two cats and a game of hide and seek.

In a strange, familiar sort of way, today felt a little like vacation.

I’m babysitting Nicole’s cats while she’s away, and she left me with a ton of fruit, La Croix carbonated beverages, almonds, granola bars and other such goodies.

Oh.  Yes.  And two fur-babies.

Stitch and Highstreet were adopted three years ago as kittens.  Highstreet, the black one, got his name from the street where he was left, abandoned, with his brothers and sisters.  He was one snotty nosed, very sick kitty when Nicole took him in.  So was Stitch.  Both were scared and timid (especially Highstreet!)  Now they’re goof balls who will do anything for some love.

Or a game of hide and go seek, for that matter.

Stitch thought it would be fun to hide behind the grill.

We played for a good while until Stitch decided to break the rules by jumping up on the railing of the deck.  He knows this gives me a heart attack, but seemed quite pleased with himself nonetheless.

Once I placed him back down, he decided it would be fun to lean off the edge of the deck.  Again, giving me a heart attack.

So we came inside, where Stitch decided to play on top of the refrigerator, overseeing the activities of the house.

(Meanwhile, Highstreet was much too busy eating ants to take part in any silly games.)

Yes.  It certainly felt like vacation.  Walking around the house barefoot, playing with a couple of cats, not a care in the world.

But in all honesty, work had to get done!  I have an exam to study for.  Jobs to find!

Salads to eat!

  • spinach and romaine
  • garbanzo beans
  • feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • carrots and tomato
  • almonds

I figured with all the peace and quiet of having the house to myself, I’d get a lot done.

But then, Highstreet had other plans.

Stomping on the paper, nudging my head, drinking my water, and throwing my index cards off of the table.

Highstreet?

It’s a good thing I love you.  It’s a good thing you’re cute.

QUESTION: Are you an “animal person?”  What is your favorite?

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birthdays, ice-cream and fuzzy heads.

Happy 28th Birthday, Nicole!

(Somehow, we girls all turned up to Nicole’s party wearing purple, purple and more purple.  This was not planned! :mrgreen: )

Such sillies!  I absolutely adore these gals!!

Know what else I love?

Well.  Ha!  Besides all this lovin’ going on?

Birthdays.

Yes.  I really do love everything about them.

And traditions.  Like having Swiss cheese burgers with sauteed mushrooms every (single) year, for as long as any of us can remember.

Yes.

And pasta salads.  Can’t forget that now, can we?

Okay.  But really, aside from all the food…

…I love the simple joy of celebrating another year of life.

Another day.  Another moment.  Another breath.

Yes, that’s just it.  I love the celebration of life.

…and fuzzy heads, too.  But that’s besides the point.

Oh.  And icecream.  Did I fail to mention that?

Yet another tradition is that we have icecream sundaes on Nicole’s birthday.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Are you seeing why I love traditions?

From coconut to coconut M&M’s to crushed sugar cones and beyond.

But, like I said.  It’s really not about that.  It’s about the celebration of life and family that I love so much.  Well.  And fuzzy heads.

The rest of it?  Well.  It’s just the cherry on the icecream.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICOLE!!!

QUESTION: What is your most memorable birthday?

The Flying Onion vs. Mr. Stress

Well.  It happened.

I fought it.  I really did.  You’d be truly proud of me, really.  But still.  It happened.

In a pure moment of weakness, I finally let Mr. Stress get the better of me.

You know exactly what I mean.  That tight feeling up in the chest.  Head swimming, ready to burst.  Tightened shoulders.  The feeling of being nervously energetic and tired all at the same time.

I’m usually pretty good about things like this.  Feelings like that don’t pop up all too often.  But.  This time?  They did.

My new job officially started on Thursday, and I found myself feeling overly flustered with the whole ordeal.  I’m learning three new types of software.  I’m learning what a zip file is (don’t laugh, I had no idea there even was such a thing!)  And I’m calling people to collect dietary data for a nutrition study.  

(Which, in case you didn’t know, I have a major phonephobia.  It’s true!)

I reached my breaking point somewhere around 4 o’clock yesterday.  This is when I realized how silly I was being.  How feeling tight and wound up was doing nothing—absolutely nothing!—for me, except to give me really tight shoulders (and I really can’t afford a massage therapist right now…bummer!)

Sarah, I said to myself.  It’s time you did something about Mr. Stress.  Fight back!

And so, I did.  I dragged myself to the kitchen table and helped (i.e., taste tested and watched) mom frost and bake a batch of cookies.  I indulged in a deep session of yoga flows.  I went for an after dinner walk, just because.  And I counted the hours until I’d be hanging with this gal:

She’s making us smoothies for tomorrow’s shopping trip, which she swears tastes just like the Starbucks Chocolate Banana Vivanno.  This could be a very, very good thing.

(Don’t you worry, I’ll try my best to convince her to share the recipe!)

Sigh.  Yes.  I am stressed.  A little tight.  A little wound up.  A little anxious about starting a brand new job on top of keeping up with my dietetic internship requirements.

But you know what?

I’m okay.  I’m more than okay.  And in two hours, I’ll be shopping with my best gal friend and laughing without a care in the world.  I’m fighting back and it seems to me that Mr. Stress is losing.

QUESTION: How do you usually handle stressful situations?

a couple of cupcake queens.

My sister and I have been talking cupcakes even before they became big and popular and oh-so-in.

I’m talking way back.  Way, way back.

In fact.  I think we were talking cupcakes ever since we learned how to open a tub of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting, smearing the frosting onto my mom’s homemade cupcakes (and onto our fingers…purely accidental, of course!)

I love everything about cupcakes.  Their perfectly sized portion.  Their quirky personality.

The way they can stand alone with such quiet ease and confidence, taking joy in their own unique style.

But it wasn’t until recently that my sister and I came to the conclusion that we wanted more cupcakes in our lives.  As in, at least once a month.

For practice, we said.  Practice so that we can someday be known as a couple of cupcake queens.  Strolling into baby showers, family cookouts, and church gatherings.  With a tray that would make everyone gasp with complete delight.    

And when the gasp happened, we would just smile.  Just a little, you know.  And then we’d respond to the crowds with an, Oh, it’s so incredibly easy.  No, really!  Anyone could do it. 

Yes.  We’ve decided that we need lots and lots of practice.   At least once a month.

(BLOGGING BLOOPER!)

It’s tough work baking and decorating and testing that many cupcakes, but somebody’s got to do it!

And so, today, we officially began our (very serious) cupcake excursion.

We decided to start off on a rather simple note.  You know.  So that anyone—as in “us”—really could make it.

Vanilla cupcakes (which we’re still trying to perfect…recipes to come later on!)

Fudgy chocolate frosting (also still perfecting!)

The frosting was delightfully rich and—oh my word!—tasted like fudge!  

We’re not quite there yet.  You know, with the whole walking into the party with just a couple of small smiles on our faces as people adore our cupcakes thing.

But we did love the entire baking experience (bakers at heart!)  

And we noted our mistakes; the things we want to change for the next time around.

And we laughed.  A lot.  

And then, after all was said and done, we licked our plates clean.

I’d call that a success story.

QUESTION: If you could own any sort of restaurant, bakery, or cafe, what would be your signature item(s)?