Fumbling again…

Once upon a time, my life was a chaotic mess and I was floundering…or maybe fumbling is a better word.  One night, I sat down at my computer and created a blog.  My intention was to chronicle the process of putting my life back in order and making myself happy once again.  I thought writing about it would be therapeutic and would keep me accountable to do the things I said I was going to do.  Turns out…I was totally right.  The writing was extremely therapeutic and it made me incredibly happy.  I met new people and traveled to new places.  I was able to share and create and vent and just sort of empty my brain of the million thoughts that are always floating around in there.  Also, I totally got my shit together, my life stopped being a chaotic mess and I stopped floundering.

For a long time, I sat down at my computer every day (or almost every day) and I wrote.  It was my happy place and I loved it…until I didn’t.  My focus shifted and I started to write things that I thought people would want to read instead of things that I actually wanted to write.  I started checking my site stats and being disappointed if I didn’t get any comments on a particular post.  I started looking at blog trends to figure out how to become more popular.  It suddenly felt like work and I started to hate sitting down to write everyday.  I also began to feel like I had exposed far too much of my life online where just anyone could find it.  So I stepped away.

But lately I’ve been feeling a little of what I did at the beginning…the thing that made me start writing in the first place.  My life is not a chaotic mess and I’m not fumbling really…but there’s something not quite right.  I’m bored, but at the same time, everything feels hectic.  I have a hundred balls in the air, but nothing to do.  I want to do everything, but really I just want to sit around and do nothing.  I feel both overwhelmed and underwhelmed with my life.

I think the issue is the huge birthday I have looming at the end of the year…just a few short months away.  I think the issue is that I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis.  I’ve reached an age that I can’t really believe…an age that used to seem sooooo far away…and I feel like I should have done so much more by now than what I’ve done.

Time is passing too quickly and every time I blink another year has gone by.  I have notebooks all over the house where I jot down ideas and things I want to do and plans I’m making, but there are so many things I have no idea where to start, so instead of doing something, I sit down and watch Castle re-runs.  I’m really great at hatching abstract ideas, but horrible at making concrete plans to turn those ideas into reality.  I’ve also slipped into really bad habits from working at home and my days don’t have enough structure or routine.

Today, I realized that before this gets worse and I start going clubbing and looking for a 20-year-old boyfriend, I really need to do something about all of this.  I have to stop jotting things into notebooks and make a clear list of goals.  Then I have to make a concrete plan to achieve each of those goals.  I thought about all of this while I grocery shopped earlier and when I walked back into the house, I went directly to the computer and opened this page.  Blogging suddenly made so much sense again.

This time, though, I’m not going to lose sight of the fact that I’m doing this for me.  I don’t care about marketing my blog or trying to sell ad space.  I am not going to worry about creating a larger Twitter presence so I can drive traffic to my blog.  While I appreciate every single person that will read it, I will be just as happy if the only eyes that ever see it are my own.

It feels really good to be back here.

Timeline of a cold…

For me, being sick always follows the same pattern.  It goes something like this:

I’m around someone who is sick and sneezing or coughing and I start to worry.  I wash my hands a thousand times and I try not to get too close.  Then I go home and take a bunch of vitamin C and some andrographis and I start to beg God and my immune system to please not let me get sick.

A few days later I feel that something is not right in the back of my throat.  It’s not a sore throat really…just more of a little tingly twinge occasionally when I swallow.  This is the first sign I’m getting sick…that I’m probably already sick…but I ignore it and pretend it’s not happening and go about my day.  I take a bunch of vitamin C and some andrographis and I beg God and my immune system to please let this thing pass without turning into a full-fledged cold.  I go to bed at a ridiculously early hour, hoping the sleep will help me fight the germs.

A day or so after that, the sneeze comes.  Now…I sneeze about 27 times a day.  I’m allergic to pollen and dust and dog hair and I live in the country with two dogs…sneezing is just part of a normal day.  But this sneeze…this is not an ordinary “let’s get this dust out of your nose” sneeze.  Nope, this is a major sneeze…a big sneeze that takes it’s time building and hurts my nose.  My sinuses ache for a minute or so after.  It’s the sneeze that let’s me know the germs have won and the cold is coming.  I continue to take vitamin C and andrographis and beg God and my immune system to please let this be a joke and let me fight this thing.

The next morning, I wake up completely congested.  Again, waking up congested is a pretty normal thing for me…you know, since the dogs sleep on me all night.  But again, this is not my normal get up and blow my nose and everything is fine kind of congestion.  Nope…this congestion is not messing around.  This congestion means business and it’s here to stay and then I know I’m just screwed.  I’m full on sick and there is nothing I can do about it.  I continue to take my vitamin C and andrographis, but my immune system is now laughing at my pleas for mercy.  I also stop trying to make deals with God, because it’s too late for me and he probably has better things to do anyway.

Soon after, the coughing starts.  The coughing always starts because I have crappy lungs. And the coughing seriously sucks.  It keeps me awake and annoys everyone around me and it makes my sides sore because I do it so often.  Often, the coughing fits get violent and I am fairly certain I’m going to pass out because I just…can’t…stop…coughing.  Nothing helps, but I suck on cough drops all day and I take Delsym…which tastes terrible and doesn’t really work.  I stick with my vitamin C and andrographis and at night I still try to make deals with God about getting some sleep because if I could just get some damn sleep I might actually feel better.

The coughing takes forever to go away and generally lingers long after the stuffy nose and sneezing have stopped.  I hate the coughing.  It’s at this point that I know vitamin C and andrographis aren’t going to cut it…so I call the doctor for the real stuff.  She gives me prednisone and cough syrup with codeine and finally…mercifully…I sleep.  Sometimes I sleep for a whole day.  When I eventually wake up and take a shower, I start to feel better.  Slowly, but surely, each day is a little better and after a week or so, I’m pretty much back to normal.  I then thank God for whatever part he played in making this damn cold go away.

And that is pretty much how it goes every single time.

When I was working in an office and commuting on public transportation every day, this was a pattern that happened a lot.  I got sick every other month or so…usually from some asshole on the train that couldn’t be bothered covering his mouth when he coughed or by my assistant, who would come to work sick no matter how many times I begged her to stay home.  However, since I started working from home last year, I hadn’t been sick once.  It was miraculous.

That is…I hadn’t been sick until just after Christmas.  I guess it was inevitable.  When every single person around you is sick, it’s pretty impossible not to pick up something.  It started with my dad, then my mom, then my nephews and niece.  Once J fell ill, I knew I was done for.  I got sick right before it was time to go back to work…but luckily, I was able to work in my pajamas and break for naps when I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Oh, and the day I had no voice at all, only one client called me and he kept the call really short.  I credit the andrographis with the fact that it’s been less than two weeks and I’m already feeling better.  Normally, I end up sick for at least three or four weeks.  If you don’t have that stuff, you need to go out and get some.

I know this thing is still going around.  Allyson is the latest victim.  So to all of you out there who are feeling shitty…I’m so sorry and I hope you feel better soon.

Happy New Year…

I didn’t really plan to take a blogging break.  I was really trying to get on some kind of a regular schedule.  But things have been crazy busy lately and I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and write.  It’s one of my resolutions to make the time.  For now…let me fill you in on what I’ve been doing.

For the past six years, while I was at my old job, taking time off in December was a no-no.  In fact, last year I even worked on my birthday, despite the fact that I was horribly sick and had no voice.  So Christmas decorating and celebrating was at a minimum.  It was all I could do to get my tree up and cook Christmas Eve dinner.

This year was way different.  This year was a holiday extravaganza that started before Thanksgiving and didn’t end until New Year’s.

Thanksgiving was ridiculous with way too much food.  I made a Momofuko Milk Bar Crack Pie.  If you’ve ever made one, you know it’s a huge pain in the ass and it takes HOURS.  But if you’ve ever eaten one, you know it’s totally worth it.

There was Black Friday shopping, during which I purchased a bunch of clothes in a smaller size.  All that exercise and changes in my diet are paying off!

We took some time over Thanksgiving weekend to take doggie Christmas pictures…

Sofie was a total trooper.

Sofie was a total trooper.

Sadie didn't mind the lights, but she didn't want to sit on the paper I was using as a backdrop.

Sadie didn’t mind the lights, but she didn’t want to sit on the paper I was using as a backdrop.

A week after Thanksgiving, the Millers came to NY for some Christmas fun…and we packed a ton of Christmas themed events into three short days…

Among other things…we toured Radio City Music Hall and watch the Christmas Spectacular…

It started raining shortly after this, so there was very little posing outdoors after this.

It started raining shortly after this, so there was very little posing outdoors after this.

The stage at Radio City before the show started.

The stage at Radio City before the show started.

The Rockettes doing their March of the Wooden Soldiers...the different panels are all  from different years starting with the first year and ending with the current dancers.

The Rockettes doing their March of the Wooden Soldiers…the different panels are all from different years starting with the first year and ending with the current dancers.

We saw the Rockefeller Tree…

A little off-center, but the best I could do in the pouring rain.

A little off-center, but the best I could do in the pouring rain.

The angels are my favorite.

The angels are my favorite.

We took pictures of the store windows…

Barney's

Barney’s

Bergdorf's

Bergdorf’s

Saks

Saks

We went to Brooklyn to see the unbelievable lights in Dyker Heights…

Creepiest snowman ever...

Creepiest snowman ever…

This is the house of Lucy Spata...the woman who started the tradition of lights in Dyker Heights.

This is the house of Lucy Spata…the woman who started the tradition of lights in Dyker Heights.

Loved these carolers.

Loved these carolers.

This Santa is two stories tall...

This Santa is two stories tall…

And we went to the Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Gardens…

After the sun finally came out again, we seized the opportunity to take more pictures of ourselves.

After the sun finally came out again, we seized the opportunity to take more pictures of ourselves.

Macy's

Macy’s

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

I think this is supposed to be the Verazzano Bridge.

I think this is supposed to be the Verazzano Bridge.

Once the Millers went home, the decorating began.  I had already put up the tree, but there were many Pinterest projects yet to be done including vinyl appliques for all the mirrors…

Over the mantle...

Over the mantle…

In the entryway...

In the entryway…

And on the wall going up the stairs…

I couldn't quite get the angle right...but I still love it.

I couldn’t quite get the angle right…but I still love it.

There was a garland made of decorative balls…

I made the trees too.

I made the trees too.

And some ornaments hung in front of the window…

I loved how these sparkled in the light.

I loved how these sparkled in the light.

Santa hat chair covers…

First time I used my sewing machine.

First time I used my sewing machine.

And how could I forget my favorites…the Be Merry wall…

I cut every one of these out with an exacto knife...and managed not to cut my fingers...a total win.

I cut every one of these out with an exacto knife…and managed not to cut my fingers…a total win.

And this guy…

He resided in the upstairs bathroom that we don't use.

He resided in the upstairs bathroom that we don’t use.

I may or may not have smashed my finger in the sewing machine and there is a possibility that the dog had a dollop of hot glue on her head that had to be cut out of her fur, but overall, Christmas crafting was a huge success and a lot of fun.

 

Christmas Eve was fun and my crowning achievement was napkins folded like Christmas trees…

It took about 5 tries to actually get this right.

It took about 5 tries to actually get this right.

On Christmas morning we all donned our matching pajamas and took some Christmas pictures in front of the tree…

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The girls did not like wearing Chrismas pajamas.

Then it was off to Staten Island for some Christmas fun…

If you aim a camera at my neice, she immediately says "Cheese" and makes this face.

If you aim a camera at my niece, she immediately says “Cheese” and makes this face.

On the other hand, my nephew doesn't usually sit still long enough to get a picture that's not blurry.  This picture is a victory!

On the other hand, my nephew doesn’t usually sit still long enough to get a picture that’s not blurry. This picture is a victory!

He got two of the same toy...oops.

He got two of the same toy…oops.

My oldest nephew had to wait until all the little kids opened their gifts first...he was a total trooper.

My oldest nephew had to wait until all the little kids opened their gifts first…he was a total trooper.

Pop modeled his hat for us...

Pop modeled his hat for us…

And a few birthday wishes…

This is the last birthday I plan to celebrate, so there was singing and cheesecake.

This is the last birthday I plan to celebrate, so there was singing and cheesecake.

Unfortunately, J got sick right after Christmas and despite a valiant effort, we were in bed long before midnight on New Year’s Eve…a first for us.  But we still managed to wake up in time to see the ball drop and have a New Year’s kiss.

There were some drawbacks during this holiday and everyone was sick at one point or another.  But I still had such a great time decorating and shopping and wrapping and celebrating. I am already planning projects and fun, festive things for next year.  It was so nice to have some time off and be able to just take a break from work and enjoy myself.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about my new job.

I hope everyone else as great of a time as I did.  I wish you all the Happiest New Year!!!  May we all have the best year ever!

Old friends…

Last Monday night I had dinner with my friend Liz.  Today is Liz’s birthday and mine is just over a month away, so with our birthdays looming and us approaching a number that neither of us wants to discuss, we got to talking about all the stupid things we regret doing when we were younger…like spending so much money on clothes…and all the things we regret not doing…like traveling more.  Most of our regrets were silly, little things, but there was one big regret that we shared…the fact that we didn’t talk for seven years.

I’ve known Liz since I was 13.  To say that we were inseparable at one time would be an understatement.  All through high school and college, but even more so as we got older and into our 20s, we were always together.  We lived five minutes from each other and we took the same train to work and our offices were three blocks apart.  When we weren’t together, we were usually on the phone.  Then we had a stupid fight about a birthday dinner that was really about a bunch of other things and we stopped talking to each other.  18 years of friendship…gone.

I thought about her a lot during those seven years, but I never reached out.  That was stupid…I should have.  We both should have.  We should have just talked right after our fight and moved on.  But we didn’t.  I missed her wedding.  I don’t know her husband.  I’ve never met her daughter.  That makes me really sad…especially since it could have been avoided.

Our 20 year high school reunion was last November and I wasn’t sure how I felt about going.  On the one hand, I wanted to see Liz…on the other, I wasn’t really sure how she felt about seeing me.  One night, after listening to me hem and haw about it for an hour, J said “Just call her and get it over with…you know you want to…and then you’ll know.”  I sent her a message on Facebook instead…and she responded almost right away.  Turns out, she wanted to see me too…but we really didn’t want to go to the reunion.  So we went to dinner instead.

I’m not going to lie…it was a little awkward that first time.  But it was good to see her and I was glad we did it.  We kept in touch, but it took us another whole year to get together again.  She doesn’t live five minutes away anymore and she has toddler and I basically had two jobs and traveled a bunch this summer.  Somehow, the timing just never worked out.  Finally, on Monday we got our shit together.

While we were talking Liz commented on how nice it is to talk to someone who knows all your skeletons and it’s so true.  We have known each other since we were kids.  We grew up together and we have seen it all…the good, the bad and the sometimes really, really ugly.  We lived it together and we don’t have to censor what we say…because we both already know it all.  Which makes it even sadder that we wasted so much time not being friends.

Liz is different now…seven years, a husband and a child will do that to a person.  She’s different, but she’s still the same.  I feel like our relationship is that way too…different, but somehow still the same.  I’m hoping it just gets better from here.  I missed her…even when I wouldn’t admit it to myself or anyone else.  I’m very glad to have her back in my life.

If I learned anything from this whole experience it’s not to waste time.  Don’t let stupid things ruin a friendship.  If something is bothering you…talk about it.  Don’t just let it eat away at you until you have a stupid fight and don’t talk for seven years.  And if there is someone you miss…call them.  Work it out.  It’s worth it…trust me.

Witchy Woman…

I have very little artistic ability.  I mean, I can do craft projects like nobody’s business.  But draw something or sculpt or carve something…definitely not.  If you recall, my last attempt to carve a pumpkin was this…

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Seriously pathetic.  I mean, his round nose isn’t even round and his mouth isn’t close to being even.

This year, I was determined to do better.  A month ago, I picked out my pumpkin at the grocery store.

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And it sat on the dining room table for almost a month.  I’m a really good procrastinator.

Finally, on Halloween night, I decided it was time to carve.  I picked out a template and pulled out my pumpkin carving tools.  After twenty minutes of pulling gross, stringy crap out of the inside, I transferred the template to the pumpkin and started carving.  It took about an hour, but I came up with this…

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I was pretty impressed with myself.  When J came home and saw my creation, he was equally impressed.  Then we decided to take it a stop further.  Last week, we watched a pumpkin carving show on TV and we were inspired.  So we decided to scrape the outer layer off the witch and broom.  It turned out like this…

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Her face got messed up a little, but I think it was a cool effect.

Then J got even more inspired. He staged the pumpkin on the front stoop and put leaves around the bottom.

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We attempted to get the dogs to pose as well, but that didn’t quite work…

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And that is another item crossed off my 101 list!  Maybe next year, I’ll actually get the pumpkin carved in time to post the pictures on Halloween.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween.

“Working” from home…

I really love working from home.  I don’t have to worry about getting dressed up every day or buying work clothes.  I save a ton of time and money by not having to commute.  Instead of a tiny desk and sitting in a communal cubicle with six other people, I have ample space…and privacy…in my very own office.  I get dog kisses whenever I want them.  I don’t have to take a day off to let workers into the house or accept deliveries.  And I have not gotten a cold or the flu once since I stopped taking public transportation.

Of course, there are a few downsides, too.  Sometimes I miss the social aspect of being in an office.  I usually go all day without seeing another person and, if J is traveling, sometimes it’s two or three days.  I do talk to people on the phone, but it’s not really the same.  And it’s really easy to spend the entire day in my pajamas or my workout clothes, which is a bad habit of mine.  There’s also the fact that I don’t ever really get to leave work and go home for the day.  Yes, I turn off my computer in the evening and I go downstairs…but work is always right there, just up the stairs, waiting for me and sometimes it’s hard for me to just leave it.

All of that is manageable and the good certainly outweighs the bad.  But there is something about working from home that I absolutely hate…and that is the perception that other people have that working from home means “working” from home.  You see, some people seem to be under the impression that I don’t actually work all day.  They think that I just hang around and watch TV and nap while answering the occasional email.  They assume I’m free to do them favors or go out to lunch or sit on the phone and chat for hours.  They make snide comments about me not working very hard or being a slacker.  This kind of thing drives me crazy.

So let me set the record straight.  I work…all day long.  Sometimes, too long.  I have people who I report to who expect my work to get done.  I have to be accountable for 40+ billable hours a week and submit a time sheet to prove it.  I have deadlines to meet and clients to talk to and phone calls to answer.  I also have meetings to attend (virtually, of course) and continuing education seminars and mentoring sessions with the staff.

It’s true that I take the dogs for a walk around 9:30 every morning.  I also take an hour for lunch at 2 so I can watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire and afternoon Jeopardy.  Sometimes, I spend the entire day in my pajamas or my workout clothes.  Sometimes, I take a shower and just put new pajamas on.  And yes…one day I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon, but it was the second day of my detox diet and I had zero energy and a raging headache that did not go away even after two Aleve.  Also…that only happened one time and I worked until almost 8 that night to make up for it.

As I’m sure you can imagine, J is the biggest offender when it comes to this.  On October 15th (my tax filing deadline) I was in the middle of a crisis with a client and he called me to come outside and help him change the oil in his truck…something he assured me would take “just two minutes”.  I don’t know if you’ve ever changed the oil in a car or truck, but I assure you…it takes longer than two minutes.  Another day, he asked me to cook with him in the middle of the afternoon.  And at least two or three times a week, he has some job for me to do or some phone call for me to make or something for me to take care of while I’m trying to get work done.

So I’m making a request…on behalf of everyone out there who works from home…please understand that our jobs are just as important and just as busy and just as real as yours.  Don’t assume that we are goofing off all day or that we somehow don’t work as hard.  Keep your snide little comments to yourself.  After all…we know that you are just jealous.  :-)

Rest in peace, TV…

When I lived alone I was very against TV in the bedroom.  I liked the bedroom cold and dark and, most importantly, silent.  J felt exactly the opposite…he preferred falling asleep to the sound of the TV and often couldn’t sleep without it.  When we started dating, he petitioned hard for a TV in the bedroom, but I held firm to my belief that the bedroom was no place for a TV.  So when he stayed at my place with no TV at night, he was miserable and when I stayed at his with the TV blaring all night, I was miserable.

Then we moved in together and there was a standoff about the stupid bedroom TV.  I put my foot down and so did he and in the end, he won…because when J doesn’t sleep, no one sleeps and it just makes my life easier to have the TV on.  It took some getting used to and I wore earplugs in the beginning to drown out the noise.  But we finally compromised on an agreed upon volume and I learned to check what is going to come on next so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to explosions and gunfire or worse, Skinemax. So for the last few years I’ve been fine sleeping with the TV on.  In fact, when I’m alone, I get totally creeped out at night if the TV is off…so now I sleep with it on all the time.

And that brings me to last night.  Last night, I got into bed, got comfortable and turned on the TV.  Nothing happened.  I pressed the button on the remote again…still nothing.  I figured the batteries must be dead…so I got up and pressed the power button on the TV.  Nada.  J was still out, so I was on my own to figure it out.  I moved the dresser and checked that the TV was still plugged in…it was.  I switched the plug to a different outlet…I pulled the other end of the plug out of the TV and plugged it back in, just to make sure it was in there properly.  Nothing worked.  The TV, it seemed, was dead.

I shouldn’t have been surprised…this is the TV J had in his apartment…back in 2002.  It’s really old and it’s been on almost every single night, all night long…and sometimes during the day.  We knew it would die eventually…I just thought we’d have a little bit of warning.  So, there I was at midnight, ready to go to sleep…and no TV.  I thought seriously about moving a TV from another room, but all the other TVs are bigger and heavy and I decided against it.  Instead, I just shut the light, got in bed…and tossed and turned for two hours, until I finally fell asleep.

I then proceeded to have the most insane dreams ever.  The medication I take can cause very vivid dreams and I always thought what I was hearing on TV while I slept was causing the really wacky ones.  But last night…with no TV…I had the wackiest dreams ever.  I woke up after eight hours of sleep feeling like I’d gotten only a cat nap.  This cannot continue.

So J is downstairs looking at TVs online and comparing prices…and I sense a trip to Best Buy is in the very near future.  Either that, or I’m sleeping on the couch tonight.  There is no way I’m going through another night of nutty dreams and no TV.

It’s fall…finally…

I love the fall.  It’s my absolute favorite time of year.  I love the cooler weather and the pumpkins…the apples and pies and soups and squash.  Most of all…I love the changing of the leaves.  I love walking through the neighborhood and looking at the gorgeous colors and the way the sunlight looks filtering through the leaves.  And this is New England…fall is kind of our thing.  It’s usually so beautiful that people actually come here to watch the leaves change.

Except this year.  This year it was 80 degrees in October and the leaves started to fall off the trees while they were still green.  There were no pretty colors…no cooler temperatures…nothing.  I put up with horrible allergies all spring and summer from these trees.  Then we have to rake leaves for two months and we finish just in time for several feet of snow to fall.  The leaves changing is really the only thing that makes the rest worth it.  I was feeling totally cheated.

Luckily, the temperature dropped over the weekend and it seems the trees finally got the message that it’s fall and it’s time to change.

For those of you who can’t be here in New England to see the finally changing leaves…here are some of the trees in my yard…

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Two nights ago, the temperature actually dipped into the 30s and we had to turn on the heat.  It’s time for pumpkin pancakes and apple pie candles.  This house needs to smell like fall.

I hope you are all enjoying fall wherever you are…

Happy birthday, Daddy-O…

I mentioned the other day that I was baking root beer float cupcakes for a special…secret…event.  Well, that event was J’s dad’s 70th birthday party.  He didn’t want a party…so naturally, he got a surprise party.  Because that’s how J’s family rolls.  I’m all for it…I love a good party and I think everyone should celebrate their birthday and the victory of making it through another year.

In a stroke of absolute brillliance, J’s sister chose a 50s theme for the party and asked everyone to dress up 50s style.  If there is anything I love more than a good party, it’s a good reason to get dressed up…so I ran with it.  I scoured the internet for the perfect circle skirt and I watched tutorials on how to create an authentic 50s hairstyle.  Much to his dismay, I even got J on board by getting him some Converse sneakers and pulling his old bowling shirt out of the closet.  The final product came out great…

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The cupcakes, on the other hand, were a bit of a disaster.  I whipped up a double batch and made 48 cupcakes in record time.  I pulled the last pan from the oven and, while they were cooling, I decided to taste one.  I tried to pull off the wrapper…and it ripped, half the paper still stuck to the cake.  I managed to get it all off, but the cupcake was practically falling apart.  I prayed it was a fluke and I attempted a second one.  Same thing.  They also started to deflate in the middle as they were cooling.  I couldn’t figure out why they were such a disaster.  I checked and rechecked the recipe…and that’s when I realized it.  The recipe called for two cups of water…and I’d only used one.

So 48 cupcakes went into the trash and I started over.  This time they came out perfect.  They cooled overnight and I frosted them in the morning.  I assembled them with maraschino cherries (which I LOVE) and little paper straws…and they were totally adorable.  They were also a big hit…with everyone declaring them delicious.  I’m not a big root beer fan, but the root beer flavor was subtle enough that even I liked them.

My little cupcake masterpieces...

My little cupcake masterpieces…

They party was really great.  The birthday boy was totally shocked and we all had such a nice time.  J’s sisters throw a great party.

Here are some more pictures from the night…

Getting those gentle waves in my hair was a lot of work...as you can see, pin curls were required...

Getting those gentle waves in my hair was a lot of work…as you can see, pin curls were required…

 

 

J's sister and brother-in-law in the photo booth...

J’s sister and brother-in-law in the photo booth…

 

 

J's mom, waiting to yell surprise...

J’s mom, waiting to yell surprise…

 

 

The whole family...

The whole family…

 

The original seven...

The original seven…

 

My niece in her 50s finest...with a chocolate face...

My niece in her 50s finest…with a chocolate face…

 

My eight year old nephew took this one...he's a pretty good photographer...

My eight year old nephew took this one…he’s a pretty good photographer…

 

Blowing out the candles...

Blowing out the candles…

 

Happy birthday, Daddy-O…we wish you many, many more…

 

 

The Bright Side…

It’s gross and rainy here today.  I didn’t get to take the dogs for a walk and we were all pretty cranky about that.  The day…and my mood…had the potential to turn crappy really fast.

So I thought that today would be the perfect for a look on the bright side…

  • I didn’t get to go for a walk, but I did get a workout in anyway.  I put on a DVD and grapevined and high-kicked my way around the den for 30 minutes.  The dogs sat on the couch and watched me like I was a crazy person.  It wasn’t as good as a two-mile walk around our hilly neighborhood…but it’s better than laying in bed, eating scones and watching Kelly and Michael
  • Speaking of scones…I made these delicious pomegranate scones from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  They do have white flour and sugar in them, which are two things I’m trying to avoid.  But I cut the sugar in half and added extra pomegranate seeds and they came out delicious.  A nice treat for a rainy day…but only after a workout!
    photo
  • Today is October 16th…which means tax season is officially over.  My new job is back in public accounting and while I did tax returns at my old job, this was my first public accounting tax season in 7 years.  I was a little nervous because I hate tax season…which is weird because I’m a tax accountant.  In the past, the days leading up to October 15th were a straight up nightmare of late nights and no sleep.  I worried that it would be like that this year…but it wasn’t.  There were some stressful moments in the last week and yesterday I made some frantic phone calls to get some last-minute information.  But overall, everything went smoothly.  And more importantly…it’s now over.  Today I clean up my files and tomorrow I take a much needed and well deserved day off.
  • And speaking of work…I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes to feel appreciated.  I had several clients reach out to say thanks and to tell me how much they like working with me and how happy they are that I’ve come back to work at Deloitte.  One even went out of his way to email my direct boss and tell her how great he thinks I am.  It’s such a small thing and probably took him two minutes.  But it made my whole day.  If you happen to be someone’s boss, take a second today to tell them how much you appreciate their hard work.  It will mean a lot to them, I promise.
  • I get to spend the day baking tomorrow.  I love to bake, but I haven’t done much of it lately.  J doesn’t really have a sweet tooth and I’m trying to avoid cake and cookies and cupcakes…so there really hasn’t been much call for baking.  But tomorrow is a cupcake extravaganza.  We have an event on Saturday…a secret one…for which I’m providing part of the dessert.  Root Beer Float cupcakes…complete with maraschino cherries on top.  I’m so excited.  Stay tuned for an update on how they turned out complete with pictures of my little masterpieces.

Look at that…all this looking on the bright side had lifted my mood a bit.  It also literally got brighter in here…I think the rain might be tapering off.  Maybe we will get a walk in after all.

Happy Thursday!