Sunday, June 13, 2010


I haven't been able to breathe in the last two weeks, not only because of asthma but because I haven't been taking care of myself the way I used to. I haven't gone to the gym and I haven't been to a yoga class in about a month. It's an extreme oddity to miss that much yoga but there was a funeral then I was sick and then I was out of town and then I had the worst asthma attack ever and then there was a huge birthday party. I've managed to take a few walks here and there but with the weather schizophrenia in Chicago I find excuses all the time.

The day after the funeral I attended I baked a Hummingbird Cake. I planned it as a stress relief exercise thinking that I would be emotionally overwrought. However, the funeral of my friend's mom was delightful. Really. Family and friends had gathered to genuinely celebrate a life. There was smiling and laughing and I had amazing conversations with people I hadn't seen in years. I felt lucky to be touched by this family and extremely lucky to have known this woman. She always made me feel like I was one of them and the things said about her throughout the day were just beautiful.

It's interesting when a person you know can still touch you even when you're in the background and not part of their daily life. I have several friends that I only speak to once or twice a year but it's as if I saw them yesterday. Those sweet shared experiences will always hover in memory and bond us. It's truly fortunate.

I thought about this as I made the Hummingbird Cake. It's full of naturally sweet ingredients like bananas and pineapples so I used a little honey instead of refined sugar and only 2 egg yolks total. The frosting was made with cream cheese and maple syrup. One slice surely wasn't too rich but sweet all the same. Martha Stewart's website had this to say about the name of the Hummingbird Cake: Some say this Southern layer cake earned its name because each otherworldly bite makes you hum with delight. Another theory is that it's as sweet as the sugared water used to attract its hovering namesake.

Either way, it's delicious and it made my family appreciate banana in cake which they previously did not. As always, a little sweet helps. I'm going to try and make healthier choices from here on out though. There have been some heavy over-indulgences lately and I know it's time to stop. Not just because it's nearly bikini season or because I'm standing up in a wedding soonish, but I just want to live my best life. It's a silly Oprah saying, but sounds good to me right now.

The Hummingbird Cake was the last of the "healthier" treats and then I totally went crazy with cakes and ice cream and pastry. I'm really feeling it. The amount of food and leftovers and just real junk we had for my Grandma's 80th b-day party deserves its own post, so more on that later.

I will say that Grandma's party made me well up in tears several times over. One moment when I nearly couldn't push them down was when my mom saw my friend come to the party. She said something to the effect of: " Wow, you just lost your mother but you came to celebrate my mom's birthday." The feeling of gratitude and love for him was shared by everyone in my family and the only real way we know to show it is to stuff him full of beers and brats and cake.

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