Friday, November 21, 2008

The Ultimate Cakewalk

Sometimes, you get inspired. Sometimes you'll see something that just touches your very soul. This thing, this new found sense of wonder instills in you a desire to be better, achieve greater things, stand out amongst the crowd...and sometimes, it takes nothing more than some poorly applied frosting to do so. Now if you have no idea what I'm talking about, your life is missing a little something...a little something called "Cake Wrecks"

Now, I don't think many bakers aspire to be a member of the Cake Wrecks club, but oh the gems they afford when they do! I think of them as "beautiful disasters." However, on Sundays, there really are some lovely cakes posted on the site and that is where the inspiration for my latest baking adventure sprang. However, this blog really isn't about cakes or cookies on dowels or my secret desire to be featured as a cake wrecker despite my non professional baker standing. No, this blog is about my best friend and her birthday adventure...a cake just happens to be included.

Best Friends!

The day all begins with a team and a dream. College football is a passion in the south, some say darn near a religion, and while I don't hold it to that standard, we do bleed crimson for a reason. Alabama has been at the crest of its Roll Tide wave this year, and like any good fan, the stadium is the place to be on any given Saturday. Well, the Bama, Ole Miss game just happened to fall right before Jenny's birthday, so what better place to celebrate? Jenny, our friend Allison, and I loaded up in my car, cake and gifts in tow and headed down to T-town...Tuscaloosa for you uninitiated folks, and got ready to cheer on the team. (You realize it's we fans that actually spur the team to victory right? It's not really all that coaching and practice...) Well, this season, has been monumental...if you follow college ball at all, you know Bama has come from the depths of despair in the past few years to being 11-0 and #1 in the SEC and the Nation at the posting of this blog. If that doesn't get your rammer jammer going, nothing will! Well, we settled into the game, screamed at the first recognition of "Sweet Home Alabama" every one of the hundreds of times it was played, (that's in the rules of the "Livin' in Alabama" handbook) and agreed that every call against the team was surely because the zebras were crooked! Thankfully, Bama took into consideration that it would spoil a very special birthday if they lost. Final: Alabama 30 Mississippi State 7. Roll Tide Roll.

That band is probably like...a million dollars worth of band or something...

With spirits high and stomachs growling, we trekked the mile or so back to the car, grabbed the cake and headed to Jenny's cousin's RV for a wee bit o' tailgating fun! Well, the walk from the car to the camper that's where the ultimate cakewalk comes into play. It was an odd processional, me, leading the way, cake in hand, Jenny loaded with bags, and Allison bringing up the rear. It's an odd feeling to be walking down one of the main drags of Tuscaloosa, opposite the flow of the foot traffic, knowing everyone wants a piece of what you got...stop it now...I'm talking about the cake. Jenny also decided that it would be a good idea to take pictures with the cake a la senior portrait style. Here we see...contemplate/hopeful future, con cake!

Everyone wants a piece of that...cake.

"OK, now look off into the distance like you're believing your dreams into being..."

Back at the camper there was chili, potato soup, cornbread, and pigs in request of the birthday girl. Also, a smattering of desserts in addition to the cake, just to insure the fat and sugar overload would be complete. One of the players came by to talk too...and now I know all about red shirting, black shirting, Nick Saban, and what I'm not allowed to say about any of it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

...How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have a black thumb. I admit it. I kill plants, I'm a horticultural's not that I want to be or try to be; I'm just naturally gifted at being ungifted naturally. Over the years, many a plant has met its demise through my hands. There were the ferns who ended their pathetic lives on the porch, wilted and brown. The sundry varieties of tomato plants that produced one small sickly tomato, unfit for consumption by man or beast. The Forget-Me-Nots that never grew enough to forget in the first place, scads of others...RIP. The one plant I've managed to keep alive, my forsaken little rose bush, has been through the ringer...burned, frozen, flooded, even run over by a truck! I count its survival to its own will to live, because I surely haven't been any help to it. There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere...but I think Bret Michaels already wrote about that... Despite these past forays into failure, I am however, the eternal optimist. I always imagine my future efforts will be more fruitful than futile, but seemingly
my delusions of grandure...i.e

are always brought back to inevitable reality...i.e

Now, my purpose for writing this isn't simply to confess my horrific crimes of floracide. It's because, yesterday, as I walked into the office, I was informed that there was half a truckload of flower bulbs for the taking in the warehouse. This is not that unusual of a circumstance actually. We often get freebies at work from various are a few in my collection: iron furniture, a fireplace mantle, umbrellas, jumper cables, 40 pairs of socks, a George Foreman Grill (knock out the fat!) and much, much more. Well, never one to pass up a bargain and always sure that the next time will yield better results, I sauntered back to the loading bay. Imagine my delight as there were literally thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of bulbs back there and people were grabbing them by the box full! Everyone scrambling to procure the finest assortment of Spring's future glory. I gathered up a fairly small box and shoved it full of tulips, daffodils, irises, hyacinth, and various other future disappointments. $200 worth of bulbs later, I was back at my desk, dreaming of trowels and miracle grow...because trust me, it'll take a miracle. a baby supposed to be involved?

I suppose next comes the planting and the sooner, the better. Funny how flowers can smell so sweet while the bulbs smell...well, not so sweet. Actually, they smell rather strongly of uric acid. That's right...pee, they smell like pee. Now, I didn't discover this little secret in the large open warehouse, no, no, I didn't find this out until I let them sit in my car for a few hours while I finished out the they my car...reeking of my car. That was not a pleasant ride home. What is it though, we all suffer for beauty? Well, hopefully anyway! Come Spring, I'm hoping to update this blog with pictures of glorious flowers blooming forth in all their natural glory...but, until then, I'm not holding my breath...well, unless I'm driving.