Susan's Blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

People, But Not Chips, Mix Well

I made a party for Ned’s birthday, this past Sunday. It was a real mixture of worlds: his work friends, our neighborhood friends, my bellydance friend, some of our oldest friends, and some very new ones, too. All their kids, too, which Ned specifically requested. I tried to have the food be stuff that would please everyone: fried chicken, curried chicken salad, salmon nicoise, and of course, an excellent cake. Photos by Pete.

The cake was not homemade, because the design was too complicated, and too important. And a surprise. So without Ned’s expertise, I did not feel confident that I could make Betty Crocker work out just right. So I assigned the whole thing to Party Favors, a local bakery that makes the most fabulous cakes ever. (They are the ones who made my bellydancer birthday cake, complete with a cake tent, cake palm trees, and a cake desert. The bellydancer was a frosted tiny figurine.) This is an Aptus cake, based on a fractal image that Ned generated with some code he created. (This kind of software doodling is one of Ned’s hobbies. He was the first person I ever met who did math for fun. His hobbies, in the Penn facebook, were something like this: Recreational math, juggling, and other circus skills.”) The name “Aptus” actually is from the words “Apple Tush,” which is what Ben called the shape when he first saw it, as a baby. You can see that it does, indeed, look like an Apple Tush.

The party was terrific; the weather pretty much cooperated. And just about everyone we invited came, and they did bring their kids: around 35 people. I dragged out all of our classic kiddie vehicles for them to play with, and it was so great seeing the old toys out again, which hosed off very well after having been stored in the gross basement all this time. The little Playskool wagon is 17 years old now. This wagon was one of Nat’s first toys, and as a one-year-old, he had delighted in rolling it back and forth, watching its steady and then uneven movement. As a teeny baby he had actually started singing a little tune every time he rolled it, and eventually I realized that this tune was a musical illustration of the the rolling of the wagon. Never, never doubt that there is a lot going on inside the head of an autistic person. Whether they choose to or are able to share it with you is another thing altogether.)

I took out Max’s Big Wheel, now fifteen! He had been so proud of it. Ben inherited it, of course. Ben’s Cozy Coupe was there, too. Or maybe it was Max’s. So many boys went in and out of its door, checked its little mirror for who knows what, turned its impotent ignition. And now, my friend Pete’s adorable little girl tried out those vintage wheels.

I forced Ned and Max to help me set up a volleyball net. Ben actually played volleyball with some of the kids. Nat hung out the entire time, gobbling up all the chips and salsa (when I tried to add different chips to the remaining chips, he grabbed two handfuls of the remaining chips, carried them to the dining room table, and ate them. Note to self: never mix chip types).


Does Ned still juggle? A happy beleated to him.

Mixing chips? Colors or textures? Putting Ruffles together with kettle defies the laws of nature. You’re taking a big risk doing that!

— added by Someone Said on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 9:25 am

Please post a picture of the cake to a public Tabblo! Apparently you have to be a registered friend of Pete’s to see the pictures.

— added by Don on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 9:27 am

I like the fact that this place uses old fashioned buttercream, and lots of it. My kind of place! I hate fondant, it looks pretty but has a terrible taste, in my opinion. I loved looking at the cakes on the web site, especially the Ben and Jerry’s cake. Too cute!

— added by Sharon L. on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

You look beautiful in the picture..
really beautiful.

Thanks for the cake tip!

— added by Judith U. on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 9:29 pm

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