Monday, September 26, 2011

The one where Dawn checks the mail…

I have noticed that some of you leave questions in the comment section for me. I want you to know that I answer each and every one, but I don’t think you can hear me. Today, I’m supposed to be doing laundry I will answer some of the questions that have come into my comment mailbox (which I still love to check!)

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Firstly, there were several questions and exclamations of excitement over the fact that CGMan was in Texas for a job interview. Yes, he went to Texas for an interview. No, the job was not in Austin and may not have been in Texas anyway, due to all the travel required to the DC area. It turned out it wasn’t as good a fit as we had hoped, so CGMan had to turn it down. Let me tell you, in this economy, it sucks to have to turn down any job, but sometimes you just have to for the better good.

No, we have not sold the house in Austin. If you know anyone who wants a great house that may or may not have scorpions hanging out on the patio, let me know.

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The next question that has been asked by several of you is “when are the babies coming?!”
The grandBOY will be here around the end of November. Of course, the Marine is hoping he’ll come early, say on November 10th, which happens to be the Marine Corps Birthday.

The grandGIRL is due the the very end of January. If she’s late by even one day, she’ll be born in February and will make her birthstone an amethyst, which is purple, and was the GIRL’s favorite color for the first 10 years of her life.

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Speaking of babies and them being all GRAND and everything, Ron over at Ducks Mahal asked if I had a grandma name picked out. Not technically. I like Grandma, Gram, Grammy, or Your Highness, but will wait to see which one sticks.

CGMan would like to be referred to as Cappy or just Cap.

We took a quiz to see which names best suited us. Apparently, I will be a traditional type grandma (well, except for the tattoo), so the names I had already picked will be perfect. CGMan is a sports guy, team player and all that. The name he picked was on his list (short for Captain) along with Chief and Duke. I think we should open for discussion the name Brutus. He is the Buckeye mascot, looks like CGMan and would be easy for baby to say.

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The crazy picture of the house that stood it’s ground when the freeway expanded, brought a lot of commentary. My favorite was “Is that the mother-in-law room?” 

For those of you interested in driving by to see it for reals, it is on the Beltway near Gallows Rd. But let me tell you, in looking for a map of it, I learned that it doesn’t even have a good story. The two houses have been sold to the freeway, if you will, and are being used by the construction company. They will be demolished once the work is finished. Which will be, you know, never. Have you ever seen freeway construction work end? Me, either.

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When she read the anniversary fairy tale, the Zadge asked how CGMan and I met.
Well, Zadge, it really was one of those across-a-crowded-room type of situations. For me anyway. I saw him, literally, from the back of a crowded room where I was not paying attention to the discussion. I thought he was very good looking. The type you take home to mom, you know? I doodled his name all afternoon.

You see, he was the Human Resources director for a casino in which I was going to work as a cocktail waitress. He was the one giving the oration. We spent the day together, along with a couple hundred other employees, learning about health benefits, tax deductions, pee tests and background checks.

After I started working, it became very high schoolish, wherein I asked somebody if he was single, that somebody went to him and said so and so wants to know if you’re single, I think she likes you and she has big boobs. Yeah, that guy was kind of a jerk, but is essential to the story.

CGMan, being intrigued, and a boob man, decided so and so (that would be me, keep up) was worth a look-see (apparently he didn’t notice me across the crowded room, but whatever). So he very inappropriately looked at my file, to which he had access as the HR guy (I hope the statute of limitations is up on that one!) and fell madly in love with me. Okay, maybe not quite like that, but he saw that I was a stellar employee who should have made employee of the month (at least once, for Pete’s sake!). Alright, alright! He looked at my file, saw my pretty face and the fact that I had three dependents. Instead of running and screaming for the hills like a lot of other men, he called me up and asked me out.

We were married 10 months later.

The moral of the story is…it’s okay to take a risk.

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Now I have a question for you.

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How many people does it take to pickle a peck of peppers?

I spent the weekend as chief chopper/dicer and bowl washer for a family canning event. It was so fun! I watched and learned all kinds of good canning secrets. Like this one – there is power in numbers!

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 23, 2011

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…

There is a thirteen year age difference between me and my brother. Because I started very early with having babies and being a grown up before I was actually a grown up, we didn’t grow up together. After my divorce 9 years later, the kids and I moved back home for a few months. Yeah, my poor brother basically went from being a spoiled only kid to having three little siblings. Talk about rocking his boat.

We talked about that time during our recent road trip together. He said while it was hard at the time, he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. He and the Marine are only 5 years apart, and are now very close, like brothers. That time spent at home was good for all of us, even if it was a little crowded.

We weren’t there long, about 8 months, before I was able to get my own house, so even then I didn’t really get to know my brother. I was older and he was still a kid, playing and goofing around with the Marine and the Girl. Lil Skater was too young to be anything but a pest.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, he and I used this road trip to get reacquainted. It was one of the best road trips. Ever.

Here are 10 things you may or may not know about my brother:

  1. He used to be into vampires (mostly of the Anne Rice variety) but then realized zombies are “more realistic”.
  2. He still likes to make the semi-trucks honk their air horns. We were passing one and CGBro was all, make him honk, you know..yank your arm up and down! And I was like “Umm, NO, I am a grown-up” so he leaned over me to yank his arm up and down. The trucker must have seen the debate going on, so he blasted that horn loud and long, making me jump in my seat. Which of course caused all kinds of laughter from the bro. (P.S. Sometimes being a grown up is not that fun. I laughed, too!)
  3. His favorite Muppet is Gonzo and his favorite princess is Ariel, because she’s the only one with red hair.
  4. My bro has read the book The Zombie Survival Guide and is completely prepared for a zombie attack. (Which he claims is imminent)
  5. Makes his own beef jerky in several wonderfully delicious flavors (and shares!)
  6. He knows all the words to almost every song from the ‘80s. And has no shame in singing them loudly. Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?
  7. If he could have only two foods for the rest of his life, he would choose cheeseburgers (with American cheese) and nothing else, “because what more do you need when you get to have cheeseburgers till you die?”
  8. He does not like ice cream, so does not have a favorite flavor.
  9. In a fight, my brother believes vampires would win, hands down, over zombies. This because zombies are slow moving and stupid. They also eat “live” meat and vampires are already dead, so the zombies wouldn’t even be interested in eating them, making it easier for the vampires to kill the zombies. (Yes, more than a couple of hours was spent on this interesting creepy subject)
  10. My brother, like the Marine, has a wealth of useless trivia in his head, and randomly spouts it during lulls in conversation. (Where do they get it all??)

This was a good trip for so many reasons. We saw family that needed some hugs, shared stories of our mom and spent quality time getting to know one another. You know what? If he weren’t my brother already, I think I would have picked him for a friend.

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Oh, and I am now totally prepared for a zombie attack.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What grandbabies are made of…

What are grandbabies made of?

Snips and snails
and puppy dog’s tails

That’s what the Marine & Sunshine’s baby is made of!

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Sugar and spice
and everything nice

That’s what the Girl & MJ’s baby is made of!

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How blessed am I to be getting a grandBOY and a grandGIRL??

Oh, the fun we will have!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pirates could happen to anyone…

Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. It is the day to let your inner pirate (mine is Anne Bonny) take over and talk as if you were riding the high seas in pursuit of treasure.

My dad reminds me of Pirate Day each year, but I have yet to hear him talk like a pirate. I would probably fall into a fit of giggles if I ever did, but it would be worth a pirate’s booty!

I will be on the road with my brother, who will no doubt be talking like a pirate most of the day. But then, he does that most days, because he’s just weird.

Anyway, I encourage each and every one of you to talk like a pirate today, even if it’s just to order arrrrrtichoke salad.

If you need a little help with your pirate abilities, check these out:

Pirate Translator – to help put your thoughts into pirate speak

Pirate Personality Test – see how scurvy you really are

Bad Pirate Jokes – so you can annoy amuse your friends!

Of course, you’ll need not only a pirate name, but a pirate personality, as well.
Inner Pirate Order Form (this one was a lot of fun)

The official Talk Like A Pirate Day song

 

So, me buckos, be sure ye let loose ye inner scurvy pirate this day 'n have a ruckas. Arrrgh!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The one where Dawn tries to catch the thoughts as they fly out of her head…

For those of you over a certain age, you know that holding onto a thought for more than a few moments gets harder and harder. Add hormonal changes (i.e. menopause) and it’s a wonder I can get through the day. I walk from one room to the next and forget what I went in there for. I open the dishwasher and forget if I was putting dishes in, or taking them out. Don’t get me started on why I think just because I have something in my hand, it must belong in the refrigerator.

Here are some fleeting thoughts I’ve had recently. I know this because I wrote them down.

When did babies come to need so much stuff? When I had my babies, a crib, an umbrella stroller, and a high chair were all we needed. Okay, I get the safety thing with the car seats and all, but let me tell you, I raised three kids without a diaper genie, bears with womb-making sounds (which might have been nice because all my babies heard in the womb was acid reflux), or a shopping cart seat cover. I think every Grandma can recall when her own babies chewed on the shopping cart handle. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, except to wipe the drool off when it got too slimy for me to push the cart. Anyway, that hasn’t stopped me from buying all this stuff for my grandbabies. I was just wondering when it happened that they needed it all. One more question, what the hell is a boppy pillow and how did my kids ever survive without one?

At what temperature does it snow? I am not a fan of snow (duh) and for the last couple of years in Austin, we had a little bit of snow. And I mean just a little. Enough to be funny and mess with Dawn, but not really snowfall. But here? Here they get snowfall. They may tell you that DC typically doesn’t get a lot of snow, but let me remind you of this, the average snowfall is 15 inches. 15! That is over a foot of snow. Let me also remind you that last winter, the Reagan National Airport (which is about 4 miles from my house) reported a record breaking 54.9 inches of snow. That is 5 feet, my friends. I am 5 feet 4 inches tall. Yeah…that is a lot of damn snow.

For all my peeps in Texas, close your eyes for a minute.

Today, the temperature is going to be 65°. 
Right now, it is 50° and it feels really cold out there. Cold enough to snow. That’s why I asked.

Okay, you can open your eyes now.

CGMan and I were shopping the other day for a sweater. While we were there, I noticed these odd funky looking things. Some where furry and some were colorful, some had long handles and others had snaps. I had no idea what they were for. My upbringing in Southern California did not lend any insight as to what they could be. CGMan, however, comes from Ohio, where they have snow. Lots of it. He informed me these strange things were for the cold weather, to keep you warm. Oh.

Well, maybe I need one then…

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…because who doesn’t love attractive and functional?

Speaking of shopping and malls, what happened to all the malls? Granted, I’m not much of a mall person, but there was a really nice one in Austin that we would venture into from time to time. When we were on the hunt for a sweater yesterday, we headed to one of the malls in the area that had a JCPenney. When we got there, that’s pretty much all it had. The two anchor stores were still there, but inside the mall, it was walled up from one end to the other with only a smattering of jewelry stores and a Clark’s Shoes. It reminded me of the original Dawn of the Dead. Where does one shop in the city, then, if there is no mall? I’m sure Zadge will remind me about the Pentagon Mall but I’m afraid I might break something in there. (read: JCPenny budget for me)

Does anyone watch How I Met Your Mother? As soon as I got on the subject of the mall, this has been going on in my head. Lordy.

Okay, now on my list of things not to forget, is a trip to the store to pick up some road food because guess what? I’m going on a road trip next week with CGBro! We are going to Kentucky to pick up some furniture he inherited. We’re also going to see some family and stop to check on our mom. I know that sounds weird, but he and I both felt the need to visit her before winter sets in. I miss her.

Okay, I’m off to tackle my haphazard to-do list. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The key to change is to let go of fear…

Seriously, my dog has issues with change. I don’t get it. I can’t imagine what has happened in her short 3 years, of which she has spent all but 10 weeks with me, to make her afraid of anything new.

You may remember the presence of the present incident and the more recent evil that took up residence in our powder room.

Today, it’s a Volvo in my driveway.

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This morning she went from window to window (of which there are 4) making her scared little growly/whiney noise, until I opened the front door. For two and a half hours now, she has been sitting like that, staring at the Volvo in the driveway. And yes, still making the scaredy, growly, whiney noises. She knows that is not my car and it has never been parked in our driveway before, so therefore…it must be evil.

Phoebe…really honey, let go of the fear.

At first, when I saw the Volvo in the driveway, with the keys on the counter, I was all SA-WEET! a Volvo for my birthday! And then I realized it belongs to CGMan’s golf buddy, Craig.

You know, since it is here all by itself, with no one to claim it, and it’s obviously scaring the dog, I think I should put the top down and get it out of her sight… for a few hours on a long stretch of red road.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

True love stories never have endings…

Once upon a time, fifteen years ago to be exact, there was a IMG_0007who was 28 years old. Okay, she was 31, whatever.
She was a nice lady and worked very hard. She lived in a small house and had some
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One day she met IMG_0008 and fell in sculpture_love_word_red_hot_engage_wedding_topper_photosculpture-p153232657673125195q9l0_400. Oh! She was one happy lady! Prince Charming was everything she could have asked for in a prince.
He was instantly enchanted with the IMG_0004a
and the dog. The kitten? No so much.

The pretty lady and Prince Charming picked a special day in the fall, September 14th, and invited their friends and family to spend the day with them.  With a five-voice chorus of “I Do”

and the light
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they became vacation

Happy Anniversary to my Prince Charming and my beautiful family!
I love you.

The next fifteen years are going to be just as awesome!

P.S. Let it be noted for the record that Price Charming became enamored of the kitten and they became best buddies for 12 years.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do…

CGMan was out of town last weekend and missed my 28th birthday. I’m not mad though, he’s missed my 28th birthday more than once. He was actually in Texas for a job interview and spent the weekend in Austin with our Skater.

They had a great time eating up some of Austin’s wonderful food and hanging out in  Austin’s awesome music scene.

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CGMan came home late Sunday night. Well, lets be honest here…he came home very, very early Monday morning. Like the very first hour of Monday. Anyway, while we were having our morning coffee (at the regularly appointed coffee hour of 8am), we started chatting about what the plans were for the day. CGMan let me know he had no plans and wanted to spend the day with me. Well, I just lit up that chat box with ideas of how to spend the day. What? Doesn’t everybody have their morning coffee in front of their respective computers in their respective offices and communicate by chat box on Facebook? Oh, just us, then.

Can you guess what I chose to do to spend the day together?
ROAD TRIP!!

CGMan thinks I’m a pretty cheap date. Well, until the price of gas goes up to $6 a gallon, then he’ll be all, “Hows about we take a bike ride??” But for now, we both enjoy a good road trip. Here are a some of the roads we saw:

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I know they kind of all look the same, but one thing they do not look like is a highway!! No sir, these are good old fashioned red roads. If you’re not familiar with red roads, they are the ones in red on your atlas. For those of you born after 1985, an atlas is a book of maps. Like a GPS with pages. Red roads are also the ones your GPS lady never takes you on, so you totally have to turn her off because she is a drag. 

We took red roads northward to the state line and actually looped through three states in less than an hour. Let me tell you, from Texas, you can’t loop three states in a day! We started here in Virginia, headed north and passed through Maryland, where we made a left and ended up back in Virginia for a mile or two before we ended up in West (by God) Virginia.

Our destination? Harper’s Ferry, WV.

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“THE HISTORY OF HARPERS FERRY HAS FEW PARALLELS IN THE AMERICAN DRAMA. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered – involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation's history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown's attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.” – copied from National Historic Parks website

We stopped in town for a bite to eat and some refreshing beverages. CGMan always tries the local brew wherever we are. He enjoyed this Porter:

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The makers of this beer and the artist who created the label (his first) fought for 4 years to have the censorship removed to allow them the freedom to describe their beer as they saw fit. They won.

Good beer. No shit.

P.S. CGMan totally picked that beer because he was feeling like a mighty Road Dog himself.

 

 

After a yummy lunch in an ivy covered patio, we walked the two streets of Harpers Ferry. While we didn’t take in all the town had to offer, or drive through the historic park, we did learn one thing. This town is haunted. There were no shortages of ghost tours and B&Bs claiming to have ghosts. Of course, it was daytime, so we didn’t see any. We did, however, stop in the John Brown Wax Museum to learn the history of this man, who is known as either a murderous fanatic or a misunderstood martyr.

In short, he led a violent uprising against slavery, which killed several people and freed no slaves.

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You can learn more about him here.

 

 

 

 

If you’re really interested in haunted places, there is another place to visit, which is just outside the town of Harpers Ferry. The National Paranormal History Museum aka The Haunted Cottage.

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After lunch, we didn’t have time to go to this one, but since I’m the navigator on all road trips, we may pass by it again on our way to another exciting destination.

It was a fantastic date and soothed my itch for a road trip.

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Thanks CGMan, for such a pleasant day!
And try to be here for my 28th birthday next year, will ya?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday…

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I hope that’s not the guest room.

Freeway, schmeeway…way to stand your ground, dude.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The one where Dawn gets crabs…

We had a most exciting weekend with our friends Craig & Sue. And yes, I got crabs. I have to tell you, I was a little nervous at first when it was announced that Dawn would get crabs. But after a few glasses of wine, just about anything sounds like a good idea, right?

Shortly after we got to the shore (that would be the shore of the Patuxent River, lest you think it was some exciting shore, like Jersey or Tripoli) it was time to get crabs!

A little wine, some raw chicken…what a lovely way to get crabs!

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Not knowing the first thing about getting crabs, it was a good idea to let the boys get things rolling…

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But after that, I had to work to get crabs! I don’t understand, apparently some people just get crabs, by doing nothing more than laying around. Not me, though, I had to check the pots (although, as you can plainly see, they are not pots) every day and I had to learn the lingo (see again, the pots) and remember to say we were crabbing, not crab fishing as landlubbers are wont to say.

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There are a lot of rules when you are crabbing. We can’t keep the girls, we can’t use the small ones for garnish and there is absolutely NO RUNNING, JUMPING or DIVING from the pier.

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Dawn, breaking the rules since 1965.

Our little pair of crab pots yielded only four keep-able crabs.

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Between these four and the half bushel that a neighbor gave us, we had enough crabs to make crab cakes for sandwiches. I’ll bet you’re wishing I had taken a picture of those, right? Me, too, but I inhaled the sandwich so fast, there was nothing to photograph. It was mighty fine, I must say. Definitely worth catching crabs for.

More interesting weekend stories to come. Like the chili that wasn’t really a chili, a lighthouse with no light and an airshow seen from the water. Stayed tuned and remember…if you don’t work for the crabs, they’re not worth having.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert…

Have I got a treat for you!!

Rum cake!

Well, that’s not exactly true, because I ate it all. In lieu of sharing the actual cake with you, how about I show you how to make your very own? It’s really easy and if you’re anything like me, you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Well, to be honest, if you’re really like me, all you have is the rum and you’ll need to go to the store for the rest.

Now that I have all the ingredients, let’s get started…

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1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 pkg plain yellow cake mix
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup oil (canola, veg, soybean, sunflower)
1/2 water
4 large eggs

 Glaze
1/2 stick butter (4 TB)
2 TB water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

 

This is made in a Bundt pan. I have always had a Bundt pan, so I’m not sure how to make it if you don’t have one. I don’t even remember buying my first Bundt pan. It just seems like there has always been one in my cupboard. Hunh.

The first thing you’ll need to so is spray the pan with veggie spray (like Pam) and then put a few TBs of flour in it. Shake the flour around to coat the pan, then turn it over and tap out the extra flour. OR! You can use the new baking spray that has the flour in it already! That is awesome stuff, man. Anyway, you’ll need to grease and flour the pan so the cake won’t stick.

Put the chopped pecans (you can use walnuts, if you prefer) in the bottom of the pan, then set it aside.

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Put the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend on low speed for about 1 minute. Stop, scrape the sides of the bowl, then continue to beat the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes. The batter should be thick and smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the pan.

I’d like to take this moment to say, I always use Sailor Jerry rum in any recipe that uses rum. I like the spices in it and it’s just very smooth. As you’re mixing, you’ll smell all that rummy goodness. Don’t let the smell of the spicy rum tempt you to try the batter, it has raw eggs, you know.

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Oh what the hell…

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I never died as a kid, licking the bowl, doubt I will now…

Bake the cake in a 325° oven until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, about 58 to 60 minutes. Remove the pan and cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

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P.S. your kitchen will be smelling GOOD right about now.

After about 20 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake and invert it onto your serving plate. Poke holes in the top of the cake with a wooden skewer (a chopstick works perfectly!).

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Now we prepare the glaze.
Put the butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Add the sugar and the water, stirring. Bring the heat up to about medium and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and let the glaze simmer for about 5 minutes, until it’s thickened, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum. Oh! the smell!! MMMmmm!

Spoon the glaze over the warm cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides and into the center of the cake. Let the cake cool before slicing (if you can manage to wait that long).

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Some of us have less patience than others.

Ta-da! You have just made the best rum cake of all time! 
Now, invite your friends over (or not!) and have a slice!

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We are getting out of dodge for the long weekend. We’re going with the Chefs Sue & Craig out to the beach where I do believe we will eat too much, probably drink too much, and also usher in the college football season! GO BUCKEYES!

What are you doing for the holiday weekend?