Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We were supposed to close on the sale of our condo today. That did not happen, due to a cluster of annoying factors not really related to us. The offer we had is most likely going to fall through, and we'll have to start the whole process over.

However, I'm trying to stay positive, because today is Leap Day. When you have a whole extra day in a year, you should not spend it being sad. So here are five things I'm grateful for today:

1. Even though I would have liked to have a bambino (here, or on the way) by now, it's nice to be able to maintain a laser-like focus on Getting This Condo Situation Taken Care Of ASAP. And it wouldn't be as crowded if (ugh, worst-case scenario) we end up moving back into the condo.

1b. This also meant that last night (when everything fell apart) I was able to enjoy a glass of wine. (OK, two glasses...)

2. My sister/Realtor is awesome and being super helpful.

3. Bailey is unaffected by this. And adorable.
4. Rather than dreaming about new houses, I can go back to my (even more enjoyable) fantasies about quitting my job.

5. We will probably have our tax refund back in time to use it to pay any additional condo-related expenses that come up.

Everything will work out eventually. And even though I'm not sure that this quote really applies to our situation, it still makes me feel better:

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank among those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat"
~Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate and Tea and Me

A week or so ago, I won a giveaway on Crystal's blog. This morning, the mailman left this in my mailbox:

Swiss chocolate, tea, and a handmade keychain that will be perfect for holding my keys while walking Bailey? You had me at chocolate.

I ate the chocolate for breakfast (because I am an adult and I am allowed to do that, Mom) which made me think of my short study abroad in Switzerland, which made me think of how that trip finally got me away from a lying, cheating, scumbag of an ex-boyfriend and allowed me to move on with my life. I am a fan of Swiss chocolate, is what I'm saying.

Thanks Crystal! You made my day!

P.S. Crystal's blog is awesome, and you should read it if you aren't already. She writes about some of my favorite things (Canada, food, cats in sweaters, husbands who are police officers), and some of my less-favorite things that I can still absolutely relate to (dogs that panic and bark all day when you leave them alone, jobs that are four-letter words).

P.P.S. Thumbs up to the French & U.S. Postal Services. Crystal's package arrived at my house in Texas in about a week.*

*This may impress me because I picture overseas post getting to my house through a combination of old-fashioned carriages, rickety boats, and the Pony Express. But still. Good job postal services!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Make Valentine's Cupcakes in 46 Simple Steps (with pictures!)

Step 1. Several weeks before Valentine's Day, be inspired by adorable cupcakes on Bakerella's website. Tell everyone who will listen that you are making these cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

Step 2. Forget step 1 entirely. Forget that Valentine's Day exists.

Step 3. Remember Valentine's Day and cupcakes. Decide you would rather make vanilla cupcakes, as red velvet always reminds you of a song about a prostitute.

Step 3a. (optional, but encouraged.) Schedule a dentist appointment the same day you plan to make cupcakes. Get four or fewer hours of sleep.

Step 4. After your dentist appointment and/or a few hours before your dinner reservation, remember that you had planned/promised to make cupcakes as a Valentine's gift. Realize you lack nearly all necessary ingredients.

Step 5. Head to store to purchase ingredients. Get distracted by cute Valentine's-themed mini cupcake liners. Decide that you should make twee little mini cupcakes instead of full-sized cupcakes. Head home.

Step 6. Mix cupcake batter.

Step 7. Fill 36 mini cupcake liners with batter. Realize you have only used 1/4 of the amount of batter you mixed.

Step 8. Continue filling mini cupcake liners with batter.

Step 9. Continue filling mini cupcake liners with batter.

Step 10. Begin to question the wisdom of making mini cupcakes instead of full-sized cupcakes. Tell yourself you are almost done and to stop being so whiny.

Step 11. Continue filling mini cupcake liners with batter.

Step 12. Get bored and color the rest of the batter pink.
Add Image
Step 13. Continue filling mini cupcake liners with batter.

Step 14. Finish filling mini cupcake liners with batter. Realize you haven't cut out the little hearts that are supposed to adorn the arrows shooting through the cupcakes. Decide to do this while cupcakes bake.

Step 15. Realize how tiny these little hearts are going to have to be to fit on mini cupcakes.
Unpainted Ron Swanson Christmas ornament shown for size reference.

Step 16. Cut out tiny hearts.

Step 17. Cut out tiny hearts.

Step 18. Contemplate telling people most of the cupcakes burned so that you can stop cutting out tiny hearts.

Step 19. Hear the heater turn on. Watch in horror as your tiny paper hearts flutter to the floor.

Step 20. Feel the tiny heart inside your chest flutter to your stomach. Wonder if the five-second rule applies to tiny paper hearts.

Step 21. Decide that the floor, even if clean, is still, you know, the floor, and sweep tiny hearts into the trash.

Step 22. Cut out more tiny hearts.
Step 23. Look at small pile of tiny hearts. Think of 100+ cupcakes baking in the oven. Contemplate actually burning the cupcakes.

Step 24. Finish cutting out tiny hearts.

Step 25. Remove cupcakes from oven. Put them on plates to cool. Realize almost your entire counter is covered in tiny cupcakes.
Step 26. Wait for cupcakes to cool. Realize your dinner reservation is in two-and-a-half hours, and you haven't showered yet.

Step 27. Stab a cupcake with a toothpick. Notice that due to the size of the mini cupcake (or perhaps due to aggressive nature of toothpick stabbing) that the cupcake becomes slightly misshapen once it has been "shot."
Step 28. Decide the cupcakes look sort of heart-shaped, and you will tell people you did this on purpose.

Step 29. Sing Bon Jovi until you notice the dog burying his head under blankets in the other room.

Step 30. Sing even louder. Accidentally-on-purpose stab a few cupcakes hard enough that they break in half. Sample broken cupcakes.

Step 31. Add little paper hearts to cupcakes. Develop carpal tunnel.
Step 32. Realize you used the only bowl large enough to make frosting to mix cupcake batter. Wash dishes.

Step 33. Mix frosting.

Step 34. Sample frosting. Discover it tastes of sadness and despair. Throw away frosting.

Step 35. Wash dishes.

Step 36. Make as much frosting as you can with remaining butter. Frost about half of the cupcakes. Run out of frosting.

Step 37. Wonder if it's too early to start drinking. Look at clock. Realize your dinner reservation is in an hour-and-a-half, and you don't have time to go to the grocery store. In desperation, make more frosting with strawberry cream cheese. Don't measure anything or write anything down.

Step 38. Sample frosting. Discover it tastes of rainbows and magic and is a lovely pink color. Realize you will never be able duplicate this frosting.

Step 39. Frost remaining cupcakes.

Step 40. Text your sister: "If I ever say I'm going to make mini cupcakes again, please slap me in the mouth."

Step 41. Decide it is not too early to have a glass of wine. Add cheerful sprinkles to cupcakes. Decide they look rather cute.
Step 42. Box up cupcakes.

Step 43. Get ready for dinner with minutes to spare.

Step 44. Present cupcakes to husband, who has just returned home with flowers.
Step 45. After dinner of Mexican food and mojitos, decide that cupcake adventure was not so bad after all. Eat a cupcake.

Step 46. Realize that when the front heart is removed, the cupcakes sort of look like tiny hearts being stabbed with tiny stakes. Tell anyone who will listen that you will be making vampire heart cupcakes for Halloween.

Alternate Time-Saving Valentine Cupcakes (that your 30-year-old husband, 2-year-old niece, and 5-year-old nephew will appreciate just as much)

Step 1. Purchase cupcakes.

Step 2. Present cupcakes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Put down the tablet, Jane

Dear Self,

Put down the tablet.
I mean it.
Put it down.