Sunday, October 30, 2011

Writer's Block- unblocked

I know where the writer's block is coming from. I want to tell the story of the greatest summer ever- the summer of dancing in the middle of a cow field on fresh beach sand, a stove hiding in the unfinished den, the summer of boys, boys, and ... more boys. There were farm trips, camping trips, shanty trips, more than one lake rendezvous, and we are not even to the fourth of July.

We would keep our watermelon cold by throwing it in the lake. We would have high school parties and spend our mornings planning our evenings. We would work when we needed money, but mostly tried to pass the time until we were together again. Every night brought a new adventure, a new disposable camera and new pictures from the night before.

This was the last summer of truly being young and carefree, while still being an adult. We were in our twenties. We were carefree and we were in love with being out of love.

It was awesome.

It was the summer that changed everything. 

Is is, however, a different story.

So, let's back up...

Prom Queen & I were at the twenty-somethings Social Mecca. A medical student would boldly make his way to the Mediterranean goddess that stood next to me (AKA- Prom Queen) and introduce himself. I didn't catch his name but caught the tail of the conversation as he walked off; Prom Queen's number in his phone.

"There is no way he is in medical school," I said, maybe a little too matter-of-factly.
"Oh, I know," PQ said, "But, good grief he's cute. He said he'd call me tomorrow."
"I mean, it's Wednesday," I said, "What medical student could go out on Wednesday night & be at school on Thursday?"

Turns out, that since we were not medical students.... we did not know.

"What was his name, anyway? He looks familiar...." Wife said...


John never folded into Team Prom the way everyone else did. At one point, he commented that we spoke our own language (we did) and asked if we had been friends since third grade (we weren't). John needed reinforcements. John needed bait.

What group of twenty-somethings can turn down a baseball game? Team Prom was having a prom committee meeting at a baseball game on a Thursday evening in early May. Section 22, behind the first base line. Maybe it was outfield? Whatever, we weren't there for the game. We had no idea who we were playing. Much like the [Masters] Tournament, there are two types: Those that go to see and those that go to be seen.

Team Prom was in the second category. And it was bad ass.

PQ & I arrived fashionably late. John was waiting for us with his class who had just finished exams and they were ready to blow it out of the water. Every first year medical student in section 21 had a cup in hand and handful in the bleachers at their flip-flopped feet in front of them. They were pale as the fluorescent bulbs of the library fail to give that healthy Vitamin D glow we all strive for. But, they looked relaxed & happy to be out from the cadavers, professors, and elated about the glorious four months that stretched before them- their last four months of freedom.

We paid our $8 to get in, grabbed $1 cup and started over to the stairs between Section 21 & Section 22- our locals were in 22 & Team Prom was waving from the top. I had on a (probably too short) pink linen skirt & PQ was wearing a (probably too short) madras patchwork skirt. We had spent the day on the river before showering and heading downtown to the baseball stadium.

And then, there are those days that everything just goes right. Your hair is a little easier to style and looks jaw-dropping. The radio is playing all great music. The too tight skirt is a little looser. There are nothing but green lights. A nice man smiles and lets you cut in front of him as he is still waiting. Someone dropped a $5 bill. There is that long lost friend who screams your name out of the blue. And you know everyone. It's just one of those days when the winds are in your sails and the sun is kissing your face.

This day was my green-light-$5-kind of day. Everything was going right. I had my very best friend, Prom Queen as my running mate and we were out to conquer everything without fear. We start climbing the stairs heading up to the Team and everyone knows us. It was probably the first time since being in high school and going to the home football game that this has happened.

"Hey, Clark."
"Hey, Wife."
"Hey, Michelle."
"Hey, Wife."
"Hey, Robert!"
"Jordan! How are you?"
A shake of his cup & nod answered my question.

You get the idea, it was amazing- looking left to our old friends and right to our college friends and friends of friends- climbing the stairs to our troupe. John got up and walked towards Prom Queen for a kiss before continuing to climb. I caught sight of a face that looked familiar in Section 21, next to Jordan, but could not place his name. Continuing to climb, a drawl of a recognized south Georgia boy said, "Maiden Wife. How the hell are ya?" and took a sip from his cup. Obviously, some liquid courage was needed, because Look At Me. I know everyone. I'm hot. I'm awesome. I'm so much older than that nervous new kid in Athens who went on 862 first dates.

I look. I stare. I'm clueless. His name... good grief... what. is. his name. Hell. quick, think fast....


"Hey, Sweetheart- the question is, 'How are you?' and 'Where have you been all my life?'" Yeah, that'll buy me a second....

Come on, Moultrie, glasses, little sister, SAE pledge, oh GEEZ, left handed, this is ridiculous... what is his name?


Keep moving. You're cool. You wait for no one.

I climb to the top, while Prom Queen stops and meets John's band of pale ones before we call the meeting to order.

"Husband was cute, how do you know him?" she would ask.

HUSBAND! That was his name! HUSBAND!

"Long story, but I haven't seen him in ages. Last I heard, he was dating one of my pledge sisters- I think..."


PS- I need a better nickname for Prom Queen. Queenie insinuates an African American cross-dressing transvestite. PQ just sounds a little weird and p-r-o-m--q-u-e-e-n is really long.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Writer's Block

I am at a complete writer's block right now because I want to get it right. I want this next part to convey all the fun, the youthfulness, and companionship we had during the greatest summer ever. So, here I sit- writing, erasing, writing, saving... rewriting.... trashing.... so, give me a minute. I'm getting back to the story of Husband.

How do I introduce the two law students and convey their personalities?

How do I explain the third grade romance and sixth grade actions?

There's so much to tell and I need to get it right.

So, just another moment please.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More flowers from sweet Husband

Have you ever seen such a pretty rose? I haven't.

Make these!

These are so good... I woke up in the middle of the night last night to eat one. Go in with fair warning!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar 
(we're off to a good start!)
1 egg, slightly beaten
melted chocolate (let's keep it even-- 1 cup)

Mix first three ingredients and spread in the bottom of a small square or rectangle pan. Make smooth with your fingers and bake in a preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes (350). Remove and spread melted chocolate over. Let cool.... and be prepared to be addicted.

Cookies can also be made- 24 1.5 inch balls and mash with a fork. Drizzle with chocolate upon cooking. They will take about 12 minutes in the same 350 oven.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Prom Season

I don’t care what side of the break up- whether break-er or break-ee- nobody leaves happy. 
The Boy and I made plans. Our plans fell through. 
My bags packed, my house sold, and I am home with my tail between my legs. Little did I know at that lonely moment I was not alone. 
Tractor was home. **
Prom Queen was home. ** 
Chicken was home. **
Copper was home. **
It was March and spring was around the corner. As in high school, Brother would let me pal around with him and his friends. My insurance practice was hardly off the ground and I was in the school of [very] hard knocks. It was the two of us, both newly single and both on the prowl. We were buddies in that way only siblings can be.
It was on one of these prowls that I reconnected with Prom Queen, a friend from 10 years prior. Queenie, for short, just moved home from Michigan. Prior to this, she did not qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics USA rowing team. The other coxswain (pronounced Cox-N) and Queenie went head to head in the closest time ever noted. Queenie was 1/16 of a second slower than the future Olympic medal winner. She was on a date, so we exchanged numbers on our very modern flip phones and went about our evening. 
The next day while picking out paint chips for my new condo, Queenie actually called Wife. We made a dinner date. Over pizza and diet coke, a plan was hatched.
Being from Augusta, there is a natural want to inbreed. A transient city we are not. Friendships are formed on the first day of pre-k through parents who were best friends since birth. These relationships over crayons and construction paper will last through marriage and babies as the cycle continues. Queenie and Wife had these same friends, but wanted something more. We wanted to be friends with everyone- the cool kids, jocks, nerds, hippies, and everyone else. 
We wanted to be the Prom Queen(s).
It was an unfortunate joke that would stick with us and lay the roots for Team Prom. WWTPQD? (she would have fun.)
And so we were. We called ourselves Augusta’s Welcome Wagon. Everyone new to town could find a friend in us and we knew no stranger- they were sought out as future friends. Augusta is a hard nut to crack. No one loves our hometown more than Queenie and Wife, and we wanted everyone else to love it as much as we did. 
Forgetting every mother’s maiden name, who debbed where, or what silver pattern their grandmother had- we moved forward into the greatest summer ever. By opening our minds and stepping out of our comfort zone, we found undying friendships in each other and in our “DF&PC.”
We were willing to do everything ridiculous that seemed like it might lead to fun. Two weeks after the Masters was prom season. Eating lunch at Chicken’s restaurant, Queenie and Wife thought it would be an excellent idea to wear our prom dresses to the local watering hole (yes, the very same holograph dress) as it was our alma mater’s prom night. Queenie’s mother would drop us off at the door that night and toot the horn as she left. We’d catch cabs home. Our “dates” Tractor, Chicken, and Copper were told to wear tuxes... they thought we were kidding. 
So, there we were. Surrounded by friends and strangers alike. In our prom dresses last worn seven years prior. Six years if it was shiny. What should have been embarrassing did nothing short but cement ourselves and the start of a wonderful friendship.
Queenie passes me a pair of sunglasses from her circa 1996 purse and we step inside. The band stopped. Big John at the door gave us a high five and Mattie the bartender grabbed two Miller Lites for us. Cards dropped with Mattie and to the dance floor for Proud Mary with the likes of Miss Tu-Tu Divine.
We were in our early 20s, we knew everyone and wanted to know more, we were outgoing, getting boys phone numbers and not calling. We owned Augusta.
A few nights later, Queenie and I would be back at the same watering hole in jeans when a medical student would walk up to us and ask her for her name.
“Queenie,” she would say, “What’s yours?”
**sidenote: These ‘nicknames’ are what I am using to identify them as if trying to protect the innocent and guilty alike, however poorly. Some are better than others. We called ourselves many dumb things, but these names were not one of them, except for Prom Queen.**

A Fallen Officer

Recently, Augusta lost a police officer. His funeral is today and while I did not know the man- I know what he stood for, what he protected us from, and what his calling was.

An excerpt from today's newspaper:

“It’s a dangerous business we’re in,” Grossman said. “We come out here and work every day dealing with people that are dangerous, on drugs, on alcohol, mentally unstable, but we do it because we’re the protectors. (Paugh) was a protector.”
Grossman looked out at the crowd, digging his hands in his pocket, and tried to find the words to describe his friend.
“Do you know what ‘cop’ means? It means Champions of the People. That’s what he was.”

May the Lord protect those who protect us and may J.D. be resting in peace in a better place. Thank you for people like him.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bad Intel

This next part is much shorter, as it comes from what Husband told me years later about The Note. 
Husband got out of his biology class early that April day and saw The Note. He read it, smiled (I added the smile) and headed back to the fraternity house to call me. He had no Nokia. Frank was there and K.C. was cooking lunch. 
The conversation broke down something like this: 
Hey, Frank. You know Brother, right?
Yeah- live with him. 
Cool, I was going to call Wife and see if she wanted to get together tonight. Ya know anything about her?
Wife? I think she’s dating someone
Really? She left me a note on my car to call her today. 
That’s really shady- yeah, I’m sure she’s dating someone and they are pretty serious, too. She took him to the Masters the other day. Brother hasn’t met him yet, but heard he was a real [insert a handheld device a mechanic would use].
Hunh, really?
Uh-okay, never mind. 
And that.... was that. For now. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm fun. I'm cool.

He didn't call.

How could he not call? I'm fun, I'm cool. I left a note. On a car. That's something someone fun & cool would do, right?

It's fine. It's totally fine. Whatever. Like I said- I'm fun... I'm cool.

I was showered, my work was done, and there was no way that after the dreadful date the day before was I going to sit around my sorority house feeling sorry for myself. There was no box to check in regards to my like-ability. It was not written in Crayola. No love had been confessed and I was surely not a secret admirer.

Nothing to be embarrassed about; it was just a note from a girl who wanted a free beer from a boy.

There is no better time and place to be a co-ed than springtime in Athens. It was springtime & I was a co-ed. Summer was around the corner and I would be moving to Morton Ave- my first time out of the sorority house.

I pull on my sexiest jeans, heels, and halter top. I make a plan that involves shooting pool at the Chi Phi house before heading downtown. I'm running out the door and heading to my Miata with the Nokia cell in my hand calling Miranda.

Back in my room, the phone rings.

He's calling! It's Husband! My purse hits the floor with the Nokia and my shoes. I'm rounding the corner back to my room before the second ring. Miranda is coming through the ear piece, "hello? hello?" from the floor.

Be cool... be cool...oh, geez, why am I too cheap for caller id? 

Hello? (breezy- I can be breezy. This is great. I'm already dressed with plans, so we can meet up later. That shows that this girl does not wait around the house to be called. Fun & cool people make their own plans.)

"Hey, Kid. How'd the date go yesterday?" the boy from his fraternity house a state away asked.

Husband? Husband Who?

"Hey, You. Awful. Just awful. He was miserable. Like 10 kinds of miserable. Who forgets their wallet when they are on a date at the Augusta National? Hell, who forgets their wallet- period? He did not even say thank you. To top off the last two days .... [insert story of the note on Husband's car here]....What really kills me? I have this KKG/Theta date night next week and I am not taking my cousin again. People are starting to talk. Ugh, I might skip it. It's not like I have to be in attendance to get the T-Shirt. But, Woodstick's playing and I hear they're great. Maybe I'll call [my cousin] and see if he is free."

A deep laugh over the long distance call and an unpredicted response, "Hey- take me. I'll be home next week. It'd be fun. I mean, unless you want to call T.D.J. [Terrible Date {Name}] back and see if he can make an even bigger ass out of himself. I'll spring for the drinks."

Wait? What? Was I getting asked out on a date? To my own social? Nope- just friends. Just. Friends. A bottle of those feelings had been corked up pretty tightly the last six months and there was no way I wanted a long distance relationship. Friendships are easier, anyway.

"Really? You'd go?" [what kind of question was that? Of course he'd go. I'm fun & COOL- remember?]

The week came and went. The Boy showed up at the house of a friend. A high five and we were out the door. We made a deal to date for the summer and be done. Long distance relationships are ridiculous and impractical in college. Four years later, we would still be together and making plans.

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan. In my case, God has laughed a lot.

The second greatest summer kicked off with a bang. I was wrapped up in my new girlfriends, making summer friends, working on my tan and putting some cash in my checking account. I had a great boyfriend who was not a terrible date, like all the 862 other terrible first dates I had been on. Frank and I would hang out on the porch when Miranda or The Boy were not around, eating turkey sandwiches and admiring the field in front of us that was growing houses.

The summer was concerts, fireworks, beach trips, running through open grass fields at night and all things mischievous. I learned how to skip stones and took all day fishing trips with my dad in the deep sea. I'd snap more than one fishing line and filet my own catch. I would be debbing in three months and there was dress shopping to be done. My little red Miata flew all over I-20 to the beach, back to Athens, and everywhere in between.

I forgot about the note. I forgot about Husband. There was too much else to do.

It seemed, that he forgot about me, too.

Did I mention that Frank was an SAE with Husband?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

High Fives & Beer

This story is so much better in person around the dinner table. It takes a long time to tell it- but in the end, it's totally worth it. I hate those stories that are completely encapsulated in "we met in a bar" or "we met at a date night in college" ... there is no panache, no zing, and just no life behind that statement.

So, I called Husband up and had no way to decipher between Husband and Roommate as both had

* Husband for a name
* hometowns in Moultrie
* glasses
* brown hair
* little sisters
* SAE pledge-ship
* left hand dominance

Seriously? What were the odds?

So, life moved forward to the greatest summer ever. Enter Team Prom. Enter "My Pious Friends & Drunken Companions." Enter 2004.

Wait, let's back up.

There are two summers that are truly iconic in my mind. Summers that exemplify what a summer should be and summers that dread the coming of fall and the ending of the greatest times.


Summers are always fun, but if you get one summer like this-- inseparable friends, tall tales, every day a new adventure, cold lake water, shag dancing in the sand, bon fires, hot sun, never a problem kind of summer, count your blessings.

I am lucky enough to have two.

The first was 2001.

When it ended, I was on a date at Speakeasy- what was supposed to be the Last Date with my summer love. We went into our summer knowing that we would conclude at Labor Day. It was pragmatic and it made sense. We were very sensible people.

The summer ended, he did not.

There I go again- getting ahead....

Summer, 2001.

It was my first summer in Athens. Brother had just graduated from UGA & he had this ah-mazing shack on Morton Ave, in the heart of Five Points and all things college. My roommates were my brothers two best friends, Frank & Murray. We shared a bathroom that had never been cleaned and I lived on the sun porch that had windows all the way around. I would open them at night when it rained and it felt like camping- complete with running water and a bathroom.

The shower had a window high enough to cover your goods and held a crackly radio. I wore flip flops in there and Frank taught me how to fix the toilet when it would not stop running. I lived off eggs and Diet Coke. It was summer of that song, "One bottle of wine, two dixie cups, three AM I fell in love...."

Miranda and I would stay up until dawn eating ice cream on the front porch. One of us would swing and the other would be sprawled out on the half wall that wrapped around the front porch. Across the street, a developer had torn down two houses and was replacing them with four "modern" homes for rent. We watched them being built that summer.

We would walk to Son's of Italy for dinner, hand wash our dishes, and build small fires in the backyard. We'd lay on the driveway when it was too hot to be inside with icy bottles and try to find a cooler temperature as July sweltered on.

The summer prior, I spent it at the beach and came back to Athens with an amazing tan and a new-found self confidence. No sweaty fingers. No worries. The first day back, the entire sophomore class convened at Bourbon Street bar where there was no air conditioner, the credit card machine didn't work, and all they had was Natural Light beer. Cheap-- but effective.

The SAEs were playing pool in the back, by the bathrooms. I made my way to the eternal ladies' line when a boy said, "WIFE!" from across the green felt. A smile between the two and Husband made his way over.

A high five between the future Mr. & Mrs. and we struck up a conversation. He passed his que off to his partner and bought us a round.

I bought the next.
He bought the last.

A high-five out and they were off to their antebellum mansion and we were off to ours. Summer was over & fall was here. Rush started the next day and there was ever-important work to be done.

And so, that is how it went that entire year. We would run into each other at the bars, on campus, at parties, on sidewalks, and on the road. Always with a high five, always one buying the first and the other buying the next. Always ending with a high five out.

Never a question for a phone number.
Never an invitation for a date or an upcoming social.
Never a question to relationship status.

Just a whole lot of high-fives and rounds of beer.

Enter spring 2001. This was getting a little ridiculous. I was looking for him when I went out, trying to be cool & not succeeding. The first week of April brought a horrible date from the Kappa Sigma fraternity down to Augusta & I thought I was going to kill him. So much for my cousin telling me how much fun he was. He wasn't. He forgot his wallet. He complained. He was annoying. And I had to spend the whole day with him on the golf course.

Whatever. I get back to Athens & see Husband's teal Ford Explorer the next day in a parking lot. Shuddering with the prior day still fresh on my mind, I had nothing to lose except a sheet of paper.

No hesitation: "Husband! Call me! It's your turn to buy! 555-4693 -Wife"

Literally, I skipped away.
He was going to call.
I was so sure, I went ahead and got a shower.
He was going to call.
I should probably go ahead and get my work done, so that when he called- I could go ahead and get ready.
He was going to call...

He didn't call.

What does this have to do with the summer? I'm getting there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking me back causes me to move forward

Until yesterday, the irony that my costume was dubbed "My Future" when Husband and Wife met escaped me.

So, where were we? Right.... right... right... we were at the bar with the infamous Discover card.

I knew his name was Husband.
I knew he was an SAE pledge.
I knew I had a date night coming up & no idea how to ask a boy I didn't know out on a date.

(I'd learn, but it would take a while. I would learn a lot about the male persuasion, actually. Eventually, I would have to go on 865 other first dates before Husband.)

Two days later- those are the rules for the boys, right?- Two days later, the Stalker Guide (AKA the Greek Directory) was in my lap. Leafing through the fraternities until SAE and browsing the long list until the first Husband with the first 357 prefix of a phone number.

He was a freshman so he could be in the dorms.  It was a gamble- but you can't win if you don't play.


My fingers start sweating. I swallow. It's a big school- how hard could this be? He says no- I never have to see him again.


Who am I kidding? I will just call an old high school friend and take them. I've been in Athens for two months. This is ridicu--

Them: Hello?
Me: Hi. This is Wife. Is Husband there?

Them: Which one?
Me: Hunh? Oh, well the one that's an SAE pledge.

Them: Which one?
Me: Um, the one's that from Moultrie.

Them: Which one?
Me: Oh uh, the one that's left handed.

Them: Which one?
Me: The one that wears glasses

Them: Which one?
Me: The one that has a little sister

Them: Which one?
Me: The one that... forget it. I don't want ask you out on a date anyway.

Me: Click.

Like I said- we met when we were freshmen. Not the end. Not by a long shot.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Going to Athens takes me back

Husband met Wife at the SAE/KKG Halloween social in 1999. I was wearing my prom dress from the year before -- renamed as a costume, “Jenny- the druggy years.” It was a short silver dress with hologram checks. Silver hose, lots o’ body glitter, and iridescent shoes completed the outfit. 
It was bright. 
It was sassy. 
It was so very tacky. 
When asked what I was (as the other sorority sisters opted for “Hooters” and the Playboy bunnies), it ranged from “Jenny” to “a ray of light”, to “my future”... among other things. 
Sweet Husband was a pledge. He was dressed as Richard Simons. By his choice...
Husband’s roommate was also a pledge. He was a roller derby queen, complete with the roller skates. Again, his choice...
Wife was dancing with Roommate at One Love (which, when my inlaws would receive Husband’s credit card bill, my FIL would call him to say that his mother is crying- thinking Husband used the card at a brothel. What an advanced society we live in- a brothel that takes Discover.), complete with his skates. Super T was playing. It was ten kinds of awesome. 
Roller Skating Derby Queen was not a bad dancer - considering he had skates. So, I should not have been shocked when he spun me, his skates would come out from underneath him, and we would topple into a wall of kegs. Literally. One Love had kegs stacked on kegs stacked on kegs on the far left end by the stage. 
As the kegs came tumbling down, Richard Simons pounced into action. Helping “My Future” (as I was at the moment) first up from the kegs, Mr. Simons asked “My Future” if he could buy her a shot.
“I’m sorry, I don’t take shots. You can, however, buy me a beer.”
Up to the bar, the infamous Discover card laid down.
Think that’s the end of the story? 
Not by a long shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WOW, that feels so much better!

Greetings from the former meet-the-newest-cagle (who is now almost 2 point 5) and the current Life-Of-Cagle, a total pull from Life of Pi.

So, let's start fresh.


I'm your hostess to this story, known fondly by my dashing husband as Wife. Yep, that's my nickname and I love it so much it is embroidered on my Christmas stocking (that Husband forgot to stock last year, but that's a different story).

Husband is around a little bit- not as much as I would like, but he is a pediatrician doing an ICU fellowship. Last week, he worked 112 hours (let's think about this... there are, what, like 140 hours in a week, right?). Like I said, for the first year of LMC's life, we called him the Curly Headed Man. Curly Headed Man is not embroidered on his stocking; Husband is.

Which brings me to LMC- the star, the future debutante, and current two year old light of happy things little girl. It's a lot of adjectives, but the point is- Little Miss Cagle is some kind of wonderful and we are some kind of lucky to have her. LMC has a tiny stocking- it can fit in the palm of your hand with no embroidered nickname, but a whole lot of fluff around the top. It's precious.

Husband is from Moultrie- a pin dot in the southern part of Georgia. Southern-Southern. Moultrie still has a town square and a Christmas festival with lights strung over the streets the whole way downtown. Picture "A Christmas Story" and you're getting close. The stores stay open late and serve hot cider on the evening of Thanksgiving, some with a little more kick than others. Husband's father-- FIL-- goes to Miss Judy's and buys MIL (mother in law) a Christmas present. Every Christmas since their first. Husband is one of five and 4 out 5 in the pecking order. All five are married and there are nine nieces and nephews. Eighty Seven if you count dogs. I don't.

Wife is from Augusta and I love being from Augusta. Among other things, the world gets a snapshot into my humble home one week out of the year. My daughter plays with practice golf balls from the Augusta National and patchwork madris has a way of finding my closet. Maybe the seersucker screams for companionship. Green is my favorite color- but pink seems to coming up a strong second. Something I swore to avenge with all the pink my mom put me in as a child. LMC won't hate pink, not because she does not have a closet full, but because she is way more laid back that I am- she gets that from Husband.

I'm Catholic. I love being Catholic. Husband and I were married in the Presbyterian church by his hometown minister and I would not trade that for the world. Recently, we had our marriage blessed in the Catholic church in, quite possibly, the fastest ceremony ever. It was 109 degrees in the church, our children were antsy in their Sunday best, and LMC had to have a diaper change in the vestry before we got started.

"So this is why you have children after you get married, hunh, Father?" I commented as wipes were being tossed and diapers replaced with world record speed and efficiency. Please, if I can change a diaper at Trusty's Bar- surely I can change one at the church.

The priest was sweating, the babies squirming, but Husband and Wife were grinning ear to ear. We were married and in love all over again. Everyone should renew their vows.

A reception of cheap champagne, beer, and wine with our favorite couple- who stood in as matron of honor and best man with the babies in the back of the dark bar. It might have been the Hawk & Dove- it might have been a front for the Mexican drug cartell. Didn't care- we were where we wanted to be, babies, friends, wine, and conversation. As newlyweds.

We live in DC and are almost half way through our big city adventure. Our lives have been lived three years at a time. College, medical school, residency, fellowship- almost 15 years of getting to an "end" which is supposed to be a "beginning" but we like to refer to it as a "goal." Our apartment is teeny tiny- 1056 square feet. My first house was bigger than that. Hell, our master bedroom in our last house was only 156 square feet smaller. My SIL (Sister in Law) has some pretty fabulous antiques, chairs, and furniture on loan to her until we wind up this 1,056 square foot adventure. I miss my fine china, pantry shelves from William-Sonoma, and LMC's window treatments. In that order.

Husband collects wife Le Creuset pots and pans. My SIL (same one who has our furniture) once told Husband that he should never give a gift that has a handle. Once, she got a vacuum from a future ex-boyfriend. Gotta agree with that thinkin'. So, the Le Creuset are "I love you" presents, as long as I continue to cook.

We make the best of our small space by living big, loving big, and dreaming big. I'll close for now. LMC is stirring from her nap & Husband will be home any minute.


I'm sitting in the dark right now as LMC is watching Mickey Mouse before nap time. I have decided it is time to do a little streamlining- shortening the name of the ole' blog. So, we have a new home- as soon as I figure out how to import/export, that is.

I will keep you posted, but please make a note--- it seems  a little easier than meetthenewestcagle DOT blogspot DOT com. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way- Mickey Mouse is doing the hotdog dance, thus it is time to tell the trains "night night."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Holly's House

Say hi to Holly:

Holly and I are Kappas- Kentucky & UGA. Holly was our traveling consultant and by far, my favorite. So much so, I used precious funds to not only purchase an extra picture from Picture Man (a ridiculous $3.50), but to track her down & MAIL her the picture. This was from Halloween, 2001- Kalling All Kappas with Kappa Sigma, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Delta... and some others, but my brain has been out of Greek mode for too long.

Holly was down to earth, laid back, and just... fun. She laughed at late night rendezvouses of Easy Mac & had all kinds of funny stories, not to mention an encyclopedia of KKG knowledge, that I thought was really cool. 

This picture was taken over four years after her boyfriend was murdered in front of her. She was then brutally raped and left for dead. 

Didn't see that one coming, did you? 

Neither did we. Normally traveling consultants would lecture us about partying too much-- but we had the highest GPA out of any KKG chapter-- so it was hard to listen. Normally traveling consultants are incredibly dry, have the wit of a dead flower, and are not much fun. 


Holly was so energetic, so entertaining, so down to earth, and just so *normal* that we, as a chapter, took to her and contrary to past TC's- welcomed her to socials, parties, and dinners, completely unbeknownst to her story until later. 

This is me saying how proud I am to know this wonderful woman and know her story. This is me saying that survival is in anyone- Holly stared the devil in the face and lived to tell her story, lived to thrive, and lived to see him punish for his awful deeds.

It was surreal; several weeks ago I was going to bed at my parents house and trying to find something to watch on the internet. 48 Hours Mystery is always a last choice favorite. Within 30 seconds of the latest episode, Holly's face popped up on my computer as if we were on Skype. I jumped back and slammed the computer shut. I knew the story, I knew the tragedy, I did not need to hear it again- but I did want to hear from Holly.

Google led me to her email & her email led me to reconnect with her, years later. Holly is an inspiration and a living messenger from God. This world is a better place because of people like Holly.

If you have 41 minutes- it is worth your time.

If you have extra and want to give- it is worth it.

The Grocery List

Sometimes, Husband will see Wife's grocery list on the counter. Sometimes, on the list he will add flowers for my beautiful wife.

Wife is happy to oblige his wishes (and save about $75 on having them delivered- which he is happy to spend, I... the eternal cheapskate... would rather not).

For the past few days, these happy little guys have been the first thing I see when the trolley bells awaken me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a conversation relayed that is being re-relayed

Yesterday, An-Ew's mom helped me out and let LMC nap at her house. Simple task, right?

It was almost too good to be true.

Up the stairs and through the door, An-Ew & LMC holding hands and hopping, each trying to out-hop the other. As nap time quickly neared, Bits (as LMC calls her, which I think is adorable) scooped up the princess to place her in JJ's crib.

NONONONONONONONONONO.... as LMC shuttered in fear, practically crawling up Bits' arm to her shoulder, you know... like a parrot.

LMC: An-ew's bed? Look, An-Ew's bed. I sleep An-Ew's bed.
Bits: Sure, why not?

Tucked toe to toe, she closed the door and thought, "Three? This is a piece of cake."

After about 30 minutes she started hearing this:

Hi An-Ew!
Hi Leen!

a pause....

An-Ew: Wake?
LMC: Wake!
LMC: Wake?
An-Ew: Wake!
LMC: Cool beans

a longer pause....

An-Ew wake?
An-ew wake.
Leen wake?
Leen wake.
Hi An-Ew.
Hi Leen.

a new pause...

An-Ew bed.
My bed!
Yeah, An-Ew's bed. Leen sweep An-Ew's bed.
Leen's bed!
NO! An-Ew's bed! An-Ew sweep An-Ew's bed.
NO! Leen's bed! MINE!

((oh dear... so much for this being a breeze and my assurance that LMC is such a great sleeper, she'd go right down))

Quietly, Bits opens the door and in that very soft spoken Alabama drawl she said something to the effect of- no naps? okay, let's go play quietly.

And off they went, to let JJ continue his nap in peace.

They're so cute. I'm so in love.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Potty Training... a work in progress

When LMC crosses her legs and starts squirming, it's a sure sign that she is avoiding gardening.

Mama: LMC, let's go to the potty.
Mama: Okay, come on- let's get dots (M&Ms) and toys. Let's [plant a daisy].
LMC: noooo..... T-T-potty!
Mama: Whatever, let's just GO!

We scoop. We run. We celebrate.

Today, well, not to get into specifics, all three Cagles were home and LMC's bathroom was occupied. LMC's legs were crossed and was refusing to garden. 

Mama: Come one, LMC- let's go sit on Mommy's potty! Let's go!

We scoop. We run. We sit. We wait.
And wait.
And wait.
And wait.

The smallest daisy was procured with a gleeful "I DEED IT! Mommy! Look! I deed it!"

Mama: You did, Baby. Do you have to go any more?
LMC: I go t-t-potty.

Mama: Okay, let's go T-T-Potty.
LMC: Make water? Mommy, make water?

Mama: Go ahead; make water.
LMC: All done, Mommy.

Mama: Okay, let's go knock on the door and tell Daddy what you did. 

No diaper (foolish), she hops out of her garden and runs down the hall calling, "Da-Dee!" the whole way. 

Mama: Tell Da-Dee what you did while I round up aforementioned dots.
LMC: "Da-Dee, I [planted a daisy]!" .... a pause.... "Uh-Oh, it happens."

Mama & Da-Dee in unison (one of us from behind the door): What happens, Baby?
LMC: Look, Mommy, I make water. ONEEEEEE dot!

Oh dear.... yes, yes you did. Good thing I just bought some Lysol.