I've just returned from my long weekend getaway to see family in Charlotte and, let me say, it almost restored my religion. It appears that the local 1:4 church to people ratio has convinced God to bestow there some excellent weather. Not excellent, really, more like perfect. In truth, to date, every time I go to NC the sun shines. Moreover, apparently - in some sort of artistic joke - God also decided to put all the tasteful and houseproud people with an fantastic sense of architectural proportion in the same geographic area. I mean, there were cherry blossoms, in bloom, lining every freakin' street?!
I'm sorry if you live anywhere else and you missed this...
The trip had other high points: Visiting with family is always a good fortune. My daughter had a joyful, familial time with her cousins (an opportunity she is, sadly, rarely afforded). In honour of her soon-to-be 11th birthday, my mother and I made a cake and we all surprised her with it.
I suppose it would be cinematic if I could visually represent the sound of brain shock which, no doubt, those of you who know my mother - or any of my posts about her utter disinterest in baking - are likely experiencing, having read that last sentence.
Alas, she was out of box mix (!?) so we had to improvise. For those of you intimidated by whipping up a birthday cake in 2 hours, let me assure you it is entirely achievable. Just keep your cool. I altered the recipe - no egg whites cuz I don't like fluffy cake (more yolks instead) and greek yogurt mixed with 2% instead of buttermilk (which we didn't have on hand). I even had my first chance to bake in a gas oven, generally not recommended. Happily, my mother's oven is very high-end. Plus, it had a convection switch and I watched it like a hawk. In case you're curious, I lowered the temp by 15 degrees and it took 33 minutes (instead of 50-60 min.) I can see how you'd totally wreck a cake if you didn't know that gas ovens work differently than electric ones (which tend to bake more evenly). This cake was maybe the moistest I've ever participated in making, so there goes that prejudice.
The icing was cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and a bit of red food colouring for maximum pink. We decorated with raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. How tweenie-girl cute is that?*
However, it was not all fun and games as evidenced by this little anecdote: I see approximately one movie a year, generally with Scott, often while visiting my family. This year the choices were The King's Speech and Battle LA. Yes, you did read that correctly. Guess which one I saw?
I don't know how I'll ever get the immortal phrase, "Let's show those alien fuckers how it's done", out of my mind. It's amazing how many things require 200 rounds of ammo before they'll die. I suppose, from that perspective, it was educational.
*I didn't take photos but others did. I will post a shot as soon as I receive them...