Sunday, February 21, 2010

After 12 Months Of Feminine Wiles, Life Is Good.

When I woke up this morning, I knew exactly what this blog would be about. Today marks one year since I began writing Feminine Wiles.

I'd been waiting for this milestone. Waiting to reminisce. Waiting to explain why I began writing. Waiting to express my profound appreciation and gratitude to my friends - -including those I haven't yet met -- who read and comment on Feminine Wiles.

Well, you know what they say about "best laid plans."  That original blog idea was blown to bits.  Because at noon today, my 14-year-old son up and got into the drivers' seat of a total stranger's car and drove away.

OK.  "Total" may not be the fairest way to describe that "stranger," whose name was Caleb.  Caleb had been paid to come here. He's an instructor. But the fact remains that all I know about him is that he has an earring, there's a sign on the top of his car, and his first child (a son) is due next month.  (Crap.  His name was Caleb, right?  Is it possible I don't even have that part right? Who was in the car with my kid?)

And Son? Well, he's not exactly 14.  He's all-but-15. And What's-His-Name is teaching him to drive a car.

In less than 60 seconds, I watched Son drive away.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why What's-His-Name let him drive so quickly.  Does WHN not understand that Son does not know how to drive?   Shouldn't there be about a few minutes -- or a few weeks -- of instruction first? Maybe some time with a toy steering wheel?  Does WHN not realize that lurking in our neighborhood are massive, unyielding trees and careless, fleet-footed kids and sneaky, expensive-to-replace fire hydrants?

Blissfully unaware, they drive off.  Acutely aware, I come into the house. For me, the step is too big.  I want to cry. Instead, I cook.

In my very first Feminine Wiles post, titled, appropriately enough, "I Cook," I wrote:

I cook. When I'm happy, I cook. When I'm worried, I cook. When I'm celebrating, when I'm mourning, when I'm hurt, when I'm invigorated, I cook.

Exactly one year later, I'm happy, I'm worried, I'm celebrating, I'm mourning. 

I'm cooking.

Beef Short Ribs with Mustard are on the stove. Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake is in the oven. And I'm about to pull out the peeler and get to work on Always Perfect Mashed Potatoes.

One year ago, I was in the midst of divorce.  I hardly knew which end was up.  I wrote that first Feminine Wiles one weekend when all the laundry was done, the groceries put away, the toilets scrubbed and the closets organized.  Yep.  Son and Darling Daughter were with their dad.

One year later, Son is driving, 12-year-old Darling Daughter is having giggle fits to the point of hiccups (seriously, will she never stop?), and Feminine Wiles is opening doors, windows, conversations and friendships I never could have imagined 12 months ago.

Life is good.  And so is this Lemon Pound Cake.

And the blog I originally intended for today?  Here's the bottom line:  Thanks.  I couldn't have gotten here without you.

Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
zest from two large lemons
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

juice of one lemon (reserve juice from second lemon, using as needed)
2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 –inch bundt pan. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In mixer, cream butter and add sugar slowly, beating constantly to cream well. Blend in lemon zest, adding eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well and constantly. Stir in vanilla and turn batter into pan, rapping the pan sharply on the counter once or twice to release air bubbles.

Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until cake tests done. Place on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Loosen cake around edge of pan as needed and turn onto rack to cool completely.

Make glaze, stirring lemon juice and confectioners sugar together, and then, drizzling over top of cake. Serve as is, or with whipped cream and raspberries.
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