who thinks he knows better about everything was more than a little squeamish about it. "Paint it?" he shrieked. "Paint it what?" He did NOT want me to paint this cabinet. In fact, I thought he might become physically ill at the prospect.

First of all, it is my cabinet. It cost $25, bargain basement thrift store clearance. Had it been an ugly mutt in a back water dog pound, this cabinet woulda been a goner, for sure. Picture it, maple. Plain, sad, forgettable. To say it "needed a little lipstick" didn't begin to cover it. How bad could it be? How big a mistake can one make with paint?
"So you're going to paint it white?" he queried, hopefully. His voice rose a little on the last syllable, as if he were championing the ugly dog cabinet.
"Yeah, sure... white," I shrugged. Fact of it is, I am a lousy liar and not even a little bit cool. I had all the colors and patterns and designs picked out in my head and I couldn't wait, read COULD NOT WAIT, to get it all painted and purtied. I wanted to reveal this finished wild child cabinet with dramatic flair that maybe included silk drapes and a drum roll. Containing my glee was impossible. I physically did a happy dance when I brought in Mr. Keep-It-Maple Nay-sayer to see the transformation.
It ain't Plain Jane Maple any more. I LOVE this cabinet. And Mr. What-Are-You-Thinking loves it too. His face breaks into a big happy grin each time he sees it.
I won't insult anyone's intelligence by pointing out the obvious lessons here, other than to oh-so-subtley say, "OMG, again I am right."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Fake Cake -- Recipe of the Day

Um... YUM!!! The Fake Cake, frankly, was fabulous. Even if she was only being polite, my darling daughter-in-law, sent to me by God, repeatedly remarked that it was delicious. And because I don't know any better, I think so too. It is a plain old box mix spice cake... add chopped up dried apples and walnut pieces. (Please don't ask how much or how many as I never measure anything -- my best guesstimate is a handful, or maybe a little more -- always a little more.) These wee little rectangle cakes are a bit bigger than a cupcake. My little pan makes eight. You know how a pan is oiled and floured so the batter doesn't stick, but the flour leaves a white residue on the cake. I prevented that by mixing cinnamon with the flour. No white residue.
When the little cakes were cooled I sliced them in half, glazed the lower half with apple jelly topped with vanilla pudding (out of a Jello pudding cup, truly) the top half was replaced and iced on the top only with cream cheese icing. It made the dearest little cakes -- one box recipe made twelve. Easy and delicious.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Busy Busy Bunny

Looks like I won't be languishing in my cozy wicker chair, noshing on tea cakes or reading mindlessly into the night anytime soon. This is shaping up into one of those "Run Hither, Run Thither" kind of weeks. Two days ago I had scheduled little more than a couple of Art Parties, then a couple of phone calls later and I am scrambling to catch my breath.

What is it they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person. Tag, I'm it this week. And actually it seems I do get more accomplished when more is expected of me. I'm the Art Lady, The Cleaning Lady, the Chief Baker and Bottle Washer this week. And because I didn't have enough to do, I invited my son and daughter-in-law this evening for dessert -- they are coming to pick-up a little something for LeBebe. I should be ashamed to say that I am serving to my daughter-in-law, the pastry chef, a boxed mix cake -- but I am not. If we could all whip up fabulous cakes from scratch she would be out of a profession.
In addition, because I haven't nearly enough to do I've ordered the most FABulous tactile silk plaid for LeBebe's basinette. I've been eyeing this fabric for weeks, but the sale goes off tomorrow. And I want that fabric. I've lost out often enough by waiting too long, dragging my feet, hemming and hawing.... I know what a hem is, but what exactly does a haw look like? And how do I know when I'm doing it? So, I have ordered the fabric and it is winging it's way to my nimble fingers now.
So, I have Art projects to prepare and cake to bake... I'm at least going to make the fake cake look good... Better get cracking. I'll let you know how it turns out -- even if it's bad. Bad cake can make a nice picture or a funny picture. Did anyone ever die from bad cake? Come to think of it, as a family we still chuckle over a coffee "ground" cake one of our members made some forty years ago, though we don't yet speak of it.
And I am off, late, for a very important date.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Early to Rise

I am an 8 hour girl, usually. I require 8 hours of sleep, period. It is possible to awaken me as much as an hour or so early, but there isn't much point. My eyes might be open, my legs might walk around, but the brain won't fully engage till 8 hours after I went to sleep. Don't bother with coffee, don't ask any hard questions, just hold on... and think about why you woke me so blessed early. Except sometimes when, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I awaken early. My eyes pop open and there I am, in the dark of night, wide awake with fingers itchy to get ahold of something in my workroom. This is what happened yesterday.
I have been cleaning up a baby picture of Adrian's dad, my ex-husband, Larry. It is an especially sweet baby picture. The baby in it bares no trace of having grown up to be, well, how to put this ... what one expects an ex-husband to be -- grouchy, demanding, ogreish... someone less than charming. But the baby Larry is entirely charming. He has sparkling eyes and an engaging grin. He has a shared-secret kind of face, it's a face that seems to be saying, "I know where the cookie jar is -- c'mon, I'll show you."
Then, next thing you know, you are married to this person who thinks his job in life is to keep you under his thumb, make blustering, crashing noises and to say, "No, no, no," all the time like a big no-fun, crabby, bratty baby. So of course I love the picture of charming baby Larry. It captured that split second in time when Larry was as adorable as he would ever be. Not to mention that a picture is absolutely silent. There is a lot to be said for silence.
There is also a lot to be said for that split second in time when all is right with the world and it is ripe with sweet possibilities. I look at that picture and believe Larry had, at least once upon a time, the capacity to be happy, to be charming, to be everything one might hope him to be, before poof, it was gone. I look at that picture and am charmed all over again. That was the boy who became the man who asked me to dance, who tried to teach me to ski and to drive a stick, none of which turned out well. But he tried and I tried and you have to wonder who got in the way, who throttled the happy baby out of him... Was it an aggressive parent thumping him on the head day after day what did it? Was it me? Or did he look around and somehow jump to the wrong conclusion, the conclusion that being surly and punitive and disengaged was the way to go. Did he fight to hang on... or did he just give it away?
And isn't it true of all of us too... whatever happens to us, whether we are buffeted this way or that, it is our job to protect ourselves, it is for us to define who we are. How we see ourselves, how we interact with the world, is in part the measure of our success. Who we are is everything. Whether we did or didn't let the bastards get us down.
And so, yesterday morning, when my eyes popped open early and I was filled with itchy energy and an image of a happy baby with which to do something, I came up with this sweet collage boy. He is emerging into the world, becoming who he would become. He isn't quite finished yet. He needs keys to the kingdom... however tarnished.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thanks for Shoving Me

This is a special Thanks to Francie, whom I have never met -- Thanks for Shoving me into this Blog Thing. You may have created a monster -- you simply don't know. However, the thing needed doing, so here it is. Done. What do I intend to do with my new little blog -- vent, rage, wail, design, knit-pick... same things I do in real life. And we can all thank Francie. Thanks Francie. Tra-la...