Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Spoils of Sweet Victory

We're two weeks into 2013, and I've successfully not entirely failed at two of my resolutions (here, for a reminder). Happens to be the two that counter-balance each other, so I think that means I'm standing at dead even. I'll count that as a win in my book.

After a morning workout with Goose (Operation Resolution Number 4: Turn That Caboose Around), I spent Sunday trying my hand at cookie decorating (Operation Resolution Number 3: Crazy Cookie Lady).

And watch out world, because I'm in love.

A few forethoughts, before my big reveal.
  • Cookies take patience. Like an agonizing amount. Turns out sometimes you have to wait overNIGHT for things. Who knew?
  • Piping is hard as sh*t.  
  • You have to have the right tools to make the cookies even remotely decent. Good thing I know the aisles of Hobby Lobby in my sleep.
  • This woman is insanely good. I watched her videos (what? I'm a dork?) over and over again. Also, special shotout to my Aunt Laurie for nudging me in the right direction. She's a cookie-making legend.
So, here we are, one batch of royal icing, one batch of sugar cookies, three shades and three consistencies later. I'm exhausted already.

Royal icing is apparently the key to cookie decorating. Look Ma, I did it!

Mine and Hers

Then came the cookies. Who knew sugar cookies could make you want to beg for mercy? I'm still finding butter in random places.
Mine and Hers. Clearly, I have some work to do.

Then, the piping and flooding. That's right, I've added cookie jargon to my vocabulary.

Not so bad, eh?

Wait overnight, wait overnight, wait overnight. Party time.

And the final results...

Mine and Hers

Icing on the cake cookie? These tasted like absolute rubbish. So pretty, yet so totally, incredibly, exhaustively inedible. K calls it sweet victory for trying to make cookies that value form over function. I call it a win and sent her the spoils.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Puppy Prozac

For all of my mom friends about to read this, stop right there. Alternatively, please check your (well-deserved) righteousness at the door. I'm about to compare my dogs to your children. If that pains your heart or offends your being, come back for the next post - promise it won't hurt as much.

For those still with me, on we go. I hope we've met in real life. If we have, chances are you've either met/puppy-sat/seen pictures/received kisses from the two most adorable yorkies on the face of the planet, Petrie and Pax. 

And, having met them, you've probably taken note that they also happen to be the most OCD yorkies on the planet. (Hmm....wonder who they may have learned that from?)

Who me? Couldn't be.

Example A: Petrie tends to compulsively focus on things. Often times I find her sitting in a corner of a closet, her back to me, intently watching my clothes. That's not weird, right? 

Those clothes, so interesting. So very, very interesting.

Example B (and the subject of this post): Paxter tends to be psychotically afraid of the following:
  • Rain;
  • Thunder;
  • The overhead fan that sometimes sounds like rain;
  • The AC unit on the bottom floor of the apartment complex that sometimes sounds like rain;
  • The tree scratching on the window that sometimes sounds like rain...
You're getting my point here, right? Paxter is TERRIFIED of all things "boom-boom" related. And the older he gets, the more obsessive-compulsive he gets. He's convinced his death by lightning strike is imminent. (Note, however, he's wise enough to realize that death by lightning strike can only occur at night while Mom and Goose are otherwise asleep. Obviously.)

Pax on high alert.

And we're not talking about a little case of the nerves here, friends. We're talking about a little: "MOM!MOM!WAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUP!IT'SRAINING!IJUSTKNOWIT!CANYOUHEARMEMOM!THERAINISGOINGTOGETMEANDYOUANDGOOSEANDSISTER!MUSTWAKEUP!MUSTWAKEUP!MOM!MOM!MOM!" accompanied by some heaving panting, some SERIOUS trembles and some Mom-face scratching (to ensure I've heard him otherwise). 

Impending doom.

We're talking the type of panting that reminds you what he's had for dinner. The type of trembles that shake the king-size bed. The type of face scratching that will make an elephant bleed. Did I mention that he's positive the only remotely safe place to intently watch for impending doom is from atop my head? Literally.atop.my.head.

Home remedies we've tried through the years:
  • Sleeping in the guest bedroom, which has no outside walls;
  • Sleeping in the master closet (ON THE FLOOR), which is even deeper in the labyrinth and even more sound-proof;
  • Being sequestered in the bathtub;
  • Taking Puppy Prozac daily;
  • Sleeping with a baby white noise machine;
  • Kenneling; and
  • Standing outside in the rain as proof he'll survive.
To no avail. None. If it's raining (or Pax has convinced himself it's raining), we're awake. Gloriously awake. 

Me at 3am.

Until recently. My heart has hardened. We've come to grips with his OCD and realized he must as well. I believe this is what some of you mothers call "Letting them cry it out?" Yes? (Has our friendship survived that comparison?)

As of late, our solution is below. Suggestions for improvements in such are, of course, encouraged but most likely rejected by Paxter. Alternatively, feel free to send high doses of sleeping medication and/or sympathy cards to my attention.
  • Layer bottom of guest room bathtub with thick, noise-insulating blanket;
  • Insert puppy kennel;
  • Wrap Paxter's feet with protective bandages (below) as protection against the inevitable escape attempts;
  • Insert Paxter into kennel;
  • Surround puppy kennel on both sides with thick, noise-insulating blankets;
  • Turn on noise-insulating vent fan;
  • Leave on overhead light (in the event that boom-booms humanize and seek out Paxter in the kennel);
  • Shut guest bathroom door;
  • Shut guest quarters door;
  • Shut master bedroom door;
  • Turn on white noise machine and noise-insulating box fan on high speed (this step not optional, even in winter months);
  • Put on winter-grade headband over eyes and ears;
  • Convince Petrie that Pax hasn't been murdered in the night and that she's surely next;
  • Attempt fitful sleep.
Paxie's feet band-aids.
The six steps of noise-insulation? Not for Paxter and the rain. He's on his own for that one. For our neighbors, so they don't report us to the SPCA for his barking and clawing at kennel door that will surely last through the night. 

Wouldn't it be awesome if that were actually us? And Goose had that sweet facial hair?

My favorite part? The next morning, when Petrie and I release Pax from puppy jail, he's so shocked that it's a new day and he's survived the night that he totally forgets that only hours ago, he just KNEW the world was ending. It's a sight to behold. He forgives me all over again. 

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for you all night!

On that note, who's ready to puppysit in the rain?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013: The year of the cookie.

Bah! Where have you been all my life?!?!

Oh wait, it's me, you say?

Indeed, it's true. I've been missing. Like lost-in-the-night missing.  I needed the year 2012 to come to a close. A peaceful close. A close that went undocumented and unnoticed by my electronic self. Like most years, 2012 was a year full of ups and downs. Unlike most years, it was a year of very high ups and very low downs. A year that I would never give up, yet never do again. It ended, and I came through it. Older, a little squishier, possibly smarter and a whole lot harder. RIP 2012, and good riddance.

Moving on...Have you met my husband? He likes lists. He has a list of lists of lists, toss in a spreadsheet or two or nine. One of those lists is his "2013 Resolutions" (which, fingers crossed, will include "Never participate in Movember again."). Jumping on his listy bandwagon, I'm sharing my own 2013 version below for, if nothing else, the public shaming I'm due when I burn the cookies and my royal icing looks like cottage cheese. 

1. Blog more. Although my posting history may lead you to believe otherwise, I do indeed like blogging. I should do more of it. Off to a good start on this one, I suppose.

2. Fully furnish the house. Have you ever bought a house before? Turns out, houses require a lot of things. Like a trillion and eight things. We've purchased a few, and the hunt for the remaining trillion and three is actively underway. A few purchases as of late include a TV for my bathroom (Matt Lauer comes on TV earlier than Goose gets up. Problem solved.) and these beauts below.

3. Become a cookie-making machine. When I take on a hobby, I'm out to master it. If you live in a 15 mile radius of me, chances are you'll be on the tasting end of this one. Good thing I have a guest house kitchen starting in March that I can set up shop in, because I've already spent a miniature fortune on cookie supplies I never knew existed. But.must.have.this.second.otherwise.my.cookies.obviously.won't.work.right.

SweetSugarBelle.....I die.
4. Obligatory weight loss. 2012 found me at my finest. As of 6pm on Saturday, June 2nd, I was the most fit I've been in my adult life. And it was all downhill from there, my feeble friends. (Goose thinks Resolutions 3 and 4 clash. I think he smells like roaches.) Cheers to turning this caboose around, no pun intended.

Body=2xArm. Bah.

5. Spanish at rest. Those Latins, they're quick. Their Spanish tends to sputter at about eight times the pace of mine, which means I'm either firing on all cylinders when I'm with my Mexican inlaws or lost in the dust. The former tends to be a bit exhausting (Don't attempt active listening for all hours of the day. Your ears will bleed and then you will die.), and the latter tends to be a bit lonely. After ten-plus years of hearing/processing/speaking decent Spanish, I'm on a quest for the peaceful kind. The kind where I can switch off my brain and still follow the flow. Wish me luck of the tongue. Those rolled-Rs are a beast.

6. Practice law like a champ. I'm now in my fourth year of law practice - isn't that crazy? Some days I feel like I would fail at 5th grade math, much less be able to provide legal counsel to some of the biggest companies in the world. (If you happen to be one of my partners and just read that, do not fear, on those days, I triple check my calculations. And then check again.) 2012 was a year that required an abnormal amount of personal focus. For 2013, capital markets, I'm looking at you, ol' chap.

And so, here we go, 2013. It shall be gold and grand. And perhaps a tad bit glittery.