Beware The Cake Personality Test

Whaddya think, peeps?  Is it safe?  I have recently received comments from 2 people who suggested I take The Cake Personality Test.  Excuse me?

devil's food cake with coffee buttercream

devil's food cake with coffee buttercream

I’m suspicious.  I clicked on the blog address of the commenters and both of them had blogs that contained only jokes that seemed very un-original, like they’d been copied from elsewhere,  which made me go back to my blog and unapprove their comments so that none of y’all would click on the links.

Whaddya think, my worldly, blogospheric and internet savvy friends?  Is it safe?  Am I being silly?  Or is this a trap cleverly baited with buttercream?

Do we really need to take a test (bleck!) to know what kind of a cake we are? 

Should the words “cake” and “test” even be allowed in the same sentence?

Let’s keep our computers safe so we can continue to enjoy each other’s company, and if we want to mix cake and computers, I say nibble a little devil’s food cake with coffee buttercream while blogging, being careful not to let any crumbs hit the keyboard.

ps.  The photos are of a cake I made for a birthday party last month.  And yes, it was even better than it looks.

Posted in daily Life, food, posts with photos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

If you were a cake I would eat you

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you were a cake. 

What kind of cake would you be? 

Would you be a pancake or a cupcake?  A cheesecake or a cream cake?

A tiramisu cake or a blue cake?  It’s up to you, cake.

I’d be a pineapple upside down cake.  With chopped pecans sprinkled in with the pineapple, and fresh cherry halves (not maraschino) stuck in the holes of the pineapple rings.

What kind of cake are you?

Posted in daily Life, food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Got gas?


Four hours before the guests arrived I decided to check the propane level in the big avocado-green propane tank that dominates my back yard.  Below E, it said to me.

WTF?  Normally I fill the thing twice a year.  I just filled it a couple months ago.  I use propane to heat the house, heat the water, and to cook.  I guess my mom being here for 3 weeks kinda sucked it up quicker than usual.  And I’ve been home non-stop, not running off to Marty’s every other weekend when I would turn off the heat and set the water heater to vacation mode.  Plus, it’s been extra chilly so I leave the heat on all day for my mom, and she’s been cooking up a storm.  Two things that don’t often happen around here.

I’ve got $25 dollars worth of chicken to cook, plus cornbread and potatoes and carrots and a cake to bake, and 12 guests on their way, and I’m worried that I’ll run out of propane in the middle of it all.  Stress! Stress! Stress harder!

Then I remembered:  I have neighbors.  Hooray for neighbors.  An hour earlier I had invited Sylvia to join us, my next door neighbor, a virtually housebound 70-something English woman who had a stroke a few years ago, a retired travel agent who has visited more than 50 countries in her life.  Sylvia has an oven.  She’s awesome. 

I speak to a neighbor on the other side.  We all live pretty close together in duplexes, and she offers not only their brand-new barbecue gas grill, but her husband to run it, if necessary.  I love my neighbors.

I make the batter for the cake and pop it in it’s pans and run it over to Sylvia’s.  Don’t want the propane running out in the middle of the cake baking.  That would be bad.

We get everything else ready and stuff it into my 400 degree oven at a quarter to five.  Every ten minutes I get down on my hands and knees to pray see if the oven is still lit.   Miraculously, all the food gets plenty cooked and we still have enough propane to make coffee and tea, and run the dishwasher afterwards. 

Today there are three bouquets of flowers, including a dozen perfect, pink, long-stemmed roses, adorning my humble home.  Plus some leftover chicken, and baked beans, and coleslaw, and yummy cake.

My mom had a great time and felt loved and was surrounded by friends, even though she was thousands of miles away from her usual playmates.    Mission accomplished.

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hello, goodbye, crazy quilt

My mom is still here.  She has cleaned every inch of the house, except the garage.  She’s saving that for last.  I am so lucky to have a full-time housekeeper and cook.  She’s going back to Maine next week. 

Tomorrow is her 74th birthday.  Some of my friends are coming over for dinner and cake and ice cream.  They are saints.  They like my mom.

Oven-barbecued chicken, Boston baked beans, brown rice, green salad, corn bread.  Feels like summer, though there was a chance of snow predicted for today.  Highly unusual.  Never did snow today.

She wants a yellow cake with whipped cream frosting and strawberries, and so she shall have it.  I will make it because I am the resident cake-baker and because my mother wants it.  Anyone who cooks and cleans for me can have anything they want.


I saw Marty this week.  I gave him a box of his stuff and he gave me the bouquet of preserved, dusty, crispy, long-stemmed roses that have been sitting in a clear glass vase on the desk in his living room for the past year and a half.  They were huge and beautiful and fragrant and red when he gave them to me in July of ’09, the day he took me to the beach and asked me to marry him. 

Today I put them on top of the compost pile and cried a little.   It’s been one month since we called it off…

back to the earth, back to square one

In happier news, my mom and I, but mostly my mom, finished a quilt we started back in April of 2009.  For many years my mom would visit only once a year, and then only for a few days, ’cause she had to take care of my father who was always suffering from one ailment or another in his old age, and he did not like to travel. 

He died a year ago this month.  Actually, he died on her birthday, the greatest gift he could have given her, in the words of one neighbor.  So yeah, tomorrow is my mother’s birthday and my father’s deathday.  Weird.

So this year she’s staying for longer than three days, more like three weeks.  We finished the “crazy quilt”.  One of my friends had dozens of bags and boxes full of scrap fabrics, so we took some off her hands and created this wacky quilt.  My mom is an accomplished quilter, you should see some of the quilts she’s made…..hmmm…..there’s a blogpost in there.


A cozy colorful quilt.  Must be time for bed.  Have a happy weekend everybody!

Posted in daily Life, food, housework, posts with photos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Leather-clad, purple-haired, top-hatted teen

The large fourteen-year old is a creature of habit, or something like that.  Three halloweens ago I bought him a long black leather jacket at a thrift store to top off his pirate costume.  It’s a woman’s coat (don’t tell him), size XL.  There is some fancy embossing, plus suede and other black trim on the wide shoulders, cuffs, and lapels.  Very ’80’s.  Perfect for a pirate.  He loved it and wanted to wear it to school.  No way,  I don’t want it to get wrecked.  But did I ever wear it? No.  So finally I gave in and he has literally worn the darn thing every day since.  That was almost 2 years ago.

Between the left lapel and the shoulder is a growing collection of buttons.  They say things like “Guns don’t kill people, gaping holes in vital organs kill people”, and “You need a hug”, and “May the force be with you”.   One button has a picure of Darth Vader and it says “You have failed me for the last time.” Scary.  My favorite: “I like poetry, long walks on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick”, and then there’s “I wish an apple a day would keep morons away”.  Charming.  Others are just little images; an owl, Abraham Lincoln wearing a top hat, a cupcake, a smiling cloud, a skull with antennae, a pistol, a bean and a grain of rice shaking hands.  This is him.  Tough and sweet, a mixed bag.  A fourteen year old boy.  Joy and angst.

A few months ago he added a top hat to his look.  Last summer at the county fair he bought a belt with a red and black Cadillac emblem buckle.  He has worn it every day since, and the cheap-o belt part is in shreds.  I promised him a new belt this week.  There’s a  little leather shop in an alley way in the next town over, tucked in with a head shop, a bike shop, and a music school.   The other day,  sunny and bright,  my mom and I cut through the alley on the way to the fabric store.  The leather store was open.  Large, luminous, musical gourds hung like lanterns outside the music school.  An ancient vine crawled up the alley walls, thick, gnarled, and naked.  I made a mental note to return with my camera, and Ivan.

Tonight I remembered my promise about the belt.  I called the leather store.  They were open for another hour.  My mom was making dinner, shrimp scampi and broccolini!  “We’ll be right back!”  Ivan and I jumped in the car and headed east.  In less than ten minutes we were in the alley. 

The sign on the heavy wooden door was made of leather, very intricate.  Inside the dark shop a man with long silver hair sat hunched over his sewing machine.  He was friendly and helpful and clad in leather, with sincere, bright blue eyes.  There was a pristine and gleaming purple and silver Harley Davidson parked inside the tiny shop, adorned with leather gloves.  From the low ceiling and on the walls hung exquisite leather handbags, made by this man’s wife.  A magical, funny little shop.   No cow leather here.  Buffalo hide from the Shoshone tribe and deer hide and others.  All wild skins, he claimed. 

Ivan chose a black buffalo hide belt, and the man expertly attached it to the Cadillac belt buckle, and made holes in just the right places.  Ivan was impressed.  “That tool makes perfect holes.” 

“That’s what you get in a custom shop.  This belt will last you twenty years”, said the man.  He was cool.  We bought a pair of gloves, too, because we were smitten, and because Ivan needed/wanted a pair.  Insulated black leather, of course.  The man demonstrated for Ivan how to fold his gloves and put them in his pocket every time he took them off, because otherwise they would disappear, he said.  I loved that. 

“Thank You, Mom” said the boy in black, as we headed back to the car.  “You are so welcome, Ivan.” 

So now I have a leather clad, top-hatted, buttoned up teen, whose pants will not fall down for another twenty years, and he is as cute as a purple-haired kid can be.

Posted in daily Life, Love, teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Drama in Real Life!

When I was a kid, my mom had a subscription to Reader’s Digest.  The hutch at the end of the hall was full of back issues.  On rainy days we spent hours sitting on the floor and reading.  Our favorites were the “Drama in Real Life” stories.  

I like the fact that the amount of drama in my life is limited.  Bear witness.

Hey, I said big silver car, not big silver carp.

The Gangsters.

We sat in the 3 minute loading zone waiting for the airport shuttle to arrive.  No one else wanted to load or unload passengers so we sat there for twenty minutes.  Ivan was nervous.  “Mom, let’s go park somewhere else, the sign says 3 minute limit.”  He’s such a stickler. 

“No, this is fine, we’ll move if we have to, for now we don’t have to.  And wouldn’t you rather sit in the nice comfy car instead of waiting outside, sitting on concrete benches?”

  “Can we please move the car?” 

 “She’ll be here any minute and then we won’t have to lug her suitcase too far if we stay here.”  We were about twenty feet from where the bus would pull up.  Perfect.

We were two car lengths from an intersection.  The street that ran perpendicular to the direction we faced was a one-way, two lanes, heading to our left.  Cars were stopped at the red light.  From the corner of my right eye I saw people running.  A whole gang of young men running.  Running fast.  Odd.

They must want to cross before the light changes.  Sure enough, the leader ran to the crosswalk and crossed in an arc that took him to the driver’s side window of a big silver car which was stopped at the light, first in line.  The driver’s window was open and the leader of the pack started beating on the driver through the window of the car.  The rest of the gang proceeded to pound on the vehicle, trying to get at it’s occupants.  The car sped off.  The gang quickly dispersed. 

We had front row seats.  I rolled up the windows and locked the doors of our car.

“I told you we should have parked somewhere else”.


The Crow.  (Not the crown.  darn you, google.)

My mom and I walked into the antechamber, the foyer, the trophy room of the high school gymnasium at 8:30 am.  A large black crow was flying around inside the low-ceilinged room, literally bouncing off the walls.  It was just me, my mom, an older gentleman, and the frantic crow. “I’m gonna help him get out”, I told my mom.  As if on cue, the crow flew into a window and dropped straight down, like a stone, into a large grey plastic trashcan. 

I grabbed the trashcan and hauled it outside.  The old man didn’t know what was going on.  He followed us outside.  I turned the can on it’s side.  No crow.  I turned the can upside down, then back on it’s side.  It was morning and there wasn’t any trash in it yet, just a dazed crow, tangled slightly in the bag.  I pulled the bag away from his body and he flew off.  Bye Bye Birdie.                


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meatloaf and mashed potatoes and moms

How can you be annoyed by a person who makes dinner for you and does dishes and tidies up little neglected corners of your home and convinces the teenager to apologize to his mad mother after he doesn’t show up when he says he will?

Well, ya can’t.  I’m getting spoiled over here with home-cooking.  Tonight we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes and baked carrots that were hot and tender and delicious with nothing but a little salt and pepper. 

I was in a thrift shop the other day and I bought this camera because it is the exact one my mom used to use when we were kids.  I know, you’d rather see a picture of the meatloaf.  It was too good to stop for photos.  Sorry.

Kodak Insta-Matic 104; five bucks.

Yesterday we went for a walk, Ivan and my mother and me, three generations, and I took along my handy-dandy new digital camera (until I can get my hands on some film for the Kodak).  Wish I could show you how cute the very large boy (6’5″, 250lbs) in his top hat and trenchcoat and purple and black hair looks standing next to his grandma, who is all of five feet tall.  Close your eyes and picture it.  I’ll wait…….

Instead I’ll show you one of the million pictures I took on our walk that I like.

going for the water bowl

I know, I know, I’m not supposed to shoot into the sun.  My photography teacher encourages us to break the rules.  I love being given permission to break the rules and get messy. 

Speaking of messy, it’s time for bed.  Gotta get up early and feed the teenager before sending him off into the world.  Maybe I can get grandma to do it……

Have a peaceful week, friends.

Posted in daily Life, food, housework, posts with photos, teens, thrift shop finds | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

My mom is coming and my head didn’t explode and look at this cute dog.

The Inspector

Huge picture of a small dog.  They call him “Spec”, his official name is “The Inspector”.  He has a sister.  They’re Pomeranians with bad haircuts. 

I hung out with Spec and his sister this past weekend.


This week I had to write an essay to include with my last nursing school application, study for two tests which I took today, dissect my relationship with the ex-fiance over the phone, cry a little, and I had to wonder why the heck I’m carrying 19 units.  Oh, and my mom is arriving in two hours, flying in from Boston for an open-ended visit.  Minor detail.

But I’m not sitting in front of the computer writing a new post while noshing on ritz crackers and cream cheese.  Not me.  Not when the house is a mess and the guest room – HA! – I mean the kid’s room that’s being transformed into grandma’s room still looks like a bomb went off in there.  No, I would never do that.

Isn’t Spec a cutie?  Looking at his fuzzy little face makes me forget all my troubles!

I’m glad my mom is coming.  She’s fun and good company, and she’ll be a great help to me in the coming weeks.  We’re gonna make curtains, and finish a quilt we started last time she was here, and take walks in scenic places and eat her home-cooking. 

Hasta luego!

Posted in animal stories, college, daily Life, food, housework, Love, posts with photos | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Stylish Smilish

My fabulous and decidedly stylish friend, Margaret Reyes Dempsey, of Conjuring My Muse fame, has bestowed upon me a vat of fresh and rather aromatic blog fodder in the form of ……..The Stylish Blogger Award.   

Thanks, Margaret! 

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and therefore there’s no such thing as an award without strings attached….


Yonder strings:               

  • Present seven things about yourself
  • Name about a half dozen bloggers you think deserve the award
  • Contact those people
  • Create a link back to the person who gave you the honor

    In reverse order, ala David Letterman, seven little known facts about little old me:

    7.  I was born in Salem, Massachusetts.

    6.  I like horses.

    ...and this horse likes me. I took his picture just this afternoon.

    5.  I can ride a unicycle.

    4.  I own a unicycle.     

    3.  I once licked a glacier.  Alaska, 2009.

    2.  Maine lobster is my favorite food. 

    Drumroll please…..

    1.  When I was a kid I collected pigs.  Not real pigs.  I no longer collect pigs.  Please don’t send me any pigs.  Send lobsters instead.

              Pic Cartoon Clip Art

    I’m fairly certain that Margaret has mistaken me for some other blogger. 

    I may not be stylish, but I know stylish when I see it. 


    Here are my nominations:

    Lulu’s Musings.  Linda Lewis sets a mean table matched only by the gorgeous food she offers up.  She’s super crafty, hops around the country in all sorts of weather, and she’s recently been to the Galapagos Islands. 

    The Duck of Indeed  The duck always makes me smile.  She can draw like nobody’s business.   Do not challenge her to a video game and plan to win.

    A Friend to Yourself  Sana is a psychiatrist, a mother of three, a wife, and a friend to every blogger who comes her way.  She writes a new post dang near every day.  Amazing.

    I Know I Made You Smile  Carl D’Agostino, retired high school history teacher, specializes in colored pencil drawings and cartoons.  He also has fun with collage. 

    As Told By CatMan, The Rose Bandit  This young lady is full of life and love.  She writes from her heart and leaves happy comments wherever she goes. 

    The Roused Bear  Well, I don’t wanna rouse the bear, but I love this blog.  A government bureaucrat, The Roused Bear offers up a detailed stream of U.S. history, interspersed with photographs he’s taken over the years.  And he’s into butterflies.  Go see for yourself.

    Okay,one more, cause not only am I not stylish, but I can’t count either:

    Thoughts Appear always has something sassy to say.  She owns a personal Pop-tart carrier, which is a good thing, otherwise her tarts might have gotten squished when that wolf sat on her lap.

    Thank You, and Good Night.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

    Party at my house

    Walking along the warm sunny path by the creek, ducks with their butts in the air scooping goodies from down below, it occurred to me that I had to do something.

    A huge chunk of you, yes you, my blog-friends, are suffering unduly under copious quantities of white and shiny and cold stuff.  I can’t take it anymore.

    This morning the phone rang early. Suspiciously early.  Sure enough, it was my mother.  She’s  coming to visit, in a week.  She lives in Maine and she can’t see over the snowbanks.  That’s where she draws the line and buys the ticket.  An open-ended ticket. 

    So, I figured, heck, if my mom, who can barely see over the steering wheel, never mind the snowbanks, can escape the cold and snowy regions of this great land, then so can you.

    I’ve got it all figured out.  I live in a 2-bedroom duplex with a one-car garage, a large garden shed, and a sunny, fenced backyard.  So yes, you can bring the dog, the kids, the significant other.  All I ask is that you each bring a sleeping bag and a pillow.    The men can take over Ivan’s room.  If you’re into legos, Dungeons and Dragons, or X-Box, you’ll love it.  The ladies can camp out in the living room, and my room will become the TV room.  Bring movies.  No cable, but we do have free Wi-Fi.  The adventurous among you can pitch a tent and live in the backyard.  

    Working Tech Mom, I’ve got a job for you.  If you can manage 500 employees, you can manage the household.  Margaret Reyes Dempsey, I christen thee Queen of the Tea.  My mom can do the cooking, if you don’t mind good old-fashioned New England-style food.  A Clean Surface will do what she does best. Each afternoon the table will be set by our resident expert, Lulu’s MusingsThoughts Appear and Hippie Cahier will be in charge of snacks.  Eric from The Rag Tree will honor us each evening with poetry readings.  Omawarisan will try to get out of it, but I think he should do the shopping. Carl D’Agostino will be in charge of the arts and crafts activities to be held outside at the picnic table.  The Idiot Speaketh and his harem can take over the garage.  The Duck of Indeed and my son Ivan will battle to the death on the X-Box as we all watch in awe.  The Rose Bandit will keep us all in good spirits with her positive attitude.  She can accompany Omawarisan to the store to make sure he finds his way back.  Huffygirl, when she’s not out riding her bike, can tend to any first-aid issues that pop up.  Mimie from Malaysia may not make it.  I don’t think it’s snowing there.  That’s too bad, she’s got friends with cameras and photoshop abilities.  We probably won’t see much of The Roused Bear, he has a butterfly habit.  But when we do, he’s sure to entertain us with stories from the early years of this snowy continent.  And Sana, A Friend to Yourself, will be given a place of honor (the big pink chair in the living room) from which she will dispense psychiatric wisdom to those of us in need.  And my newest friend, A Frank Angle, will hopefully be able to help me with my Political Science homework when he’s not across the street, giddily playing golf.

    So get your tickets, dearies, and as soon as the planes are flying again, I’ll meet you at the airport.

    Posted in Amazing Stories, camping, daily Life, food, housework, Love, Mother Nature, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments