Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Masterpiece......

Well, here it is - after two weeks of planning, baking, fussing, and cussing, here is the cake of my labours. BEHOLD, the CAR ENGINE CAKE:

Now, I don't know if this resembles any type of engine that exists in the automotive world. Being a chick, and not knowing one thing about car engines, this is my closest interpretation. I claim artistic license n this one. The engine block and filter on top are chocolate fudge cakes with chocolate buttercream. The little round knobby things - I have not idea what you may call them - are those little round dessert cakes. All is covered with fondant that I colored gray. I also colored a bit of the fondant black for some of the accent pieces.

The pulleys and "fan" on the ends are colored and molded white chocolate, as well are the tools. I have a special chocolate mold for the tools, but I had to fabricate the pulleys and fan myself. The fan was molded from the lid of a Tupperware container and the pulleys I molded from plastic margarine tub lids of different sizes then pieced them together and "glued" them with more white chocolate. They are held in place with dowel rods and more white chocolate glue. The "wires" are chocolate licorice ropes and cherry Twizzler Pull-and-Peels. Oh, and the fan belt is a length of bubble gum tape.

This was an undertaking I don't see myself doing again until well after I have recovered from this one!! But it was fun!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!

"Oleomargarine" is already taken, SOOOO.......

Random thoughts for today:

1) Do we offend??? Over the past couple of months or so, several houses on our relatively short cul-de-sac street have gone up for sale. There is one at the entrance to our street, two on either side of the house directly across the street from ours (one of which I am glad for their departure, as the guy has this truck with a loud muffler that scares the bejesus out of me every time he revs the freakin' thing up), and I just noticed today that the house directly across the street is up for sale. I'm starting to get a complex. I mean, I know that quite a few ugly words have emanated from the backyard the past couple of weeks (see previous post "Inna-Gadda-Da-(Gleckia)") but it's nothing different than they've heard on cable....

2) About 2 weeks ago, the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department began an initiative dubbed "Operation Rolling Thunder" - Motorists who were impaired, driving recklessly, not wearing seatbelts, speeding, or committing other traffic infractions that result in crashes were the focus of Operation Rolling Thunder. I sure didn't see a whole lot of police presence on my usual commuting path, which includes an interstate and a major artery into and out of town.

On the way to town today to give a cake decorating demo at the mall, I passed by an overturned pickup truck blocking 2 of the 3 northbound lanes of the Interstate 95. There was an incident just 2 days ago where a woman flipped her SUV over the guardrail at nearly the same spot. Now, I am not saying that speeding was a factor in either crash but experience makes me allege that it was. These two accidents - in conjunction with the many motorists who tailgate me and/or pass me like I am standing still when I am already going about 10 miles over the posted speed limit - prompts me to make just one statement:

Operation Rolling Thunder - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Take that any way you want it. :)

3) I just mixed and baked 10 boxes of chocolate fudge cake mix. The house smells wonderfully of chocolate cake. Talmadge would be retching by now. Good thing he is off visiting Tiger!

4) Bet you're wondering why I have 10 boxes worth of cake in my kitchen. I'm not telling.

5) OK, I'll tell you, but only because you twisted my arm. I've been assigned the task of designing a groom's cake in the shape of a hot rod engine for a wedding next weekend. Wish me luck! I'm just absolutely making myself sick over this cake, because all the pictures of hot rod engines that I have seen look so complicated. SO, this cake is going to be my artist's rendition of a hot rod engine. It may not look like any engine that exists in the automotive world, but it will look like an engine of some sort! I'll post a picture when I get it done to get feedback.

6) Puddy is lying on the floor chasing squirrels in her sleep. So darn cute. Now, everybody go "AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!".

7) It's 1:45 a.m. on Sunday. After doing a cake demo, working in the garden, cleaning out the car (YES, Talmadge, I cleaned the car today), washing dishes, cooking supper, and baking a go-zillion chocolate cakes (actually, four 9"x13" rectangular, three 8" rounds, two 6" rounds, one 9" round, and one 6" square), and writing a blog entry I am ready to go hook myself up to my magical sleep machine and zonk out!

8) I'm wondering if Kate/Susan hits it big in Vegas this weekend, she might considering investing in a little cake shop in the Coastal Empire of Georgia..........

9) You know that I had to include a Number 9. ITTEMDEEOW....and Good Night.

(Late-night blogging should really be outlawed.)

Until later.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Following Tal and Kate/Susan's lead.......ya'll.......


60% General American English
25% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I guess that's about right. I'm a mutt. Georgia born, raised, and bred but have a Missouri/New Jersey lilt. Where the hell did that Upper Midwestern stuff come from????

I do have a tendency to emulate the "accent" of whatever particular group I may be hanging around at the time. My dad's family is deep Southwest Georgia and got that good ol' Southen accent. My mom's father was from the St. Louis area, her mom from New Jersey, and while they lived in SW GA the majority of their lives, my grandparents, aunts, and mom have a distinctly different sound. Then there was that summer in which we hosted two British girls as counselors at our Girl Scout camp. By summer's end we all had a mangled Southern/British dialect going. I got tickled at one of my campers when she asked me if Wendy and Jenny were from another country and I said yes, they came from England a couple of weeks ago to learn about America and help us out at camp. This little girl looked up at me all wide-eyed and said, "Wow, how did they learn English so fast??" I tell ya, if she had not been so cute I would have died laughing in front of her.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If you're happy and you know it.......

.....laugh your little heart out.

I came across this video on YouTube the other day and it just made me laugh. I've decided that this is going to be my pick me up when I am feeling down or tired or just plain grumpy. So darn cute you could just turn inside out!

Now, if a singleton isn't enough for you, try this quartet!

I'm just overwhelmed with cuteness right now I just can't stand it!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Warning! A rather long and schizophrenic post follows:

I have had a rather ambitious project in mind for the past 3 years since we moved into our house in January of 2004. I wanted a veggie garden. Just a small one, enough to get my fill of my favorite veggies. Talmadge isn't much of a veggie eater, so I'll be enjoying this one for the both of us!

In 2004, I could barely keep the two potted plants that I had alive. I had killed off my ficus tree a year earlier while we were still living at the apartment in Savannah.

In 2005, I still had aspirations of gardening. I read a few gardening books, but still wasn't sure if I was up to the task. I did discover a wild blackberry vine that was growing in the corner of the yard and managed to get enough blackberries from that plant to make a nice blackberry cobbler.

In 2006, I tried my hand at "container gardening" on the back patio. I had a tomato, a pepper, a cucumber, and a squash plant. I found a couple more blackberry bushes. My bumper crop for the year yielded me 4-5 decent red tomatoes and, at the end of the season a bunch of small green tomatoes (good thing I adore fried green tomatoes!!), one huge cucumber and 2 smaller ones, a huge squash and couple of smaller ones, and 2 nice peppers. Not quite sure what type of pepper plant this was. I thought it was a bell pepper plant, but they took more of a tapered form but tasted like a bell pepper. It wasn't hot. Oh, and more blackberries for a couple of cobblers and just munching on.

Which brings us into 2007.........the bug has bitten. In winter, Tal and I stopped at "Beaver Bucks" which used to be a pretty big video/music store which has dwindled to part video/dvd, bargain basement music cassettes and rap cd's and part everything's a dollar store. Looking around, I came across a box full of post-season vegetable seeds, 4 for a dollar. I went nuts and left that store with about $5 worth of veggie seeds and visions of a lush green veggie garden in my head.

My brain began forming the plan - I would carve out a small section of our not so huge backyard with the reasoning that it would be less grass for Tal to mow - his favorite chore - so how could he protest?!?! Weeks ago, I started making newspaper seed starter pots based on a plan I found on the internet. I was determined to be the frugal gardener! After our West Virginia vacation in March, I bought some seed starting medium, filled my little paper pots, and planted my seeds. It was warm enough outside, that I put the seeded pots in a plastic underbed storage box that I had, put the lid on it, and put it outside on a table near the patio. It was like a mini-greenhouse! Just enough ventilation so the plants wouldn't smother, and it kept the warmth and humidity inside. To my delight, within a week I could see little green shoots peeking from amongst the newsprint! Over the next week the seedlings just went nuts! So much so that I had to take the lid off the box otherwise the plants would have pushed them off.

I had planned to get the plot ready the weekend before last, however we ended up having cold snap and I had to bring the plants into the garage so they'd be safe and sound.

This past weekend, it was time. I got up early Saturday morning (okay - around 9:30. That's early for ME on a Saturday!) with the best of intentions. I rolled my little cable-spool table out near my garden-to-be, set up the beach umbrella in the little hole in the middle of the table, got out my folding chair, and all my tools and equipment and the ever-important radio (HEY, gotta have tunes to work to, right???). Got a bowl of cereal, a huge glass of iced tea, and came outside to find that the bottom of the cable-spool table had broken, spilling the radio and the umbrella to the ground. I went and got the umbrella stand, put the umbrella in that, set the table back up, put the piece that broke back underneath to support it, put the radio back on the table, sat down, and enjoyed my soggy Lucky Charms while listening to "Car Talk" on public radio and formulating my garden game plan while Puddy helped me out by spreading a little fertilizer.

First, I would use the edger to mark the outer perimeter of the plot. OK, got the edger and extension cord - extension cord not long enough and remembered that I threw out the other extension cord because it was old and frazzled. Grr. So I stomp into the house, grab my purse, and run up to Wally World where I not only purchase an extension cord, but a variety of other items I did not intend to buy.....then back to the house where I discover the umbrella has hit the dirt again. I fold the fallen umbrella and lay it down in the yard, and move the table and my chair over to the shade beside the house, plug in the other extension cord, connect everything up and start running the edger along the areas I've marked. I complete one edge and look behind me to see - nothing. Where's my line? OK, well this idea sucked. I guess I'll just go ahead and start hoeing and raking. I got a "Garden Claw" from the store I was going to use to cultivate, aerate, pulverize, and otherwise prepare the soil to accept my tender little seedlings. You know, like it does on the commercials. HA!! I got maybe one square foot of soil done, looked at the other 127 or so square feet to go and thought, "I'll be here until Memorial Day trying to get this done!" and convinced Talmadge that I needed to go rent a tiller. So off to the rental store we go.

Tal and I return home with what we eventually ended up dubbing "The Machine From Hell". Got it unloaded and pushed it to the backyard and positioned at the corner of the plot, fiddled with the controls, and pulled the starter cord. It sputtered to life, I released the brake and let it go. We were sure we'd have this little approximately 8x16 spot done in no time and return the machine before the store closed at 5:30. As we stood there scratching our heads and watching the machine churn away slowly at the ground, we saw that was not going to happen. Then we discovered the accelerator. We turned that thing up to 11, I released the brake, and it took off across the plot dragging me behind. I managed to get my footing, engaged the brake, and dragged the machine back to the starting point. Tal and I took turns letting the machine drag us across the yard and managed to get one row of tilling done before we collapsed from sheer exhaustion and decided that the ground was too hard to till because of the lack of rain in the area. We were expecting a major storm that night and hoping it would soak and soften the ground. But to hedge, we thought maybe we'd give the soaking a head start and dragged the sprinkler out. It's one of those bow-shaped ones - you know, the ones that shoot off several streams in the shapes of a fan that we used to jump through when we were kids. The little piece that makes it sweep back and forth was broken(that should surprise you how?). Talmadge fiddled with it, trying to make the streams cover the entire plot, at one point pushing on it with his foot which only made it flip over and soak him from head to toe while I stood by and laughed my ass off. I couldn't help it, the way the day had been going so far I almost expected it!

That's how our evening ended. I straightened up the yard, putting all the equipment on the patio and doing a little trimming of branches and such. Tal called the rental place to let them know we were keeping the tiller a little longer.

The next day, the ground was much softer after the soaking. The bad storm that was supposed to hit the night before pretty much fizzled out before it got here and we got only a sprinkling of rain - running the sprinkler was a lucky bit of foresight on our part! The day had started out warm, but it soon turned gusty and cold. We finished the tilling and I raked, weeded, and leveled out the plot then dug a trench between the house and the plot for the irrigation drip line.

Because of the wind I decided to wait to put in the plants so they wouldn't get broken or blown away. So now all I have left to do is mark the rows, plant the seedlings, run the drip lines up the rows, water and fertilize the plants, and then let God take over. Hopefully by mid- to late-summer I will literally be enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of my labor!

What am I planting, you ask? I've got tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra, corn, beets, carrots, jalapeno peppers, a variety of colored bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, green beans, pole beans, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons, and cucumbers. I'll have a couple of hanging baskets with cherry tomatoes and strawberries, a little patch of mammoth sunflowers, two planter boxes - one with a regular mesclun mix and another with a spicy mesclun mix, and regular planter with nasturtium. Oh, and lets not forget the patch of wild blackberries in the wetlands. Think I need anything else???

Maybe I should plant some flowers, perhaps some that would attract some of the helpful insects. Like maybe some ladybugs to eat the aphids, honeybees to pollenate the plants, even perhaps an iron butterfly or two........I just hope this doesn't turn out to be a "$64 tomato"!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

A change will do you good.....

OK, so the nasal pillow wasn't working out so well for me. I'd wake up often on my side to the sound of rushing air from one or both dislodged nostrils and my eyelids flapping in the breeze. I broke down and called the respiratory company who provided me with my CPAP machine and nasal pillow and asked to try one of the nose masks that we had sampled on Monday.

I got a spiffy model with that cool blue gel stuff to cushion it - looks like THIS. And, yeah, I do look as much like a dork as the dork in the picture does. But as long as I can get some good sleep, I could look like Steve Urkel for all I care!

I look like I'm all set for chemical warfare with that thing on. And, with Talmadge's love for beans, I should count my lucky stars for this setup. LOL!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finally......a refill!

OK, so I got the results back from my sleep study. Dr. Maria says that I have mild sleep apnea. Mild according to the reports, that is. I got a total of 4 hours of sleep - mostly light sleep that did not get to the restful, restorative REM stage at which apnea rears its ugly head. I got to that stage probably 1 1/2 hours before I was to wake up. During that 1 1/2 hour stretch of time I stopped breathing several times, at one time for a whole minute and a half! Dr. Maria said that, had I had a longer REM sleep stage, she feels that I probably would have been classified as severe apnea.

So now I am all set up with a CPAP machine. Thankfully, I do not have to wear a full face mask - I've been fitted with a less cumbersome nasal pillow. The first night, it was weird to wear something on my face. I couldn't really lay on my stomach (where I'm most comfortable without knocking it askew) even though the wonderful Dr. Maria hooked me up with some drugs. The air pressure from the machine, which is what keeps your airways open as you sleep, fills up your head and makes you feel like a balloon! As you breathe, you can hear the air moving in and out of the machine. Later that night, through my drug-and-sleep haze, I could swear I heard Talmadge utter, "Luke, I am your father......." as he crawled into bed. Oh, and I came across a support group for CPAP users on Yahoo Groups (man, they have a group for EVERYTHING!!). One of the posters signed off "Hosehead since 2002". I like that.....I'm now officially a "hosehead"! LOL!

Last night was better, I got some sleep and actually could feel a difference. I was still a bit sleepy after lunch today, though. Baby steps, time will tell!

I have to see Dr. Maria next week for some tweaking of the machine, and she wants to do another sleep study w/ the machine. Afterwards, we should be good to go for scheduling my surgery!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

One of these things is not like the other.......

I just realized this afternoon (while counting out a change drawer) that the picture that I took of Talmadge at the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia is the same that's on the back of the 2005 West Virginia quarter - almost from the same perspective! Cool, huh?
(The picture of Tal was modified NOT to protect his identity, but to prevent terrorizing any small children and/or impressionable adults who may happen by my blog.....)

I neither slept nor dreamt......

.....that I know of.

So, I did the sleep study on Monday night. The night seemed promising as I drove the 2-3 miles between our house and the sleep center. I got there at 8:25 p.m. and was met by Wanda, the sleep technician. I was given paperwork to fill in, took a little time to go potty, get a drink of water, and watched TV for a bit. Then Wanda came in and started hooking me up to all the wires while we watched "Dancing With The Stars". It was either that, or the Ohio State/Florida game on CBS. No cable. :-( After I was all wired up and connected, it was beddy-bye time. Yeah - wired was the word for it. I couldn't get comfortable. I usually sleep on my stomach, and I wasn't allowed to because of all the wires and sensors. The center was right next to Hwy. 21, and there were semi trucks going by constantly, the occasional nitwit with his BOOM BOOM BOOM, and the train that runs through Rincon what seems like every 2 hours. I had a fan running in the room, which drowned out a little bit of the noise but not much.

I tossed, I turned, I started to know what a fly caught in a spider web felt like. I was hot, I was cold. Wanda was in the next room and apparently fighting a cold, I could hear her coughing all night. Finally, after I don't know how many hours I had to get up and go to the bathroom again so I had to summon Wanda by knocking on the wall. She came in and disconnected me, I did my business, and on the way back to my room I stole into the waiting room and looked at the clock. 2:00??? It didn't seem that late. I know that I must have gone to bed no later than 10. I felt a little distressed because I only had 3 more hours before they would be waking me up and I had not gotten enough sleep for them to monitor yet. So, back to get hooked up again and try to get to sleep. Without a clock in the room, it was hard to tell how much longer I stayed awake. I just remember Wanda coming in and waking me up at 5:00. Filling in some paperwork, and leaving. I went back home and crawled into bed with Talmadge and Puddy and slept for a couple of hours, wishing that I was still hooked up to the monitors so they could have recorded that. Hmph. Fortunately, I could sleep in a little bit because I had a dentist appointment for a root canal and crown prep later that morning. No, I didn't fall asleep in the chair, but I could have!

I'm supposed to go back to Dr. Maria next Monday for the results of my sleep test. I wonder if I'll have to do it again? If so, they better give me a Valium or something to take prior to it to relax me, otherwise it will be ANOTHER long night.