Joan-Marie and the wonderful, beautiful, no bad, very good day.

Dear friends,

Leap Day was one kickin’ day around my parts.

It was sunny, it was 64, and holy schmoley it was the most perfect not-spring day. Like one of those days when you have to squint, even indoors, because everything in your orbit is incredibly brilliant.

And, hey . . . remember that dress, that cute little number I bought in Florida?  I figured I wouldn’t be able to wear it until April, but today’s weather was so gorgeous my kicky spring dress made its first appearance in February. Check it out:

I normally avoid all photos involving my figure, but my dress made me so happy today I just had to snap a photo of it on my way out the door this morning. I’m a lumpy, dumpy middle-aged woman, but that dress made me feel good, inside and outside. And at my age, you gotta celebrate those moments when you get them.

And if feeling good wasn’t enough, I got to have lunch with my birthday friend and several other new friends. We told stories and laughed so hard and so loud we got a couple of looks from nearby diners. That lunch made me feel, finally, wonderfully, at home — after 10 months in this new town. Honestly, I left the restaurant feeling like a kooky female version of Stuart Smalley who was just so darn happy to have some friends and fit in.

By the way, the birthday cake turned out pretty cute despite the big crack that made it a bit lopsided. I piled some fresh daisies on it, along with a glass dragonfly, and even in bad office lighting on an iPhone camera, it made me proud.

Then, I don’t really talk about work, but . . . I went back to the office after lunch and this thing totally turned out in my favor. It was one of those projects I’ve been workin’, you know for months, and today it all came together. Just like I had hoped (and planned). Always a plus.

And after that, I got a text from Mr. Mom about the mountain. The mountain I don’t talk about. I can’t really go into all the details yet, but today — for the first time in our long and dreadful situation — we caught a break. Things took a turn in our favor. A big ray of hope broke through the dark clouds after four years of legal BS, and I can’t help but be struck by the fact there’s some definite cool karma cooking for it to happen on Leap Day.

Then I went to the salon and enjoyed some wine, and some fruit, and some cheese and crackers, and some great conversation, and a spiffy cut and color job.

And, finally, I came home and ate the last slice of Soda Fountain Ice Cream Pie and watched Idol. And we all know how much I love Idol.

So can you see why it was a wonderful, beautiful, no bad, very good day? I think you can.

With gratitude {for days so totally awesome they require multiple adjectives and make me talk, like, a crazed Valley Girl},

Joan, who hopes your Leap Day was worth gushing over, too

More cake. Please forgive me.

Dear friends,

Photo by Instagram, Lomo-fi filter

I wanted to write something pretty for you last night. But I was busy baking something pretty instead.

I know . . . enough of the cake. You must be thinking how much desert can one family eat, for Pete’s sake?

Last night, though, I was baking a birthday cake for a friend.  You guys know I usually only bake on Sundays, and at a leisurely pace. Pulling off a Triple Lemon Layer Cake (with homemade lemon curd filling) was a stretch for a weeknight. I was still at it long after I wanted to go to bed, futzing with that annoying fracture you can see in the bottom right corner of the photo.  My top layer split in half and that lemon curd is some slippery stuff. Had it not been for take-out pizza and a glass of wine, I may have had a Tuesday night baking breakdown.

I trust you’ll forgive me — for my writing lapse and for boring you with yet another cake story. On behalf of my friend who really deserves a killer birthday cake, I appreciate your understanding.

With gratitude {for buttercream frosting that hides a multitude of cake sins by the rushed baker},

Joan, who figures eating Margherita pizza and lemon curd for supper counts as both a vegetable and a fruit