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Posts Tagged ‘Cake’

I was talking with Great Grandma Ada this morning and I mentioned that disrespect, or its evil cousin “contempt,” is a most toxic part of some marriages. I figured this marriage counselor had seen her fair share of marital discord over the years. We started off discussing how Pompeo is holding Congress in “contempt” by refusing to hand over documents relating to our President’s abuse of power in Ukraine, and now VP Pence has joined this “League of Sycophantic Gentlemen Eager to Ignore a Subpoena!” 

Ada pivoted immediately from politics to personality. She told me how she had always wanted to do a study of newlyweds, specifically of videos detailing how they handled the whole wedding cake situation. I blurted out, “Oh, you mean did they smash a piece of cake into each other’s mouth?”

“Yes,” she said, she could usually predict if a relationship was going to last by the way they fed each other cake on their wedding day.

Nine years ago, my reluctant Bride was having nothing resembling a huge, monstrous, wedding cake at her ceremony in an apple orchard. No, she chose cupcakes that would be named after her dogs – Bailey’s Irish Cream and Guiness’ Dark Chocolate – and since we didn’t have an MC to set aside a special time for cutting a cake, guests were served their tiny sweets during the reception on a rooftop downtown. I added small maple sugar candies, the kind the Bride loved as a child in the Berkshires.

They went so fast, I’m not sure if the Bride and Groom even tasted them?

Their marriage has grown into a mutually supportive, loving and respectful partnership. Getting along with your partner in the good times is easy; but getting along through grueling residencies and fellowships, punctuated even now by weeks of MICU on-call-endless nights and emergency phone calls, takes commitment and courage to a new level.

Ada brought up Melania Trump, how she slapped her husband’s hand away. I mentioned a recent video montage of world leaders looking disgusted and appalled at Mr T’s remarks. What are the signs of contempt?

“Here’s some common signs that contempt is underlying the negative tone in a conversation.  Eye-rolling suggests contempt.  An upper lip raised on one side suggests contempt.  So does a sarcastic tone of voice.  Beware if you have these habits, and also if you have been on the receiving end of these negative communications. They are sure signs that someone is not listening or listening to deprecate you (or you to deprecate your partner), not to gain understanding.

Empathy and contempt are polar opposites.  Empathy involves caring about others feelings and concerns.  Contempt is arrogant (“I know best”) disregard, dismissal and denigration of others’ concerns.  Empathy nurtures relationship bonds; contempt invites relationship and marriage problems.”  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201303/how-contempt-destroys-relationships

Will House Democrats have the WILL (I was going to write a different word, but after having to look up “BLANK Strap” thinking Mr T meant “boot strap” which he didn’t, I thought the less coarsening of language the better) to impeach? What will it take for this League of Sycophants to release the documents desired so that articles of impeachment may be served? Will they claim executive privilege once again? Shall we remain a sovereign state? These old white men are in contempt of court and we are a nation of laws. Straight jackets have come to mind.

Meanwhile, here is the Love Bug learning how to decorate a cake. It’s up to us to model  empathy, to teach kindness.

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I married a man, a doctor no less, who HATES golf. I’ve tried sweet talking him out, into the open air of a country club, to hit a “birdie” or a “bogey” or anything, just to give it a try, but nope, not happening, never, ever. He would always say he sees no reason to follow a tiny ball around a vast, grass wasteland, even if driving a golf cart might be fun.

On the other hand, we now have a President who cancelled a trip to Poland, then ventured out to his branded and manicured golf course – all while Hurricane Dorian raged – to “chip” away at his “links.” On the last day of his third August in the White House, this was Mr T’s 226th day of GOLF!

What happens when an ace journalist, Susan Glasser, collects the mega data of 3 years of AUGUST Tweets from our Golfer-in-Chief? You get a compelling picture of the escalating and devolving speech process (and therefore thought process) of a presidency that resembles a hurricane, even without an enhanced Sharpie diagram!

Mr T has gone from a Category 1 to a 5 faster than a toddler can disintegrate into tears because… well, pick a reason.

Trump not only makes us believe it now but, as we approach the three-year mark of his upset victory, in 2016, his project has succeeded in such a confounding way that it seems as though Americans will now believe anything—and nothing at all. Today there are few things too extreme not to have plausibly come out of the mouth, or the Twitter feed, of the forty-fifth President. In August, Trump called himself the “Chosen One” for his confrontation with China, grinned and flashed a thumbs-up during a photo op with the family of mass-shooting victims, accused Jews who voted for Democrats of “great disloyalty,” and called the chairman of the Federal Reserve an “enemy” of the United States. He cheered the robbery of a Democratic congressman’s home and labelled various critics “nasty and wrong,” “pathetic,” “highly unstable,” “wacko,” “psycho,” and “lunatic,” among other insults. The daily stream of invective was dizzying to keep track of, and so voluminous as to almost insure that no one could, in fact, do so.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/trumps-wacky-angry-and-extreme-august-twitter

And is that the point, if he has a point? To create so much havoc, to take funds away from building schools for military personnel in order to build his border wall, to propose the next G7 happen at his Doral property? To reframe the American Dream in a thought bubble of nonsense? His helicopter summits elicit hyperbole rather than any real “Breaking News.” The number of times he has insulted a perceived adversary has multiplied threefold in the past three Augusts!

No wait, the number of direct insults from Mr T’s Twitter fingers went from 14 his first August to 52 last month! His list of humiliating monikers reads like a middle school diary: “Lunatic; “Crazy;” “Psycho;” “Pathetic;” and “Sleepy.”

The irony of listening to Democrats speak out about Climate Change while Trump, our Climate-Denier-in-Chief, played golf (as Dorian destroyed the Bahamas) was not lost on me. And the one thing the GOP picked out of CNN’s excellent environmental summit was that Bernie Sanders linked population control to Global Warming and therefore he wants less brown babies?!!

This is a real existential crisis, it is not a joke and it is NOT about straws, or plastic bags, or birth control. Our leadership must first accept science and enlist the rest of the world in its multifaceted solution if we actually want to save our planet, let alone our species.

We need a “Mulligan” I’m afraid. Or we could take a cake decorating class with our American Girl Doll?

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This past weekend back in Nashville, Bob and I stole the Love Bug for an afternoon. Our local Nature Center, Shelby Bottoms, http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Nature-Centers-and-Natural-Areas/Shelby-Bottoms-Nature-Center.aspx sits on the side of the Cumberland River with tug boats pushing gigantic barges right by lovely hiking trails. And to mark the Center’s 10th Anniversary, they had a party with wood cutting artist, Julie Sola, engaging people of all ages. Julie had prepared gorgeous cuttings of local birds and taught the Bug how to roll on the ink and press out a design.

And of course, we had birthday cake!

Today, the Supreme Court will take up the merits of wedding cakes. One might think that if your business was a bakery, you should not be able to discriminate against anyone…for any reason. But this particular baker in Colorado refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple, and now he gets to plead his case before the highest court in the land. In a way around the issue, his lawyers have framed the argument differently:

In June, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the baker’s claim that designing a custom wedding cake involves expression. If so, forcing him to design a cake that violates his views conflicts with the freedom of speech protected by the 1st Amendment, his lawyers say. The justices will not hear his separate claim that requiring him to make a custom cake violates his right to the “free exercise” of religion also protected by the 1st Amendment.”                             http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-wedding-cake-20171205-story.html

Now I’m not a lawyer, but “free speech” and the “free exercise of religion” have been used as synonyms by the Religious Right for ages. Let’s put the Ten Commandments up in our court house square, let’s all hold hands and pray before the football game. It’s like they forgot why our country threw off the yoke of Great Britain in the first place – the Anglican church didn’t speak for Thomas Jefferson. In fact, he wrote his own Bible! “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” which omitted pretty much every miracle in the Bible because our Founders believed in science and reason.

You’d have to think Jefferson would have fought against Climate Change from the get go, and not worried over Personhood claims, or cakes for that matter.

When the Bride and Groom married on the adjoining Blue Ridge mountaintop to Monticello, they disdained the traditional wedding cake. My reluctant Bride wanted cupcakes, there would be no ceremonial cutting of the cake and smashing a piece into someone’s mouth. They incorporated Jewish and Christian tradition into their ceremony, including a reading of “The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real.”

Christianity is, after all, a Jewish sect that got really really popular. But what if Judaism was the dominant religion in this US of A? Or Hinduism? Should our restaurants only serve dairy and meat on different nights? Or maybe only serve vegan meals? And btw, we only create gluten-free wedding cakes for couples who fit our limited, fundamental definition of the Bible…

If you want to go to pastry school, but you don’t want to bake a cake for a black and white couple, or an immigrant couple, or a hillbilly couple, or a mixed-faith couple (you get the drift) then just make baking your hobby. Pick something else, be a dog catcher, or an electrician. Be a park ranger! Don’t bother the Supremes with your myth.

I’ve been telling my grands that when I cook, I add this very special ingredient, TLC. And they totally get it – from carrot cake to lasagne, there is no room for hate in my hands.

The Love Bug wanted a piece of the Shelby Bottoms’ birthday cake with the red balloon, so of course I skillfully executed the perfect slice for her. Julie talked about her children’s book, the story of a dog named Milo, while the Bug recounted our story of Miss Bean catching a bird in mid-flight, right before our very eyes. I screamed and made her drop the poor thing. Then she displayed her creation. My Grand Daughter had drawn flowers and stars on the paper before adding the chickadee print. And it was pretty darn sweet!

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While I was searching for some old pictures, I pulled down a big Frye boot box from the top of my closet. Inside I discovered the purple sweater that my Nana knit, probably around the turn of the last century. It was chock full of cables, an Aryan style, and since I knew it was a tight fit at 16, almost six decades later I didn’t have to try it on. I want to give it to the Bride; and I want to teach the Love Bug how to knit like a laidback knitter when she gets older!

Yesterday I walked into the Haus of Yarn in search of a certain size needle and walked out with this book, “10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters, A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn and Life,” by Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza. Post Christmas sales were in the air, (as in, “Come back on Wednesday when everything is half off”) and a woman was delivering a big box from Nothing Bundt Cakes, http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com I love this knitting store, they had fudge in the back and invited me to their Thursday night knit club. Back to the book, there are all different kinds of knitters, on a spectrum from the up-tight anxious type seeking perfection all the way to someone who knits in a recliner and doesn’t mind a dropped stitch.

I have to admit, I don’t like making mistakes, but I’m aware that what I want to be is a laidback knitter. And now I know how! I may never do any spinning or roving, but I do know where most of the yarn I use comes from. And I can still walk down the road to the Rivanna River Alpaca farm and say “Hey” to my friend DeeDee. Her animals make the softest fiber in the world. Thanks to The Knitting Lady, I don’t fear dropping stitches or even ripping out rows of wool with abandon. I can say with satisfaction, I am the slowest knitter ever! “Slow” in the sense of the slow food movement; and to be fair, in the sense of time spent on a project…

Have a slow moving Sunday y’all. As our President said, “Drink some eggnog.” I’m working on a rosy pink dress for my little Bout de Chou – translation “tiny piece of cauliflower!” I intend to keep knitting…and writing about gun control, in light of the tone deaf statements of the NRA. Let’s bring our voices to Washington via petitions, phone calls and those really hard to ignore, snail mail letters. Slow and steady will win this race.
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What’s a person to do when they’re lying awake in bed at midnight buzzing with happiness and the let-down of a stressful but fun weekend? Why, get up and watch Pierce Morgan interview the Dalai Lama of course. Oh, and check in on my friend Karen’s Daughter-in-Law. I mentioned this gal before, Kath Younger (KERF) is our town’s famous food blogger, as big online as that Pioneer Woman out west, except that Kath is adorably real! And yesterday, she and her husband Matt documented the Bride and Groom’s baby shower here http://www.KathEats.com/party-hoppin

It all started on Friday, like any good Jewish celebration relatives started streaming in from points north and festivities were planned. The Rocker got his first glimpse of his sister’s 30 week belly at Barbecue Exchange in Gordonsville, a truly unique and delicious experience!

Saturday night we met friends on the mall for dinner. The weather couldn’t have been better and my Grand Dogs were very well behaved. How long does it take for the conversation to turn to medicine when 4 doctors walk into a restaurant? I always try to postpone the inevitable, but it never works. Once, when the band stopped by on a grand tour, we played a game of Trivial Pursuit with a group of medical students after dinner. I called it the artists vs the scientists, and the artists won! Ah those were our glory days! But this weekend the doctors were in; so sprinkled among the baby talk were consults on broken fingers and poison ivy.

Many thanks to the Groom’s Mom for co-hosting a great baby shower; and to Ashley East, Dinner at Home for the yummy salads. The baby-clothes-line-art-activity went particularly well (thanks Pinterest), in fact we couldn’t decide on a winner. And I am humbled by Kath’s opinion of my carrot cake. (photo courtesy of KERF) This 3 layer, toasted coconut, cream cheese frosted carrot cake has a special meaning for us. I found the recipe years ago in a Junior League cookbook, and I would make it once or twice a year with my daughter since she could stand on a stool and help. We’d bring it to birthday parties, we’d deliver it to a funeral, we’d demonstrate its deliciousness to visiting French students; its secret is that it is overloaded with carrots. I still use the 1960’s avocado green Sunbeam hand mixer to whip it together. Of course, the Bride would always get to clean the frosting bowl. Baby girl was kicking up a storm this morning as they packed up all their presents and the dogs for the return trip to Nashville. Sweeter they couldn’t be!

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