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So I’ve been thinking a lot about baking lately.  This is partly because I baked something for a friend a little while ago, and got such a nice response that I’ve been thinking about what I’ll bake for an encore ever since.  But mostly it’s because I discovered this recipe: 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake.  Someone posted it on this knitting listserve I’m on, and I printed it off because chocolate cake?  In the microwave?  Seriously?  I took it home to show my roommates as an example of how ridiculous the world has become, and before I knew it, I was trying the recipe out for myself.  And it was… good.  Rather nice, actually.  Warm, and a little gooey in the center, and definitely… good.  It tasted kinda like how I remember box cake mix tasting, which is fairly ok as far as cakes go, but not everything a cake should be.  It was time to Meddle With Things.  I had already substituted Splenda© for the sugar, so my next step was to use actual butter instead of the oil the recipe called for, and to fiddle with the proportion of sugar to cocoa (3 T. cocoa, 2 T. Splenda – I like my chocolate dark, you understand).  The result was darn good, making the jump from box cake mix to real, from scratch cake taste.  I started to have daydreams about cream cheese fillings, and possible fresh cherry toppings.  Then last night, when I made the recipe for the third time, I substituted Kahlua for the vanilla.  All I can say is wow.  And we have a winner.

So what’s next on the baking roster?  I’m not sure.  But Deb atSmitten Kitchen (my favorite food blog of all time) has been throwing these dangerously delectable baked things recipes around lately.  I’m thinking that this recipe might be incredibly good with ripe peaches instead of cherries (I just happen to have some that have been ripening on the kitchen table until they’re meltingly tender).  And then I saw this recipe today.  I don’t have any plums at the moment, but you never know.  Anything could happen.

In other news, I have a car again.  It isn’t the car I really want (the little silver Hyundai I inherited from Jacob – I call it Vanya), but it will get me around while my Hero Mechanic is trying to figure out why the Hyundai still keeps randomly stalling out.  I’m now driving my old Chrysler again, the one that kept hemorhaging transmission fluid.  Turns out it didn’t need a new transmission after all, just to have the faulty auxilliary transmission cooler bypassed.  Which took all of 45 minutes to do.  And cost less than $50, instead of the over $1000 I’d been afraid of.  (This is why I call him the Hero Mechanic.)  However, the car still handles like the boat that it is, and gets truly awful mileage.  As glad as I am to have wheels under me again, I really miss Vanya.  Hopefully he’ll be all better soon, I can sell the Chrysler off to someone who needs a cheap car (also hopefully helping to offset Vanya’s repairs), and then all will be well, and my Fun With Cars will become fun in the real sense, not just the ironical sense.

I’m also starting to get more excited about ‘Sup Doc’s wedding.  The bridesmaid dresses have been picked.  We’re all wearing different dresses in the same color (cornflower blue).  I’m wearing this one-shouldered empire waist thing that makes me look a little like I just stepped out of a sexy production of Pride & Prejudice.  No, really.  I look so excessively hot in it that I was angsting for days about whether I could afford to go back and buy it for myself, just so I could make some deserving guy’s head explode one of these days.  And then ‘Sup Doc told me that she wanted me to wear that one, and I grinned for a whole day.

I’m also looking forward to the wedding because it looks like for once I’ll be able to dance at a wedding the way I really want to dance.  See, wedding receptions tend to be kinda hellish for swing dancers.  First they play all the really good songs during dinner, before you’re allowed to get up and dance.  The DJ thinks he’s just playing good old standards like L-O-V-E and various Sinatra classics.  But those are the songs we dance to every week, the songs we’re heavily conditioned to want to move to.  But we can’t.  So we stick in our seats and wait for the general dancing to start.  And when it finally, finally does – after the Couple’s First Dance, and the Parents Dance, and Just The Wedding Party Please, and God knows what – you look around and realize that there is no one there for you to dance with.  If you’re a guy, there’s not a single girl who’s even heard of the Lindy.  If you’re a girl, there’s that one guy who took a couple of lessons in East Coast once, but never can remember to actually lead (or do) the rock step, much less that he shouldn’t try to pull your arm out of its socket.  That’s when the despair starts to set in.  The only solution is to import your own dancing partner.  This time I’ve persuaded Sky to come and dance with me.  I always like dancing with him, and I know he likes dancing with me too.  This is going to be fun.

Good times ahead.

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