Friday, June 18, 2021

Blood-sucking spiders

There is a local highway construction zone where a stretch of cement barriers provides the charming experience of driving with about six inches of clearance on either side of your car. It reminds me of the ventilation shaft Luke Skywalker flew through to blow up the Death Star, only it’s twisty, not straight. 

There are all kinds of signs warning “Caution!” “Reduced Speed Ahead” and “Speed Limit 35.” They’re the kind of signs that make construction-weary drivers say, “Here, hold my beer,” because it looks like you could fly through it at 55, until you realize you can’t unless you want to give your local body shop some business.


If you’re asking someone to hold your beer while you’re driving, you’re probably going to give your local body shop some business anyway. I'm talking about the funeral home.


So there I am, driving through it last week, thinking about bulls-eying womp rats in my T-16 (okay, seriously, I’m done with the Star Wars references) when something crawls across the lens of my sunglasses. I take them off while commencing through the ventilation shaft and discover . . . a TICK!


I generally don’t get excited about bugs unless they’re spiders in places they shouldn’t be (anywhere within a five mile radius of my person) but we’ve been so programmed to worry about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, just seeing one launches an automatic GETITTHEHELLOFFMENOW reaction.

Without thinking, my left hand reflexively slammed down the driver’s side window button since my brain’s immediate solution was to chuck the sunglasses out of the car. This would have handily resolved the problem but since they are Ray Ban frames with prescription lenses, that seemed a little hasty.


My second reaction was to slam on the brakes and leap out of the car to dispose of the interloper. Since I was in a line of traffic, this was not a wise choice, either. Besides, those lanes are so narrow I'm not sure I could have even gotten the door open, and at my age, crawling out of the window Dukes of Hazard style is out of the question unless the vehicle is actively on fire. (Okay, NOW I’m done with 1970s movie and TV references. Promise.)


So I continued flying through the cement maze, trying not to go faster than the car ahead of me, which would have created a whole new set of problems. I had one hand on the wheel, one hand holding my glasses, one eye on the road and one eye on Mr. Tick, who was crawling merrily along as I plotted his demise.


No! Wait! Damn it! He'd disappeared. Where the hell did he go? Auuuuugh! Now he was on my hand! Those little suckers are like puppies and toddlers - they can move at the speed of light when they're going somewhere they shouldn’t. And they know you want to kill them so they’re not going to sit still and wait for it to happen.


I grabbed the offending arachnid (yep, arachnid‚—spider family, eight legs, count em, and I've mentioned how I feel about spiders) between thumb and forefinger, gritted my teeth and tried not to let the heebie-jeebies get the better of me. The only thing worse than a spider is a blood-sucking spider.


Now I’m driving with a potentially disease-carrying vampire bug clenched in my right hand. I’m sure that sentence alone would absolve me of any responsibility in case of a wreck but I’m not sure my insurance guy has forgiven me for the “A raccoon fell out of the rafters and knocked the outside mirror off my van” phone call from a few years back.


What happened next involved complicated hand-waving as if invoking an ancient spell, combined with prayer and some very bad language. I’m not a fan of multi-tasking but when push comes to tick, I have skills I wasn’t aware of. 


I got the window down, kept the car cruising through the ventilation shaft without ricocheting off anything and forcibly ejected Mr. Tick out the window without sending my sunglasses with him. My biggest fear was the wind would blow him right back in, only this time he'd land in my hair.

I can only imagine what the construction workers thought when they saw a woman flinging her hand out the window while yelling, "Aaaaiiiieeeeee, be gone!"


Next week: back to our regularly scheduled puppy updates. Also known as the Red Demon Chronicles. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The arrival of Macallan Red

 I always forget how small puppies are. And how much they know and how little they know at the same time. And how the presence of one in your house suddenly elevates any existing dog to absolute Ph.D. status because they understand tricky concepts like how doors work and how not make matters worse with the perpetually annoyed barn cat. 

Introducing CedarWoods Macallan Red Label. His registered name is a departure from my previous literary-themed dogs and while I’m not a whisky drinker, it’s becoming a distinct possibility.

Raider, 9 weeks, with pet rock.

 His call name is Raider. Not the Williamsburg Raiders (the hometown high school mascot). Not the NFL Raiders football team. More like Viking raiders, right down to the red hair and fierce attitude. The dictionary defines “raider” as a fast-acting military strike force or one who enters a property with the intention of stealing things. Check and check.


Lately, I’ve started to associate his name with old war movies where someone shouts “Air raid!” then all hell breaks loose. Cuz bringing home a puppy is kind of like that.

Abandon all hope, ye gardener of green floppy things.

Raider came home to Iowa on Memorial Day weekend, the official start of summer. Summer puppies are great, right? It’s warm when you take them outside at 2 a.m., right? The night breezes are so soft and mild and it’s almost pleasant, right?

Not so much.


This year, we had a freak cold snap that saw frost and freeze warnings going out for our area the night Raid arrived. When he began rattling around in his bedside crate at 3 a.m., I shoved my feet into shearling-lined slippers, pulled on my flannel housecoat and out we went to answer the call of the wild. 


I stood there shivering as 30-degree breezes swirled under my housecoat in a most unpleasant fashion. Taking time to pull on sweats before our sojourn had been out of the question. Puppy bladders come with a two-minute warning and a minute and a half of that is gone when they decide to let you know a flood is imminent. 

On cat patrol. No indication the cats approve of being patrolled.

 The last few weeks have been a blur. The first thing competitive trainers want to do is start laying the foundation for that next showring superstar. While the delight of working with a breeder you trust to pick the right puppy for your goals ensures you’re ready to hit the ground running, the reality is that are about a hundred things the puppy has to learn about living with you, your spouse, your existing dogs, the barn cats and the ghost who lives in the attic. (I think the ghost left after getting bit on the ankle one too many times. Banner is ready to go with him and The Farmer is spending even more time outdoors than usual.)


I call this process “Learning How To Live In This House Without Killing Yourself or Causing Anyone To Kill You and Make It Look Like An Accident.” These lessons began the first night and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Important things, in no particular order, are: how to go in a crate and not scream bloody murder when you discover you can’t get out. How to navigate doors, which trust me, will always open from the same side each time unless the house gets hit by a tornado and then all bets are off. How to eat properly out of a bowl without swatting it with a paw, sending tiny kibbles flying around the kitchen and finally endearing yourself to your canine big brother who, until this point, thought you were a waste of fur.


How to refrain from playing with things that are not toys, including but not limited to the tablecloth, the water bowl, the carpet, the rug in the bathroom, the tablecloth, my shoelaces, my pants while I am wearing them, the water bucket and oh hell, I needed a new tablecloth anyway.

We're keeping it? Seriously? It bites. I hope you kept the receipt.


Banner finds him intriguing but mildly annoying since Raid can’t keep his teeth to himself. And Banner is too much of a gentle soul to put the smackdown on him. I limit their play time and referee as needed.

Raider at 7 weeks. (Photo by Jamie Heberlein)

 It has also come to my attention I am seven years older than the last time I got a puppy. This has given me more patience and clearer vision as the little red demon spawn and I set off on this journey. It has also reminded me that I am seven years older. I can still get down on the ground to play with a puppy, it just takes a little longer to get back up. And some things are non-negotiable this time—like my morning coffee. And possibly a wee nip of the banshee’s namesake. But not at the same time. Probably.






Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Things dog people obsess about

 At the risk of sounding like a minister standing in front of a couple at the altar, the act of naming a dog is not a commitment to be entered into lightly. 

 It has to be original. Clever. Creative. Something that speaks to your heart, reflects the imagine you want your dog to project and captures the vision of the future you plan to share with them.




Drama much?


But seriously, naming a dog is like that! You can’t just grab any old name out of the ether and call it good. You’re going to spend the next 15 years yelling it in the back yard, calling it out in the show ring and typing it on hundreds of entry forms. If you reach the top of your chosen sport, it may be announced over a loudspeaker at a national venue. At the very least, you’re going to say it about a million times over your dog's lifespan. The pressure is on.


Ideas are endless. Colors. Literary icons. Sports teams. Movies. Wine, beer and spirits. Mythological creatures. Pop culture. TV characters. Music. Motor vehicles. Trees. States. Natural phenomena. 


If you have kids, you get a free pass. You can name your dog any damn thing you—or they—want (which is your absolute right to do anyway) because when your adult friends raise their eyebrows at your black and white border collie named Oreo, you can shrug and say, “The kids named him.” And that’s absolutely fine and we’ll all go on with our lives because kids can get away with stuff that would just be dumb if adults did it.


Ditto for chocolate Labs named Hershey and Samoyeds named Snowflake but if you’re a grown-ass woman and can’t aspire to a higher aesthetic—well, whatever. It’s your dog. Name it what you want. Honestly, I don’t judge (well, maybe just a little) but naming each dog that has come into my life as an adult has meant obsessing to a degree of fanaticism that borders on lunacy.

It's not that dog people don't have anything better to do with our spare time - it's that THIS is what we do with our spare time. Normal people don't get it. When The Farmer and I got married, our elderly neighbors had two mixed breed farm dogs. One was black, one was white. They were named . . . wait for it . . . Blackie and Whitey. Oh, if only it was that simple.

But wait. Maybe it is. A college friend's grandparents had a succession of American Eskimos, each named Fluffy, followed by the appropriate number. Fluffy 4, Fluffy 5 and so on. 

No. Just no.


My dog friends keep a running list of names that appeal to them. Some of them are so good at it, they could open a consulting business. In 1995, they were naming dogs they wouldn’t get until the new millennium. 


This name game comes with unwritten rules. Let’s review a few of them.


Can you use the name of a friend’s dog? If the dog A) lives nearby and B) is still alive and being actively shown, no. There’s an unwritten rule there can only be one Cider or Rhett per 100 square miles. Occasionally, you run with your chosen name, only to find out later someone else in your showing circle just named their puppy the same thing. Then you grit your teeth and laugh and hope you don’t spend the next 10 years messing with stewards who perpetually confuse Phoenix the duck tolling retriever with Phoenix the Belgian Malinois.


Can you use the name if the dog passed? Maybe. Diplomacy is needed. How long has the dog been gone? Less than five years—no. 


More than five years—maybe. If it's a close friend in your training circle, ask how she feels about it. 


Does the name rhyme with another word? Proceed with caution. As God is my witness, I am not responsible enough to name a dog Tucker.


Is it the name of a family member, either living or dead? Um . . . I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say no . . . but that’s your call. Depends on your family’s sense of humor. Or lack thereof.


How about famous fictional dogs? Lassie? Snoopy? Buck? Again, if you have kids or grandkids, there’s something charming about it. Kids have absolute license to do transfer the mystique or grandeur of a fictional canine to the clumsy little puppy falling over its feet. More power to them. 


Most adults would hesitate to borrow the mojo that accompanies the exploits of established canine personas. Plus, there’s that whole “I want my dog’s name to be sparklingly original but at the same time evoke both an element of whimsy, unlimited potential, mystery and untouchable power” vibe. Slapping an already established persona on them from the start seems to restrict them to a box of pre-determined expectations.


Okay, what about famous real dogs? For me, this is a big fat no. Dogs whose names are etched in the archives of a sport enjoy a degree of untouchable-ness for generations to come. You don’t see any other Man O’ War or Secretariats out there, do you? Same for the canine scene.


Use caution when using a high-energy descriptor as a name because the dog may A) live up to it or B) not live up to it. It’s not pretty to watch Racer doing a death march in on a recall and naming a dog Crash is just tempting fate.


Crafting the registered name is another quest guaranteed to bring sleepless nights and a great deal of soul searching which may or may not involve alcohol. You’re tasked with incorporating the breeder’s kennel name with your own need to express your dog’s incredible individuality as well as possibly honoring the sire and dam’s names and reflecting a litter theme on top of it all. No wonder so many of us are scribbling a list of names for puppies that haven’t even been conceived yet.


The final rule in call names, however, is this: can you stand on the back step and bellow it at the top of your lungs without sounding like a complete idiot? Partial idiocy is acceptable because without it, none of us would be dog owners anyway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The careful curation of a professional wardrobe. Or not.

Back to what I started last week before the dead mice took over. (Which is one of the weirdest openings I’ve ever written but welcome to my life.)

 Closet cleaning is a seasonal ritual involving the single closet on the first floor of our old farmhouse. I move the summer clothes to the back and the winter clothes to the front in the fall, then move the winter clothes to the back and the summer clothes to the front in the spring.


During these migrations, I thin the herd. I’ve never been much of a fashionista, probably because I don’t have the closet space to encourage that kind of behavior. If you constantly bring in new clothes without downsizing old clothes, your house will eventually explode. Or so I'm told.

Plus, I don’t need power suits for my job. I started work-from-home in 2018 so when the pandemic hit, I was already in tune with an uber casual dress code (i.e., pajamas) and was a pro at keeping the camera off for Zoom staff meetings. But the world was still spinning normally in 2018 and 2019, which meant I routinely had to put on real clothes and venture out among the public to do newspaper stuff. 




Overnight, not only did I not have an office to go to, I didn’t have anywhere else to go, either. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve downsized at least 50 percent of my wardrobe in the last 14 months. I went Marie Kondo on my clothes. Did it spark joy? If not, off to Goodwill it went. Even as we approach a return to normal, life’s too short to wear clothes that are uncomfortable, no matter how good they look.

 When I think of the things that spark joy in my life, clothes aren’t at the top of the list but hey – I can’t run around nakey. I live in Iowa so it would be more than naked and afraid. More like naked and frostbit.


When culling clothing, I have simple standards. Can I wear the garment in question in the obedience ring? Does the color complement my dog? Does the fabric and cut allow for comfortable range of movement during heeling, signals and throwing of dumbbells? Do dog hair, mud, paw prints, spilled soda and fast-foot stains easily launder out? Yes? It’s a keeper! 


Beyond that, hoodies, jeans, cargo pants, flannels and fleece rule the closet. If a garment doesn’t show dog hair, that’s a bonus but I have a lint roller drawer in the kitchen so that's not a deal breaker. Some people have junk drawers. I have a lint roller drawer. Don't judge.

Fortunately, I can add a few strategic accessories to my show ring outfits, grab the lint roller and I’m good to go for church, holiday gatherings or the random funeral. My black show ring pants are my black funeral pants. My dog showing friends are laughing now. I can hear you. You know this is true.

 If the occasion ever arises that I would need a dress, I am screwed. I don’t own a dress. I do own several skirts. I like the idea of long, swishy skirts that can be paired with boots but actually wearing them remains a fantasy. Every six months I take them out of the closet, admire them, sigh and put them back in. 


During the spring of 2020 and fall of 2020 closet cleanings, I used the technique of turning all the hangers backwards. When it was time to switch out for the next season’s clothes, I could tell what had hung there for six months without being worn and knew it was time for that piece to move along to a new home. This might have been more effective if I’d found a way to employ it to the folded garments on shelves as well (my vast collection of hoodies and fleece) but it did allow me to eliminate some things without feeling guilty.


I like to think my Harry Potter closet under the stairs reflects a deliberately curated professional wardrobe—it’s just that my profession is a stay-at-home dog mom/farm wife who juggles four community newspapers and writes fiction in her spare time. Not a lot of call for high heels and coordinated separates when you're running out to watch gates or ferry pickups from Farm A to Farm B.


A good closet purge is a refreshing feeling and in the process of, I’ve learned some things.

Number one: anything worth having one of, is worth having three of. In my case, it was four zip-front fleece jackets, all in minisculely (MS Word says this is not a word. I say it is.) different shades of teal.


Number two: no one really needs four pair of Taos, Bjorn and Ariat boots but—oh screw that, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Keep the boots. (I’m justifying this by getting rid of three of the teal fleeces.)


Number three: cleaning out your closet will reveal your favorite colors. Mine are blue. Navy, royal, sky, periwinkle, slate, mallard and turquoise. Also teal, which is a subset of blue. And what a friend calls peach-y/coral-y/salmon.

I think it all comes down to what a former co-worker once said regarding work-from-home. 

"As long as you remember to put on pants before you leave the house, it's all good."



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Of mice and closets

I cleaned out the bedroom closet last week. On the surface, this sounds like a mundane domestic chore but like so many things in life—including this post—it had the potential to be more complicated than it needed to be. But when you live in a century-old house with limited storage, it doesn't pay to let things get out of hand.

 There is only one closet on the first floor of our house and I think its design owes more to accident than intention. The guy who built our house did a great job with the woodwork and built-ins but not so much with the closets. The one in question was made by walling off the space under the stairs to the second floor.


Our house was built in 1919 by a guy named Pete Maas. Peat Moss. Get it? Gardener humor. Never mind.


Anyway, I am pretty sure Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs was bigger than this closet. It has about twenty square feet of usable space. Unfortunately, it’s all vertical. There’s room for a few clothes bars in the middle, then each end tapers down to the floor, rendering the space usable only by people who like to crawl around on their knees. For the record, I am not one of those people. It resembles Harry’s cupboard in a lot of ways, although there aren’t any spiders. There are occasionally mice.


When Phoenix was alive, one of his greatest gifts was telling me when there was a mouse in the mousetrap. I don’t know about the rest of you, but of all the things that need to get done in the course of the day, checking mousetraps doesn’t always make my top 10.


It should. 


If you have a mousetrap set anywhere in your house, it is in your best interests to check it regularly. 


If you do not, one day you will open your closet and the nauseating waves of dead mouse stink that come rolling out will knock you into next week. It will take every ounce of fortitude you possess to venture into the closet, one arm clenching a flashlight and one hand clamped firmly over your mouth and nose because if you inhale you might barf and there is no way on God’s earth you want to spend any more time in this confined space with this tiny dead thing that stinks like a freaking week-dead 1,200 pound steer laying in the sun at high noon in Iowa in July. (Brief aside – I DO know what that smells like, thanks to the derecho of 1998. But I digress.)


Mice do not go gentle into that good night. In the process, they drag the trap about two feet from where you set it, usually behind or under something. And this is where they will proceed to get a stink on.


Phoenix always told me before that happened. For almost 11 wonderful years, I did not have to check the bedroom closet mousetrap because Phoenix would tell me when there was a mouse in it. He would bounce up and down in front of the door, an expression of absolute delight on his face, like he’d just done the most wonderful ever in the existence of wonderful things.


Banner does not share the same enthusiasm for rodent patrol unless the trap is in plain sight. If he and I get a visual at the same time, it’s game on and a mad rush to see who can get there first. It’s winner, winner, mouse for dinner if he beats me.


But traps behind a closet door? Meh.


As a result I occasionally find myself getting knocked on my butt when I open the closet and get a reminder that A) this house is over 100 years old B) the foundation is not mouse-tight and C) for the love of God, check the damned mousetrap. Meanwhile, Banner looks at me like, “Ewww, gross, that stinks. Can I eat it?”


And now I’m out of time for this week. See what I mean? A closet-cleaning post shouldn’t be complicated but here I’ve written one and the whole thing was about dogs and dead mice. I’ll try to finish it next week. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Towels and tribulations

When the Farmer and I got married, we got towels as wedding gifts. A. Lot. Of. Towels. I’d registered for household furnishings at a local department store (this was before bridal registries at Target and Walmart were a thing, if that tells you how absolutely antiquated I am), but many thrifty friends and family members bought less expensive towelery (that’s a word – don’t argue) at the big box stores instead. 

 I’m totally not complaining. Towels are wonderful, useful, practical gifts with many applications beyond post-bath drying. Subduing cats for medical treatment and preventing in-house floods when plumbing malfunctions are just two of them.

But eventually the vintage 1991 towels wore out and I was forced to replace them. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have stockpiled towels like people stockpiled toilet paper a year ago. There would be boxes and boxes of brand-new towels stashed in our house, waiting to be pressed into duty when their predecessors expired. 

But I didn’t. And life went on. And now the inevitable has happened. Another 15 years have passed and the circa 2006 towels have worn out. I’m amazed they lasted as long as they did, especially since 2007 marked the arrival of Phoenix in my life and he was obsessed with destroying - among other things - towels. One of his great joys in life was to shove into the bathroom after I showered and attack the towel. I was usually done with it by the time he got his teeth on it. Sometimes I wasn’t. The result was every towel in our house had a series of puncture wounds. 

Even today, there are still a few Phoenix towels in the people cupboard and even more in the dog drawer, where I use them to dry a dog with no interest in attacking bathroom linens. I can hold them up and see light through the holes and they make me smile. 

Buying new towels has been one of those things that was simple in concept but difficult in execution. Towels have gotten complicated. They have evolved from simple pieces of terry cloth used to dry wet skin after a bath to elaborate, plush fabrics whose main purpose seems to be being put on display to show off how luxurious one’s bathroom is. Our bathroom is strictly farmhouse utilitarian - it's not campaigning for a photo spread in a home decorating magazine. 

Then there is something called a bath sheet. I am unclear on why anyone would want one of these since they are the approximate size and weight of a sleeping bag. Did I miss something in the last 30 years? Has there been a shift to wearing towels as garments? I’ve never enjoyed a lifestyle where lounging about, swathed shoulder to ankle in a towel, has been a normal practice. Towels are part of the journey, not the destination. 

Most of us have a designated towel cupboard in our bathrooms. It holds a certain number of towels and they have to be folded in a specific manner (bi-fold or tri-fold). If you don’t fold them the right way, you can’t get the door shut. Between the bath sheets and the ultra-plush luxury fabrics, we were going to need to build an addition onto the house just to hold the new towels. 

My initial forays into new towel purchasing were not successful. Even though I avoided the voluminous bath sheets, I bought what I thought was the standard-issue bath towel, only to find it was larger than its thin and frayed colleagues. It interrupted the tidy arrangement of the towel cupboard. 

After several more towels purchased at different stores did not fit either, I resorted to the ultimate in OCD: I measured my old towels and found out manufacturers have moved forward with a “More is better!” approach. 

No. More is not better. More does not fit. More irritates my need for things in cupboards to line up neatly. I was ready to pull the old, raggedy towels out of the designated dog towel drawer (where things also line up neatly) and press them back into service for the humans, but then I’d be faced with the “Is this a dog towel or people towel?” conundrum. Don’t laugh. The struggle is real.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Because. Cake.

I’m not one of those trendy food bloggers who thinks everyone has time to hear them wax poetic about their culinary skills and the merits of a recipe that will save civilization before getting down to business, so here you go.
SINGLE SERVING CHOCOLATE CAKE 1/2 C. flour 2 T. granulated sugar 2 T. cocoa 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/8 tsp. salt 1/4 C. plus 1 T. milk 2 T. vegetable oil Blend until smooth and pour into cereal bowl. Bake in microwave 90 to 100 seconds on high or until most of the surface looks dry. Let stand briefly (like, really briefly, because if you can be in the same room with a hot, fresh miniature chocolate cake for more than a minute without grabbing a fork and digging in, there's something wrong with you) then frost. Or not. In my world frosting is never optional but it's a personal choice.
There are probably a thousand cake-in-a-mug recipes and I’ve made it my life’s work to test them all. I quit when I got to #347 because A) there are only so many ways to reinvent the wheel and B) this one, as Goldilocks said, is just right.
You will notice two things about the above photo. 1) I am not a food stylist. I do not have the time or patience to create lusciously dreamy food porn photos. You’re lucky I managed to stop eating long enough to snap this shot with my phone. I had the phone in my left hand and the fork in my right. I’m not kidding. 2) My mug cake is not in a mug. Apparently I do not have the proper size of mugs or the proper wattage microwave to make cake-in-a-mug recipes successful. Previous attempts came out with the texture of a dishwashing sponge while the center was still unbaked. This is a genuine vintage 1988 Corelle cereal bowl. It’s also being baked in a genuine vintage 1988 Amana Radarange. It’s the microwave I bought when I moved into my first apartment after graduating from college. There is nothing sleek or modern about it. It’s the size of a small doghouse but ya know what? It still radars like champ. It pops a full bag of popcorn without burning and bakes these delicious cakes. My life is complete.
Baking is therapeutic. Chocolate is therapeutic. This recipe is damn near a prescription for a mood-altering drug. Glad I could hook you up. This recipe just might save civilization. Make cake, not war. In light of full disclosure, this recipe could probably be two servings. It’s almost-but-not-quite too much for one person at one time. The key word here is almost. If you want to share it with your sweetie, you are a nicer person than me. I’ll make a second one to share. I’m not totally selfish.
A final note: the Blogger interface has changed since I last used it and not for the better. Until I figure out how to put actual paragraphs in the text, please bear with me. It's making me crazy(er) that the recipe is in paragraph form but I've spent 20 minutes trying to get it into a list and honest to God, I do have a life I need to get on with. The cake will taste just as good, I promise.