Happiness is More Cake

Birthdays were never a big deal in my family. We did presents and cake and that was about it. Nobody had time for parties. And then I grew up and life got busier and those dates just started to whip by. Now I look at them and think, “Oh, look, another year where I didn’t die.” My family is long-lived in general, so I think we’re just jaded. But there’s still something about that one day a year, a marker that says, “Made it through another one.” Plus this year, I’m going to finish three books, thanks to Robert Mayer, the Zombie Bigot, so that’s something to celebrate. I even made a cake yesterday, well, pumpkin doughnuts with cream cheese icing (I have a doughnut maker, it’s easier than cake pans). Very happy making. That actually might be the secret to happiness: More Cake.

How did you celebrate happiness this week?

49 thoughts on “Happiness is More Cake

  1. Happy Birthday Jenny! You made it through another year hehehe

    I’m going to have to think about the happiness thing and come back later in the day. (Finishing up an overnight shift for my job right now)

    Wanted to say, though. Recently someone asked if Bob had written any books about zombies. I said no but he wrote a series about aliens.

    One of the books in that series: Area 51 Interstellar is FREE on kindle right now. It’s not the first book in the series but Bob’s blurb says it can be a standalone.

    I will attempt to put a link to get it on amazon in the comments.

    Jenny delete it if it is inappropriate.

    Back later with the happy!

  2. Happy belated birthday, Jenny! Enjoy your cake.

    I went for coffee with a friend which turned into shopping and lunch. It a coolish day and we found ourselves a sunny spot on a patio. She’s great company and enjoyed being “ladies who lunch”.

    DH and I spent a pleasant afternoon checking out local fall craft/vintage shows. We found a framed vintage botanical print of a black walnut and ate delicious BBQ on a patio.

    We’ve had a few cool night but my garden is still going strong. Can’t keep up with the tomatoes, despite giving them away and eating them for almost every meal (except breakfast). The taste of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes is incomparable and since winter isn’t too far away, I’m savouring the taste.

  3. There’s just something about cake be it made from scratch or a box or bakery with all kinds of decorations on top or even a single slice packaged just for one that brings out the kid in all of us. For a birthday or wedding or people just getting together for tea or coffee. Then there is layer many layers or sheet cake frosted with buttercream. Just about anything is celebrated with cake. I feel a sugar high coming on. A belated happy birthday Jenny.

  4. Happy birthday! I am not a big cake person, but I would happily try to eat my own weight in donuts. Many happy returns.

    1. Maybe you just haven’t tried the right cake. When I was a kid, we would go to the folk fair where the Latvian booth sold slices of the most delicious tortes. I’m sure they influenced my cravings for the next 60 years.

      1. Maybe. There are certainly good cakes in the world. But then, I don’t like steak either. Give me mushrooms any day.

    2. I’m the opposite. Cake, not donuts. On the other hand (I have too many hands right now), fall snuck up on me this year – I was distracted and didn’t see it coming. Pumpkin anything is good – pumpkin donuts are a Good Thing. I don’t bake, but I may need to stop at a donut store while I’m out.

  5. Happy birthday! Congratulations on making it through another year. With or without zombies.

    My happy is finishing up another book for Llewellyn, picking up the last of the fresh corn at the farmer’s market, grilling eggplant and long purple beans (mine) and cauliflower (not mine) for dinner, and mostly just being grateful to be home from traveling. With six negative tests in a row, despite numerous reports of people testing positive when returning from Bouchercon, including one I sat next to at dinner on the last night. That was a BIG happy.

    Also happy that my crazy cat Diana somehow knows when I’m having a bad nightmare and licks my chin until I wake up. It almost makes up for the fact that she won’t stay off the counters.

    1. Happy birthday, Jenny!

      My younger brother, who is MRDD (and whose birthday is today!) was hospitalized with Covid this week. After two rounds of Remdesivir, he seemed better today so I gowned up and took him a stuffed animal–just a cheap one because I suspect they won’t let him take it back to the care home when he’s released.

      And he was happy just to have someone come in and sing an off-key “happy birthday to you” while rubbing his head with a rubber-gloved hand.

  6. Happy Birthday Jenny! Thanks for all you do for us & for sharing your talents.

    How (or what) am I celebrating this week? Well, Baltimore Ravens home opener (TV), our Orioles are fighting for the Wild Card spot, sighted two new-to-my-yard butterflies this week and a fox took a morning stroll through my yard earlier today.

    Two months ago I took a spill in my yard (severe sprains on ankle & wrist, chip fracture in my hand). Today I can stop wearing the aircast on my ankle (hooray!). Today I will attempt to do some needle felting for the first time in months. Hopefully the wrist will hold up.

  7. Happy birthday!
    Now I want doughnuts. Could be motivation to go outside. . .

    Art is making me happy. I went to the “17th Annual Abbeyhill Colony of Artists Festival” held in a bit of Edinburgh that I found interesting weeks ago. And now I’ve been to met some of the artists that live there and seen a wide range of art. It’s the second street fair focused on art and craft I’ve been to in the last two months. One of the things I lost moving to Sydney. There were street fairs but most of ones I found had very few people offering things they made themselves.
    Very happy to wander in amongst so many stalls with interesting hand crafted things. Hopefully by next year I’ll have a place to put new beautiful things. This year I mostly bought handmade cards.

  8. I’m happy that I can still eat cake (just not frosting)! When I got serious about heart-healthy eating, I completely gave up butter and any fat that’s hydrogenated (I’m no good at moderation, so it’s all or nothing for me), which pretty much means no cookies, either home-made or store-bought. But most cakes and breads use oil instead of butter/shortening, and I just avoid the few that absolutely have to have butter. And I use apple butter or a very thin layer of low-fat cream cheese in place of frosting.

    I’m also happy that my one-a-day plan of cleaning one thing a day is starting to make a noticeable difference, with two-plus weeks left before houseguests arrive.

    Oh, and I’m happy both that Mystery Loves Democracy is auctioning off some great things to benefit voting rights AND that I am not actively involved this time around (just bad timing for me, so it’s a relief not to have to deal with donated items or shipping them out). Check it out: https://www.mysterylovesdemocracy.com/

    1. Thanks for the tip, lots of interesting items I didn’t expect to see, lovely shawl for instance, a Frasier pin?.? I didn’t even know their was a Frasier pin, we loved that show.

    2. Gin, as a lifelong allergy patient I am here to tell you that cookies can easily be made without butter. (Though I suppose not actual Butter Cookies, which I never liked anyway. I love butter, though.) As with cakes, you must choose an oil which is reasonably flavorless. The only time I routinely made cookies with butter was a period when the only oils I could eat were too strong-tasting. I have made pie crust with oil, during the years when my mother or other people I was cooking for were allergic to butter but not flour. (Although rice flour works perfectly well, barley or oat flours are very difficult to handle.) (I myself have been allergic to milk for a while, but never to butter.) It is entirely possible to make icing with oil.
      I believe that the point of my great-aunt’s WWI recipe for Eggless Butterless Cake, which my egg-allergic mother and self adapted in many ways, was that it was spicy enough that you could use lard or even bacon fat as the shortening and the taste would not be affected. She had a caramel icing recipe for it that also called for lard instead of butter.

  9. Happy birthday, Jenny. Cake is always good.
    I went to a concert on Thursday night and I still feel elated. Itzhak Perlman performed with our symphony orchestra. He played music from popular movies: Schindler’s List, Cinema Paradiso, some others. Beautiful!

  10. Happy Birthday and many more!

    My happy is finishing up planting 10 new plants, one of them a tree, in the yard this morning. I managed not to hurt my back! My other happy is recovering from the 5th COVID shot with only mild arm pain and no huge lymph nodes, this time. I did have a headache for three days, but that is nothing if I avoid the dreaded disease when my not-interested- in-prevention family visits next week, and when I get on a plane to visit them next month.

    I have one of those donut pans. I must get it out and use it, soon. Yummm.

  11. Best wishes, Jenny, for many more years of writing and loving life!

    I made pumpkin bars this week, limiting myself to one a day. I put most
    of them in the freezer. gave a few away.

    Very happy to have a friend who will meet for lunch to listen to my angst
    over another relationship. She took a weight off my heart.

  12. Happy birthday!

    This week, happy was getting through a vacation-week backlog of 100s of emails without working even one minute of overtime, ending the week with eleven items in my primary in-box, none actionable.

    Also happy: moved the shepherd’s hook for my birdfeeders so 1) I can see it better from inside and 2) the ceanothus has more room to grow. I moved the hook a foot at the beginning of the year and the shrub promptly expanded into the available space; challenge accepted.

    Yet more happy: over 10K words on the new book; set up my October title for pre-order; got off to a good start with the scanning-the-journals project; and finished boxing up the DVDs. There is a bit more to be done on that last project, but at least it is up off the floor in my yoga space and into a cabinet where it belongs.

  13. Happy birthday!
    I don’t know there were donut machines!
    I went to a Nationals game Friday and someone put a marriage proposal on the big screen. They didn’t tell us if she accepted . It would not be my happy but I hope it was both of theirs.
    I’m giving up my executors director job—too much admin—and may transition to a policy only job if we can raise the funds. Or I may just move to consulting .

  14. Happy belated birthday. Happy donuts.

    Happiness is not running out of flour for the dog biscuit dough. I did want to use it all and then start fresh. Had just enough.

    My sister was in from Virginia last week. So I’m catching up and keeping up with things. This makes me happy.

    Went to our multi-cultural parade and festival yesterday. No cake; but, it was a beautiful day and I saw a lot of friends.

  15. Happy Birthday, Jenny!

    My happy this week is making great progress on making a corner of my basement into a library, complete with new lighting and a comfy chair. When I’m finished I will splurge on a nice rug. I also packed up four more boxes of books to donate to my local library. It is very difficult for me to let go of books (what if I want them someday!) but my house has to have room for books AND people.

  16. One of my favorite books when I was a kid was Homer Price: The Doughnuts. The automatic doughnut machine goes nuts and keeps on making them up. They are overrun with doughnuts.
    I love the illustrations.

    I’m happy because I’m going to Europe tomorrow. I’m tense because I can’t find my carefully saved folder of museum and concert tickets. My desk is a mess. I can’t go!

  17. Happy birthday! I also think that the key to happiness is more cake, but as a former baker, I might be prejudiced, Another advantage to birthdays is that it reminds friends and relatives to reach out, even if they don’t the rest of the year.

    It isn’t my birthday, what made me happy was talking to distant loved ones. My niece Emmy got back from France and gave me a call. She had a wonderful time, but was still too jet lagged to talk for very long. I look forward to calling her in another few weeks to hear more of the details.

    I have a friend who lives in Milwaukee with whom I used to spend a day every summer or fall playing tourist. We haven’t done that for a few years due to either the pandemic or her commitments to her grandchildren, but she called last week. Her mother had been ill for a month or more, recovered completely and then died very suddenly from something else. And she had to get all tax info in to re-certify for non-profit status for the foundation where she works at the same time. Plus the last remaining member of the couple who endowed the foundation where she works died within the last month, too. It took 2 or 3 tries to connect with each other, but when we did I was just about to get on the train to run some errands. I didn’t want to miss her so I walked a half block away from the train tracks and just stood on the sidewalk talking to her for 30-40 minutes. I really wish I could see her in person, because I think she needs more than a telephone call, but I don’t think she is going anyplace outside of work yet.
    This woman really helped a lot with my parents when they were no longer able to get out by themselves and every time we’d thank her,she would say that it was good practice for when her mother got to be that age. I hope that some one can be the ray of sunshine for her now that she was for my family a few years ago.

  18. Happy, happy birthday, Jenny! Enjoy the doughnuts! Yum, doughnuts.

    Best wishes for another happy and healthy year–and a break from the breakneck pace you’ve been writing at (although, YAY for writing!). Thanks for all the happiness you give to all of us here.

  19. Happy Birthday from me too! My big happy was attending my niece’s baby shower today. I got to see a lot of people I haven’t seen for over a year, and my niece (thinks she’s hugely pregnant) is adorably pregnant. She has a couple of months to go so will get bigger, but she looks healthy and happy.

  20. I have been addicted to news report of the mourning for QEII all around Britain and the Commonwealth. There is something about the “Keep calm and carry on” spirit of ordinary people that I admire very much, and the unanimous mourning moments, like the minute of silence and the intention/willingness to queue for hours and hours for a chance to walk by the coffin seems quietly heroic to me.

    At the same time the most ridiculous source of happiness I’ve had this weekend of continuous news channel watching, is that I have been enjoying some of the commercials this month. I am very fond of the series of Progressive insurance commercials that involve an actual Hollywood actor suddenly recognizing Flo (the main insurance ad figure) as someone he had a blind date with in the past. Each new bit makes me smile. But what I love the most is an ad showing a mother and daughter talking in hushed voices:


    Each little segment of the ad is just perfect. Even without any zombies.


    Happiness has been a stretch lately, but I am actively working on it. Stuffing my face with ice cream while on Main Street, USA in Disneyland with my husband and kids was a good moment though 🙂

  22. A very happy birthday and my wish for you to have many expected and unexpected blessings.
    Today we celebrated my son‘s birthday. Chris actually turns 40 on September 22. And I turn 79 on this Tuesday.
    To celebrate I made two kinds of cake for me And my bunco group. A lemon cake and a gold cake with chocolate fudge frosting. Fortunately there was plenty left over from Bunco so I will have cake on my birthday. Also some of my sons vegan blueberry pecan pie from the pie hole which is an awesome Pie place here in Los Angeles.
    As far as I’m concerned a birthday without cake it’s just another day. So I never let that happen.

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