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 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…

LIFE without LISTS

Ever notice that cookies, cupcakes, flowers, and  fun seasonal goodies are always prominently displayed near the entrance of stores? It is because people (like me) are easily distracted. It is also the reason the apples are forgotten, when I pass by the cupcakes.

My problem in going to the store to ‘pick up a few things’ is that I never remember what I am picking up, once I am at the store.

It was no different the day I discovered that we were down to the tiny square of toilet paper stuck to the cardboard roll. I was off to the store. AGAIN. No big deal…we could certainly use a few odds and ends, as long as I was heading out for toilet paper.

That is how I found myself standing in the soup aisle staring vacantly at the rows of red and white cans. They marched across the shelves—seeming to mock me. What kind of soup was I looking for? And when had soup made my list?

Speaking of lists, I really should have taken a few minutes to make one. Not that a list is foolproof. I have been known to spend an hour or more making a detailed list, clipping coupons, and putting together a plan for a multi-store shopping excursion. Only to leave my list at home on the kitchen counter.

Which is pathetic considering that I often leave my phone and car keys on top of the list, to so that I don’t forget it. Still, I foul this up more than I get it right no matter how hard I try. Which is why I end up making so many impromptu runs to the store for items such as toilet paper in the first place!

As I meandered up and down aisles, I found myself wondering why we struggle so hard to plan our lives. I remember attending a high school graduation a few years back. Out of a several hundred kids, only three were ‘undecided’ in their future plans—and I admired those three for being honest. The rest had mapped out their futures in great, glorious detail–complete with chosen school, field of study, desired job and intended career path.

Such planning truly astonishes me. I can’t even get a list to the grocery store!

And I am okay with that. Because I’ve seen people spend so much time planning, they are not actually living life. Or they are waiting for all things to line up Perfectly, before enjoying their lives. Disappointment sets in hard, when the inevitable monkey wrench is tossed at them.

I’ve been clubbed by the wrench often enough to have learned a thing or two. I too, have plotted and planned in excruciating detail a path to take me exactly where I wanted to be. Only to arrive there and realize I was wrong. Other times, I was so devastated by a course of unforeseen events, that breathing felt unbearable. Yet when time passed and the pain eased, I was grateful for the detour. I knew that I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Lists are good. Planning is good. A framework to guide us can be incredibly useful. But I believe it is important to leave space for a change in course, to be open to surprises.

It isn’t the worst thing in the world to forget the list. Or to alter the plan. After all, that’s how we occasionally end up with a cupcake.