18 September 2005

The day in-between

Friday night, I sketched out several designs for the cake I was going to bake on Saturday. I wanted it to be more than a cake, I wanted it to be special. What kept coming to mind was the decoration I wanted to have: a series of curvy red and yellow flames, but it was the wrong message on several levels. Too much like hell, so I dismissed the idea and focused on what I thought mom would like.

It was late afternoon when I started baking, so I took advantage of the pourable vanilla icing you can use before the cake is entirely cooled. Though I considered letting that layer of white setup before I started to decorate, I remembered that mom liked eating warm cake so I forged ahead. Though I can sketch many things with ease, drawing with icing is not the same. Still it turned out mostly as I'd planned. An open book across the middle of the cake with her age on the left page and a red flower on the right. I used a pronged tip for the icing on the side and bottom edges to give the book some depth. Above the book in small melting print, I wrote: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! (It would've been easier larger and in cursive.) In the top corners, I put clusters of curvy candles (red and yellow on one side, green and blue on the other) to represent each digit of her age. The white base icing was already sliding to the edges by the time I was done.

After she blew out the candles, the cake got turned around while she was cutting it. She said something that prompted me to say that the design was supposed to be an open book. For a moment it was like being 7 with the old disappointment of drawings not understood. My mom had that same blank Oh expression right before she said, "At least it doesn't say RIP on it."


She pointed out the curves of my open book which had made her think of a tombstone. Wonderful. Just the kind of special I was going for. The cake decoration felt like the most unimpressive failure. It didn't matter to her. The chocolate cake was good, I'd made an effort. I'd just wanted it to be better.

My brother is at strike one. I didn't email him a reminder this year (and why should I? He's been around longer than I have, so he should know the dates by now), and he didn't call or email mom yesterday. That he didn't send anything goes almost without saying, though if he had called he would've said something was in the mail which would then never arrive. So it's not really just strike one. Even the minors won't keep him anymore; he'd be lucky to coach Tee-ball for free. I'm ready to lay into him this year which bums me out more than anything else.


  1. ha ha - maybe you should have gone with the flaming cake, after all...

    Mothers are the best, but sometimes they can really put you out, with the smallest little comment - like a pin to a balloon.

    Anyway got to love them!

  2. maybe you should have gone with the flaming cake, after all..

    That's exactly what I thought. Oh well.

  3. weeelll...

    maybe your mom was just feeling a lil' sensitive about the age thing. i wouldn't sweat it. but i know that feeling, like when all the air starts to leak out, slowly.

  4. doh! happy b-day, c--this week, yes? at least i'm not your brother, i'm allowed to be a little squishy on dates. maybe your mom will make you a cake that looks like a book, but is really a tombstone. :]

  5. Becka- Not sweatin' it (cuz the cake is tasty!)

    C- Thanks. It's actually tomorrow. If asked my bro would know the two dates, but not whose was which. I like your cake idea, can it be surrounded by flames? Actually I told her to hold off on mine cuz we just won't get through that much cake before it dries out... the drag of the back to back... she's usually the one getting gyped out of a cake though, so it's only fair.

  6. So, then: happy birthday TODAY, sweetie! Hope you have a good one! Even if you don't get fresh cake!

    btw chocolate cake is always best a few days old, that's what I think, anyway!