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…

August 1, 2011

The Great Doggie Disaster…

I am just beginning to come to terms with this. Someday, I will see the humor in it….

From their lounge chairs on the beach, my family laughed until they cried over how the dogs were faring back at home. My daughter’s boyfriend ‘dogsat.’

He used to want a dog very, very badly. He no longer EVER wants a dog. Not in this lifetime.

Aunt Kate: How’s it going back there?

To Katie, who was speaking to the Young Keeper of dogs. 

Katie: Not good. Grace has the runs…and she took a dump on the tile floor.

The family proceeded to go back through past doggies dramas with dogs (some long since passed away)…tales of accidents in the house, of one huge American Bulldog who bounced her cage across wood floors to chew up down comforters and clothing, of my childhood Basset Hound ‘Iron Mike’ who survived eating razors…” 

Aunt Kate: Maybe tomorrow, she’ll bite him…or vomit?

More laughter…

Not from me. I cringed each time my daughters cell phone made a noise–from a phone call or text…

The next day, Grace DID vomit!! (Thank goodness, no biting…)

The Red Dog (our Golden Retriever) was his normal, happy self. Grace, who just turned a year old, was most ungracious and giving her Young Keeper more than a run for his money. (And he wasn’t getting paid!)

At least not with money. For his effort, we bartered a somewhat expensive item of ours, that he wanted. I so wanted this to be win-win for us both.

Little Grace...our bundle of 'Joy' at 5 weeks old when we rescued her last summer

But Grace had the runs, ate Crayola markers, and barfed. She ate rice (prepared by her Young Keeper) to calm her stomach. When he tried to put her in her cage, she did the routine where she hops over the back of the couch to escape…and evaded him until he gave up. I’ll stop there. She was NOT a good girl.

And then, two very kind ‘reinforcements’ came to take her out to the beach for a swim. Something I do most every day.

For those interested in reading about that adventure, please go to the next post where I have ‘reblogged’ the tale. I just cannot go there…

http://strengthinsolitude.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/dear-amy/

Dear Amy, (via strength.in.solitude)

Ha. I must start out with a laugh. Looking back on today, the events are quite humorous, but I don’t have your patience to deal with it every day (even though I thought I was pretty lenient). Remember those times where we’d lay on your big comfy couch and watch ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ until one in the morning? Remember how Grace would lay on the couch with such a sweet disposition to her? Ha. Not today. I really wanted to go to the beach today and … Read More

via strength.in.solitude

Row, Row, Row…your KAYAK??

The Fearless Five-Some...BEFORE WE HIT THE KAYAKS

Row, Row, Row your boat…gently down the stream

The kids and I are heading off to kayak with my Dad and his wife, Jannie.

Not to worry, my Dad and Jannie are experienced with kayaking.

Once, they were with a guided group in Hilton Head several years ago. The rest of the group headed to shore when the storm clouds gathered. Dad and Jannie were out there paddling in circles–going nowhere. Thunder crackled and winds whipped up, making the waters choppy. The guide got fed up and headed for the beach, just left them out there. Thank goodness they managed to drag themselves to safety.

Then there was the time in St. John’s where they accidentally wandered into the shipping lane. The next thing they knew,  a ship was bearing down on them–and they paddled for their lives to get out of its path.

So, my Dad and Jannie have experience with kayaking. (I didn’t say it was good experience) and kayaks are available to those staying in our condo complex at no charge. The kids (or at least my son) wants to go and so I must go with them. Though I would feel much more comfortable if there was a guide.

Though my Dad did go out with the ‘pro’s once and did a fine job paddling. When they were done, he exited the kayak…and fell in.

 

At the condo…

Me: They don’t tip over, right?

Jannie: Oh no. It’ll be fine. Just don’t lean over the water.

Dad: Well, there was the time I tipped that one in Florida…

At the beach (without Dad & Jannie) 

Me: (Speculating about the waters we’ll be in) What’s in there?

Carissa: BIG FISH…

Me: Like, sharks?

Joey: I’m sure its fine. (gave Carissa ‘the look’)

Carissa: What? Wouldn’t you want to know what’s in there before you went?

Carissa: biiiiiiiggggg FISH.

Me: Sharks…I’m not going out there with sharks. They said there would be ‘critters.’ There were dolphins in the pictures…

Now I’ve done it–the family is all over this. (And laughing at me). My brain is coming up with all of the ways this could go wrong… 

Joey: It’ll be fine. Or else they wouldn’t let you go out there. It isn’t good when tourists get chewed on…or disappear. That stuff makes the news.

Me: I really don’t want to be ONE with the sharks. Nor do I want to be up close and personal with them.

Joey: Probably just gators.

Me: Like that’s better? The kayaks are close to the water.

Joey: Yes. But these critters are generally water breathing…they don’t tend to jump out of the water. This isn’t Jaws!!

Aunt Kate: (to Uncle Joe) Remember in the Bahama’s when we were snorkeling and we got to stick our heads in the water and watch the sharks feed?

Me: (Sweating…)

Aunt Kate: That was probably one of the coolest things we’ve ever done.

Joey: If you see fins, just think ‘dolphin.’

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to kayak in a nice, safe pond.

But this is kayaking adventure is one I could live without.

My son fears almost nothing. Dad and Jannie are quite fearless, more because they’ll do anything. They just don’t think about what could go wrong. Then there’s my daughter who is afraid of spiders, bugs, critters—if a bug crawls up on her kayak, there is no doubt she is going in!! Then there’s me…

Merrily, merrily, merrily…life is but a dream…

A Day at the Beach…

My Dad whipped open the blinds to let the sunshine in first thing this morning, as we all tried to ready ourselves for the beach.

Dad: He’s eyeballing us…

The four of us:Huh?

Our New Friend...

Dad: The alligator out there.

We all crowded around the sliding door.

Jannie: Want me to take a picture.

Me: I’m not going out there. How fast can those things move?

Our new friend...a little closer thanks to Jannie.

Dad: He’s eyeballing us.

Jannie: He’s 20 feet from our door. I’ll get a picture.

Dad: She does things like that.

Me: I’m not going out there.

Jannie heads outside…

Dad: Good Luck Hon…I’ll be in here if you need me.

After getting ready, we hopped into the Trusty Honda and headed for the beach. I’m just grateful our old hunk of junk made it down to Hilton Head Island, with 200,000+ thousand miles on it.

Matter of fact, my son has been harassing me over it. Because the car has manual locks, I am a broken record of  ‘lock the doors.’

Son: Yeah. We’re parked between all these nice cars, and somebody’s going to want to take the Accord?

Me (thinking in my head): Okay. Good point.

Peanuts??

We are surrounded by very nice vehicles–this is Hilton Head, after all. And I’m fairly sure my car is the only one with peanut shells littering the floor.

Remember the graduation party peanuts? And my recent blog about them? I was given a whole bag last week after that posting. I brought them on our road trip—and my Dad drove my car for hours…eating peanuts the whole time. (The kids along with him.) Already a heap, it now looks like The Ground Round on Wheels…

At least the Trusty Honda is dry now. The night before we left, somebody left the windows open. And there were torrential downpours all night.

We traveled yesterday with towels on our seats. It was like sitting in a damp bathing suit…for twelve hours!

Anyways, they have a guard stationed at gated checkpoints in all of the private condo complexes—called ‘Plantations.’ We passed through one such place on the way to the ocean.

The Guard Shack at Palmetto Dunes…

Son: Doesn’t he look like a he could be a stripper?

Me: He looks like he could be in The Village People.

Mirrored aviator sunglasses. A navy ‘police’ look-a-like uniform. Dark skin. Muscular. My son has a point…he looks like he could rip off his pants from the front exposing a g-string, while gyrating about. He could be that guy in a heartbeat.

Past the checkpoint, we arrive at the ocean and the crew starts to assemble down on the beach. I have just gotten situated in my beach chair, book in hand.

Along comes my cousin, already making fun of his lovely wife. At it is only 10am.

Cousin: Carissa thought somebody from the store opened her jelly.

Charming Carissa: All I said when I went to make my toast was, “Somebody probably had some, right?”

Uncle Joe (who had in fact had some): I left it out. With the butter knife. And spoon. So she would know…

Cousin: That wasn’t what she was thinking…she was wondering if there was a Jelly Robber around somewhere.

And it went on from there…for a while. They had a field day with their Jelly Robber theory. Not that I minded. The focus was on somebody else. I read my book, while they had at her.

You can imagine what a beating I take in this family. I give them continuous material ALL DAY LONG.

In fact, I took a pounding the evening before for commenting that I should put the bologna in the fridge. It was in the cooler during the trip from Ohio to South Carolina.

Bologna fiasco…

Aunt K: But it was in the cooler.

Me: Yes.

Aunt K: I don’t want any. Don’t bring it over to my place for lunch.

Cousin: Do you know what’s in bologna?

Son: There’s…

Daughter: DON’T. I already TOLD you that today!!!!

I’m just there…listening to things go down.

Aunt K: I’m not eating it anyway. It’s been in that cooler for what…12 hours? Is there even any ice in there?

Daughter: It was just about melted.

Aunt K: It’s GOT to be floating in water by now.

Daughter: Yep. It was last time I looked.

Cousin: And anyways, we’re not eating that over here. Bologna is like, mystery meat.

Son: Yeah, they put…

Daughter (who was in fact planning to eat it): STOP!!!

Aunt K: I’m going to have to have a look at that stuff. It can’t even be cold anymore…

Me: ENOUGH about the bologna. I’ll throw it away. I wish I never even bought the bologna.

There is good reason my brother has only been on the family vacation to Hilton Head once. Back many years ago when he was married and his wife (now ex-wife) put him in charge of sunscreen—which he purchased, special for the trip.

Sunscreen is important for my brother because he is one of those pasty white people who burn easily. He didn’t like the sun…even when we were kids.

On Day 1, they were like boiled lobsters. And they just couldn’t understand it. You have never seen anything like the way they slathered on that sunscreen—and with such frequency. None of us were burnt.  Puzzled, we asked to see their sunscreen several days later, when they finally made their second trip to the beach. Let’s just say my brother bought tanning lotion, with zero—yes zero sun block in it. This did not make his very, very red wife happy. He has never lived it down.

Then there was the time he went a#@ over teakettle after dropping down into a beach chair. It was a mess—he was all tangled up in the chair, legs in the air, head in the sand…and we did help him…eventually—when we caught our breath and could contain the laughter.

The best thing about my family?

We laugh at ourselves. And we do it a lot. We find humor in most anything.

As I sit typing this my daughter is flinging pillows about looking for bedbugs. Tossing the blankets back. Her face inches from the sheets…This is quite the investigation.

The sunset from our condo...

I can tell you one thing. It isn’t going to be pretty for her come morning, when the crew gets a hold of that one.

Again, I need to do all I can to keep the focus on others…

It’s all I’ve got.