Saturday, January 07, 2017


Part I

"Fraiser," Ed! "Fraiser!" (It's a way to smear dough on the work space.) Use the heel of your palm!
Listen, I baked eclairs and napoleons in my time...
You so did not bake napoleons! You never folded pastry a hundred times!
Well, I baked eclairs.

Wait, you've never made me an eclair!

This is the conversation Ed and I have late this morning. Let me explain:

The day dawns bright. But cold. Very cold. But upbeat and cheerful.

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I have some last minute grocery items to pick up and I am in a hurry: my younger daughter and her husband are coming up from Chicago. Indeed, many family members are gathering today for the official celebration of Snowdrop's birthday.

Home from the grocery store. I'm ambitious: I want to make warm, yeasty brioche for tomorrow's brunch. I start in on the dough.

The recipe calls for working the ingredients with the pastry hook of an upright mixer. Unfortunately, once the dough starts coming together, the machine -- an ancient inexpensive KitchenAid -- begins to grumble and resist. In the end, it gives up on the project. Yep, dead as a doornail.

Ed vows to fix it for me, but not today -- spare parts needed -- oh dear.. what now? Throw the dough on the counter and try to salvage it by hand. Ed says -- step back, you're not strong enough! And this is when I tell him -- fraiser, fraiser!

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We do the best we can. Tomorrow I'll see if it can indeed become a lovely chewy brioche. And now Ed is on the internet, looking at youtubes of how to fix this most ancient machine.

He thinks he knows what the problem is. But suddenly, the noise is just incredible!

Ed, turn your computer down!
It's not my computer...
The noise of the machine! It's so loud!
It's not my computer...
What is it?
It's coming from the basement...

We rush down. He says instantly: it's the furnace. We need to shut down everything.

I'm supposed to go to Snowdrop's party in ten minutes. We're to have the family here tomorrow. It's freezing outside! I mean, really freezing! Shut down the furnace???
We need to drain the water. Keep all doors closed!

I go off to the party as Ed attempts to take apart the furnace, even as all stores with spare parts are closing down for the weekend.

Part II

I can only wave at Ed and tell him -- I'm off!

Snowdrop's birthday party has many children attending: school pals, mommy's friends' kids, daddy's friends' kids -- there are many, many kids happy as anything to eat cake on behalf of this two year old, all the more so since the party is at the children's museum in Madison and on a cold day, there is nothing better than to send your kid flying through the activities at this wonderful place.

I'll post just a handful of photos. I think these give a good impression of the afternoon.

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Singing happy birthday (with parents)....

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Eating cake (with aunt)...

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Fooling around (with uncle)...

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At the museum...

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Aunt and uncle...

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Back in the party room.... cleared space,  happy girl (with dad).

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Carting her gifts home...

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Against the wind...

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We drive back to the young family's house. I sit in the back seat of the car and Snowdrop suddenly is very excited: Look, moon! Red moon outside!

I take a photo out her window.

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The moon shines brightly on her world tonight. I hope it does on your world as well.


At home... There's so much to do here now! And parents are home to discover this new world of imagination!

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It's been a good day. Yeah, a great day. Snowdrop is superb with her thank yous and pleases and general manners prods. If I'd ask her now, she'd say it loud and clear -- thank you!

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You're welcome, little one.

In the meantime, Ed has taken apart the furnace, tracked down a supplier of spare parts who has a truckload of thisis and thats just a few villages south of here, so that by the time I am ready to come home, all is right with the world and the farmhouse is warm once more. How good is that!