How to Make a Wedding Cake

1. Roommate announces Thursday night that she’s getting married on Saturday. Congratulate her. Accept when she asks you to be maid of honor. Try to remember what maid of honor does besides stand there. Roommate says they have found a great place to get married near Easton in Columbus. Tell roommate that’s a five-hour round trip with kids and you hope she has a nice time. Go back to work on vastly overdue book until the dawn breaks and kids leave for school. Roommate says they have found a place in Cincinnati to get married. Congratulate her and tell her you’ll be there. Go to sleep.

2. Wake up four hours later and realize that sick puppy is about to run out of special dog food and wedding is tomorrow. Better get a card. Drive to the vet’s. Wake up as you drive. Realize that putting on underwear does not constitute “dressed to leave the house” if dressed in striped sweats and a T-shirt and wearing houseslippers. Realize at twenty-one, this is cute; at sixty-one, assisted living is in near future. Park at vet’s. Continue reading

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Bat Country

We have a thing for bats here.

My first real run-in with a bat was when Mollie was about seven or eight. The room at the top of the stairs was hers and I had the bedroom at the bottom of the stairs (very small house), and in the middle of the night, I heard this godawful scream, and the very few maternal instincts I have propelled me out of bed to the bottom of the stairs where I caught her as she flung herself down them.

There’s a bat in my room!” she screamed. “It’s caught in the fan and it’s flapping!”

“No, honey, it’s just a piece of paper,” I said, patting her, and then the bat flew down the stairs. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Krissie

So Krissie came to stay the week and it was wonderful and then yesterday we had her party. This time we got a fabulous cake from the fancy bakery at Krogers, a gorgeous sponge cake with cream and fruit filling, iced on the side with cream and white chocolate shavings and topped with glazed and sugared fruit. It truly was a work of art and I meant to take a picture, but then we ate it.

HOWEVER, I did take pictures of the purse I made for Krissie, the Krissie Multiple Pursonality Order Bag, so called because it sorts out all of Krissie’s personalities: The Writer, the Reader, the Quilter, the Snacker, and the Wife-Daughter-Mother Personal Life . . . Person. Whatever.

I started with this sketch . . . Continue reading

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The Kit Cake

Lani sent me the step by step pictures of Sweetness’s Kit cake. She used Wilton fondant because that’s what I had, and paste food coloring I think. She should really be doing this post but Lucy March evidently doesn’t do food how-tos, unlike Argh which will do anything because we are completely undisciplined, so here’s Lucy’s “How To Make A Kit Cake” in pictures:
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Fix the Pig: Fourth Day

You know, you could do this. Believe me, it wasn’t hard.

The graph from the pig (see below) was one square to one inch, and most suitcases are standard sizes, so it would probably be in proportion to your suitcase, although if you have pockets on the outside of the case, you may have to get creative and put the face on the upper pocket and the dress on the lower one.

If your case is light-colored, used a soft pencil to sketch in the outline; if it’s dark, get a white pencil. The best way to transfer a graph drawing is to first draw the graph squares on the thing you’re transferring the drawing to, which in this case would give you a checkerboard background which could be kind of snappy. Once the graph is on–one inch squares–then you match the lines on the graph drawing to the lines on the suitcase. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to vaguely resemble a pig. And this drawing is so simple, it’s mostly squashy circles anyway:

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Fix the Pig: Third Day

We’re getting close to the end now. I need to go over (and over and over) the black Sharpie and decide if I want to add the lettering or not. I tried to keep this close to the drawing (which, by the way, was one inch to one square) and got off in several places which meant that I like the drawing better–she seems happier in the drawing–but overall, I’m good with this. I’ll be doing things to it from now until I hand it over in DC in July, but this is an Almost Done Pig:
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Fix the Pig: Second Day

I didn’t say the days were going to be consecutive, did I? No.

So back to the pig. Previously on Argh:

My pal Krissie has the ugliest suitcase on the planet, a dingy pink monstrosity she affectionately calls the Pig. We’ve travelled all over the world with the Pig, and while you’d think its ugliness would become more endearing, it remains the Embarrassment on the Baggage Carousel. Then I painted silver stars on my luggage and Krissie said, “Fix the Pig.” Except we were never together long enough for me to do it, so when she left this time, I handed her my silver star suitcase and said, “Leave the Pig. I can’t stand it anymore, I’m fixing it.”

So the Stars went to Vermont and the Pig stayed home.

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Fix the Pig: First Day

My pal Krissie has the ugliest suitcase on the planet, a dingy pink monstrosity she affectionately calls the Pig. We’ve travelled all over the world with the Pig, and while you’d think its ugliness would become more endearing, it remains the Embarrassment on the Baggage Carousel. Then I painted silver stars on my luggage and Krissie said, “Fix the Pig.” Except we were never together long enough for me to do it, so when she left this time, I handed her my silver star suitcase and said, “Leave the Pig. I can’t stand it anymore, I’m fixing it.”

So the Stars went to Vermont and the Pig stayed home:
pig Continue reading

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Starry, Starry Suitcase, Smelly, Smelly Dogs

It’s the night before take-off and all through the house is stuff I still have to do.

Among other things, I’m packing again, and since I’m going to be gone awhile, I needed a bigger suitcase. And since I am a seasoned traveler, I knew that I wanted one with four wheels (two wheels are so five minutes ago) which meant I had a choice of black. If you’ve ever tried to pick up a black suitcase at baggage claim, you know what a hassle it is. Everybody packs a basic black. Sometimes people put tape on them or fancy colored luggage tags–I know somebody who put a florescent green luggage tag on his and thought he was living on the edge–but I’m used to red flowered luggage that’s so bright that the check-in people say, “What great luggage!” I know, I’m a whore for attention.

But now I have this big black suitcase. It has four wheels and it’s really light and it came with all kinds of bags and things inside, and I like it a lot, but it’s plain black. So I got it home and stared at it, and it stared back, and I thought about painting pink hearts on it to match the red luggage but I am so not a pink heart kind of person. Then I thought about painting spirals on it and realized it would look like upholstery. Then I thought about putting Mare’s butterflies all over it and realized that I’d get tired of those real soon. Then I thought about doing a checkerboard pattern, but you know I’d get off plumb somewhere and it’d look like bad op art.

So I went with freehand stars. They’re cheerful and I like them and they don’t have to match each other. I’m pretty sure the check-in people are not going to say, “What great luggage” since I did the stars in silver Sharpie, not the most high-end application, but by damn I can find it at baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant, but I have to tell you, it was really hard doing the first star. I kept thinking, “I’m drawing on a suitcase, that can’t be right.” This from a woman who painted her television blue and orange, but that was an old television and this is a new suitcase. Okay, it’s a new suitcase that cost $99 at T.J.Maxx, we’re not vandalizing designer luggage, but still I hesitated. Once I started, though, it was great. My starry suitcase, the only one like it in the world. So I’m putting that on my to-do list for the future: Paint More Luggage.

And while I was doing the stars, I thought, I’m going to Australia and New Zealand. It hadn’t hit home before, I’ve had so many deadlines and so much stuff happening–three books out this summer so far and a fourth in two weeks–and then there was the trip to NYC and some career convulsions, so it wasn’t until I was sitting there drawing stars that I thought, “I’m really going.” So that’s another thing on the list: Slow Down and Pay More Attention to How Good Your Life Is.

Then I picked up dog food and new dog collars because everybody here is getting a bath so the dogsitter can stand them. Lucy’s collar has daisies on it that will immediately become filthy but it was so cute I don’t care.

And then I finished the handouts that were supposed to be in Australia and New Zealand the second week in July and e-mailed them to Anne Gracie and Joanne Graves, two women with the patience of saints.

After which I looked for my glasses only to discover them fifteen minutes later. On my face.

Now I’m down to:

Sweep the TV room where the dogs mutilated a bag of potato chips Bernie counter surfed for them.

Get the books off the couch and the floor in the living room so the dogsitter can sit down without breaking a leg.

Go upstairs and dust the guest room so Krissie can nap after her ungodly 4:30 AM flight to Cincy before we both get on the plane at 5.

Find my hose. You’re supposed to wear hose on a plane to keep from stroking out, and I know I have some. I just haven’t worn any for so many years that they’re probably defunct by now.

Finish the laundry so I have clean underwear. I understand the people Down Under are very open minded but I think clean underwear is probably a must.

Clean the bedroom. It’s pretty much clean, I just need to move the old dog beds out (new dog beds! new collars! they’re going to be very suspicious) and get all the books off the bed so the dogsitter can get some sleep without anything falling on her.

Pack the cord for my laptop. Yes, I have an adapter for Australia and New Zealand. I’m disorganized but I know where the power for my Mac is at all times.

Clean the kitchen. It’s basically clean, I just have to get all the books off the kitchen table so the dogsitter can eat sitting down.

Bathe all three dogs because it’s time. I’m saving that for last because after that, I’m going to collapse. And I have to leave here at eight AM tomorrow to get Krissie, so no sleeping in.

I know there’s something I’m missing. And since it’s quarter to eleven at night, it was probably not a good idea to take that hour to put the silver stars on my suitcase. Not to mention I didn’t get any of the real work done, like work on AKMG so I can finish it by January (there’s a hope), or refill the dog and cat feeders and water bottles or . . .

Maybe I’ll stay up all night and sleep on the plane. Secure in the knowledge that when I land, I will be able to find my black suitcase. It was a good thing to put those stars on today. See? (No, that’s not a fur rug in the corner, that’s Bernie who refused to move.)

Suitcase

Nothing but good times ahead in Australia and New Zealand. How cool is that?

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