Saturday, February 02, 2008

Delights and Disappointments

There was a heavy "thump" and an "oof!" next to my door this morning as I ate my oatmeal and tangelo for breakfast. I opened my door and saw the back of a retreating mailman...and a HUGE box sitting on my porch! There was a pretty marker design of trees on the front...and Mom's new address. I hauled it in and ripped it open.

First out was Dulcinea, also known as Dulcie, Rose's old Cabbage Patch Kid. She wore her original blue and white calico dress and white t-strap shoes. (Poor dear's legs must be cold, though. Mom couldn't find the matching bloomers and socks.) She was perfectly clean, and her bright red-orange yarn hair was in a ponytail. Mom said she gave Dulcie a bath in warm Clorox, soap, and water. Her hair was washed separately in dish washing liquid (to keep it from losing it's color). She and Carrie now sit together on my bed. Looking at them side-by-side, I now realize Carrie could use a bath, too...

What made the box so heavy (other than the sheer number of items sent) were two big tins and a pile of books. One tin held the (now slightly outdated) The Wonderful World of Disney Trivia Game. The other was also Disney-related and held several bear-related items and a bag of hair clips and barrettes. Unfortunately, the larger tin did not survive the trip undamaged. It was bent out of shape in several places, and my attempts at fixing it only broke it along the spine. Sigh. I'm going to have to get rid of it. I really liked that tin, too. Mom got it mail-order from the (long defunct) Disney Channel Magazine sometime in the mid-80s. The pictures along the side depict three animated Disney movies set in old England - Alice In Wonderland, Robin Hood, and The Sword In the Stone. The pictures aren't that accurate, especially for Robin Hood, but the tin is big, cute, colorful, and it's been around for so long that I'm going to miss it.

My favorites, though, were the pile of old cake decorating books Mom sent. Her hardback Wilton Celebrate! books (she has II through V) date back to 1975. (Some of the coolest cake designs in Celebrate! II honor Americana, the Bicentennial, and "Makers of America," the different countries and people who helped make the US what it is today.) She also has five paperback Wilton books dating from 1979 (the year I was born!) to 1983. I have so many fond memories of these books. They're not in great shape, especially the paperbacks, but my sisters and I loved looking at them, making up stories about the elaborate decorations and dreaming of the ones we'd have for our next birthday or special event. (It's obvious which cakes we loved the most. Those pages are more dog-eared, worn, and ripped than the others.)

(To be honest, most of the cake designs in those books were so fancy, they never really made it to our parties. One major exception was the Little Women. One of the books, Celebration III, I think, showed four doll cakes depicting the four title characters of the famous Louisa May Alcott novel. I badly wanted Jo one year and begged Mom so hard, she finally gave in. The end product didn't really look much like the picture, but she WAS pretty and quite well-made - and tasty, too. Rose had a nifty Jack-and-Jill-themed cake a year later that also came out of Celebration III.)

The biggest surprise was The Mickey Mouse Cookbook. Though it apparently was released in 1975, I know it's been in our various kitchens since at least the mid-80s. All of the Disney animated characters up to that point headline different recipes, ranging from very simple (Dumbo's Peanut Butter Sandwich is peanut butter, bread, and...whatever you can put on peanut butter and bread) to "ask for an adult to help you" (recipes for larger items like cakes and meatloaf). The unqualified winner, though, is Merlin's Magic Chicken. Merlin from The Sword and the Stone conjures up an easy "not-fried" chicken dish - dredge chicken pieces in flour and paprika, put in greased pan, and bake! Merlin's Magic Chicken was such a smash hit with my entire family, we looked forward to when Mom made it in the winter, often accompanied by her heavenly home-made biscuits. (Even now, mentions of Merlin bring not magic but magically delicious chicken legs to mind!)

I called Mom to thank her for the gifts after I finished my tangelo. When I asked her why she sent me The Mickey Mouse Cookbook when I knew Dad and Keefe still love Merlin's, she said she'd committed all her favorite recipes from the book to memory years ago and thought I might like some Merlin's of my own!

I headed to the Haddon Township Library for this week's volunteering after I put everything away. I did the children's DVDs again. Lord, they do get scrambled. I made a very quick stop at Super Fresh afterwards to grab some milk (which I forgot to get last night at work when I did most of my grocery shopping) and ran home to get ready for my outing with my sister Rose.

I called Rose when I got in. She was a bit frazzled when she picked up. Seems she had a big report she'd put off that was due in a few weeks. Could we get together later in the day? No problem. I spent the rest of the afternoon making my first Checkerboard Cake (out of a white cake mix and a cocoa cake batter from scratch mixed with cherries) and watching The Yogi Bear Show.

I was looking at my cake books around quarter after 6 when I realized it was getting late and Rose hadn't called. I finally called her. She said she'd been trying to call me for hours but hadn't gotten through. It turns out she'd tried to come over, but her car broke down, and her boyfriend - and his car - weren't around. Could we go out some other time?

It's not fair. I'm still a little upset. I'd been looking forward to this mall trip since she suggested it earlier in the week. I put off going to the movies with Erica so we could get together. Instead of getting together with two friends, I ended up alone again. I thought she'd gotten the damn car fixed or replaced ages ago! Why does this stuff always happen to me?

I finally decided I had to eat, and since I had nothing out and had eaten the last of my leftovers for lunch, I went over to Dad and Uncle Ken's to see if anyone was home. Thankfully, Dad, Jodie, and Jessa were eating pizza in the kitchen and watching (appropriately) Groundhog Day. I chatted with them for a little while, nibbling on a slice of pizza, but I'd sampled waaaayyy too much cake batter and wasn't really hungry. I told them about my college hopes; Dad said I really should consider how I'm going to get to school if the trains and buses aren't running. (But don't they always run, especially in a city?)

I went to Family Dollar to see if they had any frosting for my cake, but all they had was chocolate. I just got a homecoming card for Mom and the family in Cape May County. Went across the street to WaWa and couldn't decide on a treat that wouldn't ruin my diet, so I ended up putting Raspberry and Vanilla syrups into Coca Cola Zero. (I want to save my Weight Watchers points for Uncle Ken's Super Bowl party tomorrow night.)

Going online after I got home cheered me up a little bit. I especially enjoyed reading about all the funny bloopers that occurred to the members of the AdultKinz forum!

I really wish I was more outgoing. "Go join a book club!" Rose said in exasperation when I told her I was feeling lonely. She can say that. She wants to be a lawyer. She's being trained to talk to people and know what to say. I'm scared to death of clubs! I never know what to say to people, I live in fear of being stared at and made fun of, and what kind of clubs do single 28-year-olds who don't like bars join, anyway? I wish there was an easier way to meet people my own age and interests. I'm so scared there isn't anyone else in this area my own age with my interests. If I try to talk to Mom, she'll just remind me we've had this discussion a thousand times. I know we have, doesn't stop the fear.

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