Sunday, July 29, 2012

Homeward Bound

Husband, Wife, and Child are sitting in the Augusta airport, having booked our flight in the late hours of last night- a stark contrast to the wee hours of Monday morning. While the price did not change, the situation did.

As I sit and type with a storm looming in the oversized windows, Brother is packing his bags. They are removing heart monitors, detaching wires, and giving SIL strict instructions that involve low salt, no alcohol, no swimming, and lots-- LOTS-- of rest. The doctor said a second time politely, but firmly, no visitors. Just because he is being discharged does not mean there is not healing that still needs to take place.

It was a surreal moment earlier this afternoon when Brother pitched the idea to the doc if he could be sprung today. She responded with a, "I don't see why not..." and just like that, we were on the way off the fourth floor and out of the hospital.

Husband and Wife were dumbfounded watching the  magician with his old charm wave his wand. A few phone calls to SIL, one to my parents and everyone was knocked over in an absolute state of shock.

Brother has a new set of limitations for the moment. Being a salesman and selling ice to eskimos ain't one 'em.

---

A special thank you to those that have cared for my family both in and out of the hospital and in and out of Augusta, in both words and deeds. I cannot express the amazing feeling of love and home as friends, family, and people I did not know- but knew my brother- came out to show support, offer assistance, bring food, and do any number of things to help without being asked. Sometimes, nothing more than just quietly sitting in the waiting room next to us as we sat and waiting went farther than you knew.  


The nurses, doctors, therapists, and other graduates of medical schools were, simply put, competent and kind. We are fortunate, so very fortunate, to have these people in a place we are lucky enough to call home.


Home-- sometimes it is more than just a noun, rather a clear cut adjective.


---

Brother's kidneys and weakness on his left side will be treated at an outpatient level. I will continue to post on his progress as I see fit. Take no news as good news.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking time to follow us as we wait for the champion to improve. I have tried my best to keep everything in perspective and relay. Seeing the amount of people that care for my brother and checking back here - over 1,000 hits in one day- made me proud to call him family.

It is both happy and sad that so many of us are Homeward Bound today.



Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Quiet Day

On one hand, I want to extend an apology-- something along the lines for not updating sooner. But, on the other hand, we have to assume that no news is good news. And, in this case- how 'bout we hope that is the case? 

Yesterday, Mama informed me that I was getting my hair cut and colored today at 11am. I went in kicking and screaming, as all I wanted to do was be near my brother. A surprising level of comfort can be found in those straight back chairs by the elevators. The constant flow of doctors, nurses, people, and deliverymen find a repetition that is both comforting and calming. If I could spend the night here, I probably would. 

But, Mama made orders and I knew better than to question them. Husband dropped me off before heading out on an adventure, just Daddy and Daughter. A message from the same woman who booked this appointment let me know that Brother had a bad headache.

My feet start twitching under the smock. 

Under the dryer, Brother asks to see LMC at some point today. SIL and I make a plan to bring her by in the evening. I'm not holding my breath.

A CAT scan has been ordered. 

I start tapping my fingers and incessantly flick my phone from on to off and back to on again. My feet are tapping and I try to hold still. 

Husband comes through the doors with LMC and her new purple shoes. "Ma-Mee, you are SO beau-Tee-full." Maybe I needed that cut and color, after all. Even Husband said, "Honey, you look a million times better." Yep, a cut and color were definitely in order. LMC had ice cream for lunch and $60 worth of new shoes. Daddy-Daughter adventures can always be beneficial.

By the time Mama's hairdresser finished, I am more than ready to drop LMC off with a friend and stake my claim to the chair in the waiting room. We drive down Walton Way and I tell Husband how selfish I feel for taking an hour to myself as we did not come here for a regular "catch up" visit. Husband reminded me that since Tuesday morning, other than sleeping, I have not left the hospital- not like my parents or SIL- but sitting close, wanting nothing more than to be near my champion.

A phone call as we get in the car reveals that the CAT scan was clear and all was normal. His headache was just that- a headache. Nothing more.

He has spent most of this day sleeping. Friends have dropped in to say hello and offer their assistance as needed. Husband, ever the hero, has sat beside me in his equally comfortable chair playing any number of games on his phone. It's been a good, quiet day.  

So, that's it. I have no significant updates-- other than the following:

(1) My hair looks a lot better (top priority on your list, I'm certain...)
(2) Brother has gotten daytime naps down to a cold science
(3) The best news yet... the gypsies are here! I don't think their Queen is sick, but someone high up the food chain is on Brother's floor. They come and go in flocks. While I have only seen a handful of the male persuasion-- I have seen plenty of high heeled little girls in patent leather and plenty of hair sprayed hair. By the end of this, I like to think that maybe I'll speak the language. Maybe? Either way, it's all going on the good news list. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Short. Sweet. To The Point.

More tomorrow, but I have to say something quick...

The cath was clear. The block in the circumflex artery they were concerned about was only blocked by 20%. According to Husband, "That's nothing." Apparently, when it comes to the heart- 20% is equal to 0%. Math was never my strong suit.

That being said- there is still a problem. They start tomorrow trying to fix his kidneys.

More good news- he is gaining some feeling back in his left side.

It's the little things, SIL texted us just a moment ago. As mom, dad, Husband, LMC, and I sat around the kitchen table, each in our own world and each thankful for the same and for different reasons, we saw the message-- "Brother's back itches!"

Count your blessings. Hug your people. Say good things to both the good and the grumpy. Scratch your back.

Smile.

---

PS- I am having a hard time not thinking of the flux capacitor when they kept saying circumflex artery. Compound that with the fact that when Brother was in the ER, they asked him (more than once) what the date was. "November 5, 1955" was his response.
Not once.
Not twice.
Not three times.
Over and over until everyone was concerned, even SIL... and then he said, "I was standing on the toilet and hanging a clock and then I fell and hit my head on the sink. That's when I came up with the idea for the flux capacitor."
SIL about fell out and screamed at him, "Honestly, Brother. There is no DeLorean here. What year is it? NOW!"
Brother responded, "2012" ... as if to say, "Duh."

The Waiting

We have relocated waiting rooms and Brother has just been taken back for his cardiac catheterization (that would be the "heart cath" I've been mentioning) that should take an hour and a half. So, we three sit. And we wait.

Yesterday, his nuclear test left him drained and the feeling of sliding backwards. Almost ashen and words slurring, he crawled into bed with a swollen arm. SIL and I remade his bed with fresh sheets in record time while the nurse inspected the swelling. At that same moment, one of Brother's friends and his former doctor came through to check in on him. Deeming the swelling nothing more than a moment's sensation and temporary situation, we thanked him for the reassurance as he left.

Last night, his doctor came through and asked question after question about how Brother felt and what he thought. Something along the lines of "If nothing is found in this test, then the test is perfect. We like for it to be negative." But that intuitive brother of mine responded quickly and said, "But the test wasn't perfect, was it, Doc?"

Hence the heart cath and our growing clan sitting, waiting, and praying for this champion.

Yesterday, the nuclear test showed he has some sort of blockage in his circumflex artery. This is the artery on the backside of the heart. The bad news is that there is blockage, soft plaque. Hard plaque (what usually causes these things) has not formed, as it takes years upon decades for the soft stuff to calcify and turn into hard plaque. The good news, as we will always try and look at the good side, is that if there had to be a blood clot and it had to be in an artery, than this is the place for it to be as the circumflex artery supplies blood to a less important area of the heart.

He was started on Heparin and Coumadin to keep his blood from being "sticky." Heparin and Coumadin are blood thinners if you lack medical knowledge or google (I have the latter of the two).

But the very best medicine was the promise from his doctor, Dr. Mac Bowman, that not only Brother could see his children, rather he should see his children. It would do all of them a world of good. SIL went to my parent's house last night, picked up her cherubs and brought them home, a place they had not seen since their father and mother kissed them good night and tucked them in after a busy Sunday.

Husband got here on the new direct flight from DCA to AGS last night and seeing him was the very definition of a breath of fresh air. His calm demeanor, his knowledge, his strength- all things wonderful and complimentary to this frazzled girl were a welcome site for my whole family and he had a reception of open arms.

After picking up LMC from a friend's house- different from the friend I dropped her off with- we headed home for updates and questions to be answered before collapsing in beds. Mom in her large bed by herself, Husband in my old room, snuggled in a large king size bed with LMC under his arm and pushing him to the edge, quivering on the corner as she snored. And I- tucked into the bed that cradled me in the summers of my youth at my grandparents small home with ancient soft green carpet. Hearing the buzz of my phone and seeing the light of it messaging me- the picture of my brother with that smile comes through and I thank The Sweet Lord for technology.

On the elevator ride up this morning, SIL said in her peppiest voice, "Y'all know about Doc McStuffins? Well, you aren't going to believe this- Daddy's doctor is Doc MacBowman. He taught Doc McStuffins everything she knows about taking care of toys."

They jump up and down and start screaming with glee, "Doc MacBowman! Yeah!"

It was hard to tell who had more "giddy" in them- Brother or the cherubs. Inquisitive Nephew asked about the wheelchair (and might have been just a tad impressed with it) and Busy Busy Niece was just a tad standoffish at it all. The man who tosses her in the pool and chases her down the hall was sitting. While jovial and happy, she knew something was different. It did not take long for to shake the 'quiets' climb up into his lap, hold his face in her tiny paws and give him kisses before asking if they could go back and play with LMC.

Tom Petty said it best, The Waiting is the hardest part. And he's right. The waiting-- it's the hardest.

Brother has been waiting to hold his children.
SIL has been waiting for a solution.
We all wait for recovery.

You take it on faith.
You take in on the heart.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part.

A super fast one

I am going to go into the nuts and bolts of it when I have a few more minutes and can collect both my thoughts and the medical jargon (a la Husband) needed to give a thorough update over the last 24 hours- all positive.

BUT, how can I not share good news when news is good?

Last night, several things happened.

First, Dad took his turn at the wheel- spending the evening at the hospital with Brother. And Dad has this certain "Dad" quality that you just can't ignore. He can shake magic out of almost any tree. Past our bedtime, my phone buzzes softly beside me lighting up my darkened room. It is a picture of Brother, sitting up in the bed... smiling. Smiling that smile that is known and loved throughout the lands. Smiling that smile with both sides of his lips curved in that devilishly upright twist - the one that can't be resisted.

That smile that makes your heart melt- the one that has not been 100% since Sunday night. That smile.

Second, this morning we received a blow by blow report from Brother's roommate. Not only did he have a good night, he walked- unassisted- to the bathroom. Not that I did not believe it, but to see it with my own two eyes, words can't explain how proud I was and the smile on my face.

Third, the nuclear test showed a little something or other (more on that later)- and he is going to end up having that heart cath, after all. That is scheduled for this afternoon.

Forward motion. That's all we need. All I ask for. That and the smile.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

the Good and the Bad of it all

Saints come in all forms. The lady at the counter who says water is free- not what would you find in DC, or the charge nurse who gives you a smile and says your brother is charming.

Charming? Imagine how he would be if he were not laid up having just had a stroke. Charming? You have no idea. 


The PA who has a smile on her face, or the specialist that takes more than forty five seconds to explain the big words- those are all saints in my book.

The family friend, who came by to deliver casseroles and ends up spending the night to help with the kids, answer the phone, and maintain the low level of chaos- that is a saint. The friend who has not been spoken to in months calls, calls, and calls asking to be helpful- and being sincere- another saint.

The clients, counterparts, and comrades who are praying to their Higher Power for a man they have not met- saints.

We get to see the good in so many people as the bad in this world can help bring it out and make the sun shine.

The good of it is that Brother is improving. What was once inoperable can now be operable. Initially, he could not move his left arm, feel his left side, or walk. By the end of the first day, he could shrug his left shoulder. Then he could "flop his flipper" -- meaning he could flip his left arm, but with no control. Yesterday- oh, yesterday! Yesterday, he could raise his left arm to make his elbow parallel to his shoulder and then rotate his arm above his head before reversing this same action.

Simply put, it was amazing.

Last night, he was discharged from the Neuro-ICU and moved to the Heart and Vascular Institute- a brand new facility in Augusta that people fondly have renamed "The Taj." Because all hospital waiting rooms need a shiny grand piano and all hospital rooms need to be larger than my last apartment and have a flat screen television.

We are making forward motion. And that is vital.

Today they will be performing a nuclear test on Brother's heart as the initial heart cath they planned would be too stressful on his kidneys.

There are more "things" to report, but I cannot place where to put them in a level of importance. For instance, they did an echo of his heart yesterday- both trans-thorasic and TEE to be precise (trans-esophageal echocardiogram... how's that for paying attention?!). The TEE helped to see what was going on behind his heart and confirm that (a) the episode has completed the cycle (read: more strokes were not on the horizon and more clots were not forming- like hurricanes off the coast of Africa) (b) his heart muscle was doing what it was supposed to do and (c) his blood was still moving.

The test confirmed that the stroke "cycle" -for lack of a better word- had completed and there were no hurricanes on the African coast. It also showed that his heart is strong- very strong- and blood is moving. However, it did show that his blood is thick. They used the word "sticky." In my childish mind, I pictured the Elmer's glue from LMC's art box. Blood thinners are now in order.

With that test and the impending test, the doctor's have politely- but firmly- said No Visitors. And I get that. He's not wearing undies. That should be a rule of thumb- when someone is without undies- No Visitors. So noted.

I will try and update once we have the results from the test. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My mind is a-jumble


I have started two different blogs. I have tried to get it right- convey it all. Convey it none.
Paint a positive picture. Paint the emotion.
I have failed.
The bottom line is, my brother is ill.
I have spoken before of how he is my champion, my heart, and the glue that holds me together when times are tough. He is my baby's godfather and was her baby whisperer- holding her in his big arms and making the incessant crying cease when she was no new to this world. He is my common sense, my game planner, and all things wonderful.
And he is sick.
Two days ago, he suffered a moderate stroke that was precipitated by a minor heart attack. Did you know that my brother is only 2 years older than me? 2.5 to be exact. He turned 34 last week.
Currently, we are sharing a room noisy with the silence. It is quiet with the ticking of the wall clock, the swelling of the blood pressure cuff, and the monitors readjusting every few seconds. As it can be, he is as well as can be expected. Within inches of him, I want to put my hand on his wrist- even if it is the wrist he can't feel. I want to take it away- the inability to feel his left side, the pain and the fear of the unknown.
He is resting in the Neuro ICU with an old high school friend as his nurse. I guess that is a pretty good advantage of being home town. And he is loved. 
So very loved. This hospital has been a revolving door of friends, family, clients, former coworkers, and elementary school friends who have not seen him in years. It is overwhelming at the people that have relayed their love, prayers, and concern for this man- my brother. 
I will write more later, I promise. I will update on his progress. But at this moment, I am trying to center my thoughts. On the outside, I am composed. Phone calls to Husband reveal a different side- this side. These jumbled thoughts and teary eyes gather a level of placidness as we hang up the long distance call and the three sets of little eyes look at me with questions and love.
Only one of those three sets knows; LMC and I had a conversation about Uncle Brother. She packed her doctor's ears [stethoscope] and told me she would make Uncle Brother feel all better as she checked my heart over and over. "Sounds good, Ma-Mee. Berry strong."
It's strong with love and heavy with fear. It's strong with faith. And so is Brother's.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What really makes the fire bad...

I wasn't going to say anything, but really... let's just admit it:

I should not drive. Period.

The donation basket will be passed for the salary of my chauffeur. That'd be nice.  And the thing is-- I'm not a bad driver; because of all the tickets I have received over the years- I don't speed anymore.

Well, no more than 3 miles over. Except for the handful of times when the speeding camera dings me and I get a $200 ticket in the mail for going 7 miles over. BTW- the minimum speed the cameras can detect is.... 7 miles over. Sweet.

Or, like the time I ran into the side of a bus. Should I mention that I sideswiped a building once? It's a very common place where cars sideswipe the corner of this building on a pretty regular basis. This dingbat used to scoff at those bad drivers.... not anymore.

Maybe I should just drive a padded car with bad gas milage that's high off the ground and cannot go over 30 mph. It would have to be a very bright color, so other cars could see me and I would need two signs on the back: "Baby on Board" and "Student Driver."

The driving gods disagree with my idea that I should be driving. Take for instance, the other day... We had a great day at the pool and LMC fell asleep eating her turkey sandwich on the way home, a definite sign of a good day. Avoiding traffic, I exit at exit 4... only to hit more traffic.

Long story short (and mostly one I don't want to repeat) ... I got into a fender bender. More his fender of a bender than my bumper- which is what you get when a big ass Tahoe meets a 2009 Volvo station wagon.

Now, let's paint a picture: I have pool hair, a bathing suit on and flip flops. I'm pregnant and have that definite pregnant pooch of a belly. After the bender of a fender, I hop out of my car... in my bathing suit and try to feverishly put on my cover up, but not before an upstanding gentleman in the next lane over rolls down his window and says, "Guhl- you make that suit look good."

Seriously? I'm in traffic, in a wreck, in the summer heat, next to the Capitol on Penn Ave and you are rolling down your window to tell me that I make this bathing suit look good? Well... allow me to stop what I am doing and get your phone number and let's set up a date for later. I had no idea it could be that easy. Sheesh, dude. Keep your air conditioner in your car, please.

Information exchanged, a phone call to Bill the insurance guy, and small talk with the police officer... I notice a crowd of tourists moving slowly around my car.

What now?

I had a bassinet in my front seat that I had just purchased off of Craigslist. It was covering my purse and I had to put it on the ground to get all my necessary information out of said purse. Tourists were stopping to investigate the bassinet... to make sure there was not a baby in it.

I might be a bad driver- but an irresponsible mother [when it comes to car safety]- I am not. Thankyouverymuch. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

Sigh.

A phone call to Husband after I got home proved that he is always the much cooler and calmer one of the two of us. I was the one in tears (blaming the hormones) and all he said was, "Dude- it's fine. That's why we have insurance."

Two days and as many moves in the DOH! direction later- I need a bubble car and a bubble room with no sharp edges.

[when I called Husband about the fire, he did say, "Let's not have anymore accidents for a while, okay?" I promise I will try!]

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wrap me in asbestos

Let's start by saying, it was only a small fire. I didn't even need the fire extinguisher stashed in the cabinet behind the cleaning supplies. I'm contemplating moving it out of there and next to the salt, olive oil dispenser, and bucket o' tools. Mah, it might not go with my ambiance. 

So, where was I? Right-- small fire. 

Because of the rain, the pool plans were cancelled. Which, I get-- but I kinda want to blame my goober friends for not having a sense of adventure-- it's a pool after-all... So today became... Costco day! LMC and I load up in the car drive to Virginia and unload. On the way, a phone call reveals that my brother has salmonella. Ew. Up and down the aisles, picking up prepackaged this and discounted that. Croissants, lobster ravioli, sliced cheese... it all gets loaded into the cart where LMC keeps stacking things around her. 

$189 later, we reload and head home to the 100 degree garage. All of my "cold" items are in two large boxes and LMC is being so helpful bringing boxes into the elevator and asking for assistance when she tries to pick something out of the box and remove it... so she can carry it "ALL BY HERSELF," thus quantifying our trips. 

The elevator is dinging and starting to close on my boxes. We double time and barely miss losing any fingers. Off on the seventh floor, I do things a little differently. Normally, it is ten trips from the car to the elevator. 10 trips from the elevator to the hallway. 10 trips from the hallway to the door. 10 trips from the door to the kitchen. Today though... I'm hungry and tired with a Harris Teeter turkey sandwich in my immediate future. My eyes on the turkey prize, I open the door and set down one of my "cold" boxes on on the stove... 

Yeah, I know.

Back and forth LMC and I trot taking things from the elevator to the kitchen. As I am unloading some items in the fridge and freezer, I notice... a smell. Spying the potato salad from the fourth of July, I assume... that's where it might come from. I pull it out. Unloading... unloading... unloading... finally the smell is just too much. I sniff the milk to see if it had gone south at Costco. Nope. I check the chicken. Nope. I walk into my bathroom to see if I pulled my hair straightener out from underneath the sink (and clutter), plugged it in, and used it... and didn't unplug it. Nope. 

I walk back into the kitchen and I see smoke pillowing from the box on the stove. I scream. LMC screams and says, "RUN MOMMY!" as she tears down the hallway. I move it off, toss everything in the sink... full of potato salad. The box catches... it gets sprayed and quickly dies out. LMC screams, "MOMMY! Save giraffe! Save GIRAFFE!" She wails. 

With the danger at bay, I open the windows while LMC saves her giraffe. The door is opened, the vent is on...

and a neighbor knocks on the open door while I am cleaning.

Apparently, there was smoke outside. Ya think? 

So, rule of thumb.... let's not put boxes on the stove, uhm-kay? Otherwise, on this muggy, muggy day... you'll find yourself air conditioning the outside with watery eyes and a timid child clutching her giraffe. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Uncle Brother!

Mom said we needed to make Uncle Brother a birthday cake. I could not agree more.
(Mom knew on this beautiful day, there were few things that would keep both of us entertained in the apartment without killing each other)

Mom knows how much I like cake batter... and icing. And helping in the kitchen.

I am a really big help. I can crack eggs, measure and pour water.... and keep the bowl clean.

Sous Chef

my egg cracker

water measurer

my really excited water measurer

and stirrer

my astute stirrer watching the blade go this way...

and that way

My cleaner

and taste tester

and cleaner

My little self-cleaner, taste tester


My little cleaner, tester, multi-tasker

My little cleaner, tester, multi-tasker, double dipper

and mess maker.

Maybe she is my professional taster

and professional batter blade licker

or just my little mess-maker


Happy Birthday, Uncle Brother! My Godfather, rain maker, kidnapper, and forever champion! I am a better kid for having you in my life- my mom loves you more than words can say! Daddy- well, dad is just jealous of your Big Green Egg. And he thinks you aren't half bad, either!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

But then again

What's mine is yours, but then again... what's yours is mine.





I have said it before and I will say it one hundred more times before we pack up-- I have some wonderful friends. When we get together there is a silent understanding amongst both the children and the moms--


What's mine is yours. Lunch, babies, wine, chips, diapers, and towels-- there really is no limit.


Six children are easier to watch with six eyes verse one, two, or three children with two eyes. Going to the pool yesterday by myself, it was the little things that I missed about this understanding- like when I needed to get some water and LMC did not want to leave the pool to go with me. Or when I really, really had to use the restroom (which happens a lot when one is with child)- LMC was not interested in being helpful and coming along for the fun of it.

It's easier. It's just easier. I cannot explain why it is easier to slather up two girls with sunscreen at the same time instead of the one or why french fries shared are always tastier than a basket for one. Or parenting the masses and allowing small squabbles to sort themselves out as they always do. It's just easier.


What's mine is yours. The kids get it when it comes to their toys. The moms get it when it comes to a quick errand. But, then again-- what's yours is mine. Your children become my responsibility while you are away, and surprisingly- the kids get that, too. If one of the children cannot spot their mother immediately, a scan to find a "second" quickly soothes any worries. If a mom cannot run an errand with a child, a "second" can pick up the slack.  It just works.


We are lucky, lucky women to spend this time together, raise our children together, and --at least for a while-- grow old together.






Monday, July 9, 2012

Be still my beating heart

Y'all.

Just stop what you are doing.

Right. Now.

Be prepared to start drooling and check this out:




Bon App├ętit inspired this girl to get a little crafty in the kitchen today. And by kitchen- I mean patio. And by patio- I mean rooftop. And by rooftop- I mean grill. And by me- I mean Husband. I prepped- he cooked.

Get this- do you know how easy it is to make grilled flatbread? Seriously? DO YOU?!

Dazzle your friends. Impress your husband- hell, impress your wife. Husband and Wife are about to embark on a whole series of flatbread adventures. With the easiest recipe, ever. Period.

So, step back. Grab your flour. Get ready.

Flatbread
- sent from the Gods to all hostesses that like to casually impress and say things like, "Oh? This? This was nothing." -

4 cups AP flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil/EVOO

Yep. That's it. 

Start by making a sponge (I sound fancy, right?) -- proof the yeast in the water for about five minutes in a large bowl with a sprinkle of sugar. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir to combine. Cover with a towel and walk away.

At least an hour later, come back to your sponge and place in the ever useful Kitchenaid bowl with the dough hook attached. Add the salt and olive oil. Allowing the mixer to do the hard work, add the flour a half cup at the time until combined. Roll out onto the counter and knead into a dough. Toss in a bowl and let rise for about 2 to 2.5 hours. 

Come back to the little nugget sent from Heaven and divide into 3-6 smaller balls. Let rest for another 30 minutes.

Brush the counter with olive oil and roll the dough out to 1/2 - 1/4 inch thickness, brushing both sides with olive oil. 

Get the grill piping hot-- maybe 350-400. Grease grill grates and, if you are feeling froggy or nervous (like I was), brush on more olive oil on the bread. Using your fingers, place on the grates and close the lid. 

Timer on! 3 minutes later- flip with tongs. Timer on! 3 more minutes. Remove and devour.

You're welcome.

As Dorothy would say, "Do write and speak of your mistakes."

Last Night

Husband was on call last night. At 2:32 this morning, there were ear piercing screams. My eyes flick open.

"I stuck."


That'll get you moving, real fast.


Out in the hallway, there she was- clutching her giraffe "innie" (blanket), a heavy feather down, and two friends. The down had pulled the door closed and she could not move forward without having to let it go, which was not going to happen.

Down on my knees, she falls into my lap, openly sobbing.

"Sweet Potato, what's the matter?"
"I just want to get in your bed with your blanket [the white down]."

Normally, this is a hard and fast rule in the Cagle household. The answer is NO. Buttttt, Husband was on call. It was thundering. It was cold in the apartment (we keep it at 63 in the evening). I was a sucker.  I had 30 lame excuses why she should get in bed with me- though all I needed was one.

"Well, that's no reason to scream. I already have a white innie on my bed. Grab your friends and let's be on our way."

Poor pitiful eyes look up at me in the dark with tear streaked cheeks and she threw her arms around my neck and said, "Oh, thank you Ma-mee!"

Sucker. Right here.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blog 3.1

Sorry about this... but I completely forgot the best part about the Fourth of July...

So, there we were-- a family of three watching the fireworks and LMC clapping her hands, unable to contain herself, saying, "BIG BOOM! Mama! BIG BIIIIIIGGGGG BOOM! Daddy, LOOK!"

Once they concluded, we turned around to watch fireworks in all directions popping off from twelve stories below. LMC slowly started to wind back down into Husband's shoulder. After the fireworks started to fade, we rounded up our gear and made our way back to the seventh floor. Husband said, "I don't want it to end. Let's open the windows!"

Our sofa sits under a large window facing the Basilica. The past two years, Husband and Wife have sat on the balcony watching the fireworks go off around the Basilica after the show upstairs. Having no balcony in our new apartment -- and no complaints about this -- Husband, Wife, and LMC sat with our knees on the sofa and our noses pressed to the glass. Like three children waiting to see Santa Claus, every few seconds one of us would say, "Look! LMC! Over there!" and our heads would careen in a new direction.

LMC pointed and said, "I like the green ones the best."

After a lightening quick bath, she was in my arms, fast asleep, dreaming about the green ones popping off into the sky.

Since the fourth, she has looked out the window, careening her head this way and that and saying," Fireworks all gone? Where fireworks go?"


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Four Blogs

I should have posted these as they happened, but... things are busy around here. Sorry.

It's summertime, I cannot imagine what caused me to be so distracted....


***(1)***


July 3rd found LMC and MOM in the kitchen preparing our Fourth of July menu which including homemade strawberry ice cream and baked potato salad. Baked potato salad because it has bacon, scallions, and sour cream. Yum.


 Homemade strawberry ice cream is one of my most favorite things. While not a raging fan of strawberries, nor of regular strawberry ice cream-- combine the homemade bliss with sugar, cream, and vanilla and toss in fresh strawberries... Holy Mackerel, not to be missed.


We cooked. I took pictures.


I sliced strawberries. She ate strawberries. I measured sugar. She poured sugar. I sliced more strawberries. She ate more strawberries. I measured milk and cream. She poured milk and cream. I sliced even more strawberries. She ate even more strawberries.

What doesn't sound amazing about bacon and homemade ice cream?
As the ice cream percolated in the ice cream maker, I cooked bacon. She ate bacon as she licked the ice cream spoon. A perfect combination if you ask me.



***(2)***


As we wind down our wonderful time here, we finally got around to seeing a concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Actually, it was the dress rehearsal- but so much better than the real thing; a fraction of the crowd, a more relaxed atmosphere, and just bits and bits of greatness.


LMC and I trekked down early as Husband was working late. I packed a picnic supper for sandwiches, chips, and lots and lots of water in the cooler as the mercury continued to creep closer to triple digits. There was no denying the heat and I pitied the poor guy sitting next to us who carried 7 pizzas eight blocks to get here. That had to be hot.


It was one of those timeless moments; moments that I wanted to stop the clock, freeze time, and encapsulate this moment of family perfection for all eternity. LMC wore a red and white seersucker sailor dress and, literally, ran circles around our blanket with a level of energy never before seen.


Husband walked from the apartment and we were happy to have him join us. As I snapped 285 blurry pictures trying to catch her running, LMC ran circle after circle and making friend after friend.


Her dinner consisted of Chee-tos, potato chips, 'Nilla Wafers, water, and Goldfish. Dinner of champions, I know. Music from the live orchestra rang out and songs about Yankee Doodle, a Grand Old Flag, and the stars with those stripes made me both happier and sadder than I had been in a long time.

LMC while singing the National Anthem-- hand over her heart like Mama and Daddy
Happy for the experience; sad to leave it.


Isn't he dashing? I think so

Halfway through the show, a woman came over the loud speaker, announced impending weather, and sent the crowd on their way. We were packed up and off the lawn in under a minute, moving like the wind. As we walked up to the car and loaded the last bag, the rain came.  


Even with the heat.

Even with the humidity.


Even with Husband's work keeping him longer than anticipated.


Even with the heat.


Did I mention the heat? 


Even with my failed attempts at the fancy camera and the 285 blurry pictures.


It was perfection.





***(3)***


Shortly before the fireworks started, Husband and Wife sat in lounge chairs with LMC cuddling up on her da-dee's chest. As I sipped an O'Doul's and Husband with his Miller Lite, I half jokingly, poked out my bottom lip and said, "MIR! I don't wanna go home." Husband- in his infinite wisdom, smiled, took my hand and said, "Honey, we are home," meaning that while home will constantly be an evolution of our address, home is with each other.


And that's going to be amazing.



***(4)***


I can't remember. This is why I should post these things more often.