Friday, February 24, 2012

Can you smell that?

.....That scent in the air - a vague hint at something different, something new, something.....better than where I am right now.

That's what I'm picking up.

The times they are a-changing and the smell of it is making its mark on the air around me. 

It's making me excited.  It's making me take a big, deep breath and sigh in relief.  It's bringing a smile to my face and a foreign, forgotten, kind of relaxation to my shoulders.

After so many months of stagnation, going backwards and being a little bit afraid of what the future will bring, finally things are looking up.

I start my new job on Wednesday.

I applied online this Wednesday night just gone.  Thursday morning I got a phone call for an interview.  Today I had the interview.  Today I was offered the job.

Very happy right now.  And very relieved even more so.

Could be more exciting news to share soon too but I don't want to jinx it....

(No I'm not pregnant)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Operation Matron Dress: The Wrap Up

And just like that, it's all over.

Months of lead up preparations, more-than-was-necessary pre-wedding dramas, plenty of sugar icing and then in the space of 8 hours, it was all done and dusted.

It was a lovely day.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  Considering the TV forecasters kept saying late thunderstorms for Saturday afternoon, the gods of thunder heeded the unspoken 'don't you dares' from many a guest and more so from my bride.  

There were a few....relatively minor.....potential hiccups....that were resolved with plenty of time to spare but by the stage they came in, I was expecting them.  This wedding hasn't, after all, run as smoothly as it should have in the planning stage!

On Friday night, after having finished the icing of the cake with nary an incident to be had, I was partaking of a few glasses of red to celebrate.  That's when I got the phone call.  I was a little tipsy (it was late after all!) and overly joyous so the nature of the call didn't really sink in until I was off the  phone.  And then, all I could do was laugh in a 'what else' sort of way.  It turned out that one of the cars to be used in the wedding (the one that was going to transport me, the DIL bridesmaid and two page boys to the ceremony) had broken down and could my car be used?  Oh, and could I drive it?  See, I had to laugh.

'Sure!  No worries at all!' I exclaimed in a fantastic display of pretend sobriety and heartfelt support.  My bride did not need to be stressing about this!  What this meant of course, was that I now had to clean my car before the wedding.  I need to stress here that my car is filthy.  Both inside and out.  All the time.  My car is a workhorse and isn't pretty.  Hence, instead of leisurely taking the cake to the reception hall and then casually getting ready, my morning was instead filled with giving  the car the best, quickest once-over I could in a limited timeframe.  Enough to pass a casual inspection, enough to not make our pretty clothes dirty!

With the car cleaned, I then had to take the cake to the reception hall.  Easy enough you would think.  I got the cakes (two separate tiers) safely into the back of the car - negotiating the back steps was my biggest concern.  Our back steps can be likened to a ladder leaning against a wall - very steep with handrails that are merely cosmetic - hang on to them at your peril!  But I got down them safely and stowed the cakes.  Then to the reception hall....

I had been told that people would be there all morning setting up and getting ready.  When I got there, not a person to be seen.  Doors locked, lights out.  Nothing.  I rang my bride who then rang her husband-to-be who then rang the person with the key.  He'd be there in twenty minutes.  'No worries' I told myself, 'Plenty of time.'

Forty-five minutes later I was getting restless.  I had two cakes in the car, in the sun.  I needed to get into this hall.  I called my bride again in a little bit of a panic and asked where this person was, is he still coming and if not, did the priest lived nearby and would he have a key?  She was onto it.  I won't repeat what went through my head when not two minutes later the priest walked FROM NEXT DOOR to unlock the hall for me.  It wasn't at all appropriate mind-thoughts for church grounds and I may be now going to hell.  

But this point I was on a sugar low having not eaten for hours so my hands were incredibly shaky.  And I now had to construct my cake masterpiece....without dropping it.  A few deep breaths, some mental pepping-up and the deed was done, and even easier than I was expecting.  All good.  Then it was off to get ready.

And from then on all went well.  We got to the church on time (to the minute), the service was lovely (the priest was Scottish.  I could have listened to him talk all day.  He could have been reading tax legislation for all I knew but I could have listened all day), the weather stayed perfect for the photos and then the reception went off without a hitch.  My bride couldn't have asked for more.  

As for me, the dress still fitted and looked good (when I remembered to suck my guts in), my friend Miss K did a great job on make-up and hair and I was looking hot-to-trot (so to speak).  I got a lot of really wonderful feedback on the cake and have a couple of future jobs lined up as a result (gotta love weddings for networking!).  

Given that a great percentage of the people at the wedding were, how to put this politically correct, older, it was all over by 7:30pm.  I can't say I was disappointed because by then I was exhausted!  And my bride looked even more tired than me!  I think I was in bed and asleep not long after I got home.  And I slept the sleep of the dead last night.  Exhausted.

And now it's all finished.  My bride has started her new chapter with her new husband and is living her happily ever after....awwww.

And, despite how this wedding has turned out, if in the future, for whichever bride I am making a cake for, I am ever asked again to step up and fill some Matron/Bridesmaid type shoes (particularly for someone I don't really know that well, especially if I don't know anyone other than the bride and groom in the bridal party), I shall politely, nicely, gently decline.  I just don't think I have it in me again!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Operation Matron Dress: it's time already??

Well, it's here.  Tomorrow is the day when my 75-year-old bride marries her man and lives happily ever after.

I can't believe how quickly the weeks have passed.  Nor how little I actually followed through on my original to-do list.

I have managed to keep off the sugar.  I'm quite proud of my achievement on that one.  Not so proud of my lack of increasing the water consumption and decreasing the diet-Coke addiction.  Hmmmm.  And as for taking my own lunch to work every day?  Yeah, didn't happen.  All good in theory but the putting into practice really needs some work!

The exercise side of things was a major fail.  Especially once approval was gained for the wearing of a dress I already owned and fitted into.  That removed the pressure immensely.  Who thinks of cardio and sqats when it is known that one's rear end doesn't strain the fabric so much that it looks like a hippo wearing lycra?  Of course, I last tried the dress on two weeks ago and as it is not here with me (the bride has it from her quest to find another matron dress to fit the other girl) I can't claim with 100% certainty that it still will fit.  Not that I've done anything bad to warrant not fitting but you never can be too cocky about these things!

As for the cake....well something had to go right.  It's now 10:30am the day before and it is all complete and ready for transport to the reception venue tomorrow morning.  I would have it all boxed up ready to go but last night I slept a grand total of 3 hours so this morning the potential for disaster is HUGE.  When I'm tired I drop things.  A lot.  So I'm not risking it.  

At least the weather has held up.  After the rain at the start of the week it has since cleared up and the sun has been shining beautifully every day.  Here's hoping tomorrow doesn't bring flash flooding and widespread damage across the region.  Sunday's fine for that sort of shenanigans.  Just not tomorrow.

See you on the flip side!

Will post piccies post-haste.....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Kitchen: February 2012

Joining Celia and her 'In My Kitchen' posts - head on over to Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and join the fun...

This month my kitchen has only one thing on it's mind....cakes.  More specifically, fruit cakes and their elaborate sugar coverings.  In less than 1 week (!!!!) I will have all finished and completed a two-tier wedding cake for the marriage of my 75-year-old bride on Saturday coming (I'm also her Matron of Honour - we're keeping it in the bridal party!).  At this point, I'm not panicking.  The rain has just started up again which will make things harder if it doesn't go away by tomorrow (the humidity in the air makes the fondant chuck a hissy and not dry or set properly).  Here's hoping the week is fine and sunny so the panic doesn't set in early. 

In My Kitchen....

....are a whole heap of sugar flowers and leaves waiting to be turned into little bouquets to be arranged artistically on the cake tiers.  Given that I still don't know how that will be the results could say the least!  Everything - the design, the colours, the shape - has been left entirely up to me.  Sounds good in theory.  Not so good for a perpetually indecisive person.  I keep changing my mind.  At some point (hopefully very soon) I will have to make a decision and stick to it.  

In My Kitchen....

....I have the cake tins and boards mocked up to give me an idea of the finished product.  I'm planning on making the whole thing sit on a double board.  That is, the bottom cake will sit on a board a bit smaller than the one in the photo, which will then all sit on this board.  Makes the cake ensemble (fancy made up description right there!) seem larger and more grand than it really is.  Ahhh, tricks of the trade!!  I'm thinking the top tier will sit on a spacer (a piece of square polystyrene between the top cake and the pillars that you can't see) to give the impression that it is just hanging there.  Both cakes will have a frill around the bottom of them - the top tier's will sit just lower than the bottom of the cake hiding the spacer.  That's the plan anyway.  Could change as the days pass.

In My Kitchen....
Humph!  For some reason Blogger is rotating my looks so much more impressive right way up!
....are the results of a two-day intensive cake decorating course I have just finished this afternoon. (sucker for punishment?).  I'm actually glad the course was on this weekend - I've now had heaps of very recent practice covering cakes and boards again - I am feeling confident and ready for the real thing.  Which should take place tomorrow.  Weather permitting.  (please rain, go away).  

Oh, and In My Kitchen....are plans and entry forms for the local show coming up in March into which I will be entering a decorated cake (novice contemporary section) and maybe some jams....!  Busy, busy!

Happy February In-My-Kitcheners!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Operation Matron Dress: less than 2 weeks to go!!! (otherwise known as, what else can go wrong)

I can't believe it.  What happened to January and it's well meaning weeks of actually following my plan and getting into shape in time for this wedding!  It's now less than 2 weeks to go (can you detect the touch of hysteria there?)!!!!

So a lot has happened recently - not all of it good.

Here's a run-down.....

On the plus side....I'm still off the sugar.  An occasional breakout, which I know now is followed by an awful (just awful) sugar low 24 hours later, but I think I am now in control - the foul, grumpy, nasty, sugar-craving me is just not a nice person to be around (even I don't want to be around me).  The cravings any other time have gone completely and my body shape has changed in ways I didn't think possible.  My top half looks all toned and (relatively) terrific despite the lack of exercise (see below), that is my tuckshop arm has decreased enough to look decent in a sleeveless dress, yet my ass has gotten wider and the scales are reading off the planet....I'm stumped.

I haven't been exercising (surprise, surprise) unless you count the hours of going up and down a ladder with all the hours of house painting I've been doing* - I have thighs of steel.  Not that it counts or has made much difference but it's the thought that counts right?  The treadmill remains dusty and with crap draped across it.  I'm lazy.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

As a result the dress still doesn't fit.  I had a minor meltdown a couple of weeks ago about that.  As much exercise as I actually did (not much), and as much as I watch what I put in my mouth (a whole lot more of that), there ain't no amount of starving myself that is going to get my hips narrower than my shoulders.  Full Stop. I don't even think there is a surgery that could fix that....

But that all whining and moaning and gnashing of teeth dissipated when I found out that the other matron doesn't even have a dress.  Huh?  That was my reaction but it turns out that this wedding is working on matching colours (hopefully) for the matrons rather than matching both colour and style of dresses.  Okay.  Works for me.  So with that in mind, yesterday at the rehearsal I took along a similar coloured dress I already had in my wardrobe that fits me nicely (still - and from my sister's wedding 10 years ago - boooyeah!) and suggested it instead......

To my utter extactic-ness, the best man's shirt matches it (booooyeah!) and it is all systems go on the dress that fits!!!  Yay!!!!  Oh yeah, and I also found out that I'm the actual Matron of Honour....not just a married-bridesmaid-called-a-matron.  Noice.  So now I'm freaking that there's all these 'things' that a Matron of Honour is expected to do for the bride before her wedding and I haven't done one of them....eeekkkk!  Worst Matron in the history of Matrons....

Now for the 'what else can go wrong' side...nothing that I can control but enough to make me shake my head at some people and remind me that some weddings can be incredibly stressful. my bride, as you may recall, is 75 years old.  Her husband-to-be's family pulled out months ago hence my elevation from guest/ cake maker to Matron (I'm at a loss as to why I am Matron of Honour and not her daughter-in-law who is the other bridesmaid/matron???).  And then this morning, my bride was told by her friend/neighbour/wedding organiser that she's done, she wants no part of this wedding, you're on your own.  Say what????  As you could expect, my bride is distraught.  This neighbour woman has been in control of all facets of the organisation - particularly the food.  My bride, my 75 year old and currently quite sick bride, now has to factor in cooking enough food to feed the masses in the lead-up to her big day.  What sort of person does this?  Two weeks out?  (truth be told, as I told my bride, better two weeks than two days).  Insane.  

After the initial shock and disbelief and 'what I am going to do' (plus a whole lot of tears) this morning, my bride is back on top and is happy that true colours have been shown now rather than later and that she can get on with the organisation herself and have the wedding she wants.  Turns out this friend/neighbour/wedding planner was adamant things happen her way.  I hesitate to say it might be for the best that this woman who has her bedroom full of stuffed teddy bears is not involved.....not that I have anything against a middle-aged woman having a room stuffed with teddy bears but it doesn't exactly scream grown up and adult to vicariously through others maybe???  If I find out she has 6 cats she fits the stereotype in my head very well.

And that's where we're at at the moment.  Personally I currently have a dining table full of sugar flowers and a calendar marked out with cake icing next week.  Please rain, don't come back for a bit, at least until after the wedding - I want my flowers not to droop.  I'm not panicking.  Not yet.  I'll let you know about that one come Thursday next week.

Here's hoping nothing else can go wrong for my bride.  

* the LOML and I are painting our rental house to sell :(  Not a happy choice we want to make but at least we have this choice....
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