A little ingenuity and a lot of 4-letter words (x-posted)

..that's what it takes to fulfill your 7-year-old son's request for his birthday cake. Last year was a simple 9", 2-layered cake decorated a la Spiderman. This year, he kicked it up a notch. He wanted a fire truck. Yea, I laughed too. But because I love my kids, I accepted the challenge.  Cake decorating is not something I will ever (or could ever) do professionally, nor is it something I would do for someone not biologically contracted to love it regardless, but for a mom trying to make her kids' birthdays memorable, it'll do.

This is how it all started:

With a knife, some strawberry preserves, and buttercream, it looked like this and I was officially worried.

At this point, it needed to chill and so did I. The next morning (this one to be exact), I set out to make the fire truck red icing. If you have never had the displeasure of trying to turn a vat full of lily white icing red, let me acquaint you with the process. First, you painstakingly make a batch of uber delicious buttercream icing. Then you rummage through your cabinet to find the vial of "Christmas Red" gel coloring from Wilton - because, you know, liquid color will not work. Into a working bowl goes the beautiful, painstakingly prepared buttercream. Into same bowl is poured the entire vial of gel coloring . From the bowl stares back at you the most heinous shade of neon hot pink you've ever seen. You taste the once delicious buttercream and gag. Unbeknownst to you, gel food coloring tastes like the south end of a north-bound donkey. Chewing liberal amounts of cinnamint gum and using words that make you very glad your children are not home, you trek to the store for the "No-taste" version of Red Food Coloring Gel. The lady at the bakery laughs at you because your fingers are stained neon hot pink. And your lips are too. You look hot. So back you go to try it again, and just because you refuse to ruin another batch of delicious buttercream, you buy icing in a canister. Really. Hedge your bets.

So I'm back home and mix up the color. It's not too bad. Still forgot to put on gloves. Now I have matching red stains on my fingers. After liberal application of firetruck red to the cake, it now looks like this and I am giddy.

I figured at this point, wheels would make it look really cool. So I took the (store bought) black icing (trust me on this one, just buy it), covered some cookies, and stuck them to the cake. Using icing in a tube and my trusty Wilton tips, some detailing was done to this end:

Using more icing, M&M's, Dots candies, Twizzlers, and Jelly Bellys, I completed the project and did the happy dance. Seriously. I did.

In summary:

Pan, icing, candies, cake ingredients to fulfill your son's cake wish: $35.
Realizing that "no-taste" gel food colorant is a must have: $10.
Fines to The Potty Mouth Jar while building cake: $26
Seeing the joy in his eyes when he sees his cake:

An affair to remember

His name was Jack.  He was short but powerful, fluid in his movements, and boy did he have a way of making me forget all others before him.  I sought him out after a night of pouring out of heart-felt professions that culminated in me saying goodbye - yes, that kind of goodbye.

I was happy to find Jack seemingly waiting for me, ready to take me into his potent embrace and allow me to forget the pangs of unrequited feelings.  I needed his no-nonsense manner, his one-tracked purpose. He was extraordinarily skilled in his craft, a deftness for which I was exceedingly grateful. It was quick, relatively, and I was left dazed, my head whirling, laughter springing forth from my gut, but no pain. 

I woke the next morning with little memory of the night before, only a vague recollection of finding Jack and knowing where he'd take me.  Slowly, I began to reconstruct the puzzle from translucent memories and email logs.  As I plundered through the kitchen looking for something to take the edge off my headache, I caught a glimpse of my night's companion, and I could tell he spent himself entirely for my benefit.  It was the first time I had ever sought so vehemently the comfort of someone like him. It was an awkward moment as I vascillated between being ashamed of my perfunctory actions and being thankful that he took me with such exquisite skill. Without much fanfare, I ushered what remained of him into oblivion and closed the door. 

Thank you, Mr. Daniels, for your incredible prowess.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Comical appraisal of womankind?

Lessons from Charles Schulz

I think Charles Schulz had something to say about the nature of women. Why do I say this? Because Charlie Brown endlessly fell for Lucy's proclamations of reformation. When CB was so masterfully brought back into Lucy's realm of influence, persuaded to once again let her be his placekick holder, the dance would start again. Inevitably what happened? Trust was regained, a poor chap was once again encouraged to take a chance and then it happened as so many times before - Lucy yanked his balls (metaphorically?) right away from him. And yet, she could so easily and effortlessly regain favor with him.

Mr. Schulz had the right idea with Snoopy - go through life with your mouth shut, pretend you are a hero, and once in a while, do The Happy Dance.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused


At this exact moment, all three of my munchkins are on the floor playing "Monster Truck" which entails a large tonka truck crashing into a much smaller plastic truck along with the cry "Nyah, nya, na-na-nya, MONSTER TRUCK! ."

But they are all playing together without incident and laughing heartily.
  • Current Mood

Could it get any better?

You're a Slytherdor! You are a natural leader and
have the personality to back it up. Often
people are hesitant to approach you because
they feel that you will reject them. You have a
bit of a temper but most of the time you're
able to keep it in check; however when you are
really pissed off, people better watch out. In
your life you have a lot of things you want to
accomplish, whether it's for yourself or
another cause. You can be determined in trying
to pursue this goal but your morals are too
steady to allow you to be absolutely ruthless.
You don't let many people know this, but you
actually like the idea of chivalry (but you try
to keep this buried) and you try to live your
life with honor. You don't back away from tough
decisions. Your weakness is that sometimes you
can be arrogant, you forget about the 'lesser
people' and this leads you to underestimate
your opponents. With the charisma of a
Gryffindor and the ambition of a Slytherin you
can be great in life!

Which Mix of the Hogwarts Houses are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Because I just love a survey...

Birthday:October 28
Birthplace:Danville, Illinois
Current Location:Austin,Texas
Eye Color:Brown
Hair Color:Brown
Right Handed or Left Handed:Left
Your Heritage:Italian-German
The Shoes You Wore Today:Chaco sandals
Your Weakness:a particular person, chocolate and standing up for myself
Your Fears:dying alone, being forgotten, fish, frogs, little jumpy insects (like crickets).
Your Perfect Pizza:onions and mushrooms, thin crust
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:get back into school
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger:heh.
Thoughts First Waking Up:hell, yea! Another day above ground.
Your Best Physical Feature:Eyes
Your Bedtime:about 6 hours before I get up.
Your Most Missed Memory:cuddling.
Pepsi or Coke:Coke
MacDonalds or Burger King:No.
Single or Group Dates:Single.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:Lipton.
Chocolate or Vanilla:Chocolate.
Cappuccino or Coffee:Coffee
Do you Smoke:No
Do you Swear:Yes
Do you Sing:All the time.
Do you Shower Daily:Yes
Have you Been in Love:Yes.
Do you want to go to College:I want to go back.
Do you want to get Married:Perhaps.
Do you belive in yourself:99% of the time.
Do you get Motion Sickness:yes, but only in cars or aisle seats of airplanes.
Do you think you are Attractive:if I don't think about it too hard, yes.
Are you a Health Freak:No.
Do you get along with your Parents:I did when they were alive and well.
Do you like Thunderstorms:I adore thunderstorms.
Do you play an Instrument:Yes.
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:Yes.
In the past month have you Smoked:No.
In the past month have you been on Drugs:No.
In the past month have you gone on a Date:No.
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:No.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:No.
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:Yes.
In the past month have you been on Stage:No.
In the past month have you been Dumped:No.
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:No.
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:No.
Ever been Drunk:No.
Ever been called a Tease:Yes.
Ever been Beaten up:Yes.
Ever Shoplifted:No.
How do you want to Die:old, happy, and in my sleep.
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:A doctor.
What country would you most like to Visit:Italy.
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color:I'm partial to green.
Favourite Hair Color:Depends.
Short or Long Hair:Depends.
Weight:Doesn't matter.
Best Clothing Style:Nude works.
Number of Drugs I have taken:0.
Number of CDs I own:15-20 ish.
Number of Piercings:5.
Number of Tattoos:Soon to be 1
Number of things in my Past I Regret:No regrets. Ever.


Can someone hit the stop button, please?

So here's my day:

1.  Beanie was officially diagnosed with opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome.  You can find out more info (with considerably fewer words than I would put to it) at www.omsusa.org

2. Found a new table and chairs, in pretty good shape, for $35.

3. Wrecked van on way to get said table and chairs.  Sideswiped a car - not just any car, but the car of the girlfriend of the guy from whom I bought the table and chairs.  Both vehicles will require repair.  So much for selling the van...and there's another $500 gone.  Silver lining may be that it will have to be repainted on the passenger side and that just might cover up some of the minor damage that was already there. They were all so nice and gracious about it.

Hmm, it felt a lot worse 3 hours ago.  Okay, so I don't have much to complain about. =) Nevermind.

On a dime

I met a 20-year-old young woman while Beanie was in the hospital. Her name was Amber and she had 2 kids, a 13-month-old daughter (Reagan), and a 3-month-old son (Clint). For whatever reason, we hit it off pretty well and became instant friends. Reagan, a month or so before, had started having seizure which would cause her to stop breathing during the seizure, and on a couple of occasions, stopped her heart. Pretty scary and the doctors couldn't find a reason for it. About a month ago, Amber, her husband, and the kids moved to North Carolina. Because they were moving into their new place, I hadn't talked to her in a couple of weeks.

She called tonight. It was a collect call. Amber had put Reagan to bed, then put Clint down, then went back to check on Reagan (about 5 minutes lapsed). Reagan was blue and not breathing. Amber grabbed her, started CPR and ran to neighbors' houses to find someone home to call 911. By the time EMS arrived, Reagan had been without oxygen in excess of 10 minutes.

She is technically alive. A machine is breathing for her. She has rudimentary brainstem function. But that is about it. It gets worse, which is incredible. One of the odd things about Reagan's condition is that she metabolized anti-seizure medication REALLY fast, so they were never able to keep her blood levels high enough to thwart the seizures. Well, the new doctors in NC aren't really aware of that, so now Amber is being accused of withholding Reagan's medicine and ultimately causing her impending death. She is not allowed to leave the hospital. She is only allowed to spend time with Reagan if someone else is in the room with her. It's a nightmare. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone crying with her. I cannot even imagine what she is going through. Tomorrow they get the longterm prognosis and will probably be turning off the life support.

Please keep her, Reagan, Josh (husband/dad) in your prayers.
  • Current Mood
    depressed depressed


Oh my goodness. I am stress eating something fierce. Over the last 2-3 days, I have eaten about 3/4 of a bag of single-wrapped Kit Kats, 5 snack-size Hershey candy bars, 4 oatmeal cream pies, an apple pie from McDonald's, 3/4 of a box of Wheat thins, a cheeseburger from McDonald's, a large piece of pancetta and parmesan torte, a toaster waffle, about 1/3 cup of chicken makhani (which I made and was quite impressed!), and probably other things that I cannot recall at this moment. Trust me, this is *a lot* of food for me. By the time this is over, I probably will have gained 10 pounds. Couple that with the fact that I have not been to the gym since Saturday and that equals a very unhappy Cara.
  • Current Mood
    bitchy bitchy

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Beanie had her MRI yesterday and thankfully, everything was negative. The poor baby still cannot walk 2 steps without falling down. Her gait is just so...well, she looks like she's just learned to walk. She was markedly worse this morning with her walking, but I think the upper body tremors have subsided a little. I've done some research on post viral syndrome acute cerebellar ataxia and all sources suggest that we should have seen, or will be seeing soon, resolution to this. Apparently, the antibodies that are formed to fight a viral illness can start attacking the balance center of the brain. This is rare, occurring in only 1 in 250,000-500,000 cases of viral illnesses. The Smith women have a knack at being quite unique, I guess. At least there isn't anything organic going on with her noggin. That's a huge relief.

Our tenants are leaving our house, which leaves us to figure out how to pay the $1100 mortgage. divine_cow had some very good suggestions, which are still being taken into consideration. According to our realtor, the market in Leander is really good for sellers, with houses staying listed less than 30 days and she thinks we could get about $30K out of it in the end (profit). Despite this, I think we're going to hang onto the house. Some friends of ours are looking to upsize (they have 4 adults and 1 child living in a smallish 3-bedroom apartment). So I think we're going to split their lease buyout with them (which will save us about $600) and get them into the house.

Other than that, I'm terribly sleep deprived and a real bitch to be around. I finally let the angel kill the lizard, so we'll see what happens with that. See, divine_cow, it just takes me a while to get there.

And many thanks, again, to divine_cow and peculiar_notion for the heads up on saving supper. Some yummy, inexpensive stuff there.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired