Not much beats throwing your arms around a daughter you've not seen in a long time. Sleep seems unnecessary, and there's never enough time to do everything you want to do.
When my daughter came home last weekend, our fun time encroached terribly on our sleep time, and I'm still paying for it. But I agree with Daryle Singletary - "I ain't never had too much fun" - even if I'd never say it that way. The writer in me cringes at "ain't never."
For Daisy Lantz, of Fort Dodge, something does beat hugging your daughter, if only for one night. On Tuesday she watched her daughter, Marianne Martin, compete on Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Martin and her boss, Bill Jones at Jones Bros. Cupcakes in Omaha, Neb., earned second place in the contest, with the winner taking home $10,000 and the chance to bake 1,000 cupcakes for a couples-only Valentine's wine tasting party at the Athletic Club in Los Angeles.
"I could hardly sit in my seat," Lantz said. "I kept bouncing up and down and finally sat on the floor between Dana's feet." Dana Lantz is Martin's stepfather.
"She couldn't tell us how far she'd gotten," Daisy Lantz said. "We didn't know, which made it exciting."
To get into the mood for Cupcake Wars, Lantz took a day off work and made five different cupcakes so when more than a dozen friends and family showed up to watch the show, they had cupcakes to taste and judge.
"I don't make them from scratch," Lantz said. "I do Betty Crocker out of the box. But I make my own stuffing on the inside. I just used cream cheese and sugar and eggs."
In Omaha, faithful friends of Jones Bros. gathered at the restaurant to watch the Cupcake Wars on a 73-inch screen.
"My boss and I had a hard time remembering some of the things we did until we saw it on TV," Martin said Wednesday. "It was very nerve-wracking. Everything was timed. It was intense."
She said the cupcakes made on the show are available for a time in a cupcake four-pack, but she's not certain they'll remain on the menu forever. That includes a red wine velvet cupcake with the vinegar replaced by red wine, a chocolate sweet-and-sour cupcake with sea salt and caramel, a strawberries and buttercream cupcake and a pinot noir chocolate raspberry with goat cheese buttercream.
The 28-year-old Martin studied in the culinary program of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, but says she was "mostly self-taught." She and her father, Terrence Martin, owned a franchise Cookies by Design in Omaha for a few years. When that was sold, she went looking for another baking job and was hired at Jones Bros. as soon as they found out about her.
"She's always like cooking and helping me in the kitchen," Lantz said. "If you're going to make a career out of it, it might as well be something you enjoy."
Besides, a sweet-and-sour chocolate cupcake with sea salt and caramel is hard to beat, especially if it comes home in the hands of your daughter.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.