Sunday, April 20, 2014

All Grown Up

You'll either read this and think I've given up or know that I've grown up. I know which is correct. It's that I've grown. The proof is in the bunny cake.


That's a cute cake, yes. My mother-in-law gave me that cake pan as a gift, and it's still one of my favorite holiday desserts to make. I've baked it and decorated it several different ways over the years, but 2009 was the first year that I was ambitious enough to tackle the decorative icing above. It took a very long time. I got all angry about it, too. No one was allowed in the kitchen and that was A-okay with them because no one wanted to be in the kitchen with me and that bunny. Of course, when I wrote about it in April 2009 I didn't mention any of that. No. I just wanted the validation through comments. Got it! Then I lied in my own comment by saying it wasn't hard to do. That's before I was living an honest life, I guess.

Well, let's forget all about that because this year's cake-making sessions were a thousand times better. Elizabeth and I baked the cake together yesterday. She made a few errors but nothing that couldn't be fixed, and I realize now that perfection is impossible as well as overrated so mistakes are nothing to get upset over. Instead, we laughed when flour flew around our heads after she didn't hear me say, "Turn it on low." Then today she kept dropping things while we were making the icing. No matter. We wiped it up and carried on.

Right after we assembled the cake, I  had the sudden urge to hold it up as though it were Simba and chant, "Pennsylvania," because I don't know the real African words that are the start of "The Lion King." She thought that was hilarious so I did it again while she held the camera.


After we stopped laughing, we started on the bunny's basket. We added cocoa to some of the icing to make it darker (and taste like chocolate, obviously), and I began piping out a basket weave pattern. Only this time it wasn't working, neither of us could figure it out, and I didn't think we had time to look it up and do it before Gigi arrived. So without warning Elizabeth, I took a spatula and flattened out what I had just piped on the cake. Out of the corner of my eye I could tell she was stunned and thought I was angry. (Because, you know, that's what usually happens during this kind of thing.) So I quickly said, "Why don't we just have fun?" She smiled really big when I said, "You do the basket and I'll do the bunny." We each took a spatula and started spreading icing.


We smiled and laughed through the ten-minute process. She added some jellybeans and M&Ms as embellishments and was really proud of our work. I was proud, too. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that cake and the experience and that girl are all beautiful things.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Awwwwww

That was the word of the day yesterday.

The kids and I went to see Disneynature's "Bears." I had high expectations and they were met; we all loved it. I was touched by the heartwarming story of a year in the life of a mama bear and her two cubs, while my kids were captivated by the playful and sometimes impish cubs. At one point, Matthew was giggling so hard that I realized I was enjoying his reaction more than the antics of the cub on the screen. Practically everything Disney does is perfection so it shouldn't surprise that this film is enjoyable and educational. It makes kids want to cuddle their teddy bears and parents want to visit Alaska. It also encouraged me to clutch my cubs like a mama bear as we exited the theater and made our journey to the car. 

Mom are moms in any species.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Most Eggcellent

I don't have to write about how much fun the kids and I had dyeing eggs this morning because a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are twenty-four thousand. Good Friday to you!


























Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Special Day

Oh my gosh. I wrote a thoughtful and lengthy post about my birthday today. Then my pinky hit a key and it all disappeared. I don't use the laptop often and that must be the reason why. Oh bother. Well, writing it all out did me a lot of good. Sorry you don't get to hear it, though, because I'm too tired to be eloquent again.

I'll just let you know that today was one of the best birthdays ever. What some might view as a rather uneventful birthday, I see as a bunch of little things adding up to me feeling very loved and appreciated by my friends and family. My good friend stopped by early this morning with Starbucks coffee and gifts, more gifts were left at my door, and I received invitations to lunch and dinner this weekend. I got emails, texts, Facebook messages, and calls from everyone from my parents to my college roommates to pals from high school. I'm not the kind of person who seeks attention, but I have to admit it is nice to be thought of. Thank you to all of you who wished me happy birthday in one way or another. You mean a lot to me and I'm grateful I mean something to you.

Happy Birthday to me! Thirty-eight is looking good so far.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who Am I?

Are you taking these online personality quizzes like the rest of us? I admit that I do. I don't share my results, though I'm glad others do so that I can take more quizzes. It's hard to resist sometimes. After answering five to ten questions, I'll gain insight into who I am. It's so much cheaper and more convenient than going to a therapist! Who can pass it up? The questions are so easy (there are pictures!), all the topics are lighthearted, it takes less than a minute, and the results point out only positive traits. It's just for fun and is a simple way to entertain yourself while the kids do homework or your husband watches something you are not interested in at all.

Of course, some quizzes are better than others, and I like my results to some better than others. Yes, I would like to know which classic rock band I am, but I can live without knowing which fairy creature fits me best. Here's a rundown of some of my results even though they mean nothing without the descriptions. But let's face it; they mean nothing at all anyway.

Classic Rock Band: The Beatles (I was absurdly proud of this, by the by.)
Aura: orange
Alcoholic Drink: ice cold beer 
Disney Princess: Belle
Job I Should Have: stay-at-home-mom
Broadway Musical: The Lion King
Pop Star: Justin Timberlake (though my kids would probably disagree after my impromptu lip sync performance of "Not a Bad Thing" at breakfast this morning)
Pink Lady:  Sandy
City Where I Should Live: Portland
College Major: Biology (Ew! Gross! No.)

So yeah. I'm taking these quizzes. But I'm not taking them seriously.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CAGED

Not anymore! Well, actually, it's going to take some work before I'm able to break out of this cage, but I'm a hard worker so my reward always comes. I am optimistic.

Yesterday at my guitar lesson Bob introduced me to the CAGED system. I listened and heard what he was saying. I also closely watched what he wrote on the paper and tried really hard to understand it. I grasped some but not all of it, yet he didn't seem too worried. He gave me a drill to work on, told me to study these diagrams at home, and assured me that my head will wrap around the concept in no time. I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, but right now it looks like this on the paper and in my head.


Though I can confidently name any note on the fretboard, it takes me a while to get there because I'm counting up from the nut. Once I grasp this CAGED system, then I will be able to name the notes more quickly. More important, I will understand the logical fashion of the guitar's layout and that will make all the difference in the world in my learning.

I'm not yet sure what Bob's top diagram illustrates, but I know they are all Cs so it must have something to do with the root. The second diagram is definitely the chord shapes and how they overlap. The third diagram shows the degrees, but I'm not quite certain why I need to know that. It probably has to do with inverting 1, 3, and 5. However not all the 3s and 5s are circled, and why do I need all the 2s, 4s, 6s, 7s, and 8s? Obviously I'm not finished studying.

Sometimes I wish I could take Bob home with me. Which is probably why learning from Justin worked out so well and maybe why I should stay on that track after the last of my six-lesson pack is up. Yesterday was number five, by the way. Bob validated that I wasn't doing too bad on my own so I'd probably be all right. If I feel like I'm not, I suppose I could always pick up another set of lessons with him. I would like to carry on with Bob, but I have plenty of excuses not to (it's relatively far to go for a 30-minute lesson, summer's approaching which means the kids will require more attention and our family vacation will take me away from playing, and it will probably be expensive). I do benefit from having a deadline though and it is certainly helpful to have someone to ask questions and evaluate me. Then again, I'm not so quick that I can absorb everything I need to know until next week within 30 minutes. Being able to rewind the video as many times as it takes is a very good thing for me to be able to do. Justin doesn't care or know that I do that. It's not like Bob gets frustrated with me, but I don't ask something more than twice even if I don't get it because, well, it gets embarrassing.

So that's where I stand with guitar. I realize you probably know even less about all this than I do, but I hope that someday I can come back to this and laugh at how confused I was and be proud of how far I've come.

Monday, April 14, 2014

'Murica! Wooo.

Nothing shows nearly everything that's wrong with America like what I saw across from my grocery store parking space yesterday afternoon. Although I did manage this photo, I was trying to be discreet so let me fill you in on the details.


It was a massive, beat-up, smelly flatbed truck idling in the employee carpool parking spot. Adding to the image was a faded American flag on a pole hanging off the back, and the rear windows had decals of hands with extended middle fingers. In the back of the truck was a bicycle set up with a motor and sky-high handlebars. You know that stereotype that we're all overweight, disrespectful, white trash who don't care about using energy efficiently? Well these folks nailed it.

Stay classy, America.