I recently had the luxury of having an inspiration, the time and resources to pursue it, and the pleasure of bringing it to fruition. And it was strangely unsatisfying. Hmmm. Sacramento Self-Help Housing has an annual "Let Them Eat Cake" fundraiser around Bastille Day. There is a cake baking/decorating contest and everyone has a lot of fun eating a casual dinner and lots of cake. When my friend Desli invited me to attend (since I am in town), I said yes. And then inspiration struck. I could see a tiered cupcake holder making a streetscape topped with hand-drawn houses on them. After spending a couple of days in San Francisco with UK Sarah I decided I wanted my cupcake sculpture to be called Streets of San Francisco and feature the places we visited. I remembered shrinky-dinks and found a kit on Amazon. Target had the cupcake holder I needed and I was ready to bake.
I should also explain that I am a pie baker. I do not typically make cakes and/or decorate them. I have none of the fancy tools. I do not even own an electric mixer any longer. So I met a few challenges along the way.
I also decided to do a second simpler cake. When I was at Harriet's house and we were making homemade pasta and I was reading AllRecipes.com and saw a sheet cake decorated like the American flag with blueberries and strawberries. I decided I would bake that as well with strawberry cake and call it "Berry Patriotic."
Other than taking significantly more time than I expected, and one panicky moment when I thought I would never whisk my whipping cream into something that I could use as frosting for the flag cake, it all worked out.
The evening of the fundraiser arrived (Wednesday July 11) and it was blazing hot. Marcos kindly went out a few minutes before I left and turned the car's air conditioner on full blast so the cakes would not have a melt down on the way. I got there without mishap and here they are:
It was great to see many of the people from the affordable housing world--all people I really enjoyed working with--and some of my friends from Sacramento Friends came too. As the evening wore on I felt more and more like I was visiting my old life (and it confirmed that I did not want it back). And I really became aware that I do not yet have a new life. I am still in a holding pattern waiting to hear from New Zealand immigration, waiting to figure out where I will live next in either New Zealand or Sacramento area. My life is still intentionally transitory and it is very unsettling.
It is true that I know longer identify myself as strongly with my work. I am blessed to have a part-time job that pays well enough for me to have the resources and time to explore what else I want to do. In CTI co-active leadership they taught us about the utility of being able to say "not that." I can laugh and say, "Baking cakes? Not that." Executive Director? Not that? This is helpful. At the same time I am noticing that I am holding my breath for my life to take on a new and lasting shape.
Here are some close-ups of the Streets of San Francisco cupcake sculpture.