Sunday, April 24, 2016

The plane, the plane!

The following post is somewhat overdue. My blog advertises that it is a journey of motherhood, cakes, and procrastination. Let's just say the first and third got in the way of blogging about the second. But I must not forget the roots of this blog, and that is to shamelessly flaunt my bi-yearly cake creations. This year P asked for a, oh gosh I've already forgotten the name of the plane. Something P something Mustang. P 51 Mustang. Thank you search history. Anyway, he's very much into all things war and weaponry, so I wasn't all that surprised when he requested a fighter plane. The design was relatively simple, although I was told afterward that the wings were supposed to be straight out, not at an angle, which I honestly only altered to make the cake fit on the tray. Ah well, lesson learned. Fit matters not; follow the pictures.

After nine years of cake building, the process has become rather streamlined. This year I went with a confetti batter and made a batch of rice krispie treats because they are super easy to mold into whatever shape you need. The key is to mold when the treats are warm and to do so on a well-buttered surface wearing plastic gloves sprayed with cooking spray. For the cake, I used a large loaf pan for the body and two small loaf pans for the cockpit, nose and rear wing (tail?). 

Frosting is no longer my nemesis. I make a batch of traditional buttercream frosting (room temperature butter, confectioner's sugar, and milk - I use soy) and stir in about half a container of cool whip. The cool whip creates a smooth consistency and allows for frosting along cut edges. Back when I made the tie fighter, I learned the trick to gray: black food coloring with a dash of blue. It looked too purple at first and I was a bit worried, but when it cooled the color was beautiful. 

I kept the decorations simple. Red coin candies flipped upside down, thick black licorice for the propellers and guns, and blue sprinkle sky with marshmallow clouds. P created additional guns with the candles.

Other than the misdirected wings, the cake turned out nicely, and I spent much less time obsessing about it this year. Which makes the husband happy. And the boy is clearly pleased. Which makes mama happy.

Now we just need to stop procrastinating and get the thank you notes done.

Monday, April 4, 2016

This is The End

I am incredibly close to the end of the first draft of my second novel. Scary close. And I am afraid to end it. Maybe it's procrastination. Certainly a believable theory given my reputation. Revising is way harder and less emotionally rewarding than drafting, the eventuality of sending it off for critique is mildly terrifying (okay really terrifying), and I can avoid those things simply by not writing the end. Just keep telling everyone that it's a work in progress. Then I don't have to let anyone else read it (including myself) and decide whether or not it is worthy of being read in the first place. It's like a nearly finished sweater that I keep stuffing back into the knitting basket so no one can look at and judge the mistakes.

Okay, procrastination, lack of confidence, all good theories. Then there's my weird desire to have the ending be a melodramatic moment in my life. When I finished the first draft of STREETLIGHTS, it was on a Friday night during Write Club, a now defunct group of writers on Twitter that cheered each other on all day via thirty minute writing sprints. I wrote a huge chunk of my book during those sprints and was thrilled to finish it with my virtual cheering squad alongside me, especially my friend and amazing sprint leader, Stephanie. Also, that night our local college had a concert and there were fireworks. Fireworks. To celebrate my accomplishment of course. But tonight? It's an ordinary Monday. And I'm not ready to celebrate just yet. So I stare at the last chapter title (aptly named "sixty four") and write cute notes to myself instead of finishing the story. Then I go onto my blog and waste more time talking about how I don't want to write the ending.

Endings are hard, yo. There's emotional stuff. Lots of it. Both in the story itself and in the writer's psyche. It can't just be me. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. Or maybe not. Maybe they rush through the last few chapters, eager to get their ideas down before they fade away. Eager to finish the story they felt compelled to tell. But for some reason I'm just not ready to write THE END. I know it's not goodbye. I will spend the next several months (after the designated first draft stewing period) in an intimate relationship with my characters, dissecting their every move, every eyebrow raise and turn of phrase. They will continue to live in my head like real people - talking to me during sleepless nights, pointing out the plot holes they're afraid to fall into.

So what's my problem, then? What am I afraid of?

It's 4/4/16. A good date, mathematically. The kids are in bed, and there are about 30 minutes before my husband gets home. My trusty sidekick cat is here to cheer me on with her snoring, and I've got saltines and dairy free butter for fuel.

Guess I'll give it a go. Stay tuned, faithful readers.