Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ingredients

I had to laugh tonight as I was channel surfing and ended up watching a clip from Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.” For those of you - gentile readers – who are unfamiliar with this show, it’s essentially a reality-based cooking show centered on Charm City Cakes (in Baltimore, Maryland). This bakery produces the most amazing cakes ever – from Harry Potter’s Quidditch field, to Manatees, to The Taj Mahal.

For someone (no names here!) who has a hard enough time making a heart shaped cake on special occasions, any of the above seem nearly impossible, thank you very much. And yes, while a manatee or the Taj Mahal would be beautiful to look at, I am reminded of the Steve Martin quote from Father of the Bride:

“A cake, Frank, is made from flower and water. My first car didn’t cost that much!”
But these cakes are certainly worth it. And besides, on tonight’s episode they made a very realistic cherry-red corvette cake. Now can you really beat that?

Car and cake wrapped into one? Priceless!

Perhaps I should back up a bit.

I should mention that my sweet tooth was giving me a bit of a hard time this evening.

It began this morning, after enduring a grueling but awesome 2 and a half hour physical therapy session. Yes, I am master of the hand crank. For 10 minutes, that is. It’s all the time I’m allowed, and though I tried to negotiate for more hand-crank time, I was – for lack of a better word – shot down. The HC is simply a method for warm-up, not the entire session. After lots of work on the Swedish ball, with various medicine balls thrown in for good measure, steady work on the foam contraptions meant for balancing and walking on, and several different exercises using the multi-colored bands, I was tired.

But happy. Very happy, indeed.

And yes, I am still getting zapped by the electro-stimulator-thingy that is helping my nerves. All I know is that I get little zingers of electricity pumped into my butt and back, and am covered by a warm blanket.

The blanket – great. The zaps, especially when they make my muscles (back and butt) involuntarily contract – not so great. But they’re doing the trick.

But I’ll do just about anything that my PT says to get better. Mouth shut, no complaining here, thank you very much! Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll stop joking around about my balance on the Swedish ball. I swear, every time I make some off the wall joke about busting out my amazing balance, at least two or three other PT’s in the room look at me and very quickly yell, “NO!”

I know, I know. One day. But it is kind of funny, if you as the patient.

Next week will be the magical 6 week mark – and the possibility of swimming FOR REAL, is making me a nervous wreck. It all hangs on my x-rays… but that’s a different blog topic all together.

Later in the day, I headed to the University of West Florida Aquatic Center and managed a 90 minute water walk session. Before you think I’m crazy, I didn’t set out to accomplish a mega session. I just kept adding 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, feeling great all along – and before I knew it, I was at 1:25.

And come on, let’s be real. If you’re at the 1:25, would it KILL you to hit 1:30?

So I did.

Just because I could.

And one month ago, I didn’t know if I ever would.

So it felt great.

Afterwards, I returned home, answered a flurry of emails, talked to Jen about the second half of my season, and had a local tri friend – Donna – head on over for a saddle exchange.

Donna has been having saddle issues.

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you!

Thoughts so (BOTH of my hands are up).

On more than one occasion, with more than one saddle, my - er - lady bits have been quite unhappy.

Sorry - but as I figure that most people who are familiar with me, realize that I do quite a bit of biking. So you can, no doubt, sympathize.

I finally found the perfect saddle for me – the Adamo ISM Blackwell Research Racing Saddle. LOVE IT! It is perfect, fits me well, and bonus – my soft tissue is happy and unperturbed. Yes, the saddle may look a little different, but let’s face it – sometimes you have to think outside of the box for the solution that fits.

Lent Donna my saddle and then tried to figure out what to eat for dinner.

I was famished!

And what do you know? We have plenty of food in the house, but nothing that “sounds good.” Serves us right, though. That’s just what we get for avoiding the grocery store for the past few days. Would it have killed me or Nate to head out at some point?

No – not really. But we just didn’t.

I went two days ago for some fresh fruit and veggies, sushi, and a loaf of freshly baked multigrain bread. But nothing substantial and dinner-like. That would have required effort and time, and we were too lazy or too unmotivated to do anything about it.

Rest assured, tomorrow things will change.

I knew we were in for a rough night when Nathaniel busted out the veggie burgers from the freezer.

This, coming from a strictly meat-and-potatoes-kind-of-guy. But he made up for it by microwaving a sweet potato and consuming the entire thing in one setting. I think he washed down said sweet potato and veggie burger patty (note: no bun) with a beer.

There may have been BBQ sauce or peanut sauce involved, or both. But I’m not sure which combination went with which. There was rumor of peanut sauce with the sweet potato. Wow.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I'll be sure to let you know how his stomach holds out tomorrow.

Finally, I made my own version – veggie burger patty with mixed greens in a soy wrap topped with BBQ sauce – and added two pickles, 4 slices of ham, a small bowl of oatmeal, and glass of wine on the side.

Red, for those wondering.

Cabernet Sauvignon. Rex Goliath 47-pound Rooster. Great little wine. Not that I could tell a difference (and thought briefly to the hilarious “cork-off” episode of “Frasier” when Niles and Frasier blind sampled 4 different wines for the title of Cork King. Very random, I know. So sorry).

Well, actually not. Because it’s my blog.

Honestly, the weirdest dinner I’ve had in a long time. It involved breakfast food, garnishment as a mainstay, two different types of soy, and red wine. Can someone say creative? Or would confused be more appropriate?

Needless to say, I found myself flipping channels and came across “Ace of Cakes.” The thought of a yummy, sweet, delicious, over-sized hand-crafted cake was too much. I thought fondly of my time with Elizabeth in South Carolina and California, as I watched her (like a hawk) hand select the perfect individual piece of bakery sheet cake. I am not kidding – absolutely not.

This girl is serious, very serious about her cake. Sunday night ritual, according to her previous posts. But it can occur on Friday. Or Saturday. Or maybe even Wednesday. Who knows? My understanding is that she requires lots of black coffee, immediate post-workout food, a working power meter, Green Accelerade (does it come in that color? It looks nuclear!), cinnamon with her oatmeal, and access to a computer. And a piece of sheet cake per week.

For those who are curious, we couldn’t decide between the chocolate cake/chocolate frosting or vanilla/vanilla. In the end, I got the chocolate, she got the vanilla, and we split the darned thing 50-50. It was delicious – one of the best pieces of grocery-store, individually prepared sheet cake I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.

My mind was lost in thoughts of soy-infused sheet cake, and sweet potato peanut sauté. Too much blended flavors for my taste – but I’m sure that in a pinch, Nathaniel would make due. Perhaps not happily with the soy, but then again, the boy did voluntarily reach for the veggie burgers. You never know.

Suddenly, my attention was brought to the TV, when one of the bakers on “Ace of Cakes” said that she played roller derby and had recently broken a bone.

OUCH!

Immediately I thought about the crazy sport, people careening around a hard track, crashing into each other and…. Breaking their sacrum.

*Cue the scary music.

Yes, I can see crashing on a bike. But on roller derby? Come on! The sport seems so violent, so vicious – but man oh man, like a heckuva lot of fun. Not exactly a sport for the faint hearted. Perhaps the ladies version of “rugby” if we lived 100 years ago and women weren’t allowed to play rugby.

But if that was the case, I doubt they would be allowed to roller derby then either.

Thank goodness we live in the era that we do, and men and women have equal opportunity to play rugby and roller derby.

I sat at the edge of my seat, veggie burger and soy wrap forgotten, as I waited to hear which part of her body was broken. Was it her back? Her butt? Even a coccyx perhaps? Something, anything rear or back related? I can understand the terminology, I swear! Test me, test me!

But more so, because then I could relate – I could look at this Food Network celebrity and think to myself, “Ha – poor girl! If it could happen to her, then it could certainly happen to me! My accident was justifiable!”

No broken sacrum, though. Instead, she broke her arm. And not even playing roller derby. I think she tripped over something in her home. (Which reminds me of the old adage, “Most accidents happen in the home.”)

So, my friend didn’t break her sacrum. And she didn’t break her arm playing roller derby – a sport that she loved. She was actually a bit peeved about this fact. To quote her, “A 30 year old grown woman is just as likely to break her arm roller skating as anyone.”

But she did break her arm, she did hurt herself. But it just didn’t happen the way she thought it one day would. Does that make sense?

Roller Derby is an intense sport. Participants are flung all over the place: high speed crashes and bumps are a given. No derby is complete without several crashes per session – many of which can be quite serious. So my “Ace of Cakes” friend figure that if she was going to be injured, it would more likely happen while doing the sport she loved, roller derby.

And she was okay with that. A bit sad, yes, but okay with it. Her life wasn’t over from the break – far from it. She laughed about it, but kept moving forward, kapet decorating amazing cakes. Only this time she had a giant yellow and black rugby sock wrapped around her finger-to-shoulder cast.

That’s the neat thing about life. You just keep moving forward. I knew that at one point I was bound to crash my bike, bound to fall down. But just because I fell off, doesn’t mean that I won’t try my hardest to get back up again.

And get up, I will. Stronger than ever, no doubt. Because of what I’ve gone through, where I’ve been. And what I’m doing to get better. I just might have to have some individually portioned sheet cake along the way, lots of laughter, and a few episodes of “Charm City Cakes” and “Frasier” to keep me going.

8 comments:

Audrey said...

i totally tried out a version of that cut-out seat too. thank god. :) i couldn't even finish my spin workouts with the one that came with my bike (and the one the bike store lent me to try). by the end of the 1.5 hours i was standing up on the bike b/c...oww!! and now people do comment on my crazy seat :)

Pedergraham said...

Oh boy, now I want to eat frosting along with my coffee. I couldn't even concentrate on the Roller Derby part, because I was picturing those nice yummy cakes sitting in the case next to the coffee machine at the local grocery store right. Yum!

Gald the water walking is going well and just let us know when we should cross our fingers for the x-ray.
-Danielle

Danni said...

Thanks Marit for posting the link to that saddle. I know exactly what you mean by sore parts! I am going to have to try this new saddle

Courtenay said...

you know, your dinner had me absolutely SALIVATING. until you got the oatmeal part ;) that's where you lost me. but wine makes anything palatable.

nathaniel's dinner sounds like something i would have. i am going to have to stock up on veggie burgers and sweet potatoes for when greg is gone!

there was an awesome episode of rock of love 2 where they did a roller derby...

love,
c

Pedergraham said...

Just had to report that I was so inspired by this entry that I have just consumed (shoveled, inhaled might be better words) a lovely piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a cherry on top, along with a cup of coffee. It was as good as I was picturing it this morning.
Thanks to you and Elizabeth for the inspiration.

Mer! said...

Hi Marit!
Mer from San Diego again--so glad to see you are home safely and physical therapy is keeping you moving!!

Just had to post because before he was famous, Chef Duff from Charm City cakes made our wedding cake! You can only imagine our surprise when we saw he was on t.v.! The cake was absolutely delicious--kinda rare with wedding cakes!

Keep on truckin! Won't be long til you are "tri-ing" again!
Mer

Sarah said...

I love how that post took twists and turns at every corner and yet...you still managed to bring it back to what you started with.

I'm with Courtenay on the dinner...sounded so delish until the oatmeal (which I love...but erm...not with veggie burgers...). But interestingly enough I did use some oats the other night to put in my attempt to create turkey meatballs. They TOTALLY failed. Note: ground turkey is not good for meatballs. :(

Thanks for the saddle tips! I may have to check that one out...sigh...seems we've all gone through that epic search for the perfect saddle...

Amber and Eric Rydholm said...

Good to hear that the recovery phase progresses. Just had to post because Eric and I went to our first-ever roller derby bout on Friday. It was great! One of my work colleagues is a lead Jammer for the Denver Roller Dolls, very talented and tough woman! I agree that triathlon is enough of a sport for me, though.

-Amber

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