Showing posts from January, 2012

Gardening. It's what we do.

Growing up, there were... things.... we did not talk about. Some of these items include, but are certainly not limited to:

That stuff that comes out of your nose.
That noise that comes out of your other end.
Wedding night activities.
Anything unpleasant.

While Catholic, we are very WASPy. It makes for great holidays and all things wonderful and I have ZERO complaints (hear that, Mom?) as my parents and brother are wonderful. Okay, disclaimers out of the way. But, let me be as clear as one can be: No One Talks About Gardening. We don't even say the word t-o-i-l-e-t. It's the bathroom, it's the WC, it's anything but t-o-i-l-e-t.

Not in my childhood home
Not in my mother's childhood home
And certainly not in the home of my grandfather- his sister's were the very definition of ladies. And there were a lot of 'em.

Gardening was no one's business but the one doing the gardening.

And it is a very, very private matter. Much like breast feeding, fina…

A gardening assistant

So, it has been 10 steps forward 42 steps backward with LMC's gardening habits. Today, the third day that fertilizer has been directly... well... whatever... you get the idea...

So, today, we got an assistant...

Whatever LMC got- Boots got. LMC got fertilizer... Boots got fertilizer. LMC got cleaned up.... Boots got cleaned up... LMC flushed, er, weeded her garden... then she weeded Boots' garden.

See... even Boots has his (her?) own garden.

Gardening.... it's all about creativity.

A few of my favorite things...and people

I have made some wonderful and incredible friends up here. We have started to occasionally get together at Eastern Market for breakfast. There are rules:

* They only take cash.
* There is only one refill allowed for tea.
* If you don't know what you want by the time you get to the front of the line- you better make something up, because they will send you to the back.
* Be prepared to spend a small fortune. Last week, the group of four in front of me spent $83. Yes, on breakfast. With no free refills on those canned Diet Cokes.
* Don't ask for the gluten free menu- they are working on a GF crab cake (and have been for the past 64 years).
* After ordering, don't dawdle and start chatting. When your number is called- it is called- and you best be there, or it goes away.
* More importantly, do not try and go on Saturday. The blueberry pancakes are good, but the line is out the door... and they still only take cash. Try it with a two year old- I dare ya.

That being said, once …

Crystal Clear

I just want to be as clear as possible and make no bones about it:

Last night's dinner was awful. It was the worst thing I have made since I lived in Milledgeville and tried to cook noodles in the spaghetti sauce before spilling thyme in the crockpot. The noodles were red and chewy. There was zip in the sauce department. The thyme was crunchy.   And last night's dinner hit the hall of fame, replacing my worst meal ever. 
It was That Bad. Just in case you were curious how I knew it was that bad, let me tell you: When your husband remarks that he feels a little like Cousin Eddie eating Christmas turkey, your suspicions are confirmed.

I tend to be more critical of my cooking than Husband [who eats tuna from a can and is totally cool with fat free sliced cheese]. What chef isn't? Well, critical as I may be-- there was no saving last night's dinner. Eternally cheap and often mistaken as being from The Oldest religion, I actually threw out the leftov.... wait, let me rephrase…

What do you do?

What do you do on these stupid cold days when not fighting off a head cold, negotiating with the leasing department about rent, and trying to keep some semblance of house around these 1056 square feet?

You make a big mess in the kitchen.

Currently, I am cooking wild rice in the microwave and bulk sausage on the stove in a large pot. The leeks are caramelizing next to the carrots and celery slowly sautéing. I am not really sure what I am making, but in the end- it kept both LMC & I entertained for two hours. While flambéing, julienning, and balancing the right amount of time my 2.5 year old can play with my cutting knife and peeler (three minutes seems to be the right amount of time before she cuts herself), we whip up makeshift play dough with self-rising flour (Where in the hell is my AP flour?!), salt, cornstarch, more SR flour, more salt, and more water. It holds her attention long enough for the sausage to drain safely in the sink. I felt a little like a Who down in Who-ville …

Maybe it's time.

When we lived at 2635, meat could be hung from our rafters. That is how cold we kept it. Even in the summer... especially in the summer... we wanted to make our noses numb. For us, it was comfortable. After LMC came along, we slowly brought the temperature down from a balmy 78 degrees. LMC was probably the only baby in our zip code to sleep in fleece footie jammies in August.

But, before LMC, there were those frosty evenings cuddled up on the couch and watching tv. We had our favorite Mobile implants over for dinner one night on one of those frosty cold evenings and realized that maybe it is not normal to keep our thermostat hovering above freezing.

Mr & Mrs Mobile never took off their jackets. Mr. Mobile found his wife's scarf and wrapped it around his neck. It finally dawned on me that they might be cold, so I said in my short sleeve shirt, "Husband- why don't you go ahead and cut the heat up about five degrees to 64?"

Yeah, I said it. Cut the thermostat up to …

Compassion for strangers

I keep thinking about fun blogs that I want to update YFBF (Ye Few But Faithful- from the priest on Sister Act)-- like our successes and failures in gardening (trust me on this-- it gets messy), or that Husband is coming off two months of being on service and starting a four week block of research- which is always exciting to have Husband around for more than just sleeping and bathing LMC, or how cold it is and yet I am too damn stubborn to flip the switch on the heater... things like that....

But, I am caught up in this horribly sad story about the little baby. She had nothing when they found her but the towel around her. Naked, no diaper, and left for dead. I cannot shake it.

It makes me want to put a sign on our front door that says, "If you don't want your baby- please- knock and run. We will keep them warm and fed until something can be done. You have my word."

It makes me want to believe more in the humanity of people and yet... I fail.

It makes me want to scream.

A Special Place

I have said it before-- there are few things that I will scream from the rooftops.

So, allow me to start a list of things that I will scream from the rooftops.
Take a moment and read this. But- prepare yourself. While few details are thankfully given, a baby... a tiny, helpless, totally defenseless in this world baby ... dies.
Left on a doorstep Wrapped in a towel In the cold
With temperatures last night hanging ferociously in the teens. 
In case you have forgotten how small, and truly helpless a baby that has been out of the warm womb less than a week can be, let me remind you....

That's LMC at five weeks. In this picture, LMC has four weeks on the little girl that was left for dead last night. Four more weeks of nourishment. Four more weeks of love, warmth, strength... 
There is a special place for that little baby- someplace warm and wrapped in Our Mother's loving arms- she who holds us all. 
What hurts my heart is DC has a safe haven law which allows any child under 7 days …

Four Pot Soup

I’m calling it Four Pot Soup- because that is how many pots it took. It can also be referred to Potato Soup... or if you are LMC... Rocket Soup.
1/2 large green bell pepper 1 med-large onion 4-6 cloves of garlic (I’m a big garlic fan) 2 stalks celery Melt 2 tbsp butter in your first pot. Coarsely chop all of the above and sauté over medium to med-low heat, stirring every few minutes. These are going to be on the eye for a long time, so we are not looking to win any speed medals here.  4 white potatoes, peeled & chopped 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped 3 cups chicken broth Water In the second pot, add the taters and broth. Cook over medium heat. Add water as needed to keep the taters covered. Back to the first pot... reduce heat and continue to cook over low heat- switching the  heat on and off as needed to keep the goodies warm but not burn them. Add salt & pepper to taste. (remember though, there is chicken broth in that other pot that is simmering away all the water. Less is more…


I’m going to spend another minute on this double secret parking business. Why?  Because it is that good. Several years ago, it was a Saturday in Athens & dad called while we were driving into town.  “I’ve found double secret parking.” What?  “Trust me. Turn on XXX St, count to three and make a sharp right. You won’t see the parking spot until you make the turn, but you will see our car.” Seriously. Those were the directions. (much like the time the directions included, “Go about 15-30 minutes and fork to the left at the big rock,” more on that one later.) So, we did as instructed- turned on XXX, counted to three & turned right. It quickly became the stuff of legends. Not only is the parking free, it’s so hidden that even those that could make money or be annoyed have not thought about it. We would park & head to our tailgating spot up the way, as only one car is allowed into the tailgating lot where we set up shop.  Quickly, our friends got wind of this “DSPS” that Brother and I h…

New Boots!

LMC & I spent the morning at Eastern Market with friends and fellow tiny people. A leisurely breakfast, babies running to and fro... fro and to, with free refills of tea (mostly because the ladies behind the counter like me... not because they are actually free. Just the first.), and thick brick walls halting the 45 mph wind that has been rapturing the city on this cold, 39 degree, teeth chattering kind of day.

Having found my new favorite "double secret" parking, we wandered over to Dawn Price to see what kind of things they had on sale. The winter items were 30% off, but no, oh no, not even a little maybe- we  paid FULL retail (a whopping $30 + tax) for red ladybug boots that she insisted on

(a) wearing out the store
(b) showing every stranger that walked by "my new BOOOOOOOTS! Rojo boots! Look, lady- Lady Bug boooooots my Da-Dee gave it me." (which, in fact, is correct- we did use Husband's income to pay- he just won't know until he gets home this af…


Ugh. Daisies. LMC and I were making such strides in the world of gardening... then a more laid-back Cagle got involved...

"She might not have to go every day...." (yes, she does)
"You can't schedule these sorts of things" (yes, you can)
"The mood has to strike her...." (what is this? A Cialis commercial?)

So, trying to be more like the Non-Type-A personality Husband, I adhered to this Cialis kind of thinking. Gone went the fiber, er, fertilizer. Gone the schedule. Gone the clean panties.

It has become two steps forward to thirty three steps backward.

Sitting "in" her garden ("on" her garden?), she screams at me, "I  NO T-T POTTY! I NO T-T!" Time out turns into naked time out as she shucks her clothes in defiance. I close the door, eat my waffle leaned against the wall, and contemplate if diapers would be cool on an 8 year old. Screaming Naked Baby wailing in her crib until she has forgotten why she was crying. Maybe she&#…

Small Worlds, small babies

Are we really strangers in this small world? I have a friend who introduced me to her friend here. Who, in turn, knew my friend from Mobile.

That friend in Mobile has a husband went to law school in Birmingham and sat for the bar with a friend who had just finished law school.

A friend of that friend introduced me to my most favorite person, Shannon, who found a mentor in my cousin, unbeknownst to the family relation.

That cousin had a baby- well, my cousin had three babies. Before this, her husband's father gave me a scholarship to UGA, relationship between us held in oblivion.

My SIL was in South Georgia for the holidays and ran into an old classmate who lives two blocks from us in DC. A friend came to visit me here and ran into three classmates from her high school in Georgia on our rooftop deck- neighbors.

My grandfather grew up with several of my friend's grandfathers and Husband lived on a farm 15 miles from my aunt's home in Thomasville.

Brother and SIL gave birth t…



Being a better Catholic

I'm getting back to writing. It's not fair to those few out there who enjoy what I have to say that I "cheat" and post pictures just because there is an obsession with my fancy new camera.

But, it is really a cool camera. Behind the lens, I can take any moment and encapsulate it on my computer. Looking back, everything is there- the color, the shadows, the energy, the moment.

So, I digress.

This year is the first year that I have made a New Year's Resolution. And not only did I make one.... I made several. But, what is a resolution without sharing, putting yourself out there and making yourself accountable?


(1) I'm going to floss every day more often. These are my teeth and if the young me does not take care of them... the old me will be in dentures before I know it.

(2) I'm going to learn about my fancy camera and post a picture every day.

(3) We're going to church. Period.

#3 ain't so easy around these parts. Back in Georgia, LMC and I went r…

The Dads finally got a chance to play in our shoes.

Don't they look happy?  The dads... not the kids... 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

So the question arose... Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Yeah, I said it. Homemade.

It's so easy, so yummy, so great to receive as a gift, and so cheap to gift- Give it a go.

[insert picture of my homemade vanilla extract here]

Where the heck is your picture with your fancy camera, you might be asking.

Well, let me tell you. Homemade vanilla extract- once done percolating is not that attractive to photograph. Picture opaque colored yellowish water with things floating in it. And beans. There is a reason that the store bought stuff comes in a dark container. So, trust me... I tried. And failed.

That being said, much like baklava, just because it does not look amazing does not mean it cannot add some serious panache to your kitchen. When I made my first batch of HVE there was about an hour spent on google trying to figure out how to do it. Fact of the matter is... There is no WRONG way to do it. So, grab the vodka and let's go!

What you will need:

sharp paring knife (those beans are w…

She did is all by herself...

She picked out her HORSEY dress... her shoes... and her "pups" all by herself. While I helped with the buttons, she did everything else. A mother can be so proud!

Like 10 kinds of yummy

I love vanilla aioli. It's one of those things that adds some zing to dinner-- whether it is gills, fish, or feathers (or even just a spoon). Give it a go. It's awesome.

Vanilla Aioli

1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (me? I'm a Hellmann's girl)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
juice of 1/2 lemon (maybe a little less- depending on your love for the tanginess)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (homemade. Don't second guess me on this)
kosher salt
1/4+Cup(1/4 to 1/3) cup evoo

In a medium bowl combine the mayonnaise and garlic. Whisk in the juice, vanilla, and salt until the goodness is silky smooth. As you are whisking, very-very-very slowly drizzle the evoo over your whisk until the mixture reaches desired consistency. Let sit in fridge until read to serve.

Something to think about... if you have horseradish in the back of your fridge- add a tablespoon or two at the beginning. The zest of the lemon and the sweetness of the vanilla will compliment the piquancy of the horseradish. (…

Best Friends Reunited

Not too long, a friend asked me if LMC interacted differently with boys verse girls. I had to be honest-- she does not hang out with a lot of girls. She dresses like a super "pwin-cess" and has no qualm saying that she is "so boo-T-full" but- she runs in the grass and plays in the dirt with the best of any example of the male persuasion.

After our unexpected trip home, we missed our best buddies before their lengthy trip back to B'ham. But, today-- oh sweet goodness, today-- they were reunited & I got to savor Chick-Fil-A. It was a good day. An-Ew and LMC held hands, kissed each other good-bye and hugged each other hello.

Such friends.

If you have not yet-- check out my handiwork.

A slow start...

January 1 was off to a slow start... And I cannot imagine why...

But, with great friends...

And great babies....

With a little social lubricant...

and snacks...

With a little more social lubricant...

And boys to kiss at midnight...

And killer leopard print shoes...

... did I mention the precious babies?

and a kick-ass centerpiece...

Why not let 2012 ring in a little slowly?
Happy New Year, y'all! It's going to be an awesome one!

(just in case you were curious, these pictures uploaded from the end of the evening to the beginning)