On All Intents and Purposes, Intensively

Last Friday, anticipation of our second date sang through my blood, mingling with the terror of an upcoming professional experience: my first trade show appearance. It’s simple: you go, you haul a booth, you set up said booth, then you stand in front of it (or off the side, angled close enough to be attached yet far enough away that you’re not blocking the text that you’ve so carefully crafted) and smile and answer questions about your software.

So I went. I struggled over what to wear, but decided on a loose tweed skirt, black tights, black cardigan, black flats. (Black flats were the best choice. I’m tall to begin with, and wasn’t in the mood to have my double-jointed ankles falling all over the conference.) It was perfect. I looked professional, appropriate, and blended in exactly as I wanted to.

We set up our booth. The attendees wandered through the hall. I smiled. I networked. I talked about legal software and more legal software, and I was happy. I was comfortable, the nerves were gone. At one point, an attendee came over to my table and told me that she wasn’t interested in legal software, but she thought that I was absolutely beautiful. I glowed with pleasure at the unexpected compliment. I love that legal administrators are the friendly grandmother type. It eased the nerves. Now I am one hundred percent sure I can take on lawyers, which I’m surprisingly not intimidated by at all. (That may or may not be a lie.)

It was a good day.

***

But date night was even better! Second date nerves had me throwing things all over my room, unsure of what to wear. I googled it, and one of the results said that I should have worn jeans and a cute top on the first date then upped it to a dress on the second. I rolled my eyes. In the end, I was cold, so I decided on skinny jeans, combat boots, and a gray sweater.

It was cold, dark, and snowing. I was late, but only because he was early. We ate sushi at the place by my house, and I found myself chattering nervously. After dinner, lulled into our first real extended silence, I swirled my water around in my glass and looked up at him. “Can I tell you something?” he asked. Then he told me that I terrify him, but in the best way. He compared me to a t-rex. I raised my eyebrows. Smart man that he is, he quickly assuaged my fears that I somehow resemble a lizard-like – worse, prehistoric – predator. The opposite, in fact. He is under the impression that I am radiant, intelligent, and wonderful. I’m not going to complain.

I told him about my errand-rule: you can tell a lot about a potential relationship by running errands. If doing lame but necessary things together is enjoyable and positive, then the relationship has a better chance of surviving. As it so happened, he needed to run some errands in preparation for Halloween. I was overjoyed, of course, since I find the idea utterly romantic. (Yeah, I get that it’s weird. Whatever.)

Our third date was on Sunday – a day date complete with errands, pure heaven – and it started off with bagels. Then it was off to Target in search of Halloween decorations. Since he commutes for our dates, I drove. Oh god, my car! He saw my car and didn’t leave me right then and there, so that’s got to be a good sign. We drove, and when he didn’t say anything. I started to breathe again.

Pulling into the Target parking lot, he asked me, “Have you ever seen 50/50″? I said no, but I knew what he was going to say. The car scene. Long story short: The guy gets into the girl’s car and it’s got stuff all over the floor. She’s talking and he’s like, “Pull over,” and she does, expecting him to get sick, but then he grabs stuff off her floor and goes to throw it away. She stops him and retrieves her dinner from the pile. It’s cute. When Katie first told me about the car scene in the movie, she ended the story with, “There’s still hope for us!” meaning that someone would still love us even though our cars are messy. She was right.

After two different Targets (when you need a furry spider with orange lights for your wall, you NEED a furry spider with orange lights for your wall), plenty of Halloween decorations and a pair of socks, and a viewing of the movie “Frankenweenie” – during which I cried twice because dogs and kids get me every time – we found ourselves in City Park, wandering.

City Park fall

Autumn in the park is beautiful. He gets credit for this photo, since I am nowhere near that talented a photographer. I wish he’d gotten one with my actual smile instead of my satisfied-but-haven’t-yet-broken-into-a-smile smile. But alas, the more I look at this picture, the more I like it.

This feels different, but in a good way. It’s intense and familiar. I know that I’m prone to leaping into things with both feet, but this is something I’m simultaneously leaping into and dipping just one big toe into. I want to make sure it’s right before going any further, except the more we discuss, the more I find we share. I am examining our motives for seeking out the companionship of another, questioning everything, basking in the newness of it all, and glowing, for no reason other than sometimes you just need to let the light through. The only way to know if it’s right is to forge on and build fierce memories. Fierce, like a t-rex.

On a/the First Date, Fatefully

date night dress

(Candid. I like that I’m carrying leftovers and a rose in one hand and making a fist with the other.)

Is there anything better than the promise of what could be? Last night was one of those rare instances where the experience far outweighs the anticipation.

Dinner was set for 7:17 – a time mutually agreed upon by all parties. I was nervous all day; I scrubbed off the black nail polish that I’ve been sporting, worried about what black might say about me (entirely forgetting that nail polish doesn’t talk at all). Dissatisfied with my naked nails, I painted them a soft gray. Dissatisfied with that, I went back to nothing and groaned inwardly about wasting so much time being silly.

Construction near colfax

I was ready early. I’m never ready early. I walked; I entered the restaurant – I had home field advantage; I panicked. I didn’t see him, so I let the hostess seat me, only to find myself directly perpendicular to a friend and his girlfriend. After making awkward small talk, I sipped water and texted him. He had walked past the restaurant. I was buried in my phone, texting him a map, when I heard my name and looked up. There he was. We laughed after checking our phones and confirming that it was indeed exactly 7:17. Panic subsided and conversation flowed. The pineapple curry was exactly as it always is: comfortably perfect. And so was the night.

We wandered to my favorite bar, which was oddly noisy and annoying. Then, we prepared to walk to the dessert bar he’d been dying to try. I realized we were about to embark on a walk that would tear my feet apart, since I was wearing very sensible yet oddly antagonistic heels. I smiled and told him not to judge me as I peeled off my tights (on Colfax, of course, classy lady that I am) and stuffed them in my purse. Carrying my shoes and walking barefoot, I let him take my hand as we walked in search of chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake

He draped his jacket around my shoulder when I got cold. He gripped my hand as he attempted to steer me away from gross things on the sidewalk – I’m a very nimble side-stepper, and successfully avoided all the horror the city pavement had in store for my naked feet. He laughed when I talked as he kissed me good night.

It was lovely. It far exceeded my expectations. I fell asleep smiling. I have received confirmation that he shares my sentiments, as we have scheduled another dinner and made tentative plans to journey to the Southwest. I’m not kidding, it was that good. Here’s to strange and wonderful things in strange and wonderful places. 

On Work and Then More Work, Industriously

You’re probably wondering why the once-a-weekday posts have slammed to a painful halt.

First, I’ve been trying to avoid getting political. Not that I’m one to bite my tongue (ever), but I’ve been particularly careful this election season. I’ve got a lot to say, and usually this would result in long-winded rants, but I’ve managed to keep a lot of it under wraps. Hopefully as we get closer to the election, I’ll find a modicum of courage to let the rants out and you’ll get some serious content.

Second, I started another job. I use the word “started” rather loosely, as I have returned to the location where I was first gainfully employed at the tender age of 16. Nights and weekends have become such a joyous time for me (not), as I schlep bits of my dignity along with every ounce of ice cream I come in contact with.

(Not that this is an undignified job, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I thought I’d graduate from college and do one job and go from there. Instead, I’m entirely financially independent and employed, but simultaneously whining and stressed and it’s become a huge clusterfuck of professional responsibility and maturity and balancing. And Mr. Romney, if you’re curious, I do pay federal income tax, but since I’m in such a low tax bracket, I’m happily Rothing the shit out of my 401(k) – sort of. I contribute that maximum percentage of my wages that will be matched by my company in some form or another – in the hopes that some day I’ll be in a much higher tax bracket [I have some serious post-retirement goals that need funding. Custom claw-footed bathtubs don’t come cheap] and I’ll get to reap the benefits of the years I spent working my ass off to make ends meet. No handouts here. Not much sleep, either.)

I find that even though I care less, I’m working harder. I used to be intimidated by customers and their nasty attitudes toward service industry employees. Now, I’m sassier and not into taking any shit.  I’m polite, charming, and wonderful, but cross me and I swear…

When I was in college, I once got asked if I was literate. (You may find it surprising, but I am.) I frequently got called, “Sir.” Now, I’d laugh it off, but as an already self-conscious teenager, being mistaken for a member of the opposite sex was humiliating.

One of my favorite (favorite is too generous. most memorable, perhaps?) incidents occurred at the Highlands Ranch store. (For those of you not from Colorado, Highlands Ranch is exactly what it sounds like: an unnecessarily pretentious suburb full of money but lacking substance and character.) I had gotten over-zealous with the chocolate pump and chocolate syrup was splattered all over my shirt. A man approached the counter and said, “You look like a Jackson Pollock painting.” I glared. (I’m known for my glares. 90% of the time, they’re unintentional, but 100% of the time, they’re deadly.) “He’s an artist. You should look him up some time,” he drawled in that I’m-speaking-slower-than-normal-so-you’ll-understand-what-I’m-saying voice. He hung onto the word artist for a ridiculously long time. I glared more. To this day, I hate Jackson Pollock, chocolate syrup, and men. (Just kidding about the men part. Mostly.)

I hate the khaki pants, the visors, the ice cream freckles stuck to my arms, and the back aches. Whenever I’m leaning over, stretching my lower back and thinking about reaching for the ibuprofen, I’m always reminded of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimedin which she works in jobs much like this one.

I’m enjoying the ease of recognition, the way that my muscles remember how to make things, the way that my cones come out perfectly. I’m enjoying my co-workers – several of them are holdovers much like me from high school. We’re all out of college and working one or two or more jobs. Dairy Queen seems to be a comfortable reminder of where we came from and the hours are spent happily conversing and teasing. I’m also enjoying the unlimited access to chocolate ice cream Reese’s and banana Blizzards.

Now that I’m the most single I’ve been in three or more years (by choice), I was joking that between the car whose bumper is held together with duct tape and the Dairy Queen uniform, including the topping stains and my Dr. Scholl’s shoes, I am prime dating material. “God, I’ve missed working with you,” said one of my co-workers after I’d made the declaration of premium date-ability, followed with an exaggerated wink, which made me happy.

It’s funny, because I’ll find myself thinking about software databases while I’m blending Blizzards. Hopefully I don’t start having work dreams. I can only imagine how the nightmares will go. Ice cream monsters and SQL errors. Missed deadlines and expired milk.

I’m going to keep going as long as my body and mind can hold out. Here’s to finding inner strength, superior calendaring and task-juggling abilities, and the sass/positivity to get through each day without losing my mind. But mostly, here’s to the pursuit of that elusive, possibly non-existent American dream. Here’s to baby steps and forward progress. Here’s to looking back on these tumultuous years and patting myself on the back for dedication and determination. Here’s to finding the path and building a solid future. Here’s to hope, learning, and personal and professional growth.

If you’re in the mood for what I’m in the mood for today, click here. (That was not meant nearly as dirty as it sounded. The answer is Credence. It will make you feel good, I promise.)

Friday Drivel, Nonchalantly

Work this week was wild. Every now and then, one of our consultants who works remotely flies in and we have company meetings. Even though I’m in a department all by myself (which is the best and worst thing ever), I still find myself distracted and unproductive during these weeks, regardless of whether I’m attending every single meeting or not. Now that it’s Friday, I’m finding myself able to settle down and focus on setting my schedule for the week ahead.

***

In Kaiser-related news: I passed my drug test with an A (for amphetamines, which we entirely anticipated since I take them most days. I had a good shock when I saw that on the results list, but quickly realized that it meant Adderall and stopped wondering where I might have accidentally come into contact with meth or something related).This is the best news. (Not that I was worried.)

***

I have been trying to curb my internet shopping habit. Having to slowly purchase a new wardrobe is so much easier when it can just come to your office, but it’s also expensive and annoying as all hell when you have to return something. But when I saw boots on sale on one of my web sites, I had to buy them.

Every year, I try to buy a pair of boots that I like. Every single year, I go for black riding boots. Every single year, I am disappointed. Last year, I bought a pair to try at Target and ended up wearing them all year. The only problem? They didn’t last and I won’t be able to stretch their life through this winter. So after Christmas, I treated myself to a pair of wonderful boots. They arrived, via mail, at which point I discovered that they looked worse than the Target boots, so they were sent back.

I got the new boots today. I get so excited to get mail, particularly when it’s a package. I tore it open, and tried them on. And they did exactly what I knew they’d do: they gaped around my calves. Gaped. They looked like rain boots, which I hate more than any other kind of boots for the simple reason that they’re just so large. The boots have been returned to their packaging and will find themselves back in the mail tomorrow. I’m dejected, but determined. There must be a pair of tall black boots that isn’t going to cost me tons of money that will fit my calves (or at least not swallow them into a dark abyss). I will find it, although I’m starting to give up hope that I’ll ever find a pair of black riding boots with a small enough calf circumference to suit my chicken calves. Instead, I might go nuts and get some Doc Martens, something I’ve wanted since I was like 13.

***

I wore a white shirt to work today, which means that within five minutes of making coffee (I can make coffee now! I realize that seems stupid, but I learned this week and I’m incredibly proud of this), I had a coffee stain on my shirt. Of course.

***

I pride myself on being very even keel. I’m not usually girlish or overly emotional (although lately, I’ve been questioning whether or not this is true. Last night, I cried at the end of one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.) I’m usually pretty consistent when it comes to assessing my own emotional needs and doing what I need to do to ensure my own happiness and well-being.

But I’ve been uncharacteristically moody this week. I should have realized what was happening since my skin started to get grumpy, but I was hit with an assault of hormones that threw me into an irrationally angry and pathetic state. Like, “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?” needy, which is a very rough place to be, especially when that’s the last place you want to find yourself.

Trying to explain to Britt why I need to be reassured and snuggled was like trying to speak Esperanto to deaf penguins in Antarctica. It went like this:

“Since we started hanging out, you haven’t once told me that you care. I realize that even if you said it now, it’d be under duress, but I just need some reassurance from time to time that you don’t hate this.”

He laughed. “I spend time with you! I see you all the time! Do you think I’m a masochist who would spend so much time hanging out with someone I hated?”

“I just need some reassurance sometimes. You’re always so sarcastic about everything.”

“So if I don’t ever see you but tell you that you’re pretty and that I like you, that’ll be enough?”

“NO!”

“That’s exactly what you just said you wanted.”

Men are very frustrating creatures, particularly when they don’t speak your love language. Especially when they aren’t aware of the concept of love languages. I think everyone should have to grow up with sisters, so they’re prepared to enter adulthood with a good idea of how things work.

I was complaining to Mike last night (while he was kind enough to make me a turkey and avocado panini on his beloved panini maker), and he said, “You always jump into things without realizing what you’re getting yourself into.” He’s not wrong, but I’m too stubborn to give up until it’s beyond saving. Based on my pushing and his non-response, it may be sooner rather than later. Ah, well, such is life.

***

If you’re a pet owner, you will love (or at least appreciate) these two sites:

Dog Shaming | Cat Shaming

The beast would get a shaming picture because when we play, he loves to attack my hands instead of his toy. Or because he always runs into our Saw basement (think of the movie Saw. Then you’ll know what our basement looks like. Dark and full of crazy rooms and clutter.) the minute I open the door and has to be coaxed out by shaking a bag of wet food. Or for once attacking a dog.

***

Happy Friday!

On the Weekend

Kids Crafts

I love babysitting. Now that I’m out of college and staring down the possibility of motherhood within the next decade or so, I am looking at babysitting as the ultimate in childhood education. It provides such an insight into the world of parenting. I get to see the kids at their shiny, smiling best and at their absolute, angry worst. I get to watch their minds develop and wonder; they blow me kisses and sign “I love you” when I put them to sleep; we giggle together. Children are truly wondrous.

But more than that, I get to watch different sets of parents actively making choices. Each household does things differently, and all they want is the best for their children. I’m terrified that I will somehow raise children that aren’t independent, free-thinking, and respectful. (See this article in the New Yorker for more on that…)

It’s good practice. It’s good exposure. And I honestly think that for all of my years spent babysitting, I’ll be a much better mother.

Kiddie Pool

Denver has been HOT. Too hot. Whenever the summer gets like this, I always think of that episode of Hey, Arnold! where there’s the heat wave. Don’t ask why, I’m not even entirely sure what happens in the episode.

My apartment does not have air conditioning. The cat is angry about this, and is grateful for the fans we have set up in an attempt to circulate some of the air. So on Saturday, we bought a kiddie pool, some squirt guns, sunscreen, and a plastic jar with a spout and a handle! It’s the perfect combination for summer. Swisher has informed me that now that we own a hose together, we’re pretty much committed to each other.

After the stress that was our first fight last week, I had some more serious realizations: On Saturday, he helped me clean out my room at my mom’s house – she’s trying to reclaim our childhood rooms and I’m resisting. But there was no judgement as he picked through random piles of books and clothes and the knick knacks of my youth. I realized that even though there are things that I’m going to have to accept and learn to love about him, he’s having to do the same thing for me. Helping me clean is always going to be a labor of love (Maddie knows all about this), and one that I will be forever grateful for.

I’m going to try to be more patient and realistic in my expectations, but I also told him that I’m not going to let him slide on anything. I think it was good. Cooling off in the pool was even better. I can’t wait to spend the summer hanging out at the pool I’ve inflated in the empty lot next to my apartment building. (Hah.)

Sky clouds plane

The view from the pool.

City park jazz

On Sunday nights, they do free jazz concerts in City Park. Since it’s within walking distance, last night we made a little picnic of lemonade, bread, cheese, meat, and grapes and headed over with some blankets. It was a lovely evening of lounging on the blankets in the cooling air.

City Park Jazz Denver

(Swisher took this!)

Sadly, as the jazz was ending around 8pm, a police officer (and single mother of a 12-year old daughter) was shot and killed. We heard the gunshots, thought they sounded like fireworks, and then heard the sirens. Cop cars and an ambulance were all over the park. We weren’t very close to the shooting, and we didn’t really feel any sense of panic (I mean, it wasn’t the stampede-effect), but the stream of people out of the park was pretty consistent.

I seriously hope that this crime doesn’t deter people from coming out to the park. It’s such a beautiful place, and having free music every Sunday is a really great opportunity to feel like a part of the community. Maybe next week, they will have some sort of donation center up so that patrons can donate to the family of the slain officer.

I’m sad. Sad for the daughter of the officer, sad for the officer herself, and sad for the guy who killed her. Misplaced rage, or sad displays of masculinity, or something else led to a split-second decision that took a life, took a mother, and changed another’s life forever. This guy, who’s only 21, will have to spend the rest of his life reliving those moments. I only hope that prison for him is not so much a place of criminal education, but instead offers a place of hope and personal growth. (It won’t, but then again, our prison system has never really been about reducing recidivism. It’s more of a profit mill than anything else. I like hearing about places that really work for rehabilitation and optimism than those which breed gang violence and racially divided populations while glorifying violence.)

Night fisbee

When we got home, there were a ton of people in our living room. By a ton, I mean ten, but expecting to see one and seeing ten is still overwhelming. After a while, Mike’s friends wanted to take a walk. Which was perfect, because I wanted to play night frisbee.

Night frisbee has been on my brain for days now. It’s harder, I think, to play night frisbee because all you see is the light, flying straight at your head. The color is nice, but it’s easier to miss. I’m still awesome at it, of course.

After everyone left, Mike, Swisher, and I continued playing on the side of the building. It was such a relaxing night, the perfect end to a very hectic week. (Or the perfect beginning to another hectic week?)

In unrelated news, I love my slapwatch. I do not actually use it to keep time, and so I don’t think it’s been accurate for like six months. (Bear in mind that I’ve only owned it for like 6 months.) Also, my childhood self cheers every time I wear it. Good for her.

On Chicago, hurriedly.

more about this adventure later, but here’s the Chicago part:

I flew from Denver to Chicago after work on Friday. He picked me up at the airport (with champagne!). Saturday: we saw his grandparents and then he had a going-away party at his house. Sunday: we had brunch with his family; then I had a nap while he packed the car; then we had going away dinner at his mom’s house. (It was really cute because both of his parents came. It was sort of like when both of my parents came to my college graduation party. You’re shocked, because you haven’t seen them in the same room in years, but you’re also really proud of them. And happy.)

And then we left. It was midnight and the moon ahead of us, wrapped in clouds, led the way home.

Midway Airport by Night

Swisher picked me up with a bottle of champagne, a sandwich, and some cookies. We sat in the back seat as his brother drove us back to Lincoln Park.

It was the best airport pick-up a girl could have hoped for.

Hancock Building, Chicago

The city.

Katie and Matt at Fado's

We went out downtown Friday night. Swisher’s brother wanted to meet up with some of his friends, so we ended up navigating through the crowd at a hip bar downtown. Ugh, I hate feeling like I’m wearing too much pants. Also, I dread summer because I’m so pale. Mini-dresses look good on me, but not as good as the tan women.

Overwhelmed by the crush of bros that was the hip bar, we ended up at Fado’s, one of my favorite Irish bars. The night was perfect. Absolutely, one hundred percent perfect.

Belmont Harbor, Chicago

We visited his grandparents on Saturday. The view from their apartment over Belmont Harbor enchants me. I could watch the lake all day. His grandma remembered that I liked watermelon and strawberries, so she had some waiting for us when we got there.

Thai food

On Sunday night, Swisher’s brother made a Thai feast (sans peanuts so Swisher wouldn’t die). It was delicious. Beyond delicious. There were fried fish balls, curry, mango sticky rice, noodle dishes, lettuce wraps. We played a few rounds of Catchphrase before we left, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite games.

And then we left. There were tears and hugs and a general overwhelming feeling of love. It was good.

On Birthday Weekend, Happily

Danger, look out for autos

Walking back to the car from trivia on Thursday night, I came across this sign. And for some reason, it struck me. Autos.

Friday night was amazing. Sushi for ten followed by bar hopping. By the end of the night, I was surrounded by my favorite people and I was sipping Hendricks and tonic in my favorite bar. Life is good. (The facebook caption on this picture reads: We picked the drunkest man in the bar to take our picture. And it’s true, I did. I’m surprised that we’re not more blurry.)

Bathroom Graffiti

I bonded pretty hard with a girl who was practicing her seductive poses in the bathroom. I was laughing to myself at the sink, and she saw my reflection in the mirror. She hugged me a few times while we laughed.

I love bar graffiti. Sometimes it’s silly, or rude, but sometimes it’s thought-provoking or just pretty.

Big Blue Bear in Denver

On Saturday, Anne wanted to go see all of Denver’s weird art installations. So we went and saw the Blue Bear at the Convention Center, the dustpan and broom by the art museum, the red chair and the horse by the library, and the cows by the art museum. I climbed a cow, and while jumping off, nearly fell into a puddle of mud. Quick reflexes saved me by less than six inches.

Mountains

On Sunday, we drove to St. Elmo, a ghost town outside of Buena Vista.

Door at St. Elmo

St. Elmo is not a ghostly as I would have liked. We pulled in and there was a tour group of ATVs preparing to depart. We were able to get out and walk around, though, and the exploration turned out to be just what we were looking for.

St. Elmo Ghost Town

It’s creepy to see the fake flowers in the windows of these buildings. Beyond creepy. Anne and I both agreed that the vibe in the town was way wrong for attempting to sneak into any of the buildings.

View from a boarded up window.

St. Elmo, Colorado

 

Mattress springs at St. Elmo, Colorado

Mattress skeleton!

Tiny Town Train

On our way back, we went to Tiny Town. Of course we rode the TIny Town train. The lady at the concession stand asked us if we had children with us. We exchanged looks and said we didn’t.

My five-year old self has an image of Tiny Town that is far more magical than the experience that my newly twenty four-year old self had. Tiny Town is still an adventure, but it’s good for about ten minutes of adventure.

Favorite parts?

The train ride! The temporary tattoos purchased in the gift shop and applied in the picnic area!

Rainbow over Colorado

After Tiny Town, I drove Anne to the airport. On the way, we were treated to a double rainbow. I’m about to sound like a nine-year old girl clutching her brand-new Lisa Frank folder, but I had forgotten how awesome rainbows were.

Swisher and I cooked dinner together on Sunday night. I was terrified. He’s a good cook, and I’m less than proficient in the kitchen. We made carbonara (my choice and so full of calories!) and salad. We were supposed to make banana bread, but had so many leftover cupcakes that we decided to just eat those instead. He brought me red velvet cupcakes and gorgeous flowers on Friday! I came home to those and a clean kitchen. Is he good or what?

Honestly, I’m thrilled about life right now, but I’m so exhausted. I hate that I look at the calendar and see that it’s already scribbled in for nearly a month. I know that I’m lucky to be so loved and so busy, but oh man, I’d do nearly anything for a free day to lay in the park with a book and a jug of iced tea.

On Cupcakes on a Plane

This article reminds me of my own attempt to classify a certain foodstuff as a solid, rather than a gel.

For the record, I totally disagree with the author of this article. Considering the fact that I accidentally got a 20oz bottle of water (filled approximately a third of the way full) through airport security last week, I’d argue that they’ve got more important things to do than catch ladies with cupcakes. You know, things like actually follow the spirit of these regulations rather than the letter and see how that fares for them. Nit-picking about frosting isn’t going to help until we’ve set a precedent. I am going to need signs with pictures showing me that I cannot bring Jell-O, or frosting, or hair gel, or whipped cream, or mousse. I want those juxtaposed right up next to the axes, knives, handguns, and scissors.

(Advice to the lady: open the jar. Lick all frosting. Close jar and continue with your screening process. Eat cupcake sans frosting in future.)

10/2012 @ 3:36PM |2,753 views

Cakes On A Plane: Cupcakegate And You

Photo Courtesy of Consumertraveler.com

By now you’ve heard of the Incident of the Confiscated Cupcake. It seems that one Rebecca Hains, of Peabody, Mass., was returning home from Las Vegas last month, when Transportation Security Administration agents confiscated her cupcake on the grounds of excessive frosting, which the TSA classifies as a gel.

On the one hand, dude, it’s a cupcake! On the other hand, the incident raises questions about both airport security and the American diet.

The diet first. Call me a curmudgeon, but despite the trend sweeping the nation from Boston to Beverly Hills, I firmly believe that a cupcake should never be more frosting than cake. Go back to the old-school cupcake-to-frosting ratio, and I’m convinced that the percentage of obese Americanswould decline from 33.8% to, oh, say, 33.75% (hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?). Plus, too much frosting is just gross. If this requires TSA enforcement, then I’m all for it.

Seriously, though: although regular readers know that I don’t have much sympathy for ham-fisted TSA tactics, this time I come down on the side of the folks in blue.

Turns out that this was no ordinary cupcake. It was in a glass jar. Who the heck carries a cupcake in a glass jar? And TSA rules on glass jars containing gels are clear: no larger than three ounces, packed together with your other gels and liquids in a clear, quart-size plastic bag. Ms. Hains’s cupcake, no matter how darling, violated these rules. If the cupcake needed to be in a jar, she could have put it in her checked luggage. If she needed a dessert in a jar to eat on the plane, how about honey-roasted walnuts?

“When you think about it,” writes TSA blogger and erstwhile security officer Bob Burns, “do you think an explosive would be concealed in an ominous item that would draw attention, or something as simple as a cute cupcake jar?” Makes sense to me. Read the rest of his post here.

Bottom line: if you need to take cakes on a plane, how about just carrying them in the box they came in?

source: Forbes

I don’t know about you, but cupcakes in a jar sound amazing to me.

I have been on a weird kick lately where I’ve been trying to fully embrace the adulthood that’s threatening to overwhelm me (you should see what I bought off of Amazon.com today – six boxes of tea, a novel, and two seriously motivational career woman books….I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now. I have not yet subscribed to Amazon Prime, so some remnants of my youth remain.)

But this means research. I’ve been reading cooking blogs. I’ve been reading design blogs. I’m hoping that in ten years (or, more realistically, thirty to forty), when I can finally afford a house/condo, Future Me have some sense of structure, order, etc. I think this means fashion, so I guess I’d better work on dressing myself before I work on dressing my house. (I realized last night that Kevin hasn’t seen me wearing makeup in days. It might even be weeks. I’ve fallen into a rut, mostly.)

But….cupcakes in a jar remind me of cheesecake in a jar, which is going to be my first project once I get all settled back into my apartment (with Carlos, of course!)

This must happen this weekend. The moving, not the cheesecake making. Baby steps.

Virtual Picnic- Cheesecake in a Jar

by JAMIE on APRIL 22, 2011 

(snagged the pictures and the recipe from My Baking Addictionwhich I am totally addicted to!)

Post image for Virtual Picnic- Cheesecake in a Jar(photos from My Baking Addiction)

Cheesecake in a Jar

YIELD: 4-6 servings depending on size of jars used

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz each; room temperature
2 large eggs; room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup fresh berries

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add in the cream cheese and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.

4. Pour batter into canning jars until about ¾ of the way full. Place jars into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the sides of the jars.

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have a little jiggle to it.

6. Carefully remove the cheesecake jars from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecakes are completely cooled, place them into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Top will fresh berries and serve.

NOTES:

– For glossy berries, simply add 1 tablespoon of hot water to ¼ cup apricot preserves. Blend until combined and thinned out. Place the berries in a bowl and gently brush and toss the berries with the apricot and water mixture.
– If you are not a fan of lemon, simply omit the zest.
– If you are missing the graham cracker crust, serve with graham sticks.
– The jars pictured above are Weck (7.4 ounce) Tulip Jars.