Chasing Cupcakes…

Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery (in New York City) where Aunt Kate, my daughter and I waited in a long line for some of the BEST cupcakes ever!

Aunt Kate (AKA “the tour guide”) has been known to lead what friends and family call “death marches” all over the greater D.C. area.

After strolling around the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. and taking in the Cherry Blossom Festival, finding a cupcake was vital.

Not just for me, but for my daughter and my aunt. (Runs in the family)

“The History Museum,” said Aunt Kate, as she whipped out a map.

It only took us a moment to find the quickest route to the museum and set forth. We are fast walkers. We stride at a pace that requires others to move at a slow jog to keep up.

Though most tourists visit the History Museum to take in an exhibit or

Museum Cupcakes

to see the First Lady’s Dresses, we were there for the excellent cupcakes served in the ground floor cafeteria.

We arrived at the museum sweaty and disheveled—and almost $21.00 later, we had 3 cupcakes and 2 Diet Cokes. (We figured the heavy marching surely cancelled out the cupcakes.) We would have preferred Georgetown Cupcakes, but that wasn’t within walking distance—so the History Museum it was!

I’d like to say that this is unusual behavior in my family. An anomaly.

That would be a lie.

Three years ago in New York City, we found ourselves on a similar mission. We were in Midtown Manhattan and decided to get pizza for dinner and Magnolia Bakery cupcakes for dessert.  After a cab ride to Greenwich Village, we circled…unable to find the pizza shop. Then called a relative who used to live in New York City for directions. More circling…

We stumbled upon the bakery first. Screw the pizza. We got in line. Magnolia Bakery is known for its long lines, often stretching around the corner. We waited for over an hour. There was a ‘door guard’ who was letting people in, as others left. And still, it was crowded and chaotic! Or Elbow to Asshole, which is my fathers terminology for “so crowded, one cannot move an inch.”

Customers angled for position and then dove for cupcakes. It didn’t take any of us but a second to jump in and follow suit. If it was going to take a little muscle to score some cupcakes, then let the games begin!!

Outside, we found a bench. My aunt soon had chocolate all over herself. Napkins danced away from our bench, our fingers were sticky and as Aunt Kate stood, she had chocolate smeared across the back of her shirt.

How does that happen? We didn’t waste time worrying about it; we were too busy setting off on our next adventure. At one point during that trip, my daughter and I were standing in Times Square—and Aunt Kate (all of a sudden) was not.

Times Square...in New York City

This might concern some…not us. Turns out she needed a ‘little snack’ and a Diet Coke. And there was an incredible array of sparkly lights, blinky lights, sidewalk vendors and a crush of people…Katie and I were more than entertained until Aunt Kate returned. I do so LOVE shiny objects…

What does it say about us that we know where to find ‘goodies’ in different states? And that we condsider it normal behavior to hunt them down?

We’ve waited in a long line at Georgetown Cupcakes many times…it’s the shop featured on the TV show DC Cupcakes. But the inside environment was serene, organized and air-conditioned. We simply waited our turn in line and calmly selected the Perfect cupcake. (On more than one occasion…)

Not too long ago, Aunt Kate and I hopped in her car and headed to Pennsylvania to visit relatives. Once there, we stopped at Sontheimer’s bakery for cupcakes—BEFORE we began our round of visits.

Yet again, I have cupcakes on my mind…

Georgetown Cupcake...and YES, they are as good as they look.

Specifically…Cake in a Cup.

My daughter and I are headed for Toledo on Friday morning. And it was brought to my attention (Thanks Lori!) that Cake in a Cup was on Cupcake Wars. For those not familiar, Cupcake Wars is a TV show. I really did not need this information, considering the state of my a#$. Then again, why not to add to what is ALREADY going on back there??

As Lori and I instant messaged, I quickly opened a second screen to locate this wonderful place. Hurrah! Their daily cupcake menu was right on the website. Already, I have decided on a “Pretty in Pink” cupcake…

I am excited to drive down to Toledo and bring one of my Favorite People home from college for the weekend. But I am also excited about the cupcakes.

If the cupcakes are all that, I might even volunteer to drive her back to school on Sunday. To spend time with her, of course…

Why I am NOT looking for Prince Charming…

Prince Charming sweeps in and carries his Princess of into the sunset…

THE END.

Then what?

What IS happily ever after? And why does the story end there?

Because it is a FANTASY.

There is no Prince Charming in real life…nor is there a Cinderella. There are only imperfect human beings.

The story HAS to end there because nobody wants to read about Prince Charming being unemployed, not helping out with the children, that he is having an affair—or that if he tried to carry his Princess, he might rupture a disk. 

Nor does anybody want to picture Prince Charming’s bald head and gut. And they absolutely do not want to see what gravity has done to Cinderella. Matter of fact, Cinderella probably doesn’t want to see it either! If she is like me, she fluffs her hair and applies a little lipstick to draw the eye up.

Lets face it. After the fairy tale, the only place to go is THE END. Going any farther wrecks the image of Perfection. Stopping short allows people to create their own unique vision of what comes after ‘the end.’ Sort of a ‘prettied up’ version of life.

Certainly, nobody imagines divorce is down the road past that sunset…

Having experienced the failure (learning experience?) of divorce, I can say that having it under my belt is NOT a confidence builder. Doesn’t make me want to run out and give ‘er another try…

Yet everyone seems to want me to ‘date.’ And they mean well. They want me ‘coupled’ up, so that I’me as happy as they are.

Two by two, like Noah’s Ark. Sneakers, candlesticks and Twix bars come in pairs. They want me to have the ‘other half’ to make me whole. If I was a donkey, they would want me to find another a#@ to partner up with.

The flaw in that thinking? Before I am happy in a relationship, I first need to be happy with my life and myself—as is—without a relationship. So that I bring my ‘best’ self into my next relationship.

For those who read my last blog about The Stranger on my front steps at 3:30 am several nights ago, my friend Stella had this comment:

The “Guy” was a blind date I was planning on fixing you up with. Whatdya think?? Yes, No, Maybe???

That comment takes me back to the moment I spotted the Strange Man at my doorstep–and I still think her joke hilarious…I was half asleep and just stunned!!

Honestly, I am NOT looking. I figure that somebody will wander into my life…or not. (And I would rather he wander in at a decent hour–not the middle of the night!)

But if he does, I hope like he%& that he is nothing like Prince Charming.

Because I would like a real man. One who has a sense of humor, likes dogs and children, doesn’t mind that my life revolves around sitting at childrens’ sporting events–at least for a few more years. A little patience would be good. Who am I kidding? A LOT of patience would be NECESSARY. I’d like a man who likes the simple things—time with family, a walk on the beach, relaxed family holidays…who would enjoy the (mostly) annual summer trip to Hilton Head Island, where my family gathers to lounge on the beach for a week.

At forty, I’m long past wanting superficial nonsense. Actually, I NEVER wanted it! I’d like somebody who accepts me—flaws and all. And who I’m 100% relaxed and myself with. And vice versa. It is far too much work to be somebody I’m not, to pretend–I’ve never done so and wouldn’t know how to begin doing so now…

Quite possibly, that could be a tall order…

And I have to trust that I will know him, when I see him. It is human nature to  look too hard for something…and not recognize that we already have it or that it is right there before us for the taking. We miss the obvious. Or think we need to struggle, or that a relationships are hard. I can honestly say that my best and closest relationships have always been easy—with my children, friends, family and others that have been a part of my life.

In labeling another person a ‘soul mate,’ or ‘the one’…is there anywhere to go but down? With such high expectations, what happens when Mr. (or Miss) Perfect steps wrong and acts human? Forgets a birthday, or to call to say they’ll be late? Or leaves dirty laundry strewn about the bedroom and crumbs on the coffee table?

So…no Prince Charming for me, Thank you very much!

But at some point in the future, I would very much love for a ‘nice’ Fella to happen across my path. He needn’t be Perfect—in fact, I find perfection boring.

I’m a girl who doesn’t want the Fairy Tale…I actually want the real life that comes after THE END. The whole ride…with all its ups and downs.

Note to Stella: So help me God, I better not be awakened in the middle of the night to a life-size cardboard cutout of ‘Prince Charming’ on my doorstep. And you best not send me a Fella dressed as Prince Charming for Halloween.

(Though I sincerely think I would make a good Princess. I could carry off a tiara…)

The Stranger…on my Front Steps??

Can nothing in my life go smoothly? I mean…is it too much expect some sleep at night? I am not a bat. Human beings are not supposed to be nocturnal…

And yet, I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night. Not nearly enough.

The worst part? I was looking forward to going to bed. I was completely exhausted by 6pm. But I had more ‘day’ to get through, before being rewarded with bedtime.

After hustling through the day, I watched my son’s first 8th grade football game. And it was an exciting win, because the team played well–but also because my son had the game of his life, at least thus far. After the game, I rushed home to meet a client who wanted to look at furniture that I had for sale. Thank goodness she bought the bedroom set, because I missed a mandatory parent meeting at the school—I had no idea there even WAS a meeting, actually. I ran back to the school, but it was already over. Then back home to a phone call requesting that I make changes to a recently completed freelance project…

By 11pm, I FELL into bed.

I tossed. I turned. I put the TV on. I turned the TV off. I went down to the basement and moved laundry. Matter of fact, ALL the laundry was finished by morning. And the dishwasher was run. Because I wasn’t sleeping!!

I was WIDE awake.

Finally, I dozed off at about 3am.

At 3:34am, my dogs’ commotion in another room woke me up. They were barking like I’ve never heard them bark. Just ballistic. I stumbled out of bed, half asleep, to investigate why they were acting like the front door was attacking them. I opened the front door a few inches to peek outside…

And there was a Strange Man standing there. 

Stunned, I shut and locked the door at lighting speed. All I heard was…

“Out of Gas…need a phone….”

Still shaking off the fog, I darted into my bedroom and called the 911. If The Stranger truly was out of gas, I wanted to help him. And if he was a crazed lunatic, I wanted him in the back of a squad car–not loitering on my front steps.

The commotion woke my daughter and she hunkered down on my bed as I gave a description to the 911 operator.

Delightful Daughter: The lighting isn’t helping things…

As we waited for the  police to arrive, lighting lit up the sky—illuminating The Stranger in my yard. Plus, the lightning had Rocky Dog–the Golden Retriever—quaking in his boots.

Gracie? She had no problem with the lightning and approaching thunderstorm. She did have a problem with The Stranger on the Stoop. Have I mentioned that Gracie Mutt has a touch of Pit Bull in her? She was in ‘guard dog’ mode. And she was NOT pleased.

Delightful Daughter: Be Strong Mom.

She was NOT referring to The Stranger…she meant that I should NOT  help Rocky Dog onto the bed (He cannot jump up, due to a gimpy leg)

And yet, I hoisted him up without even a thought…

Delightful Daughter: You’re weak!!

Me: Deep sigh…

Delightful Daughter: (laughing at me) WEAK!

Me: Another Deep sigh…

Why would I put the dog on the bed to army crawl around, pant in my face and ‘hide’ his 85 lb. body under my pillow? Why position him in to aggravate me? Good question…without a good answer.

Delightful Daughter: Gracie’s not afraid of the storm…

Me: No. But she CANNOT take Rocky Dog’s meltdown. And The Stranger outside is irritating her.

Delightful Daughter: Mom. Go get the Benadryl. Take Rocky Dog out to the family room couch. Let the Benadryl kick in…then come back to bed in your room.

Me: I’m NOT going out there…THE GUY!

Delightful Daughter: Crawl…

Me: That idea has merit.

Delightful Daughter: What if he has a gun??

Thankfully, the police arrived. There was talk. And The Stranger shuffled off with Mr. Officer. The ‘nice’ 911 Lady told me the police would come back if there was a problem. They never came back. Does anybody think it was a bad sign that The Stranger got into the back of the squad car?

As my daughter and I were pondering this, my son shuffled onto the scene, chugging a Powerade like it’s normal for us to be having ‘family time’ and chatting in my bedroom at 4am.

Me & My Son...

Me: Why are you up?

Son: All the loudness…

Me: Oh.

We quickly filled him in. He and I wandered to the front of the house, to watch the squad car leave our driveway–The Stranger tucked securely in the backseat.

Son: I think I’ll go watch some TV…

The children, dogs and I have bonded. Again. We had some laughs and conversation in the middle of the night. Again.

And I am still not asleep at 4:30 am.

I will surely have to restrain myself from throwing my alarm clock it at a wall in a couple of hours.

I can’t help but notice that we all took things in stride–except Rocky Dog, who was a shaking, panting, wreck because of the lightning. Nobody was cranky or angry. (Even the next day, when we were sleep deprived.) We all rolled with our odd predicament. This tends to be our life.

These things HAPPEN to us. We don’t know WHY…

Of course, 6:15 arrived far too soon. To make up for the sleep deprivation, we left  early and got donuts on the way to school.

The rainbow for me? After I dropped the children off to school, I loaded my car and pointed my Trusty Honda toward Virginia. Me and my ‘friends’ (Rocky Dog and Grace) are at Aunt Kate’s as I type this.

Aunt Kate made a fabulous dinner.

And…there’s cake!!

I am off to bed now. After 2 hours of sleep and a ride from Ohio to Virginia, I am tired. And it is after midnight.

The good news? There’s CAKE for breakfast!!