Tag Archives: cookies

2.21.a Bedhead and Baking

Do you suppose it’s possible for a person to absorb enough Aqua Net they no longer suffer from bedhead? 

It’s my pet theory concerning Aunt Pearl. I shared it once with Wood, but he just spouted some Latin at me, cum hoc ergo propter hoc, then changed the subject to Man City’s defensive shape in their last match against United.

I believe, her heyday habit of exhausting three cans a week, securing her beehive, elegantly explains her historic lack of bedhead. (She’s down to a can a month now, just keep the tank topped off.) All she has to do is run a brush thru her hair once, and it stays fixed in that fashion until she decides to restyle. 

Case in point, its six-thirty in the morning, and her hair’s perfectly coifed… 

Me (winding the kitchen timer to seventeen minutes): “Coffee?”

Aunt Pearl: “Please.”

Grabbing a new cup from the cupboard, I filled it, topped off my own, then carried both to the kitchen table where I paused for the first time in nearly three hours and settled into a chair across from my Aunt.

Me: “Did I make too much noise?”

Aunt Pearl: “Quiet as a church mouse. The aroma of your lingonberry and lemon muffins woke me.”

Me (smiling into my cup): “Really?”

Aunt Pearl: “No, I smelled the orange blossom honey cake. I’m surprised Robbie’s not down here trying to help himself to the frosting.”

Me: “He was, but I haven’t made it yet, the cakes are still too hot to frost. I sent him off with some decoy chocolate crinkle cookies.”

Aunt Pearl (visibly impressed): “Smart.”

Me (pointing to the cooling racks between us on the table): “It’s the same reason behind shortbread for Uncle and krumkake for you. The muffins happened because I got bored.”

Aunt Pearl’s Orange Blossom Honey Cake is a fan favorite in our house, the Lu’s next door, pot lucks, company picnics, staff rooms, and carnival cakewalks. If I hadn’t headed them off at the pass with their favorite treats, my cakes, even in their current frostingless state, would never make it to their destination.

Aunt Pearl (sampling the krumkake): “Anything on your mind, dear?”

Me: “Nope, just couldn’t sleep.”

Aunt Pearl (clearly skeptical): “Really? You’ve stocked your own bake sale table before the birds start chirping because you couldn’t sleep?”

Me: “I also drank an entire pot of coffee by myself?”

This defense cut no ice with my Aunt.

Placing me on the end of her patented, ‘Spill the beans kid I’ve got all day’ stares, she slowly and very deliberately dunked a piece of krumkake in her coffee. Cracking easily under the weight of her unwavering eye contact, I slowly outlined the barest of basics of the problems currently plaguing me. 

(I blame the Aqua Net, the nimbus of fumes surrounding her must-have befuddled me – it’s the only explanation why I started spelling out my troubles to the one person who never fancied my job at Nevermore.) 

Me (ending my tale with a bit of grousing): “Why didn’t I call Big Ben when Little Ben first handed me my pink slip? He might have mentioned where he was staying in New Mexico or his buddy’s name…”

Aunt Pearl (smiling the infuriating smile of a guardian who knows an answer you don’t): “I know why you didn’t call Big Ben.”

Me (her words cut thru my mental fog like a knife): “You do?”

Aunt Pearl: “So do you. Remember, Josie Reville?”

1.14 Ointment Meet Fly…

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(A very civilized contract signing!)

I couldn’t hide the grin spreading across my face. The relief at landing in such unexpectedly pleasant surroundings was palpable (with this many books and the promised freedom to borrow would help save a tremendous amount of money – up side? It will keep me from actually acting on any impetuous impulses – in my defense I haven’t ever actually stolen anything – just keeps the mind limber to think how you might try). We both knew she had me, so why act coy? “I would love to move in!”

We settled on terms:

Money: a very reasonable amount.

Move in Date: as soon as I wanted – in fact I left with a set of keys.

Parking: In the alley where it was acceptable.

Schedule: Beatrice’s travel dates.

No fuss, no muss.

I couldn’t pin down the nagging sensation that I forgot to ask Beatrice something, but relief overwhelmed all other emotions quickly. If it was important I would think of it again.

One interesting fact, Old Town where the Lavender Lady resides is only a few minutes from my previous employer. Driving up to the cemetery I spotted a knot of Residents hovering just inside the wrought iron gates.

Right – ointment meet fly.

Pulling over to the side of the drive a bit farther down the lane from the gang (I didn’t want the Princess dinged by the inattentive bereaved) I flexed my toes and waited for the pins and needles to recede to manageable levels and for them to catch up. While I waited I stuck my hands free device in my ear and pulled my phone out of my pocket. When I exited the Princess the Residents started peppering me with questions.

“What is going on?”  “What’s Little Ben doing to the cottage?”  “Why are your things in boxes?”  “Why aren’t you  working in the utility shed?”  “Why did Ben make the rounds this morning?”

I leaned against the pink door letting them slowly peter out. Trying to talk over them would only mean I’d have to repeat myself (I found most people couldn’t talk and listen at the same time). I’d intentionally put this adulting step off; they don’t take change well and I didn’t know how best to sugar coat the news for them. So I just followed my Aunt Pearl’s example and pulled the bandaid off fast, “Ben laid me off last week and I have to move out of Nevermore.”

Wind whipped around us, blowing my hair into my eyes and stray leaves around my knees. Shouting above the noise, “We will work this out. Now stop!” Immediately the wind died down to a persistent (if annoying) breeze and another round of twenty questions started.

“Why?”  “Will you still visit us?”  “What will happen to Nevermore?”  “What is Little Ben going to do now?”  “Can we visit you?”  “Will he hurt my squirrel?”

We stood and talked, and talked and talked – me reassuring them I would not be far away. Yes, I would come and visit them. Yes, they could visit me. Yes, I would explain any changes Ben made to Nevermore. By the time they dispersed, only a gentle breeze blew and dusk settled in around us – I longed to take out my camera, the left-over light of a Fall day made for excellent pictures. But my heart wasn’t in it. I retreated further from the idea when an orange hybrid pulled up next to the Princess.

This should be entertaining.