my birthday

my birthday, mostly involving cake…

by grace on June 30, 2020

kevin has been making homemade cards for me for many years. this one is awesome, cleverly made from a file folder…

…plus all this stuff pasted to the inside!

so, my first social-distancing birthday. my friend julie called to tell me she’d left something in my mailbox. a dozen huge “small cakes,” and two are still left in my freezer. each giant “small” cupcake weighs about a pound and are so delicious…

and then, my friend randy called to say he was leaving something on my porch…and entire double chocolate cake! the entire thing is still in my freezer, because…

amy made me two dozen car bomb cupcakes! of course they have benn renamed to something like “irish whiskey, baileys and guinness cupcakes, because car bomb is not a friendly word. but the cupcakes…so delicious, with buttercream frosting made with baileys and the moist cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache.

i have a few of them left in the freezer but DON’T TELL MOM because she’ll be wanting to eat them and i’m saving them.

the funny thing is that amy called me on my birthday to ask where my frosting tips were. i thought this an odd request and figured she must be doing something crazy with cake decorations, which she’s never done before. she told me that she’d asked kevin to find my frosting tips, but he couldn’t.

later kevin told me that he’d looked everywhere, but of course, how could he know that i have a box full of cake-decorating supplies sitting on the floor of my pantry? he’s not good with things way down low, but now he knows where the supplies are if it ever happens again.

amy told me later that she was sure that i’d guess what she was making, but i assured her that they were a complete and completely delicious surprise.

an especially big surprise because she’d also spent days making me a mouthwatering indian feast. saage paneer plus other delicious things, and she’d gone to the indian grocery store where they had really great naan and some appetizers i’d never had.

although i missed having friends over for the celebration, it was a lovely time.

my other big surprise was that everybody chipped in and bought me an apple watch. i wasn’t sure if i wanted such an extravagant gift, but i quickly realized that it was awesome.

i wore it running on the 27th, three days after my birthday, and then mom and i were about to go walking and while in the UIS parking lot i took off the protective cover to wipe away the sweat under it and took off the watch…and promptly dropped and shattered it on the ground.

bad, so bad. i felt worse because they’d bought me such a thoughtful gift. amy quickly looked it up online and found that it would not be worth it to have it fixed and they hadn’t bought insurance for it.

after about a week or two i decided i wanted another one, and i have it now, with insurance, and i only take it off when they’re a cushion under it.


ok then,



Deer in May

by grace on May 26, 2020

Kevin took Riley for a walk on Sat. May 2nd. I’m not sure if Riley has ever been out in the yard; he has always been content to stay inside the fence. But I think he thoroughly enjoyed strolling around in the wild for a bit.

And actually, yesterday Sweetie rushed for the front door when i came inside yesterday. She’s not getting out! It’s hard to say what she might do out there, but since she hates to be picked up it might be challenging to corral her. She does love being in the fenced yard, spending hours out there, sometimes hiding under a giant hosta.

On Sunday May 3rd I was working out in my bedroom and was surprised to see a bunch of deer congregating right outside my window. I kept stopping my exercises to take photos and videos. At first I counted four.

Here’s a second video, as I spied six deer in total and tried to figure out how far they were from me.

Riley, just chillin’ on the bed while i scurried around, exercising and taking photos and videos.

I walked into the sunroom off the bedroom to get this shot. One deer in the foreground and at least two or three behind him or her.

Luckily the deer were oblivious to me as one of them decided to lie down and rest.

Here’s another video as a second deer decides to take a load off.

A third one follows suit…

of course i also had to video them.

The fourth deer that I could see joined the others.

and one more quick video…

I went back into the sunroom to get photos/video of the other two deer who were lying down but then one saw me and stood up so they all walked away.

It was an entertaining distraction as i did lots of situps and squats and lunges and lifted weights to strengthen many muscles in my arms & shoulders.

The deer show hasn’t returned, but instead there are now six baby groundhogs who are living under my neighbor’s porch. Whenever I’m in there i can always spot at least one of them, and they’re so cute! but impossible to photograph which does make for a more consistent workout.

Meanwhile…where has May gone? it feels like July, with high temps and humidity.

Because we’re all sheltering together, the five of us in the family were able to celebrate my birthday on sunday at amy’s house. she went to way too much trouble preparing a huge Indian meal, plus an incredible surprise of car bomb cupcakes! i’d seen them online a long time ago and made them for Kevin’s birthday back then and have made them a few times since, but they require many steps and fancy delicious buttercream frosting plus chocolate ganache inside.

plus the name of the recipe was changed to irish whiskey & beer cupcakes because, you know, car bomb cupcakes is definitely not politically correct.

In addition to the fabulous cupcakes, my friend Julie dropped off a dozen assorted huge and fancy cupcakes in my mailbox, and then randy dropped off an entire double chocolate chocolate cake.

so yeah, i’m set for chocolatey goodness for quite a while plus julie’s cupcakes give a nice assortment for those in the family who aren’t chocolate-addicted. I guess dad and I were the only ones with a serious chocolate obsession. his birthday was on May 3rd, the day I was taking all the photos of the deer above.

whew, it’s been too long since i’ve posted here. it’s weird how the days seem to go so quickly but then lots of times i can’t remember what i’ve done all day. i try not to start reading the bad news early in the day because it sucks me into the black hole and sometimes i’m there for an hour or two, not very healthy.

things are starting to open up all over the place, but not here in our family compound. jim continues to work from home, and neither amy nor i plan on working anytime soon.

strange days, indeed.

ok then,

grace, with plenty of time to write here every day if only i’d do it. plus time to write a book/keep a journal/play the piano/get rid of piles of stuff all over/clean/pulls weeds.

i’m just saying.