Saturday, January 05, 2019

then and now

Today, we reach a high of 51F (10C). This is shocking stuff for January. True, there have been unexpected warm spells in the past, but for our family, what stands out is the comparison between this and the reading for this day four years ago: on Monday, January 5, 2015, the high was just 1F (-17C).  That's a fifty degree difference!

Why compare these two dates? Well, it was on that coldest of cold days four years ago that Snowdrop was born.

Today, the sun is streaming in, the snow is melting fast.

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(The older girls, looking very much like they're sunbathing!)

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I have things to do! Most important is the baking agenda for the morning: a cake must be made!

I pick something that is an old family favorite. Indeed, a very long time ago, my daughters would routinely request it for their birthdays. It's Maida Heatter's FBI cake  (found on p. 64 of this book) - a combination of deliciously satisfying chocolate and a very simple frosting of whipped cream. Because it is for a girl who has an ongoing love affair with cherries, I use defrosted cherries for the cream between the layers.

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For the top? Well, aesthetics prevail: I stay with fresh strawberries.

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Breakfast. In sunshine!

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Because Snowdrop's birthday falls on a weekend, her parents fill her day with stuff that is precious to the little one. A party with friends and family is set for next weekend. Today, Snowdrop floats between gifts, outings, playtime and favorite foods. I join the young family at the Overture Center for the Performing Arts. There is a juggling show taking place at 11 and the place is packed with kids who have been cooped up at home for too long! (School reopens in Madison on Monday.) Snowdrop is mildly impressed with the juggler's talents.

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(My daughter and her daughter...)

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And since we are quite close to my Mom's apartment, we pop in for a quick visit. And if the span of temperatures hasn't impressed you, surely this will: nearly a century separates the days of birth of these two (my mom is, of course, 95).

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On my way back to the farmette, I pause at the coffee shop by the playground where Snowdrop and I so often go after school. It feels so mild, so Alpine with all that winter sunshine beating down on the cafe's patio! I wonder why other cafe customers do not take advantage of this singular moment of sublime winter warmth!

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I call Ed and ask him if he'd like to take a walk this afternoon, but he is adamant: you've been on your feet too much. Rest that knee!

Well, fine. I spend a good half hour soaking in vitamin d on the cafe patio!

And in the evening, the young family brings Snowdrop for a farmhouse sleepover. She continues to love her nights here and still regards it as a most special treat to eat a pizza dinner with Gogs and Ed (can we please make our own?) and of course, tonight, the mood is quite celebratory.

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Still, Snowdrop, like perhaps any other kid, does like to keep much of the familiar order of things in place. I'd set the table with her at the head today. Right below the Happy Birthday sign. Special honor for the birthday girl! She is horrified and quickly moves the dishes around so that she would be in her usual spot to the side of the table.

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And, she likes to be involved. To help with the preparations. Cake time? She takes charge of putting in the candles. And why not?! She is no longer three and a half.

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She is four.

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Stubborn candles!

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There! Got them all.

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There are farmhouse presents, of course (though I dare say if none were offered, she would not have noticed... not tonight anyway). I'd guess the binoculars, the flashing unicorns and the shadow puppets tickled her the most.

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It's clear that her normal bedtime will have to be ignored. That I will need to read many chapters of a book to put her in the mood for resting. And still, it is a hefty amount of time before she can let go and fall asleep. She is back to Gaga now, falling again into the language of her younger years. Because, well, it's comforting to know that some things don't change, even after you turn four.