an inescapable conclusion

Yesterday, Gaoo had us over for our wedding cake tasting. The Fella and I sat in her pretty front room, the sun warming our backs. We paged through her albums of gorgeous cakes and batted around ideas the way kittens bat around colorful balls of yarn, all while we ate dainty slices of cake and tiny chocolate cups filled with frosting off a delicate floral porcelain plate.

(Gaoo’s an artist and a genius, incidentally. I already knew that in an abstract way, but I understood it viscerally last week when she glanced at my preliminary sketch and immediately added a whole new dimension that blew my mind.)

As I ran errands after the tasting, I discovered that a local housewares boutique sells the exact jars I wanted for our (non-floral, non-perishable) centerpieces. The owner, who knows me by sight, generously offered a ridiculously sweet deal on a dozen. (Buy local, kids!) Her offer changed “Hey, that’s a great idea! Now how can I do it cheaper?” to “Hey, that’s a great idea! Let’s do it!” So, more than four months before the wedding, we already have our very simple table decor lined up.

invitdryingAnd we finished the invitations!

The completion of these first few gewgaws and trinkets nudges me toward an inescapable conclusion: holy cats, we’re having a wedding. That must mean we’re getting married.


And Yippee!

A few more details remain, of course. For example, we haven’t settled on a first dance song. So far, we’ve eliminated:
Yakkety Sax
The Final Countdown
– The Futurama remix of Rocketship.
So, three songs down, eleventy billion to go.

engagement zombies

I couldn’t let another day go by without acknowledging our very first engagement gift, which Gaoo and niece A. delivered wrapped in silvery-white wedding paper months and months ago.

We’re considering using two of the figures as caketoppers, if only our hoity-toity fancypants boutique baker will tolerate such foolishness. I’m thinking she will, since she gave ’em to us.

Yup. Awesome.

update: The Fella and I originally toyed with the idea of having a zombie graveyard cake as our wedding cake. As I envisioned it, this would be quite simple: an embellished sheetcake, its frosting punctuated with headstones (tuiles sunk into the cake itself) and disturbed graves (crumbled chocolate cookies or cake crumbs) and zombie figures staggering here and there. When I vaguely mentioned our zombie-cake daydreams to Gaoo, our wedding cake maker extraordinaire, she immediately suggested something grander and spookier. Though we’ve now settled on a different design, that moment made me realize once again the difference between a dilettante (me!) and an artist (that would be Gaoo).

One week down


No, I didn’t make any resolutions, I’m done with that fruitless endeavor, however, I have been eating a gluten-free diet for the past week. It’s more an experiment than anything–I want to see if it makes a difference in my energy levels and in a way it has. I go for a brisk walk every other day and by the third day of the experiment I didn’t know if my legs would carry me home. I had to lay down at least twice that day just to make it through (but it was also extremely hot and I don’t own an A/C.) The past few days when walking though I’ve felt like sprinting and this evening I even broke into a fast trot for a minute. My energy may be perking up a wee bit.

The gluten-free experiment doesn’t mean finding a replacement for grains. I’m following the 5 veg and 2 fruit guideline (although I only manage 1 fruit at the moment) and eating just a small amount of rice or potatoes if I need a side. I suppose soon I’ll try a few rice pastas, but I like the idea of minimally processed foods, corn chips always being the exception. Right now I’m making my way through a packaged gluten-free cookie and I can really do without it. In fact, from now on I’ll indulge in a small block of dark chocolate instead. I saw a cook book today for $55 and decided it was totally unnecessary, this has been pretty simple so far. I keep putting off making that polenta Elsa told me about, but it’s on the list.

Ah, we did have dinner at friends’ this weekend and they decided on pizza. I bought some gluten-free wraps and made my own mini-pizza. It was perfect because I’m a thin crust kinda gal anyway. I used just a small amount of spiced tomato paste and a thin layer of cheese so as not to make it too soggy. Mine was probably the best.
The down side: JM just started brewing his own beer at home and I can’t have any! Maybe in three weeks when it’s ready I’ll treat myself to one and see how it affects me. Also, we’re having a house warming this weekend and I’m torn making things I can’t eat. Most of it I can and those few things I’d like to try, but won’t, will be okay as well. I’m specifically thinking about these corny dogs from Homesick Texan.

Who let the blog out?

Now that Thanksgiving it over, it’s time to bitch. First off, let me complain about the state of my eye, in that it tore afresh last night while all you in Ah-mer-ca were enjoying your birds. What a pain in the, well, eye. Next week I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist (hell, did I finally spell that right after 39 years?) and I’m sure she’ll say this is as good as it gets, this blurred mess. Then I’ll have chocolate to comfort myself and cry bitter sweet, dark tears.
What else sucks? I’ll get back to you…
Side note
Elli: Read my blog, it’s funny.
JM: (reads entry) It’s not really funny.
Elli: I’m bitching the day after Thanksgiving. It’s dark humor.
JM: I don’t really get that.

wacky snacky cake

Remember wacky cake? For many, it’s a childhood recipe.

Why “wacky”? Because this cake flouts all the conventions of cakemaking chemistry. It contains no butter, no egg, no milk. It requires no creaming or whipping. You stir together flour, sugar, and cocoa right in the ungreased pan, then mix in oil, water, and vinegar. This suspiciously simple recipe bakes up into an improbably dark, moist cake. It’s no barn-burner, but it’s pleasant and easy, and on a few late snowy nights, wacky cake has satisfied my chocolate cravings when the cupboard was nearly bare.

It took a post by Homesick Texan to make wacky cake a weekly player in my home. Homesick Texan plays with the flavor, leaving out the cocoa and adding chopped apples and nuts.

Me, I can’t leave a recipe alone, so I’ve now made wacky-apple cake with dried cranberries, wacky pear cake with blueberries, and wacky-papple cake, which is wacky cake with apple and pear. I added extra flavor by replacing some of the water with leftover canned pear juice, increased the spices, and replaced the vanilla with kirsch. My favorite variation is documented below.

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Nanowrimo update

The writing, she is not going well. Even though there is plenty left to tell, the will to share it has petered out. Blar blar blar. Okay I’ll keep going one more day, but at this point, at a little over 8,000 words, I am not so hopeful to make up the deficit over the course of this week, especially if I have to begin cleaning for the move. However, I am house-bound tomorrow due to the 24-hour urine test (joy!) which has required me to forego tomatoes, nuts, chocolate and various fruits. (Do you know how hard it is for me not to eat tomatoes? It’s almost like telling me not to eat broccoli.) So I may give it one more full day before officially throwing in the towel. Wednesday I will celebrate with salsa.

Sweet, sweet brain

What a day. It’s almost 4 and I haven’t started writing yet because REAL LIFE keeps getting in the way. My newest doctor’s office returned my call from yesterday and offered me an appointment tomorrow. Gulp. That means I’ve spent the past several hours attempting to translate my medical records from German to English, which is no easy feat. I start off using Google translator, but it doesn’t seem to handle many of the medical terms. It also can’t deal with my name so I constantly have to correct “Swiss Woman” back to “Mrs Schweizer”. One of my favorites though is: “The center is not relocated. Standard width inner and outer liquor room.” My brain, it has liquor room, like those chocolates with kirsch filling. Mmm.