Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Break From Cakes, and Yet More Cakes!

My surgery was scheduled for March 27th, but as luck would have it (as it usually does) the doctor called me up on March 24th and said why not tomorrow? Go figure. I panicked, I flipped, I did all the things you would expect a paranoid over the top person to do. Finally, I accepted the inevitable. The funny thing was, my biggest concern was that I wasn't going to finish my cake. You heard me, I wasn't worried about the surgery or the life vs. death or any of that--that would come later, trust me--for the moment all I could think about was my cake--my LAST cake, at least for now. See, the last day of our Fondant and Gum Paste class was the day after my scheduled surgery. Since there was little chance I could make it, I had talked to Katherine (the instructor) earlier and she said I could make the final project beforehand and send pictures with my mom and Carolyn. I had planned to finish it by Thursday, and all the sudden Tuesday night was here and my cake HAD to be done! It may seem like a silly thing, but this was a huge deal to me. Fortunately I am blessed with an angel mother who helped me through the surgery pre-opt and after dinner we sat down and worked on decorating my cake; however silly it may have seemed on the surface, she could see how important it was to me. After all, this would be my last cake for quite some time! It had to be a good one.

Well, to make a long story short, we did finish the cake in time, even in time to get to bed at a half-decent hour for my 5:30am surgery call time. The result: a beautiful piano-themed cake, dedicated to Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum for their excellence and endurance through the torturous program of AIM (Achievement In Music). I almost didn't want to let them eat it, I was so proud, but I had little say in the matter, seeing that in a few hours I would be spilling my guts out on an operating table. I did get to eat some of the chocolate fondant though--mmMMMMMmm--it was like rocky road fudge! It was a pain in the butt to work with, but the taste was definitely worth it. So enough of my jabbering, here's the finished product:

By the way, I made the chocolate fondant just like the normal marshmallow fondant found on Katherine's site, except I added 1.5-2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. In retrospect, I think adding some karo syrup would have really helped, because it tended to crack quickly and needed to be reheated much to often. Other than that though, it tasted wonderful.

And I know this is just making this post that much longer, and it's on another blog, but I can't help it--Here are a few pictures of Carolyn's and Mom's cakes, which I have to post again because they are just that beautiful--oooh, and they get bonus points for Springiness!:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cindy Lou Who

The first thing my dad does as the nurses wheel me into my hospital room is whip out his camera phone and start snapping pictures. Of course, when I saw my incredibly awesome style I realized that I totally would have done the same thing. Dr. Reichman did my hair himself--like it?

That's one good-looking brain patient if I do say so myself. For any of you who wish to know, the surgery was deemed a success; my cerebellum and poor little tonsils are no longer squished and yes, I am now part cow. The first two days in the hospital sucked--there's really no other way to say it, they were horrible. I couldn't make it 3 steps without throwing up. I couldn't even enjoy what little there was of my liquid diet. It was sad. However, I made it past the nights of no sleep, the puking and the horrific pain to a better place. Today I even took a shower--well, sort of, I couldn't wash my head, but I washed the rest of me. I even had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. Things are, slowly but surely, getting better. No cartwheels yet, but I'll work on it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5:30am is not a good time

Today I had to get up at 5:30am. I was not pleased about this. Especially because I wasn't expecting to get up this early until Friday. See, Dr. Reichman's office (he's my neurosurgeon) called yeseterday and informed me that he was moving my surgery from Friday to Wednesday--maybe he has weekend plans or something, who knows. It was quite a surprise to my system, learning that my life could be over in less than a day. This is how I felt:

Yup, that pretty much sums it up. I'm over it now though. Of course, seeing that I am sitting in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, waiting for it all to begin, I kind of have to be--yup, they have wireless in the hospital, go figure. In the end I'm actually really glad they changed it to today; now I can quit worrying about it and just let it be. Oooh, and I was forced to finish my cake last night--my final project for my cake decorating class. It's quite fantastic if I do say so myself. I'll post pictures later, it's beautiful!

Speaking of cakes: in honor of my brain transplant today here is another one of the most awesome cakes I have seen; while I personally would probably never eat it, it is pretty impressive:

Hahahahahahahahaha, okay, I admit I often have a sick sense of humor, but I love that cake--yes, it's a real cake, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I wonder if my brain looks anything like that...

And, as is my true bipolar nature, a wonderful piece of advice from sweet Elder Uchtdorf for peace during times of distress (if this isn't somewhat a time of distress, I don't know what is):

"We know that sometimes it can be difficult to keep our heads above water. In fact, in our world of change, challenges, and checklists, sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to avoid feeling overwhelmed by emotions of suffering and sorrow."I am not suggesting that we can simply flip a switch and stop the negative feelings that distress us. This isn't a pep talk or an attempt to encourage those sinking in quicksand to imagine instead they are relaxing on a beach. I recognize that in all of our lives there are real concerns. I know there are hearts here today that harbor deep sorrows. Others wrestle with fears that trouble the soul. For some, loneliness is their secret trial."These things are not insignificant."However, [there are] two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress. I want to speak about God's happiness and how each one of us can taste of it in spite of the burdens that beset us."

AMEN. Well, time for the transplant; Hope to see you all on the other side!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My First Fondant Cake!

Okay, it's not the most amazing thing ever--though personally I think it's pretty gosh darn cute--but after some serious stress and more trial and error than I wish to admit, I finally produced my first ever fondant covered cake. It wasn't as smooth or as perfect as I perhaps would have hoped--I messed up on the first try, resulting in multiple holes in the poor cake, and patching them with icing wasn't the best method of repair--but it was worth the experience. I made my own marshmallow fondant, so not only was it edible, but it actually tasted good, unlike that store-bought crap--believe me, it was delicious. :)

This week I attempt my final project--my last creation before surgery!--which will not only include a fondant covered cake, but fondant flowers and other fun techniques--wish me luck!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Springtime is Upon Us

♫ Springtime is upon us. ♪
♪ The birds celebrate her return with festive song, ♫
♫ and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. ♪
♪ Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, ♫
♫ Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more. ♪

I refuse to believe that a storm is coming--I'm in denial. I don't care what the weather reports say, or that General Conference is coming up; I have waited eons for this day to come, and I'm not going to let some silly storm take it away from me. I'm counting on sunshine and clear skies from here on out. Spring is just a happy time. I like being happy. Let's have lots of Spring.

In honor of Spring, I made Springtime sugar cookies. I know that my family thought I was being rather silly being so concerned about something as trivial as sugar cookies, but if something makes you smile, you take it. So my life is so simple that making sugar cookies is the highlight of my week, so sue me. At least I can find something to smile about, which is more than some people can say. Some days smiles allude me, so on the days that I can catch one, I try to take advantage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Tulips Yet, But How About Some Green Blobs?

Our walk today proved fruitless in the search for tulips; there was a multitude of new daffodils, which made me very happy, but still no tulips. We did find on our trek that the Davis' old home (soon to be the Kendall's new home) is finally gone--you may have read something about it in the paper, being used for firemen training and whatnot. Well, it's gone. No more fire-engines and ambulances to clutter the street.

Yep, this is what Cedar has looked like for the past few days. As far as mormon neighborhood excitement goes, it was kind of cool.

No tulips, but there is always more to smile about. For instance, are you familiar with Cake Wrecks? It is only the coolest blog ever--well, it is at least if you appreciate the art of baked goods. It puts a daily smile on my face. I'm not sure why, but today's post in particular really made me laugh; maybe it was the reference to Toy Story, bringing me back to the good old days when Carolyn and I would quote the entire movie off-hand, or maybe it was just the idea of eating these green blobs. I think I could handle making green blobs, that's an achievable cake decorating goal.

Kudos to Cake Wrecks:


Ho ho, heehee, haha, they're coming to take me away!!!

I'm not sure what these things are supposed to be, but they've been popping up at bakeries all across the U.S. lately. Could the carrot jockeys have some competition on their hands?

"Soon, your race of sugar-craving giant sloths shall be OURS. Thaaat's right, we're cute, aren't we? You want to take us hooome, and show us all your financial staaaatements."

These guys are going less for "cute" and more for "mortal terror":

"The claaaaaw! The claw will choose who will go, who will stay, and who will have his or her face rearranged."

Look, they even have a naval division:

"We're Popped-Eyes, the sailor blobs,
We're Popped-Eyes, the sailor blobs,
You won't want to finish,
'Cuz we taste like spinach,
We're Popped-Eyes the sailor blobs!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I used to say that I would hate to live in Hawaii. Sure, it would be glorious all year round, but what about the seasons? What about change? Seriously, who would want a sunny Christmas? There is just something about the unexpected weather patterns of Utah...

Then again, at this point in the year, Hawaii's looking pretty good. I am tired of the cold, tired of the snow, and tired of the blasted winter!

Well, a few days ago the dogs and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, and the most wondrous thing happened. Guy sniffed around some hedges, and we found a splendid little plot full of crocus flowers in full bloom. The beautiful Dutch Crocus--one of the first flowers to bloom in the Spring, a sign that maybe the misery is over! A sign of life amid the cold, a burst of color after a much too-long faded winter.

Think that's good? It gets even better. Today Guy was especially caught up with spring fever, so just a little after lunch we found ourselves on our third walk of the day--I just can't say no to those big brown eyes. The sun was out and not a cloud in the sky--it was glorious, purely glorious. We stopped and said a quick hello to the Crocus, but on our way home we found a new friend--A daffodil! A yummy yellow daffodil! I couldn't believe my eyes. Now there's a true sign of Spring. What a joy these little flowers are. If Guy had an attention span beyond 2 seconds, I would have stopped and soaked in their beauty beneath the warming sun.
Aren't daffodils just a happy little flower? Not quite as cheery as daisies, but still quite pleasant.

I can't wait to see what other beauties will pop up on our walk tomorrow. Hopefully the tulips will be visiting soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hope in a Glorious Future


"The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we need not fear, for we will live forever, never to taste of death again. Because of His infinite Atonement, we can be cleansed of sin and stand pure and holy before the judgment bar. The Savior is the Author of our Salvation."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 22


"Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God's laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance."In the language of the gospel, this hope is sure, unwavering, and active. The prophets of old speak of a 'firm hope' (Alma 34:41) and a 'lively hope' (1 Peter 1:3). It is a hope glorifying God through good works. With hope comes joy and happiness. With hope, we can 'have patience, and bear . . . [our] afflictions' (Alma 34:41)."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 22

The future is a terrible, frightening void. Most of the time, I dread it—especially lately. I don’t know much about it, and what I do know makes it that much worse. The “what ifs” and “if onlys” eat away at the hope that should permeate the darkness… hope. There’s a good word for the day. Instead of focusing on the unknown and worrying about what might or might not happen, we should focus our energy on hope. The future can be a bright, beautiful place—it just depends on how we choose to at it. I’m afraid, I don’t know what’s going to happen, or when, or how. I’m taking a huge jump here into the darkness, but I’m sure hoping that I can fly… If hope really is “a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul,” then here’s to a good flight (Emily Dickinson).

Photo: http://www.charlesginn.com.au/

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie

As a child it was a tough decision when going out to eat at McDonalds and having to choose between a hotwheels toy or a Barbie, but eventually I ended up with a good collection of the latter. Yes, even though I loved to play in the dirt, deep down inside, I was a Barbie Girl.

Well, this is a special year for Barbie--that's right, it's Barbie's 50th birthday! (and yet she doesn't seem to have aged a bit... odd...)

Barbie Millicent Roberts was "born" on March 9, 1959--50 years ago!!!--created by Ruth Handler for the Mattel company. Critics of the doll say it presents an unrealistic body image for girls, pointing to Barbie's large bosom, slim waist, long legs, white skin and blonde tresses (what about her abnormally small feet? has anyone ever been able to get a Barbie doll to stand up on its own? just curious...) . Fans say Barbie encourages young girls -- and boys -- by giving them aspirations to be scientists, disco dancers, fashion models, astronauts, rock stars or lifeguards. Despite the ongoing debate over Barbie's impact on American culture, the doll remains one of the best-known and best-selling dolls on the market. Mattel claims that three Barbies are sold every second.--come on, who hasn't owned a Barbie; I think I might even still have mine around here somewhere... (http://who2.com/barbie.html)

Well, to celebrate this wonderous occasion, a memorial was created in honor of Barbie. The creation was unvieled down under in Sydney Australia, a product of the combined efforts of fashion designer Alex Perry, jewelery designer Stefano Canturi, hairdresser Joh Bailey, and the help of Sweet Art Bakers--yes, you heard me, bakers--this memorial my friends, was a seven-foot tall "Barbie doll" chocolate mud cake. Yeah, a real, mostly edible, CAKE.

Don't believe me? I almost didn't believe it myself, but trust me on this one, that thing is a pastry masterpiece of sugary sweetness. Why they chose to honor Barbie with a cake, I'll never know, but I personally think it's by far one of the most awesome things I've ever seen.

So, let's get the facts: 1 chocolate cake--2,645 lbs--covered in gold icing, gold silk, a gold tulle skirt, and 2,000 Swarovski crystals, based on the design for the limited edition 50th Anniversary Barbie Doll... all together, values about $50,000. Are your eyes popping out of their sockets yet? Come on, are you not completely WOWED yet???

Here we have Jean Michel Raynaud, pastry chef and creative director of Sweet Art in Sydney--basically the guy responsible for this fantabulous work of art.

That's Australian model Erika Heynatz cutting the cake--that must have been tragic.

I don't know about you, but personally--especially after taking a few classes in cake decorating--I'm completely and utterly spellbound by this cake.

Pictures and cake info: Eat Me Daily

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Close Can You Get

This is what I found coming out of the gym yesterday (mine is the green on the left):
I don't think I could have gotten that close if I had tried--we couldn't even slip a piece of paper in between my car and that boat. When I was oh-so-carefully pulling out I had to pull my mirrors in, and I could here the wheels squeaking against each other. The best part of the whole thing is that the owner of the other care probably never had a clue. Figures.

What ever happened to personal space? I feel so violated.

Monday, March 9, 2009


My entire life I have dealt with the eternal struggle between being sensitive and living in the harsh realities of the world. As a child kids would bully me, and I had two reactions: I could cry and be called a baby, or I could beat them up and/or block out the problem, trying to pretend it didn't bother me. Is it really that much different in our oh-so-mature adult world? When bad things happen, it seems that we have only two choices: we can choose to feel the hurt, or we can choose to ignore it by replacing the pain with other emotions, or by simply blocking out emotion all together. Sure, this solves the problem, right? Block out all emotion, then you won't ever have to feel pain or sadness....
  • As Lisa Clark so honestly puts it to perfection, "BEING SENSITIVE SUCKS."
But then, can you feel at all? In this apocalyptic world of reality, is it really so bad to FEEL? Since day one I have been picked on for being sensitive. Even just last week a very good friend of my told me that I am just too sensitive, and that man y of my problems would go away if I could just toughen up a little bit. Could it really be all that simple? Would it be worth it?

Continuing on in my movie marathon of life, I watched BATMAN BEGINS yesterday, and gained some insight to this dilemma. Bruce Wayne, who has been living the life of a criminal and outlaw, has every reason to have "toughened up," and yet as Ducard tries to train and mold him, he can not rid him of this one priceless trait:

Henri Ducard: Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.
Bruce Wayne: That's why it's so important. It separates us from them.

Having compassion, being sensitive, knowing how to truly feel--is it really all that bad? Throughout the scriptures the good guys were sensitive--sensitive to the people, to situations, to the spirit--and the bad guys were "past feeling,"--right? The Savior Himself is the perfect example; He felt everything; he had to have been sensitive to truly perceive and understand so much, and should we not emulate him? So, is being sensitive a bad thing, like so many would like me to believe? No, it's a great thing, and if you don't like it that's your problem, not mine.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Wedding Cake Worth Mentioning

We started our Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste class yesterday, and basically I came out feeling completely overwhelmed. Fondant is nothing like frosting. Frosting is tasty. Frosting is free flowing. Frosting is fun. Fondant is just confusing. Sure, it makes cool looking cakes, but it seems like a whole lot of work. Then again, I'm always up for a challenge. Fondant could be fun, and I've seen some pretty decked out fondant covered cakes. I think that this class will stretch my creative capacity, but by doing so I will definitely love it. Maybe fondant can even be fun.

Today I was surfing my usual blogs and came across a fondant covered cake that I just had to post--I have never seen anything like it. Just as a note, yes, it IS a wedding cake. While I probably would not have gone so far as to have such a thing at my own wedding, I definitely would want something more creative than five tiers of flowers like every other wedding. This cake certainly gets points for originality; and come on, who can resist a smile when reminiscing the good old days of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?


What should I put on MY wedding cake? (don't worry, I've got a good 10 years or so to decide. ;) )

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stop and Smell the Sugar Covered Roses

Our last day of Wilton Course 1. It was a sad but wonderful--isn't our cake beautiful??? We learned how to make ROSES! My absolute favorite part of the class! You can tell, our cake is covered in them. I was sad that it was over, but there is good news: while Katherine (our instructor) isn't teaching Wilton 2 in March, she is teaching the Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Course! We immediately signed up for it of course. You will be seeing more cakes to come. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Initiating Countdown...

Interesting quote... Hmm... Well, it's officially March, and officially my last month with a full head on my shoulders. No, really. In just a few weeks--March 27th to be exact--I will lose half of my hair and a decent little piece of my skull, right at the back where it connects to the spine. Yeah, crazy, I know. I'm still working on the whole coming to terms with it idea. It's going to be an adventure, that's for sure. If anyone wants to keep me company for the next 2-3 months, I will be hanging out having movie marathons and working very hard to not slit my wrist from boredom--feel free to come visit me! For now, I'm going to be filling my days with as much as I can while I still can--and deciding what on earth I can do with only half a head of hair; really, how many options are there?