Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Sugar: These little cakes were fun to make and very pretty and tasty, which is always a plus. They made me think of summer, and that is always a nice memory in the middle of winter.
The Snark: Notice, I didn't say these little cakes were easy to make. The two pictured above were the only survivors because I had some really fallen cupcakes that didn't work out at all. Good thing they were tasty because that will get me to try again.
The Spice: I was so careful about not over-mixing that I ended up under-mixing my batter, up until the last two cupcakes. So, while at least I had survivors to take pictures of, I had a lot of failure to contend with as well. That was my fault though.
I have some great neighbors. I really do. One in particular, my neighbor across the street, is so fun and easy to talk to - and vent to - about life, raising our kids, marriage, etc. I bring this up because it is something that I haven't had in a really long time. Oh, we've had neighbors, but not that I could really commiserate with about life in general. I have some friends, that I'm happy to say are still friends, even though we haven't actually been neighbors for going on seven years now. I value those kinds of relationships that go deeper than just the surface, and, if you are lucky, surprise you along the way. The best surprises, I think, are sweet ones. Not only in baking, like these lovely little cupcake versions of this week's recipe, the Berry Surprise Cake, chosen by Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen, but in relationships. Speaking of relationships, one of my favorites, is all my fellow Tuesdays with Dorie Gals & Guys. Be sure to check out the blogroll for all the other amazing variations this week.
The best relationships are a lot like these delicious cupcakes, which, incidentally, I did share with my wonderful neighbor and she loved them. These cupcakes may be light and airy and uncomplicated on the surface, but they are sturdy and can hold in all the goodness that is inside and keep you going and keep you surprised by that goodness being shared and touching our lives. Sweet little red berries as that added extra little boost that we sometimes all need.
This may seem silly, but in this case, you could almost say that you could learn a lot about friendship from a cupcake. I didn't mean to write about this when I started this post, but the fact is that while I was finishing putting these together tonight, I was having a great heart to heart with my neighbor. It was really nice reaffirm again that, basically, I'm not the only one that is in a situation like mine, and that someone out there understands where I'm coming from. That is very comforting, especially if you go through life for a long time, surrounded by people and feeling very alone.
I think that is why, that even though the past couple of years have been some of the most difficult times in my life, they have also been the sweetest. I spent a lot of time alone with my babies, which was both joyful and very lonely, but I have two beautiful, mostly healthy boys who keep me going (and going and going) and are the sweetest reward life has to offer. When our first boy was born, people used to ask me how I felt about being a mother. I didn't mean to sound flippant and I hope that people understood that I was completely serious when I would laugh and say that it is by far the best thing I have ever done. I'm not saying it is for everyone, but even when I feel like my head is going to explode or I'm going to pass out from sheer exhaustion, it is still the very best experience I've ever had.
I don't think I focus on that enough. I have a tendency to want life to be good, but hone in on the bad too much. This is something I am working on. That is something I would say is a good resolution to have. It is a daily, if not hourly, event and something I have to constantly remind myself of. Especially when faced with hard times as we are all experiencing.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who come here and visit my little blog and leave me comments that are always helpful, funny, cute, creative and supportive. When I started this blog, I really hoped that I would be able to find my way into this community and get the support and basic human contact I so desperately needed. I really just don't have enough words to express my gratitude for not only having good neighbors near my house, but having incredible neighbors in this blogging community. I really couldn't do all this without you.
A huge part of this for me has been Tuesdays with Dorie. Tuesday is now my favorite day of the week. I know that even if I fail, I will still get to share the experience and the passion for baking and creating with simple ingredients that we all share. I know I am gushing, but I just had to share how I'm feeling with you all. So, thank you, a million times over, for being here and sharing this experience with me.