Tuesday, March 8, 2011


There are few things that keep me up at night.  I sleep well.  I do so much in a day; when it is time for bed, I am zonked.


Notice, however, that I said "few" things.

I am a perfectionist of sorts, although I do know when to stop.

There is a moment when finishing a haircut when I can sense the receiving party on the brink of annoyance:  stop.

Those last two bobby pins that cause a person to wince...  stop.

That little ripple of frosting that doesn't want to go anywhere... stop.

OK.  One more foil.  Because I swear, when you sit on your bathroom counter with a magnifying mirror and go through every section of your hair, you will see it and curse my name.

I would do it.  Don't you?

Magnifying mirror?  Anyone?

Leave it, Rach.  It will be OK.

Saturday night I had an updo: a girl's first.  Now, ordinarily I really could not care very much about what... hmm.  I will hold it there.  But this was not just any teenager.  She is a special one.  I like her.  I like her sisters.  They are like Disney princesses.  There is a brunette, a blonde, and a red-head.  I imagine that when their alarms go off in the morning, they all take a moment to swish their breathtaking locks back and forth, and then brush them 50 times together.

The youngest of the three sat in my chair, and with very little instruction, she allowed me to force her curls into an enormous, woven updo.

I loved it.  I really did.

She... really did not.

We pulled out a few pieces, tucked a few in, ironed her fringe, whatever she wanted- and when we were done, she forced a smile.

I hate those smiles.

And I did not sleep.

Sunday brought no relief, despite an assuring text from the sweet girl.  Because Sunday afternoon, I made this...

I know.  Beautiful.  Perhaps the prettiest I have ever made.

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberries.

Why would such a cake stress me out?  Many reasons.  I start to feel crazy just looking at it.

I offered to deliver this cake Sunday afternoon for a baby shower.  The person who ordered it lives by the church I attend, and I had to go to rehearsal that evening.  I would drop it off on the way.  Simple enough.

Well, when I "map-quested" the house, I discovered that they did not live on the way at all, and I should have left 15 minutes ago.  Oops.

I stuck the kid and the cake in the car, and made a mad dash for the highway.  OK, not true.  I spent 5 hours on that cake.  I drove like a granny for the highway.  A granny with cake.

I made it to her neighborhood about 25 minutes later (5 minutes until practice, and 15 minutes away), and pulled out my directions.

"512.  512 should be on the ri...oh.  Oh.  Why is 512 an incomplete house?"

Oh, no.  Oh!  My phone.  I'll look it up in the email...

No phone.  Phone is on the kitchen counter.  Hmm...

What do I do?  Drive really slowly and look through windows for balloons?  OK.  Sure.

Stop complete strangers and ask, "Do you know where Kelly lives?"  Check.

Drive down long driveways and look into garages for church bumper stickers?  Yes.  I did.

Drive to Subway and ask to borrow a phone?  Sure.

"Ma'am.  I think your phone is broken.  Is there a reason it might not be working?"

"How (3 syllables) 'bat now?"  she replied.

"No.  Still nothing."


"No.  Not now.  Um..."

BTW, I am now at a point of complete panic.  10 minutes late for rehearsal, a half an hour late for cake delivery... disaster.  The young girl graciously gave me her cell phone after 6 tries on the store phone.  My husband miraculously answered his phone (513), and I drove to her house (still, like a granny.  Nothing was toppling this cake).

I made it to rehearsal with 5 minutes remaining.  I could not remember feeling more irresponsible since high school.  And in high school, I was the picture of irresponsibility.

To add insult to injury, I did not get any feedback on the cake for about 20 hours.

Do bakeries worry about every cake that goes out the door?  No.  But this cake cost me a reputation.  I like being on time.  25 minutes late?  I deserved a good evil eye (although I received none).

"But... I was delivering a cake."  Lame.

And these insecurities cost me sleep, as they often do.  I am not sure that it is humanity's approval that gets me, or reputation, or if it's thinking of myself in a 16 year-old's shoes.  This was her prom.  As much as I want to roll my eyes, I remember how important I thought that night was.

"And she didn't like her hair," I thought.

"Someone trusted me to make a cake, and she was disappointed."

"I was 25 minutes late, and I have let down friends and leadership."

So frustrating.  So common.  So thankful that most of the time, these accusations are unfounded; and when they are, I can learn from them.

After I cry.

Time to clean up the kitchen.  Or watch a movie.  Or decorate the cake that is waiting in the fridge.

Or sleep.

Nigh nigh.

Rachel Bee


  1. Oh, my sweet Rachel :) We all fall short sometimes...it's the strength to get back up that shows our character...and you, my friend, are full of amazingly gracious character. Sleep well :)

  2. friend...i loved you even more on this day! :)