To bake, or not to bake? That is the question.

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Once upon a time I had a cake decorating business that I ran from my home.  I made wedding cakes and novelty cakes and I really loved the creative escape….not to mention the fantastic smell in my house.

I slowly phased myself out of that cake business because “real life” didn’t want to make room for the enjoyable moments of,  not only creating extra income but, embracing another journey of artistic freedom.  But I’ve missed it.  And I knew I missed it but I didn’t realize how much until I agreed to make a cake for a 50th birthday party this weekend.  The birthday girl loves sailing and this was the cake I made for her surprise party.

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Just spending the last two days in the kitchen reminded me how one avenue of imagination can create a wider road of happiness.  This is one of my true passions and I made the mistake of ignoring it.  I put obligation and responsibility ahead of creativity and contentment.  And if the picture of the cake above wasn’t enough to make me rethink my decision…..

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….the photograph of the rapidly disappearing remains of the cake certainly solidified my decision to put up my sign that I am back in the cake business.

Sometimes having to make a choice is difficult.  Sometimes we think we are doing what is best but maybe the best thing is to hang on to the things we really love and throw the rules out the window.  Life it too short to make decisions based on what we think we should do instead of making decisions based on what we really want.

Baring it all…okay, maybe just my feet….

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I have a little “Spring in my step” today.  Against the better judgement of some (who may or may not have called me a dumb-ass), I left my house this morning in my sandals.  Although the thermometer only registered a mere three degrees Celsius, I forged my way up the driveway to my car, my will strong and my head held high.

There are others like me.  We don’t hold weekly meetings, although they would be fun, and we don’t have a 12-step program for our affliction.  We simply do not like wearing shoes.  If I had my way, I would be barefoot all the time.  I don’t hold ill-will towards shoes but I find them constricting and uncomfortable.  It is a rare sighting to see me in heels and a vision that does not qualify as remotely graceful.

I have been spotted roaming around the lodge in the summer while my sandals are tucked neatly under my office desk.  I only begrudgingly put them back on when I have to go into the kitchen or the restrooms.  If my feet are ever seen by an Esthetician the gasps of horror can be heard by people in the neighboring towns.

The freedom of being barefoot is something I have always cherished.  Shoes seem like such an unnatural invention and always remind me of this clip from The Bird Cage.

What about you?  Naked feet or shoes?

The prodigious exultation of being a word-nerd

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Blogging has allowed me to become a true, and very contented, word snob.  I have always loved words.  As a teenager, I kept a duo-tang (who remembers those?) filled with lined paper and would make note of all the unfamiliar words I came across while devouring all the books I used to read.  Those words that eluded my pubescent mind became a staple of my vocabulary once I had defined them and cemented them into the library of my brain.  They circled my imagination and urged my cerebrum to come out to play.  They tickled my tongue and they began to flow like blood in my veins.

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(look at how lovely my penmanship was in high school)

I assiduously began to incorporate those words into as many scenarios as I could.  My teachers were duly impressed.  My fellow students merely looked at me like I had three heads.  My flamboyant wordiness was an ephemeral fantasy and I had to tone down my elevated rhetoric to become a conventional high-school student filled with angst rather than synonyms.

Today I still continue to incorporate those words into my daily conversations, not to sound more intelligent but, because I enjoy the way those words sound when I say them aloud.  I relish being able to use the phrase ‘alarmingly verbose’ instead of just saying “he talked a lot”.  I enjoy describing winter as arduous and not just “shitty”, although shitty can truly encapsulate the past six months.  And I will forever want to be mystified by language and not speak simply to communicate.  I want to thrive in my love for words.

My enthusiasm for articulate phrases has never waned.  It has followed me throughout my journey.  It has haunted my sleep and clandestinely pursued me during my conscious hours.

May those words forever churn in the maelstrom of my imagination and may I always be able to maintain my romance with the language of expression.

 

Cooking for one doesn’t have to mean Kraft Dinner

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I am the only living creature in my home who consumes “people food”.  Callaway likes to protest as often as possible which results in some fibrous vegetables going into her mouth and subsequently my ruing that decision once the foul odor of processed cucumber and lettuce assaults my senses.

Living alone has its challenges but cooking for one is not even on the list.  I love to, not just cook but, create in the kitchen.  Just because I am only cooking for myself does not mean I take the easy route and buy horribly processed pre-packaged easy to serve meals.  I opt for the more labor intensive, home-cooked, real food.

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This meal took 30 minutes to prepare and was delicious.  Fresh beef, a portion of a bag of small potatoes and an onion created this tasty home-cooked meal fit for one.  It took one pan and two small pots, one for mashed potatoes one for fried, dusted onions.  The preparation was easy, the cooking process was simple and the taste was phenomenal.  The result was so much better than a store-bought meal.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to be intimidating but it does take some practice.   There are a plethora of options that are easy to prepare, that are healthy and that make great leftovers for lunch.  You can even make a full recipe and freeze it for future meals but I spoil myself most of the time and buy fresh ingredients each day.  I find I spend less money doing that than I do buying in bulk and freezing food that I may forget about and never eat.  And fresh is always the best.

What is your favorite meal when you are cooking for one?

 

 

Hey Pharrell, clap along….I found mine

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We all strive to be happy – in our homes, in our jobs and in our lives.  We yearn for success and money, but how many people take the time to consider what truly makes them happy?

Finding true happiness may not be as difficult as you think – you just have to be realistic about what makes you authentically happy, down to the core of your being.  Happiness is not a tangible “thing”, it is a feeling that comes from deep within.  You can be content with your job, and content with your surroundings, but until you delve into yourself and discover what makes you truly happy, you will never have that genuinely satiated feeling.

The definition of happiness is different for everyone.  The things that make me truly happy – a fine red wine, a perfectly cooked steak, the drippings from a roasted chicken, a good book, closing out the world and just writing – would make others shake their head in disbelief.  But that is my happiness.  And those things that make me sincerely content won’t break the bank (except the wine, sometimes) and are easy to achieve.

I am a simple person when it comes to happiness, but it has taken me many years to realize what the word happiness really means to me.  It does not come in monetary form, nor does it lie within anyone else.  My happiness lies within me and does not rely on outer influences to achieve that state of euphoria.

We each need to step back and really examine what is our true bliss.  Perhaps we have been looking in all the wrong places and the jubilation we strive for is at arms reach.  We owe it to ourselves to seek our true happiness and let other’s judgements be cast aside.  No one person, besides yourself, can define your happiness.  They may be able to contribute to the feeling but your paradise is yours to create.

Find your joy and breathe it in at every chance.  You will be happy you did!

It ain’t a party until something gets celebrated

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I love having a project.  I get really excited about planning a function and making as many things as I can myself.   I planned every part of my wedding down to the finest detail.  I made my own wedding cake and created a wedding cookbook for our guests.  The people who were at our wedding said it was one of the best parties they had been to and talked about it for months after.

I had never been on Pinterest until about eight months ago and now I am addicted.  It has given me so many great recipe ideas as well as crafts and decorating ideas.  Where was this site when I was in my planning stages for my wedding?  Regardless, I have certainly made up for lost time.

My brother’s 50th birthday is rapidly approaching and I am excited to be at the helm of the organization committee, which will mostly be me but that’s the way I like it.  I have been relentlessly surfing Pinterest for some great ideas,  collecting photographs and creating an epic slide show on Power Point.  I have chosen to only pick the relatively innocent photographs since my 50th will follow in four short years and I want to stay on his good side!   (James, read that line over again and let it sink in)

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(image credit)

There are so many great ideas I have saved and now I have to sort through the best of the bunch to choose which ones will work for the party.  I am excited to have all of our friends gathered together again to celebrate the half century my brother has been on this revolving planet.  He truly is one of my best friends and I can’t wait to help him celebrate the past 50 years and help him prepare for the next 50.

 

Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!