Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cake Wrecks, Ultra-Yellow Labs, and Cat-a-Pull-Its

The author in a Zen-like
Becky Home-Ecky cake-
frosting moment. This is
a deceptive sort of calm.
The past few weeks have felt like one of those dreams in which you suddenly find that all your belongings have, for some unknown reason, been placed outside as if you are being evicted, and passers-by are examining them in wonder, picking them up and putting them down, always with the prowling threat that somebody might take something, and it's your job to run around and try to gather everything up and bring it back in the house, only you can't because people are constantly trying to catch your attention like you're a sales clerk during the annual Filene's Basement Running of the Brides. Plus whenever you try to use your phone, you keep misdialing the number, again and again, until you finally get it right but then the person at the other end can't hear you.

Which is to say, the past few weeks have been much like those of any other mom trying to balance a tray full of Responsibilities over her head while navigating her way through a restaurant crowded with people snapping their fingers, unexpectedly flinging an arm or shoving a chair into a pathway, and spilling their beverages.

And all that prologue is to justify a totally random posting of pictures. (Can something be a prologue if it is also pretty much the epilogue? I don't know. Discuss amongst yourselves.)

First off is The Cake.

Behold, Cake Rex.

When my family gathered for Easter this year, we decided to celebrate a host of birthdays as well, because during our year of mourning nobody really felt much like celebrating anything.

The celebration of five birthdays requires an extraordinary cake. So I baked and constructed a four-layer tower of a cake, slathering it with homemade icing that I tried to dye purple but which came out more of a lurid pink.Such confection perfection clearly needed to be set upon a worthy throne, so I hauled out the jadeite Martha Stewart cake stand.

The cake stand had done something weird a few years ago. It was sitting in the china cabinet, supposedly content with its lot, while I sat in the living room, minding my own business, reading a book. Suddenly I heard a loud clunk.

The cats were riveted in front of the cabinet, staring in horror, so I knew just where to look for the origin of the mysterious sound. And there stood my cake stand--or rather, half a cake stand. A huge chunk of the plate had sheared off along some hidden fault line, without anybody or anything touching it. Anything that a normal person (or cat) could hear, see, smell, or touch, that is.

I wrote to the catalog company that had sold me the cake plate, but they were Not Helpful. In fact, they told me they were not responsible for the plate because the catalog was now out of business (correlation, causation, anyone?) and they couldn't tell me who'd manufactured the stand, either. So I glued the thing  together and stuck it back in the china cabinet.

It seemed sturdy enough when I set the giant cake on it. When I sliced the cake into quarters, releasing some inner tension inside it, everybody gasped as each quarter leaned sideways, threatening to fall off the stand. Clearly each Leaning Tower of Piece-a-Cake needed to be sliced rapidly for serving, so I quickly bisected one of the quarters.

That's when the cake stand sheared in two again and the entire cake sprawled across the table. Cake Rex had become a contender for Cake Wrecks.

Waste not, want not. We wanted cake. We ate it anyway.

Other holiday festivity included discovering that our yellow Lab was even yellower than usual:


This is what happens when a teenaged girl discovers that the stamens of stargazer lilies brought in for Easter produce dusty gold pollen that works as a dye when rubbed on a surface.

Django, meanwhile, discovered a roll of ribbon just within reach on the basement stairs if he stuck his whole arm underneath the basement door to snag the end of the ribbon with one claw. He did his best to drag it to the water bowl to dunk it, but though the ribbon cooperated with him for most of its length, the roller it was on would not squeeze under the door, and so he was frustrated in not being able to achieve his goal.