Not a Pictures Kinda Gal

Easy. Truly it was going to be eeaasyyyyy.

Pop the top on the Tastefully Simple simple Almond Pound Cake box. Melt some butter, add some milk, stir.

Lovingly lump into my beautiful green specifically purposed Tastefully Simple ceramic loaf pan, bake; be done.

Unless you’re me, and you’re thinking that newly gifted, untested convection oven could bake this cake up better than the rickety electric contraption that came along with the condo as one of those something-is-better-than-nothing “for now” appliances.

Unless, you carefully view the pictorial instructions, and surmise the obvious, which as time goes by becomes obviously wrong.

Unless, you’re baking without bifocals and can’t quite see through the shiny new-knob glare that you’ve chosen toast/bake instead of turbo.

Unless, you can’t figure why the center seems a bit spongier than previous packaged efforts.

Unless, you decide it just needs to cool and set, invert and discover all of the above at once.

I did not end up with a luscious loaf. I didn’t even end up with cake.

I ended up with a bowl of cakey-marzipan-like mush with a thin, broken caramelized crunch crust, and deep panic.

For some reason I don’t panic at panic and excel necessary rapid fire solutions. SMH, I devise another split-process easy plan and a half. This one involves entering all baking ingredients on hand into the Google search box, and squishing all of the cake-flop, including the pinnacle-ly correct crust, into an oiled Bundt pan, and pressing firmly with a baggie-d hand. The search determines my remaining options are Honey Cake or Brown Sugar Cake. Comforted by back-up plan knowledge, the attempt to recook seems reasonable.

Back into the wonderful countertop, this time on turbo and without the crumb pan beneath the baking pan. Hey, that’s what the drawings demonstrated. Toast with the pan under the rack. Bake with the pan above the rack. I lightbulbed that if I wasn’t using that particular pan to bake in, I should put the one I am using directly on the rack, and not inside the other pan sitting on top of the rack.

20 turbo minutes later, I have a dense, thick, appropriately moist and dry almond circular tube-shaped 2″ tube of a brick confection. It smells awesome. Because of the brand, it will reliably taste awesome. It’s ugly as all get-out, but I’m soldiering on.

Cooled and flipped into a purple pie plate, it’s not that bad. At least, it’s not as bad as I was envisioning. I have no idea what will happen when whoever has the honor to cut it, does.

I’m bringing along honey and caramel and gold-colored ice-sugar hoping to distract with abstract criss-crossing and edible glitter. I’m leaning toward the honey, for past traditions that still run deep through my heart. I’m not sure it will get the go-head vote, but I do think it’s the best choice and won’t over-power that deep almond sponge.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

I am not above trying to salvage a cake.

What people don’t know won’t hurt them.

It may however, make them laugh, and if you can make them laugh, then that’s the way to go.

I’m not a pictures kinda gal. Give me instructions, please.

Quote for the Week:

Don’t you think if it was intuitive 04 21 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, eggs, honey: http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes/All%2520recipes

Mmmm: https://www.tastefullysimple.com/ (If you are interested, I have an awesome consultant.)

Cake Boss weighs in on Convection: http://on.aol.com/video/the–cake-boss–on-convection-oven-baking-versus-regular-oven-baking-517849014

 

Arms Too Short

Stuff. Everywhere. What doesn’t fit, what does, where? Logic and logistics.

I’ve discovered that I am very good at hiding: tucking away in cabinets, behind closet doors, in drawers, file cabinets. Perfunctory parts everyone owns and no one needs to see, those are well-placed for me.

I’ve discovered I’m not very good at upfront, first impression, walk-in.

Not because I’m secretive, but because I want to put so much out there, you’ll know me by these obvious things. I can be overwhelming that way. Throwing all my colorful cards up in the air thinking you’ll get the idea as each floats past in glitter-globe slow-motion. I don’t doubt I’d be more impressive with less; I just don’t know how to do less.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon. A very patient secret weapon who understands I’ve had issues with stuff, and letting go. Who easily skims perfect pieces; they just rise to the top when she shuffles.

I’ve been hauling well over 30 years, with the intention of one day; some day.

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day, but I was overwhelmed with kitchen. A few days of standing center, rotating drawers and cabinets did nothing but make me dizzy. It was where I needed to start. Patience’s imported logic took over, and then it was over. Over and easily done, not so much by me, which I’m sure simplified the process.

Walls. When you don’t own them, you don’t use them. Temporarity makes that make sense. Security deposits and patchwork are too much of a hassle. Patience helped me use a wall the last time, succinctly covering up as much of the cornflower blue and pink flowered shiny wallpaper as possible with color chicken camouflage. I’d seen her work before. I knew what to expect, and I was incredibly expectant, as well as well-rested so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the couch and rest this time.

I’ve been taking my new walls very seriously. I want the vision. I want specific. I want to project well-planned permanence. Pride my collections to start conversations as if I’ve been rooted my whole life. Which meant I would best move aside, step back as assistant to the master, and watch the magic occur.

There is beauty in balance and we can’t easily find that ourselves. It’s impossible to see what our presented lives will look like until we are across the room. Up close and personal isn’t synonymous with open-mined segmentation. So, moved and assessed. Considered and configured. Experiment with ease.

Not everything fit, and probably some of it shouldn’t have,anyway. It was beautiful to watch such intense care taken with my life; and to whole-heartedly love the final presentation.

The overages are still resting, open-boxed on the living room floor. Not great works of art, just magical moments in time. Like the pen and ink inconic – melding star and fish and faith, so representative of exactly where we stood in our lives, different but overlapped. We loved it so much we bought it for the café-wall asking price of $10.00, which was way more than the 2 cents we barely had to rub together. The others hold time equally, as well. Place-cards I never pass without thinking, “There’s a place for these here, somewhere.”

I found that place today, in my over-sized nubby sweater, with my too short sweatpants and my frog-faced non-slip, grippy socks on the way to the basement. A little-used space, needed for necessities, and scattered memories that will make me smile. It actually wasn’t my idea. Nannee Vincze’s basement stairwalls held similar things, utilitarian and timeline. Stepstool, newspaper clippings, hammers, campaign poster. I thought it was odd, but the passage was just that: a daily passage through good times and significant times on the way to the laundry or deep freeze. Daily.

 Quote for the Week:

There is beauty in balance, though not 03 31 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Color balance: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/combine-colors-like-a-design-expert

Design balance: http://hatchdesign.ca/principles-of-interior-design-part-1-balance/

Life Hack balance: My apologies to Patience. I knew about this; I forgot.

lifehack