Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ah, Summer! Part Four: Cupcake Competitions

All the summer birthdays around here were in June or July, but summer is moving at a different pace than most of the year, so I've just gotten around to the cupcake photos. I hope you made it to the Second Annual StudentNurseFamily Cupcake Competition. I'm declaring myself the winner with the chocolate 'n' salted caramel cupcakes I stole from here. But I used Alice Water's chocolate cake recipe for the cupcakes and mine don't look as pretty because I frosted them outdoors on a picnic table in the sun prior to the competition. And that frosting recipe.... Melt the butter? Don't do it. It cannot be correct. I say soften that butter and whir the thing up in your mixer. I melted the butter and then I had to double up the recipe using softened butter and more cocoa powder and powdered sugar. I'm not going to blame that for my too soft frosting, though. I'm going to stick with blaming the sun.

So, today was my kids' first day back to school. It was my son's first day of kindergarten. I was sure I'd cry and cry what with my littlest one going off to the big elementary school, but instead I slept really poorly last night. I had these strange dreams wherein I brought my son to kindergarten, but he wasn't my son as he is now, he was a baby, but not how my son was as a baby (come on, you know how dreams go). He was, alternatively, a big fat-armed stereotypical baby with puffy cheeks and fat, wet rosebuddy mouth wearing soft blue cordoroy shortalls and smelling like sour milk and Pampers or he was my son, but a miniature version of him like a painting from the Middle Ages where children are just smaller adults. So, all night I was bringing my baby to kindergarten and I guess I got over it. This morning I said, "Ok, I'm going now," and my littlest one barely looked up from the play-do to give me a goodbye.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ah, Summer! Part Three: Tomatoes!

It's not that I've forgotten you. No, really. I've just been having a summer here in all the best ways.

I don't really have dreams about tomatoes in non-tomato times of the year (say, February), but I think about them when I'm awake almost every day. And then July comes around and the cherry tomatoes start showing up and we're having them in pasta, on salads, on bruschetta (shut up, it *is* pronounced broo-sketta!) like above all mixed up with basil and olive oil and red torpedo onions. And now How-Ya-Doing-August! and we're getting some of those dry farmed tomatoes that are RED! and smell like sunshine and all that is good and I'm thinking of a million ways to slice 'em up and eat them.

And if you are what your pregnant mom ate then my daughter is about 35% tomato. I was pregnant w/ her over a summertime and that's when my love for tomatoes began, really. I adored the ugly tomatoes; yeah, the heirlooms. The uglier and bulgier and more vividly-colored the better. And that gal will eat a tomato out of hand like no seven-year-old I know. They were even featured in a song she wrote about fruit in a crescendo of To-May-TOWWWWWW!

I actually dream about peaches, though. Even more than tomatoes, they live large in my dreams of summertime and they are the reason that summer is my favorite season even though I'm not such a huge fan of excessive sunshine and swimsuits (my "Anxiety Zones" can't be resolved with artful tummy panels or clever uplift devices, bold patterns and slights of hand). I can't get a picture of peaches, though, because I eat them too quickly. Now you see it, now you.... My daughter's fruit song ends with, "and that'" and that's how I feel about peaches: And That's My Fruit.

So I was buying myself a few chocolate truffles today and I kept saying: ooh, what's that one? That's purdy, what flavor is that? and I finally asked The Chocolate Lady if she had a chocolate map and she gave it to me. She said, " I was just enjoying your energy, so I didn't tell you we have this." and she handed me the descriptions of the chocolates. I had just come from my son's preschool. I spent the whole morning hanging kids' artwork on the wall and it put me in the best mood. If you're ever feeling sad, I recommend hanging out w/ kid artwork. It's so charming and the colors are often so bright and the messages are usually so simple and clean and pretty and the materials are sometimes so multi-textural and the glue and the placements can be so half-hazard (yeah, yeah: haphazard. I don't care.) and large groups of this stuff hanging on a wall is really sweet and lovely.

And it's my son's last day of preschool. Today is. Thank goodness I have the chocolate truffles and the head full of large groups of kid art or I might be crying that my son is a big schoolboy and not my baby anymore. OK.