Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy blogiversay to me!

I know that it's exactly one year (and one day) since I started this blog.

How do I know? How did I, who have trouble remembering birthdays and had to ask my own husband what his was only last month (much to the amusement of the Optus lady in the Indian call centre) remember this date?

Well, the one birthday I am very very good at remembering is my son's. Partly because he so helpfully starts planning his themed birthday parties and writing invitation lists three months before the day. And partly because childbirth is something that's pretty damned hard to forget.

What does this have to do with my blogiversary?

Well, the very first post I wrote was on my attempt at being Supermum, making 20 cupcakes for his class between work and bed the night before his birthday. The cakes were a bit crap. Hence the blog fodder.

Last night, I was up until midnight once again, making elaborately iced cupcakes (24 this time) to bring to his class this morning.


I was determined to improve on last year.

The Husband and I shopped for dinner and cupcake ingredients last night. He steered the shopping cart towards the packet-mix cakes.

'I can't use a packet mix for birthday cupcakes!' I snorted.
'Why don't you get one just in case?'

It went into the cart.

I was peering into the cupboard and pulling out ingredients for the cakes when my mum called. The dusty corner of my mind that was tempted to use the packet mix was swept clean as I answered the phone to hear her voice. Not that she was being picky.

'Use the packet mix!' she urged, as I told her (in disaparaging tones) about the Husband's suggestion. (It was 9pm)
'I CAN'T!' I said. 'The recipe I have here is yours - it's the one that your mother copied out for me, handwritten, last year and mailed to me in the post, specifically to use for F's birthday.'
'Oh, okay' she said. 'Use it then.'

It was handy having her on the line while I worked - though one hour later, when I put the cakes in the oven and pulled the phone from the crick between my neck and my shoulder, I realised that it hadn't been so good for my neck.

I have to admit that I fairly often call my mum for advice while I'm cooking (How long to put something in the oven? What are ounces again? How long do I boil that?)

She gave me tips on how to get the butter and sugar light and fluffy (it hurts!) and how to stop the cake mix from spreading over the patty pans. Then, when they came out of the oven, she helped me solve the dilemma of how they could possibly not be ready when the recipe said 10-15 minutes and they'd been in the oven for 25. (They just weren't. Deal with it.)

The elaborate part was the icing. Last year, I made a second round of cupcakes for F's spy party which I'd decorated with spy words like 'code' (yes, the picture on this website). This year, the theme was rock, so the cakes were 'AC DC' and 'ROCK'. Bands were limited to those with really short names that would fit on a cupcake.

I managed exactly 24. Two cakes had to be binned after I ruined them.

They looked garish (fluorescent yellow) and a bit messy and a bit runty. But they were finished, they had cool words on them, and they were slathered with enough sugar that the kids wouldn't taste the flaws.

'They look a bit pale' said the Husband, peering over his rice porridge and across the dining room table. 'And why have you used two patty pans on each one?'
'So the cakes don't spread.'
He screwed up his nose.
'Why didn't you use a cake tray?'
'Don't you give me advice! You've never baked a cake in your life! Mum told me to do that and she knows what she's doing.'

This morning, the Ex dropped by to pick me up on the way to school. I couldn't walk across the park with a tray of cupcakes. What if I tripped and dropped them all? As I climbed into the front seat, a small voice piped up.

'Mum, they look lovely. Even better than last year!'

Mission accomplished.


So, yes, a year ...

A lot has happened. I've gone from strung-out working Supermum back to work-from-home Mum with control of my own time. (Hooray!) I've gone overseas for the first time. I've walked across an international border. I've lived away from my son for seven weeks and missed him terribly. And, weirdly, my favourite thing to blog about for a while was a woman who made my parenting life hell, The Mother. I think it's called releasing tension!

And I've had a great time meeting people in the blogosphere ( and even in person), visiting their blogs, and not only reading good writing and really interesting and thought-provoking arguments, but having fascinating conversations with people. You all know who you are (see blogroll!)

But to very quickly mention a few - all of whom are brilliant writers as well as bloggers: ThirdCat, who I've had some of the best parenting conversations with (probably better than I have in the real world); Redcap, who I love for her dry wit and marvellous taste in books - as well as her wonderful African travel writing; Audrey, whose breathtaking honesty, brilliant brand of loud and proud feminism, and general chutzpah I wholeheartedly admire; and Lucy Tartan, whose blog was the first one I really stumbled upon and whose blend of intelligent (and often very funny) commentary and charming whimsy drew me into blogging.


Eleanor Bloom said...


Hooray! Hooray!

And may there be many posts more!

Oh Ariel, you're killing me with all these cupcakes. Every time I visit your blog I have an absolute craving and have to stop myself from drooling all over the keyboard. It's just plain mean!!!!

ThirdCat said...

Happy anniversary. I've always thought it was a great picture btw, and wondered about its origins. I still remember the first post of yours I read (the dance and song at school). It was great - though I think my favourties have been the ones from Mexico.

And thanks for saying such lovely things!

ThirdCat said...

and happy birthday F

redcap said...

Happy blogiversary, missy! Well done for baking the cakes yourself. I hate packet cake. And thank you for the lovely little plug :)

Ariel said...

EB: Thanks! Would you feel better if I tell you they probably photograph better than they taste? At least I think this batch does ...

TC: Again, thanks. I think the Mexico ones were my favourite, too. How I wish I was travelling again! Lovely things were sincerely meant, so deserved.

RC: The latter sentence is for you, too. I do packet cake for after school or lunchbox snacks sometimes - but not for special occasions. (Unless REALLY desperate I guess. Hence buying some as back-up.)

Enny said...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Watershedd said...

Happy anniversary. Your blog is one of my favourites. Keep them coming.

audrey said...

Ariel, I've loved your blog from the get go. Here's to another year of wonderful posts from you - and please, please write a book about F.


Rosanna said...

Happy blog anniversary!

genevieve said...

Awwwh. What a great reason to remember the blogiversary. Grooviest cakes I've ever seen! Rock AND Roll.

Ariel said...

Thanks all! Audrey, what a lovely idea - I'm not sure anyone would publish it though. (And I can hear the shrieks of 'narcissist' from reviewers now.) Yes, I do overthink things ...

killerrabbit said...

Happy blogiversary to you
Happy blogiversary to you
Your cupcakes look delicious
Happy blogiversary to you

Hip hip....

Helen said...

Oh happy bloggiversary, and those cakes look wonderful!

Ariel said...

thank you!