Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cakes and baking and meetings and stuff that all somehow have something to do with each other.

You know what always kind of 'gets' me? Like, what stumps me day in and day out?

How to start a blog post.

I've found that blogging can be a great antidote for writer's block because it really gets you to push stuff out of your brain coherently, but actually starting a post is where I always feel I get stuck. That's why I tend to start with some kind of salutation - but I feel that, without fail, that makes me seem like some overly peppy person - and if there is anything I am not, it is peppy.

So on that note: Holy crap is my caffeine addiction bad. (Yeah that's right, I'm working on my intros and not my segues. Deal.) Yesterday I could barely function after about 12:30. I was ready to fall asleep at my work computer with my eyes open (definitely not what they pay me to do). I had a meeting at 2 and had to down a (terrible) cup of (instant machine) coffee beforehand so I didn't die a slow, tired death before during it. But actually, the meeting was really good and probably would have woken me up regardless, so it was good I had that on the books.

In general though, the waning of energy throughout the day is one of my least favorite feelings. I go to bed every night with so many ideas and plans for the next day and then by the time I leave work it's like, "Nah...nahhhhhh, that can wait til tomorrow...again."

But eventually you get to the point where things can't wait, and that's where I was Sunday morning (great transition, huh? And you thought I wasn't working on them ;P).

My cousin asked me pretty last minute (no worries, Jen) if I would make a cake for her oldest son's birthday on Monday. One single cake is easy, so I of course said yes. He requested chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, and then upped the ante by requesting marbled cake. According to Jennie "He actually asked for chocolate, then said, 'Marble will be a challenge for her' in an evil kind of way." Charming kid, right?

So after my workout Sunday morning I headed home to make the cake, and since my mom and I were going over there for dinner, I made some jalapeno poppers too (because I have lots of them growing in a pot on my patio and for some reason the rabbit and squirrels and Stewarts aren't eating them).

That dark chocolate buttercream was divine.

Cocoa Devil's Food marbled with the 2 egg Yellow Cake from Joy of Baking, baked in 9-inch rounds.

Looking at it through these pictures Jennie sent made me want to eat my phone. I mean...I made it, I knew how good it smelled...and the frosting? Probably the best chocolate frosting I've ever made. But oh god, these pictures. So on Monday (Elias' birthday and the official cake cutting day) I asked if Cam and I could stop by after dinner to try a piece.

It tasted even better than it looks. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa because I was too lazy to grab the regular stuff (which, I might add, was stacked right under the Special Dark), and it was the best lazy-decision I've ever made. The combo of cakes and dark chocolate buttercream was superb. I could have eaten the whole thing.

I have to stop talking about it now because I just want it so badly and might try to claw through the monitor to get it. So on we move.

The other awesome thing that happened when I got home on Sunday was that there was a package waiting for me! And it contained my Hogwarts Running Club shirt! I only ordered one, but I made buy a few more as the months go by:

"Run like You-Know-Who is chasing you!'
I got a ringer style, size Large. I usually get mediums which are a tighter fit on me, but I wanted this one to be looser. It's super comfy too, so if anyone is thinking of ordering one, the ringers are great.

Aside from the baking and shirt wearing, Sunday afternoon and evening ended up being pretty low key and relaxing. We went over to Jennie's for dinner (which is always a good time) and then I amused myself by reading the latest chapter of Senator Dracula. I know I mentioned it last time, but for real people, you need to check that out.

Other fun things from this week (worthy of mentioning):

Ronda Rousey did an AMA on Reddit. She's a pretty badass woman and, colorful language aside, a pretty good role model for girls as far as the health, fitness, and badassery go.

I also finished Jurassic Park! Holy crap, I loved it. I can't wait to start on The Lost World. I love that the book is extended beyond the timeline confines of the movie (the beginning is before the movie picks up and it all ends way past the ending of the movie). It was fun and thrilling to read, really keeps you engaged, and makes you think about the way we treat animals in captivity as far as corporate-money grabbing goes. Really good book, highly recommended!

I'm also really excited to be joining my company's PrideZ group. It's weird to think (or say) "I am an LGBT ally" because I feel like supporting others should be a no-brainer. But apparently it's not.

Soapbox for a second or two:

Though I am ecstatic that my company is supporting this, and even more excited to be involved, I think it's ludicrous that such groups need to exist. But all throughout history we, as humans, have found ways to hate, ridicule, and even persecute others for simply being different in ways they cannot change.

This movement happening in America surrounding "gay" rights - it's yet another cycle of history to acknowledge rights they should have had all along. It was the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, the women's suffrage movement in the early 1900s, the struggle to end slavery in the 1860s. It is the same as all those things. People want to be equal and have rights that the majority have, and the majority has no reasonable grounds to deny those rights based on personal preference or belief. Your religion does not matter. Your political affiliation does not matter. You can choose and have your beliefs. Hold on to them and cherish them and stand by them - BUT - and it's a big one, and I don't care how many times you say, "I don't hate gay people!" - if you are willing to sacrifice the equality of others' in lieu of your beliefs, that is a benchmark of hatred and secondclassmanship.

Today during our first meeting I heard the same thing said twice - "When I was young, I never thought I'd be able to be myself and work at a place like this without the fear that it would affect my career."

You know what? I don't ever want to hear my child, or their friend, or a family member ever have to say this. I want my children to grow up in a world where they don't have to hide something they cannot change about themselves because someone has some arbitrary rules they've ascribed to and tells my child they are wrong for being who they are.

The point of being an ally, to me, is adding my voice to the conversation and saying, "I think this is wrong, and I will work to right it." For my whole life I've been part of most majorities. I am a woman, but I am white, and I am straight (and I grew up Christian to boot).

It is damn well about time that I used my majority to do something.

*Gets off soapbox*

Anyways...I am SO excited to get involved and see where it goes, and I'm beyond proud of my friend Travis for spearheading the program at our headquarters! He's done so much work and advanced things so far in the last couple of months and he deserves all the good thoughts and vibes and feels for it. So here's a picture of us - for the sake of goodwill and as a mark of the start of things - taken after the Corporate Challenge:

And finally, to lighten the mood: Oh man. I have had baking on the brain lately. I have two baking-related charity endeavors in the works for, well, work. One for September and one for October. I've been rationing myself very well this year (if you forgot or didn't know, it was my goal not to take on any commissioned projects because it got wayyyy too stressful and time consuming), so I'm looking forward to busting it out in the next few months and impressing some people with my mad skillz.

I'll leave you with this little tidbit, overheard in the office today: "I don't like secrets!! Well...I like secrets once I know them..."

Ahh, don't we all. Peace out people! I'll be back with more workout and run recaps, probably Saturday after my NINE MILER!


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