Archive for January, 2010

Cake decorating

By
January 20th, 2010



When I was about eight, my mother took a cake decorating class. She was a housewife, and I was lucky to have her at home all the time, doing mom-type things. I have no idea how long this cake-phase lasted, but it made an indelible impression on me.

Mom and me

Mom and me

For what seemed like a glorious, golden stretch of time, but which was probably just half a year, we constantly had fancy cakes in the house. Not just Duncan Hines box mix crap, but made-from-scratch cakes, topped off with the most beautifully frosted designs.

Moms cakes pink

I remember distinctly cakes themed with a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick's Day, a lion for my dad's birthday, and a bouquet of flowers with "Welcome Spring!" I also vaguely remember nagging her for a custom cake for my birthday.

Moms cakes

It was SO much fun. I loved to look at the pretty designs, lick the frosting off the plastic cake decorations, and just marvel at the thought that MY mom could make stuff just for ME.

Moms cakes clover

My mom continues to bake as one of her hobbies. She has always been a good baker. Me, not so much. I've become a good cook, but cooking and baking are two different animals. I think all they share in common is the kitchen, and high heat. In cooking, you can substitute and improvise. In baking, it's so exact and specific. I shunned baking after a few lackluster attempts.

Thought bubble: "Mmmm. Cakes. Good."

Thought bubble: "Mmmm. Cakes. Good."

That is, until I met Lani Sonan and Lori Tamashiro when the Cake Creations Dessert Haven co-owners were guests on the KHNL morning show.

cake4

Little did I know they would change the course of my confectionary life. They brought the most beauuuutiful cakes. I wanted to learn how to make that!

Diane, Lani, Lori

Diane, Lani, Lori

I'm not really sure what about their cakes did it, since I don't live in a cave, and I have viewed other pretty cakes before. I think it was a convergence of two things: 1) Having a child; and 2) having an extended conversation with them, rather than just the normal, brief interaction of ordering a cake over the counter. I raved about their skills and they insisted I, too, could learn it via their classes. Really?!? Never occurred to me before. Cool!

Fondant- my goal

Fondant- my goal

Their classes (a series of five month-long classes) are all at night, so I told them I'd sign up when I got off the morning shift. When I was working the morning show I'd go to sleep at 7 p.m. I didn't realize that I'd be off the morning show sooner than I expected, but oh well. That just means I could sign up for a winter class.

Us with Howard Dashefsky

Us with Howard Dashefsky

I wrote this! Not bad for a first-timer

I wrote this! Not bad for a first-timer

cake6

It's something I want to do for Olivia. I have happy memories of my mom's cakes, and the joy it brought me (and my dad, of course!). I want to give that to my daughter. So for her sake, I'm going to force myself to like baking. The decorating part is fun, and I'm creative.

Here we go on a new hobby!

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Compassion

By
January 19th, 2010



Toddlers are so honest and sweet. Yesterday was the anniversary of Kona dog's death, and I was crying. Olivia looked genuinely surprised to see me performing an action normally reserved only for her. Of course, I wasn't howling, too, but all the same, there were tears.

She stared at my face for a minute with big, brown, concerned eyes. I could almost see the gears turning in her head as she computed that Mommy can actually cry. She asked first, "Are you crying, Mama?"

I nodded. She stopped for a moment and then said, "I love you, Mama," and hugged me. She continued to hug me and say this throughout the evening.

In the morning, the first thing she said was, "I saw you crying yesterday. Are you not crying now?"

"I"m not crying, because you make Mama happy," I told her.

DSCN9753

I know she is compassionate because this isn't the first time she's acted like this. When cousin Cammy was crying, she went over, wiped the tears off her face, gave her a hug, and actually tried to force Cammy's lips into a smile.

Don't cry, Cammy

Don't cry, Cammy

I'm not sure if all toddlers do this, but I was very impressed with her capacity to nurture.

THE DATE

I'm also impressed with her ability to ask men out. She has a crush on my friend, who I'll have to just refer to as T here, because he's embarassed. This week, she asked him to marry her. Twice.

This very shy friend likes a girl and can't work up the nerve to ask her out. "Practice on me," I insisted.

"No. You're like a sister. It'd be like asking my sister out," he shivered.

"That's why I said practice. You pretend I'm the girl. Now do it," I commanded.

He finally gave in. He mumbled quickly and softly, "Oh, uh, um, well... wouldyouliketogooutwithme." I put a period at the end of that quote on purpose. His voice trailed downward unconvincingly. It didn't even end on an up note.

To mess with him, instead of answering in the affirmative, I barked back, "WHAT??"

"Forget it! Forget it!" he cried, turning his entire body away from me while waving his hands in the air. "I'll do it. Leave me alone!"

I was laughing hard now. "So let me get this straight. My two year old has more nerve in asking for a date than you do?"

Maternity clothes

By
January 18th, 2010



I was looking at my old pregnancy photos and saw a picture of myself wearing a shirt I like. I wanted to wear it again. It's from Cinnamon Girl, which doesn't have maternity clothing, so technically if it's a small, I might actually be able to use it again.

This is the shirt. I was 5 months pregnant here.

This is the shirt. I was 5 months pregnant here.

I made it a point to go to the attic and find it. This was not a fun task, because the attic is where our old things go to die in a large pile. It's where my domestic super-ego banished my id, because the attic is all dark, dusty, and cobwebby, in an otherwise tidy house.

In addition to this shirt, I actually found a few others that I like, and that fit! Just then, Paul Drewes called to see what I was up to. "Putting some maternity clothes back in my closet," I said, and elaborated why. "Lemme get this straight. You're wearing maternity clothes but you're not pregnant?" he laughed.

The reaction wasn't so funny when Claus got home. Without intending to, I didn't set the story up correctly, and scared the husband. He asked what the pile of clothes was on the floor. "I pulled some maternity clothes out of the attic today so I can wear it," I answered. Olivia was distracting me, so I didn't give him a full explanation.

His eyebrows raised. "Why is that?" he asked. Later, he confessed to privately uber-freaking out while trying to keep a calm appearance. You should know he TOTALLY does not want more children.

I realized what it sounded like. "Oh, no. I'm not pregnant. I just wanted to find this shirt," I continued. Apparently, much to his relief.

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Mystery snacks

By
January 15th, 2010



For most of Olivia's first two years, she ate a lot of pet food. I didn't condone it, of course, but it happened anyway. In the morning, she likes to go out and watch Inca eat. I turned my back for a minute - usually to clean and refill the water bowls -  and of course, when I returned, I would find Olivia tasting the Kibbles. *sigh* "Please stop eating dog food."

In the afternoon, she likes to go to the other porch and play with the cat. That means sampling Ocho's food. If I remembered, I would take the bowl and place it on a higher shelf. If I forgot, oh well. It didn't killed the cat, so I was sure Olivia would be fine.

11-26-04

Sure enough, she survived. Here at 2-and-a-half, she's out of her pet food phase, and she's still very healthy.

Which brings me to me. I was at my friend Jen's house this weekend, aka Snack Central. If there is a snack, Jen has it. Ice cream, candy, cookies, chips, nuts; gourmet, run-of-the-mill - she's got it. It's part of what makes Jen's so much fun. Inca agrees. There's a wide variety of canine goodies, too, since Jen has three dogs. Everyone gets fed at Jen's!

Snack snack?

Snack snack?

Malie buries her snacks in the sofa

Malie buries her snacks in the sofa

Puffy

Puffy (yes, he's blue)

I reached over to sniff around the coffee table Tupperware bins to see what I wanted to eat. Wasabi peanuts? Nah. Chocolate dipped cookies? OK, one. Arare? Just a few. Frango mints? Yum! Hey, what's this? Cute shortbread cookies? In little shapes? Never seen it before. I'll give it a try. Kinda hard and tasteless. Must be stale from Thanksgiving.

When Jen came back to the living room, I asked her what kind of cookies they were. "Dog biscuits," she replied. "Did you eat one or something?"

PRE_2010-01-05-203029

Hey, in my defense, they were gourmet, organic biscuits from Portland! It's not like they had "Purina" stamped across a bone-shaped cookie! (Though upon a second look, the shapes were cats and mailmen.) And they were in a regular plastic bin alongside all the rest of the human food! Who put that there?!?

<shrug> Oh well. Now I have clean teeth and fresh breath.

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Stuff my dog has eaten

By
January 11th, 2010



I don't know why I think this is funny, but I do. ONLY in retrospect. I don't like having my valuables destroyed. Inca has eaten so many things of mine. I try to be careful but I'm not always on top of it.

Garbage at my old desk

Garbage at my old desk

Guilty look

Guilty look

She's gotten into my garden a few times

She's gotten into my garden a few times

If given half a chance...

If given half a chance...

Breast pumps

Breast pumps

10-16-05

11-1-05

11-9-6Flashlight

$150 headphones the mailman left behind the fence. Oops.

$150 headphones the mailman left behind the fence. Oops.

3rd Gentle Leader destroyed. They cost $35 each. Grr.

3rd Gentle Leader harness destroyed. They cost $20 each. Grr.

And a gift from the cat

And a gift from the cat

Dogs also eat used kitty litter - GROSS. And used feminine products. I've had to pull a used tampon out of Kona's rear end because it was stuck coming out. They chew up old palm fronds which also get stuck coming out the tract and require human help. I am not prissy, but if I were, doing that would surely make me get over it!

What has your dog surprised you with? What is the most expensive thing your dog has destroyed?

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

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