So, I did a cake for my little buddy Reis AND I got out my piping bag and produced a non-fondant cake. Well, I had a couple fondant accents but 90% was buttercream. It's quite cathartic to pipe and I get in a piping groove and then I want to pipe everything in sight.
So um, last week I had surgery, which is why I wasn't posting anything. I'm not getting into much detail except to say that the ticker is fixed now and peeing in a bedpan is WAY harder than it sounds. Seriously. It was like the pee went back inside to wait for a proper toilet. Well that and having a nurse pull a giant tube from your artery while you're lying there TOTALLY AWAKE is not fun. Anyway, I'm all recovered now and everything is back to normal and blah blah blah. Just wanted to update the 3 of you that might be concerned. Aaaaaanyway, aside from recovering, we spent Father's day putting up a pergola for the back patio. We were sitting outside on Thursday and it was so bloody hot and our patio is totally sun exposed all day and I was complaining that it was hot and sucking and wouldn't it be nice if we had a pergola and then WHAM, we go to Target and they have them. We could have gone and bought the lumber and designed it and built it but considering our vast lack of free time, building a large wooden outdoor structure was probably not going to happen so instead we spent 5 hours assembling one that some nice factory made for us. We got the whole thing up minus the retractable canopy which hopefully will go on tonight so I can sit under it tomorrow like a lady of leisure. Well, I can sit for 2 minutes until Max eats dirt or tries to catch a bunny or flings himself down the hill or whatever else his little brain deems a good idea. Here's how it looks in our new resort-like backyard. I'm kidding of course. If you paid for a resort vacation and ended up in my backyard, you should be really pissed because it's mostly weeds, rocks, mud and matchbox cars. It's not a fun place. BUT LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS PERGOLA, AMIRITE?!
Anyway, while Max took what some might call a nap, I call it "47 minutes of near silence," I decided to paint the fireplace. I should have taken before pics but that require planning and forethought, neither of which cross my mind. It was normal brick color before, albeit dirty and old and in need of tuckpointing, but the white makes it look nice and new. It's also motivated me to get my ass in gear and paint the rest of this place. I have a billion paint chips taped to the walls and inevitably the one color I want isn't available at Home Depot or Lowe's so I have to go to an actual paint store and I equate that with $$$ so that sucks because I am CHEAP. However, I'm not painting this damn thing again so I'm springing for the color I want. I had planned on starting in the kitchen but that's just too overwhelming to think of right now so I'm starting in our bedroom (bawm chick a wah wah) because there isn't too much wall space, although I've designed this grid thing and that's going to take planning and time and I can't even decide on the wall color so maybe I'll start in the living room instead.
Or maybe I'll just go sit under the pergola. Yeah, that sounds much better.
So, a few weeks ago commenter Allie, of www.thegreenists.com and allielarkinwrites.com, asked me to be a part of the promotional blog tour for her brand new book Stay. I was super honored and very curious. When I was a wee lass, I was quite the reader. I was also kind of weird and hung out alone in my head a lot and those things probably relate but let's move on. Sometime between high school and motherhood, I sorta fell away from the book world and landed in the soft, cushy land of magazines. They speak to me in bullet points and short paragraphs which is about the level of attention span I have these days. Anyway, the last book I read was about 2 years ago and it was She's Come Undone and I bought it at the airport on Kauai and it had "super fun read" and "I laughed and cried" and shit on the cover along with a gigantic gold "O" telling me the mighty Oprah deemed it worthy but in reality it was NOT a fun read that made me laugh. It was actually kind of disturbing and depressing and I didn't really plan on crying in my beach cabana on vacation so that book screwed me and I haven't tried again. Anyway, not to spoil my review, which I have to apologize to Allie for RIGHT NOW because I've never written a review before so I hope I don't screw it up, but this book did NOT make me want to put rocks in my pockets and walk into the sea, although I did shed a tear or two.
That being said, here is my review. Stay By Allie Larkin
Stay centers around Savannah, or Van, a single woman who has just watched the love of her life marry her best friend. While they honeymoon in Europe, Van spends her time trying to forget him, her and them and move on with her life but she feels isolated and tossed aside. One drunken night, she decides a gigantic Slovakian dog will help her loneliness but the dog only creates more chaos. She takes him to the vet which sparks a friendship that opens Van up to new possibilities and a new sense of family. When they return from Europe, Van must face her past in order to embrace her future and she finds allies in the most unlikely places.
Just read this book. It's fun, funny, and the perfect thing to make your heart happy. I WOULD KNOW. At first, I mentally put it in the "chick lit" category, which is not bad but I don't tend to think as much about the characters and stuff but after a bit, I really saw that this was so much more than some pink book on shopping (I'm not judging, I own some) because it brought out issues like loss, grief, classism, betrayal and trust in a really sweet and realistic way. I found myself crying more than once because the situations mirrored some in my own life and those of my friends and I really enjoyed the fact that the author didn't shield them from complication. I found myself rooting for Van to do things I would have normally been against and I appreciated the turns the story took. If you don't believe me, I'm including an excerpt so read for yourself:
Diane let out a disgusted sigh and shook her head. “You look like a pumpkin, dear,” she said, flatly. Then she kissed me on the cheek. “I’ll see you back at the carriage house. We’ll have fun.” She gave me a broad smile and a nod like it was decided, and ran off to hug Janie. I missed the way Diane’s eyes used to crinkle at the sides when she smiled. My mom nursed her through her face-lift and a few months later Diane nursed my mom through all the chemo. I stood there, watching Diane brush a curl of hair off of Janie’s cheek. I wished for a way to clean out my head so I could just be happy for Janie instead of thinking about Peter, or about how even if I did get over Peter and found someone else to fall in love with, my mother would never be there to fix my hair at my wedding. I felt a cold hand on my shoulder. “Van?” Peter said. “I need a favor.” I turned around and looked at him. His tie was loose and the top button of his shirt was undone. His cheeks and his nose were flushed bright red, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have all that breathless excitement be about me instead of Janie. “Sure,” I said, trying not to make eye contact. I was certain that looking into Peter’s blue-gray eyes would break my heart. “I know you’re enjoying the wedding, but . . .” He stopped and looked at Norman, who was slumped over the bar getting yelled at by the woman bartending. “Norman was supposed to go over and set up the room. But he’s not—” He tilted his head in Norm’s direction and raised his eyebrows. “Can you?” “No problem,” I said, hoping the relief at having an excuse to leave wasn’t oozing down my face.
“You’re the best, Van.” He grinned from ear to ear and slapped my back like we were locker room buddies. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He handed me a set of keys attached to a silver Playboy bunny with a diamond eye. “Norman’s car,” he said, rolling his eyes. “The box is on the front seat. It should be self-explanatory.” He hugged me and rested his chin on my bare shoulder for a second. “You’re okay to drive, right?” His breath was hot. He pulled away to give me a good look, like he was making sure. “Okay,” I said, staring at his shiny new platinum wedding band. “Thanks, Van. I owe you one.” He gave me a quick peck on the cheek before running off. I felt the pressure of his lips on my face even after he’d disappeared into the crowd. Janie and her dad had just started dancing to “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” Creepy. I took it as my cue to go. I ducked into the coatroom to grab the brown faux fur wrap Janie gave me as a bridesmaid’s gift, and made my escape to the parking lot.
I walked around the lot, clicking the door opener until the lights on a silver BMW lit up. The license plate read ladezman. When I put the key in the ignition, Michael Bolton blared from the speakers. I took out the CD and threw it on the backseat. Flipping through the CDs in the console, I found Boston. I slid it into the CD player and backed out of the parking space to the opening chords of “More Than a Feeling.” My mom and I were closet Boston fans. We kept all of our Boston records under her sweaters on the top shelf of her closet and listened to them only when we knew there was no chance of anyone coming over. I tore down the gravel road away from the Kittle House and made the tires squeal when I turned onto paved road. Normy’s car hugged the turns of the Saw Mill River Parkway as I made it from Chappaqua to Tarrytown in record time.
So, over the weekend we decided to do something fun as a family and that something ended up being a hike. Yes, I said hike. As in outdoors with nature, two of my least favorite things. Jeff and his dad went on a hike Saturday morning while I stayed home to clean (yay for mom's free time, right?!) and they both had a good time and it was a really, really nice day so I went along with it for Sunday. Well, let me back up. Jeff and I had a night out alone on Saturday, which was WAAAAAAY overdue. I was immensely excited for this as being a stay at home mom is not the easiest thing for me right now. Anyway, as we were getting ready, nature made it's way into our lives in the form of two disgusting ticks that were living on Jeff's back. Now, I don't do bugs. Snakes, mice I'm fine with but not bugs, not ever. Except ladybugs but that's another story. Anyway, as we were getting ready and waiting for grandma to come and babysit, I noticed them and screamed "YOU HAVE GROSS TICKS ON YOU." His reaction was to back up and rub himself on me which was not funny. He wanted them off so I had to put aside my fears and get the tweezers. According to the internet, the best way to remove them is to grab by the skin and pull up until they release their grip, which also ensures you won't squash them, thus releasing all their nasty bacteria into the person they're sucking on. The plan was to get them to release and then I would put them in a ziploc bag in case he got Lyme disease or some shit. That was the plan.
He laid on the floor while I went at them. Ticks are sick. I had to grab it and pull and hold and it would move and I'd lose my grip and have to start over and this went on for about 10 minutes and I hated every second of it, especially when the stupid thing finally let go and RAN ACROSS HIS ASS and I had to get it with the tweezers Mr. Miyagi style and then it was flailing it's legs all over and being disgusting and I screamed until I got it in the bag. The second wasn't as easy and it clung on for dear life until I finally got it off. I'm not entirely sure I got all of that one out but whatever. We finished getting dressed and headed out to dinner. It was around glass of wine #3 that I agreed to go hiking the next day. This was also how I ended up with my first tattoo but I digress. Anyway, the next morning Jeff was all "It's beautiful out! Can't wait to go hiking!" My initial reaction was "oh crap" and then "it's too hot" but then he actually went outside and said that no, it wasn't, it was about 72 degrees. Hmm. I had no other excuse so off we went.
When we arrived, I knew I was screwed when he got out to get a trail map and the car was immediately filled with mosquitoes. They were huge and swarming. We drove to the trail and parked and when we got out we were again attacked by them. We sprayed bug spray and made our way into the woods but after about 5 minutes and eleventy billion mosquitoes biting and flying around, I WAS DONE. You couldn't even open your mouth they were so bad. Max was COVERED with them and they bit his eyes and ears so we ran back to the car and left. We drove to another hiking area about 10 minutes away, which was mosquito free, and found a nice shady area. I was determined not to be a pill about it so I hiked. It was a pretty day and I eventually enjoyed myself for a little while so I might go again. If this were Hawaii, I'd be all over this nature shit but its not and I need to take baby steps so DEAL.
This is also another reason why drinking can get you in trouble.