Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Search For Next

Darling invisible friend, I need your help. Yes, I will tell you! Seriously, you have to ask? When have I ever held back?

No, that didn't require a reply. Thank you.

Anyway. As I'd mentioned after ending things with Very Nice Person, it is time to meet Next. Ooo! Did I tell you that VNP called me from New York? Yeah. He was in a hotel and feeling lonely.

Mmm. No. I do not operate that way. But we're still friends! Heh.

Back to the point, and yes, I do actually have one. In my quest for Next, I'm utilizing the Mister-Right-Now dating site again. It is free...and I'm pretty much getting what I pay for. But I have a profile up and active there, so why not, right?

Btw, do you think it's telling that my profile was active the whole time I was seeing VNP? Hm. Well, it's neither here nor there, is it?

Now here's my concern--and where I need your help. I'm thinking about updating my profile. I am. I feel like my current profile describes a woman who is accepting and easygoing and really, quite low-maintenance. I have no idea who this woman is, but she seems lovely.

And she's using my picture.

Perhaps I should be a trifle more accurate. The question is, how far do I want to go? Somehow, I think the tagline of "HIDEOUS SELF-SERVING COTFU COW" wouldn't attract a lot of interest.

Then again, as little as I apparently know about men, this may not be the case.

I could just copy/paste the posts I did here of my wants and wishes: The Wish List and The Follow-Up. Or...what? What else could I do?

Darling invisible friend, after all we've been through, surely you have some ideas? Please. Guide me in your wisdom.

After all, Next is out there. Waiting for me.

If nothing else, it'll make for some funny blogs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wedded Recovery

Well, dear one. Wedding done. Please hold for angelic choirs singing hallelujah.


All in all, it was a very nice wedding. Roommate's mother and new stepfather are blissfully happy. Nothing terrible happened. Roommate's grandmother and dear friend Hope stayed with us after the wedding through Christmas. I have no real reason to complain.

This, however, has never stopped me before.

I do have pictures, taken by Roommate, of the cakes I baked for the wedding, but right now, technology is outwitting me. Again. I know. I promise, I will post them later. Yes, I will. I won't forget! Look, you're being unreasonable. My friend Matt refers to me as a Mennonite in regards to my techno-blundering and I think that warrants a little slack in this department.

I'm not actually Mennonite, you know. The Mennonites are better dressed than I am.

Moving on.

Roommate kept saying "we" were doing the baking, but the majority of her help was through emotional support. I have no idea why she does this. She wants me to bake/cook something, inevitably I end up making it later in the evening/into the wee hours, and she stays awake [mostly] as long as she can, just...milling about. Why? Why does she do this? Just go to bed. I can do this all by myself. I'm big now.

She did go to bed. Finally. And I continued to bake cupcakes.

I went to bed around 0300 the morning of the wedding after making 108 cupcakes and a Madeira cake. Btw, Roommate refers to this as "Mederma Cake."

Yup. Evidently, one rubs this cake on skin and scars go away.

I did a double layer Madeira cake, coated in chocolate ganache and then covered with triple cream frosting. Yes, it was a heart attack with a cake topper, all right. The cupcakes were the required vanilla and chocolate. I topped the vanilla with the same triple cream frosting [tinted purple] and sprinkled with edible glitter [giggle---ahem] and the chocolate with the frosting infused with the chocolate ganache.

I frosted the cupcakes on site because unfrosted cupcakes travel better than frosted ones. No, really. Imagine boxes of frosted cupcakes, stacked in Volvo. Imagine Volvo coming to a screeching halt because of unpleasant driving habits of others. Imagine frosted cupcakes, slamming to Volvo's floor. It really is just better to frost upon arrival.

It is. But this is where it got...interesting.

The caterers for the blessed event had arrived a bit before I did and had turned on the oven in the tiny kitchen area. To 500 degrees. They placed foil-wrapped packets of meat into said oven and promptly departed. One assumes it was to gather more of the meal to bring to the wedding venue, but frankly, they could've gone for pedicures, for all I know. The foil-wrapped packets of meat proceeded to leak juicy goodness onto the oven's heating element, set to 500 degrees, producing billowing waves of smoke and...

Oh, go ahead. Guess.

That's right!! Setting off all the fire alarms in the building.

By the time the smoke had been cleared and the building aired out, my chocolate ganache was a trifle hardened. Beating it into the triple cream frosting made a chocolate-chip type effect. That, along with all the other delightful occurrences to numerous to recount here and now, resulted in my heaving frosting on the cupcakes less than forty-five minutes before the ceremony. When Roommate's Unfortunate Sister strolled into the reception area, she was greeted by the sight of me and the KitchenAid, frantically beating frosting and ganache. Her beady little eyes widened and she said in shocked tones, "You're just making the icing now?"

It is only the love of Roommate's mother and Roommate that saved this hideous cow's life.

Let us remember, dearest, that this is the person who informed her mother that she wanted nothing to do with the execution of the wedding; she merely wanted to attend as a guest. This is the person who, after her car was struck by another vehicle, leaving NO INJURIES and a still-driveable car, informed her mother in wilting and deeply dramatic tones, that she didn't know if she would make it the following day to her mother's wedding. This is the person who was blessed with two perfectly healthy children, and couldn't be bothered to actually raise them, really only involving herself enough to screw them up profoundly, thus resulting in the waste of salt that makes up her now-adult offspring.

Yes, I know the last part has nothing to do with the wedding day, but it still pisses me off.

Anyway. Another person, the grandmother of the flower girl, was helping place the sloppily-frosted cupcakes on the cake table after Roommate's Unfortunate Sister sauntered off to be utterly useless elsewhere. She [flower girl's gramma] kept telling me to go and get dressed for the wedding. I told her, sweetly, that it would take me three minutes to dress and be ready. I told her that again, when she pestered me again to leave and ready myself.

And again.

And again.

Have I mentioned my love for Roommate's mother?

I can attest, rather proudly, that no one died by my hand that day. I can also tell you that no cupcakes returned to my home. And I may have overstated my three-minute personal prep prediction.

It took 2.5 minutes. I even had time to help Roommate with a touch of makeup.

Roommate's mother is married and delighted with life. Cakes were eaten and enjoyed. Everyone survived to bitch and moan.


Now. Never ask me to do this again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

T Minus One

I hadn't really decided to do Soup Day this week, but I got the loveliest card from the walk-in clinic staff, including a gift card. What else could I do but make soup at eleven o'clock at night after a twelve hour shift?

Oh, like you would do anything else! Pffft.

Anyway. Lentil-vegetable soup.
Neither X-ray Vicki nor coworker Tonya are here today, so this was originally a solo effort.

But then I spoke to Smooth and Groovy Steve. He was very excited about Soup Day happening on his scheduled appearance in my building. Why, I bet his heart rate made it all the way to 65! He offered to bring the bread. And he did! Yay, Smooth and Groovy Steve!

Walk-in clinic Wendy brought satsumas, too, so we have a well-rounded meal. Well-rounded, because, of course, we have cake.


It's my attempt at Madeira Cake! It's probably not as good as the Caked Crusader's, but it's pretty darn yummy, I don't mind telling you. The texture is soft and nubby, and the crystallized sugar on top gives it a teensy bit of crisp. Click on the picture, click on the picture! You get the big view that way.

I bet this would be an awesome substitute for shortcake. With strawberries. And a small volcano of cream. Just saying.

Tomorrow, wedding baking begins. Pray for me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wedding Imminent

Darlingest invisible friend, as I have mentioned, Roommate's mother is getting married this Friday.

Is it too early to start the drinking?

The wedding is in three days. Three days. The day before Christmas Eve. The cupcake baking [120 of the little suckers] is in two days. Lemon bars, salads and whatever else I get sucked into baking will happen the day of the wedding, but I am NOT putting the cupcakes/bride&groom cake off past Thursday.

Roommate's mother, AKA Bride, had decided on two flavors of cupcake, chocolate and vanilla. I've got my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, but vanilla has proved....problematic. [Note the pause.] I found an "Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake" recipe that was...good. [See that? I paused again.] But I wasn't in love with the texture. I wanted a bit more density. So I tried this:

This glorious thing is the lovely and talented Caked Crusader's Madeira Cake. It is a thing of beauty and deliciousness. I attempted it and I think I did a pretty fair job, but...

[big pause]

I don't think they'll work as wedding cupcakes. They're...

[REALLY big pause]

...too buttery.

I can hear you shrieking now, dearest. "WHAT???? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE????!!!!" you may be saying. Or it may be just a lot of expletives. It's hard to tell from way over here. But before you blow an aneurysm, let me explain.

When I made the Madeira Cake into cupcakes, the wonderful richness of the batter soaked into the paper cupcake liners. This may have been the fault of the baker [me] overfilling the cups. It might also be attributed to an inaccuracy of measurements. This would also be my fault. But the fact remains that the bottoms of the cupcakes had soaked through the liners and foretold disaster in a wedding reception-type setting.

Imagine long, fancy dresses. Buttery little cupcakes. Insufficient napkins. Because it's the law; when one is in a formal/fancy outfit and one foolishly touches something outrageously buttery, there will never be sufficient napkins around. Go ahead, look it up.

Not to say that the Madeira Cupcakes didn't taste utterly decadent and delicious and divine. And a few other D words. In fact, I may have exclaimed a D word after biting into the Madeira cupcake--strictly for testing purposes, of course. I will make Madeira Cake again---and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again---but not for this occasion.

Maybe it'll be just for me. Heh.

Yes, I am a selfish cow.

Anyway. I have two whole days. I'll figure it out. It won't be a ninety-five step process like this baumkuchen--->

But it'll be fine.

Is it too early to start drinking?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Okay, this is going to be a next-to-nothing blog. But look! My first batch of homemade marshmallows.
My plan is to given them as gifts with homemade cocoa mix. That's the jar in the upper part of the picture. They're not perfect. but they're certainly not terrible. I know this because I tested them extensively.

Extensively. Over and over. And over again. [hiccup]

Now, however, I'm completely buzzed on sugar and feel like a squirrel on speed. And I have to be awake and at work in seven and a half hours.

I am an idiot.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Calling it a day.

Well. It's over.

We all knew it was coming. Very Nice Person knew it, too, and was just waiting for me to say it. Actually, I think VNP wanted me to say it and has been hoping I would end things sooner, rather than later. Yes, dearest, he is still VNP, despite this last visit. I can forgive him for being not-VNP-ish for a few days. But I knew it was time to let him go.

I called him yesterday afternoon, when I was home alone, so the conversation wouldn't be interrupted--at least on my end. With VNP, one never knows when work will interrupt, one only know that it will interrupt. Fortunately, we got through the conversation nearly interruption-free.

I can't remember the last time that happened.

Anyway. I think you'd be quite proud of me, dearest. I introduced the topic calmly and kindly. I didn't assign blame. I recognized and respected the tremendous amount of responsibility VNP has on his plate. And I took ownership of my feelings. It was almost like breaking up with a therapist, only without the insurance paperwork and final bill. While I don't think I hit the gold standard of Best Breakup EVER, I think I handled it pretty well.

And we agreed to be friends. In fact, he sent me a text today, wishing me a happy Friday, to his "friend in the NW." I'm delighted we could end things and be cordial, and wish each other well.

Sigh. Done. Over. After almost a year, je suis fini. And now, in the immortal words of my friend Trish...


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anywhere But Here.

It's not the Pacific Northwest, per se. It's just here. I don't want to be here.

I wouldn't mind being there:

I've been told it's attitude, not location, and I certainly see the merit in that statement. But I'd still rather be there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Again

Random person: Were you born with that red hair?
Me: No, I finally went gray enough I could be any color I wanted.

Believe it of not, some people are surprised when I say that. I don't know why. Is changing one's hair color that big of a secret? I like what Stephanie Hodge said about the stupidity of bleaching her hair blonde, after her mother insisted it would help her "get" a man. She said if you're just doing it to get a man, as soon as he gets your pants off, he's gonna know you're lyin'.

I figure, why lie?

No, I wasn't born a redhead. I was, and in my heart, always will be a brunette. I have been known to look around when someone mentions "the redhead." The moment I realize that the individual being discussed is yours-truly is priceless.

The process, however, is less than appealing.

I opted out of the box-color method a few years back when my dear friend Karina told me about using henna. Given that:

  1. I can't afford a professional colorist,

  2. I prefer to do as little damage to my hair as possible and

  3. Henna is remarkably inexpensive, considering the results, so...

I went with it. Cost, color and reduced damage. Those are the upsides.


It takes me 24 hours to prepare the henna for dyeing. The formula's simple enough. Packet of green stuff that looks like ground marjoram that's been in the cupboard for twenty years + slightly acidic liquid, like very strong black tea + ginger, cloves, cinnamon and honey = activated henna, ready to be glopped on my head.

And "glopped" is the most accurate verb available.

It smells like goose poop. It looks a little like goose poop. Here's a picture I found online of someone using the same method of hair coloring: No. Not me. Because I would then have to kill the photographer.

Anyway. After glopping my head with this aromatic adventure, I wrap my head in plastic--not over the face; too fond of breathing for that--and stay like that for...

...Four to twelve hours. Yeah.

But I end up with this: Yes. That's my red. Not bad, huh?

Anyway. I don't love the time or the smell, but these are bearable. And I like the end result, far more than the box color. I was reminded of this just recently when I had to resort to that chemical experience.

I had mixed up my last package of henna and let it sit on the stove before heading out for an evening. Roommate and I were meeting friends at a local dive to hear a band. It was fun and we had a good time, but we left a bit early. Not sure why; I may have had to work in the morning, or maybe Roommate was tired. Maybe I was being a big poopoohead and whined until I got my way. Regardless, we left the dive and went home to discover that before leaving the house, I had bumped the burner control and the glass bowl containing the henna...shattered. The henna itself? Burned to a crisp. The stench? Magnified and hideously pervasive. After cleaning up the mess and calculating how long it might take to receive new henna, I settled for the box stuff.

When will I learn? I should NEVER SETTLE.

New henna arrived. And once again, all's red in the world.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Darling invisible friend, do you remember my mention of the Tupperware party? Oh, good. Then I don't have to tell you the whole story again. Not that I wouldn't; I would, I really would, because that's just how much your happiness means to me.

Go ahead. Do the head tilt.

Anyway, now that we've had our moment, I should get to the point. Yes, I have one. I know. I'm impressed, too.

Deb, Tupperware consultant extraordinaire, was to come over on Thursday evening to close the party. That means, she was going to gather up all of the additional orders placed by our friends who missed the party [and they know who they are--pfft!] and tell us about our free goodies. Although the party would "officially" close on Friday/payday, Deb and her hubster were heading up to Victoria, B.C. for a little vacation and needed to have things tidied up before leaving early in the morning. On Wednesday evening, I received a text from her:

Lisa, I am not going to B.C. this weekend. Mark has been in a motorcycle accident and we are at Harborview in Seattle. Not sure where I will be when we need to close, but I will keep in touch.

Harborview Medical Center is the regional trauma center and its name usually provokes a hideous mixture of horror, fear, relief and hope. If one's beloved is airlifted to Harborview, one has the reasonable expectation of excellent medical care being available to the patient. However, the beloved's being airlifted to Harborview usually means that the injuries were grievous and beyond the capabilities of many other excellent medical facilities.

In other words, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

Apparently, Mark didn't realize a truck he was attempting to avoid had a boat trailer attached to it. Apparently, Mark went under that trailer. Mark is still alive. Mark came through surgery beautifully. Mark is awake, alert and in remarkably good spirits. Mark also has no feeling from the chest down.

The doctors have been very clear in their point of view that Mark will never walk again, but Deb and Mark both believe otherwise. They're going with the possibility of a miracle. They appreciate the physicians' opinion, but this is what they're choosing to believe.

When told the news of his father's accident, their son Joshua was struck with a deeply irreverent thought. When he shared it with his mother, she insisted that he tell Dad this. At the hospital, Deb introduced the topic firmly. "Mark, Joshua has something to tell you."

Joshua, who I can only assume had a sheepish grin on his face, said, "Hey, Dad, now we can get the disabled hunting permit for you. We'll be able to drive the truck right up to the campsite instead of hiking all that way!"

I believe it was Mark's father who suggested that he might be able to shoot from the truck window.

Mark, I am told, roared with laughter.

Dark. Twisted. Completely inappropriate. I really like this family.

Dearest, if you happen to be in conversation with the Omnipotent Comedian, you might want to drop a word about Mark and the fam. You know. If it happens to come up.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cards

It's that time of year again. The holiday stamps are out!

Is it me, or does the Christ child look like he's sporting a 'stache? Hey, little J, it's not Movember anymore.

Some messiahs. I tell you!

I haven't purchased my cards yet. Which should I choose?

This one...kind of skeeves me out. Not wild about the art.

This one is lovely. I think it was the art used for a Christmas stamp a few years ago, though.

Retro-seventies fun....tempting. Just for the shock value.

I like this one, too. A faint lavender tint to the classic BVM blue tones of many cards.

Ohhhh! This one is GREAT! Of course, I copied it from the Internet and will probably never be able to find it.

The madonna and child variety pack. I had these last year. Was it last year? I think so. I always feel I should offer it with a side of holy cards.

This one freaks me out. Early Renaissance? Gah.

Oh, this one is sweet. Like it.

Ooo. Now this one is subtle and clean and really almost elegant. Classic BVM blue, too, of the darker shade. I love this one.

Oh. Happy sigh. I think we have a winner.
Now all I have to do is find this one in the store. At a reasonable price. I can do that. Right?

Don't laugh. It isn't nice.