Cupcakes Beat the Sunday Blues

I have a planner. I use it. I set reminders on my phone. My watch buzzes those reminders and my phone zaps my rear end from my back pocket so I don’t forget. I write things down. I have three tabs open of the same chock full Google calendar because I can’t find it buried within countless other tabs. I was a week ahead of everything in my mind and I still can’t get it straight. Seems that this week is irrelevant as I look ahead to plan lessons, activities, book displays, contests, book clubs, maker space activities…

I enjoyed my weekend. I took teen and a friend to the Chalk Walk Art Festival. The laundry can wait, might as well enjoy the decent weather. Still hot, but not as hot as summer.

Sure enough, as Sundays always do, the day whizzed by, but I was determined not to subject myself to the Sunday Blues. I signed up to bake ancho chilli chocolate cupcakes for our potluck on Monday. Chilli themed. A contest, I think. I’ve been on this campus for a year. Still recovering from COVID, some traditions halted, but I’m not sure if this is one or not. No matter, I stopped at the grocery store after church to pick up a few ingredients which turned into full-on groceries.

I mixed up the batter and baked cupcakes between loads of laundry. I packed them up early. Before 10:00 p.m. early. Monday, a staff development day, allowed me to sleep in a little. No lunch prep for me because we’re having chilli. PTA is serving breakfast so double score there. We’re down to sharing a car because hubster’s is in the shop, which brings a whole other level of schedule juggling, or schudggling.

Monday morning, I put the two tubs of cupcakes in the back seat, grabbed my bag and got my ride to school.

“I brought my cupcakes,” I announced, only to learn the potluck is in two weeks. We had our first Monday PD two weeks ago. One was scheduled for October 10th. The next one is on October 24th.

I didn’t read the sign up sheet properly. Scroll reading. Exactly what I tell students not to do. I’m on autopilot with doing all of the things, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I was a week ahead of the actual calendar last week, trying to do what was planned for this week, but knowing it wasn’t because of book fair chaos.

This reminded me of the time I took my kids to dinner for Taco Tuesday. On a Wednesday. Another time I missed a parent-teacher conference because we went out for ice cream. Before he started middle school, I skipped my son’s orchestra instrument selection appointment and I don’t remember why.

Sigh…

I put the cupcakes in the staff fridge. I co-facilitated a session for teachers with my ITS during sixth grade lunch today, a trial run of our first “Lunch and Learn” series integrating tech/library resources. We bribed some with dessert and drinks. Unknowingly, I made dessert.

The cupcakes and training were well received.

I learned that dunking dried chillies in dark chocolate and sprinkling them with sea salt takes them to a whole other level of sweet with zippy zing.

“Yes, I’m making another batch for the next potluck,” I smiled, as a teacher snagged two on her way out. I’ll garnish them with chocolate covered chillies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Let Us Eat Cake

Rave Reviews Coconut Cake

When I was in high school I frequently baked. I grew up in a tiny town. There wasn’t much to do or anywhere to go, so I baked. Plus, my grandfather’s sweet tooth needed sustenance. My husband takes over in the kitchen, usually. By the time I get around to baking something, he’s already beat me to it. Last week, my daughter turned 12. I asked if she wanted me to bake a cake for her and she declined. There’s a strawberry cake from our grocery store’s bakery she enjoys and that’s what she requested. I didn’t try to convince her otherwise. We celebrated her day with an HEB strawberry cake topped with strawberries and white chocolate curls.

Three days after her birthday, we get to celebrate Father’s Day. I have a track record for important events catching up to me and I’m scrambling to get everything ready on time. Why break tradition? I spent most of Friday with said twelve year old watching too many shows on Disney, but hey, summer break.

Saturday morning, I realize I have nothing for Father’s Day. Sure, the kids need to do their part, but I’m the one who has been organizing the celebration since I birthed them.

This year will be different and I’ll be ready. Nope. It hit me head-on.

I planned to have a gift ready and to bake a cake my husband would flip over. I’m searching for the recipe on my phone in the cookware section of the grocery store. Thank goodness for phones. I found the ingredients and continued with my shopping. I didn’t buy a gift. There were a few tech items I planned to gift him, but he beat me to it. He broke the rule about buying something before a big holiday. Oh well. That’s how it goes. Always.

At around 9:00 that night, I start baking the cake. There’s some game he’s watching on TV. I pop in my earbuds and listen to my audiobook while I do my best to whip it up. I don’t mind baking, but cleaning up is the worst. I took a deep breath and got lost in my book while I beat the batter, put the pans in the oven, toasted coconut, and mixed up the frosting. The cakes didn’t stick to the pan-win! I had plenty of frosting-win! It fit perfectly on the cake stand I bought earlier this year-win!

I set it on the table, almost a full twelve hours before we’d cut into it. As time consuming as it was, for some reason it didn’t feel like such a chore. Maybe it was my lack of preparation that helped me power through rather than giving up and buying another strawberry cake. Maybe I felt I was secretly competing with him to make an over the top cake I knew he had never tasted. (This recipe is from my high school days and it’s only the second time I’ve made it.) Maybe I came to terms with rolling with the ebbs and flows of life to do the best I can.

Sunday afternoon, we cut thick slices of a coconut cake with cream cheese frosting. Sure enough, it wins the hubster over. We had a virtual tasting with my dad via Face Time. I missed my grandfather and imagined him sitting with us, me dishing out a double sized slice for him served with a piping hot cup of coffee. It’s been a while since I’ve baked cakes. I think they want to visit us more often.

*Get the recipe here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Red Velvet Cake

SOLSC Day 28

Time! Stay still for a little while. Well, you did last spring, or so it seemed. I’m the one who needs to stand still. I’m the one who needs to slow down. I’m the one who needs to stretch out moments I have, to enjoy them, be present. It’s not your job to stand still. That’s on me. And I haven’t been doing it well. Ever.

For today, the plan is baking a cake with S. From scratch. Red velvet with cream cheese icing, her favorite. Laundry can wait until tomorrow, but baking a cake can’t. Social media doesn’t care if I show up. Neither does my messy bedroom.

Time, I apologize for fussing at you. For saying you aren’t enough. You don’t change. While we’re here, can you tell me why we humans think we need to slay the day? As if it’s something that needs slaughtering. Why can’t we just enjoy it? Like a slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

You are enough. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not doing enough. I rarely do enough. I’m doing too much.