Saturday, January 31, 2009

Well...

The bride, groom and their sons are dreadfully ill and the marriage blessing will be postponed for at least two weeks. Father called me at work this morning and told me. I don't think the fondant will hold up for that long so I'll do something else before the wedding-take-two. As far as this cake goes, I think Flopsy is going to have a Very Fancy Birthday Cake at coffee hour tomorrow. I think I can get seven white candles on it...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wedding Cake

I can't believe I actually made a wedding cake! It's the first time I've worked with fondant too. I only have pictures of the finished product since I was so frazzled with children running around while I was doing this (and so afraid if I stopped for a moment the fondant would dry out) that I didn't take any "in progress" pictures. Actually, come to think of it, this isn't quite the finished product. I'm going to put sugared grapes and a few small flowers on the top and one or two other places. I'll do that right before the wedding so nothing will get soggy. Sorry these pictures are so dark - the flash was "whiting out" all of the detail so I took them without.

For those of you out of the loop, this cake is for a small reception this Sunday after the marriage blessing of two of our Godchildren. They've been married for several years and have two children but recently converted to Orthodoxy. Father and I are the sponsors. I'm glad I'll have the upper-body strength to hold the crown for so long! I'll probably post some pictures after the wedding.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Square Pegs in Round Holes

I was just talking to my sister Rebecca tonight after a long hiatus and we happened upon the subject of standardized testing. Both of us remembered taking all of these idiotic tests in school. I'm sure all of you remember taking these. I always hated taking them since they gave you thirty minutes in which to do ten minutes of work. Then you were left for the remaining twenty minutes staring at the ceiling, playing with your pencil, trying to see how many words you could make out of the letters in the word "completely" (as in, "fill in the circle completely"), etc. The first time I took such a test I think I was in first or second grade and I spent my idle time drawing little pictures in the margins of the testing sheet. The monitor was horrified and I spent the rest of the allotted time painstakingly erasing all of them so my answer sheet wouldn't be rejected by the computer.
Anyway, we were mostly talking about the ambiguity of the questions. I would stare at a question for minutes on end thinking, "yes, the answer would be "a" if this condition prevailed, but if this condition weren't met, the answer would be "c". I would ask the teacher/testing monitor for clarification and was always given the same stock (and brilliant) reply, "Answer the question." Rebecca told me she had such a question in first grade. The question showed a picture of a pig looking at you head-on and objects on either side of the pig. You were then instructed to circle the object on the right. Rebecca said she stared at that question forever thinking, my right or the pig's right? She told me she distinctly remembers saying to herself, "Become the pig." Of course, she circled the object on the pig's right. The teacher later called her up to the desk and told her that by first grade she should know her right from her left!
When I was in second grade, we were writing out math problems on the board and then reviewing them. Some poor child had vertically written the problem 12-4=8 as 4-12=8. The teacher announced confidently that you could not subtract larger numbers from smaller numbers. I raised my hand and said, wouldn't you just get a negative number? You could hear the proverbial crickets chirping in the silence that followed. Lesson learned? Don't speak in class.
One final trip down memory lane: Does this ring a bell for anyone?
"A balloo is a bear, a yonker is a young man."
That one goes back to seventh grade. As I remember it, you were supposed to listen to these phrases and then were tested for recall about twenty minutes later in the test. Unfortunately, they have never left me. Instead of remembering them for twenty minutes, I have remembered them for more than twenty years. This should be counted as a form of child abuse.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vicarious Tornado Chasing

Kearney Nebraska Tornado; May 29, 2008

Wow! This is an amazing video. I found it through a link posted on one of my favorite blogs, The Big Storm Picture. I kept watching it saying (out loud), "Stop, stop! You're too close!" In other words, a GREAT chase! Just for fun, here are a few more of my favorite tornado clips. Most of you reading this do not need any explanation for the inclusion of tornados in my blog. Expect more. Especially when spring arrives.

Inside May 3, 1999 Tornado - Oklahoma

1953 Warner-Robins Air Force Base Georgia Tornado

"Incredible footage at Warner-Robins AFB, Georgia. The twister, which struck just after 5pm, was F4 & killed 19 people (including the person who captured this footage) and injured around 300."