Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation Time

Brad has had the Carlsbad flu several times this season. We all have. So it wasn't a huge shocker that while under a tremendous amount of stress (you know, moving, fixing the house, working, yadda, yadda), he came down with the flu again.

The only weird part is that I never caught it.

But that weekend, my parents came to take us to Utah, so we didn't think about it much anyway. That week Brad carried Claire (and sometimes Grace) up to the Timponogos caves:
We played at South Fork Canyon (where Grace gashed her head and nearly went in for stitches--Thank goodness my dad was there to fix it): By the end of the next week (at our "Winters are Hot" Bear Lake Family Reunion), Brad was feeling crummy again, but still well enough to survive some excellent wipeouts on the wakeboard and tube.
Well, that wasn't his best moment.

And then, this Monday, he endured an evening of shmoozing at a wedding reception for one of my good friends, Deja.
And here he is on Wednesday:

I can sort of explain, although I will come out as the worst, most unattentive wife ever. I am repentant. Neither of us really wanted to go to the hospital because we didn't want to pay the fees. But under the insistence of Aunt Kathleen, GG, and with some cash she stuck in my pocket, we headed to the ER. Just to make sure that his constant abdominal pain was nothing too serious.

Good thing.

Because after urine and blood tests and finally a CT scan, we discovered that Brad's usually pinky-sized appendix was the size of a softball. And it had already ruptured. Two weeks ago. On the date that he came down with his non-infectious "flu."

The promised hour-long appendectomy turned into a two-and-a-half hour procedure which also included the removal of parts of his intestine (which had been completely infected by his appendix). Our Oxford-Duke-Johns Hopkins trained surgeon said this surgery was very rare and was more complex than he had anticipated. And as a side note he mentioned that the infection would have continued to spread had we not come in, eventually proving fatal.

We were that close (insert mini pinched fingers here) to not going in. Too close.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bet Your Bottom Dollar

Grace loves to sing. And today's song of choice happened to be "Tomorrow." She unfortunately really only remembers the first line. Which meant about a hundred reruns through the phrase, "I love ya, tomorrow, you're only a day away!"

To the relief of my fragile sanity, she eventually continued on to the rest of the song. Well, sort of. Her high little voice continued, "Tomorrow, spank their bottoms they'll come out tomorrooooowww... come what maaayy!"

In case you haven't seen Annie, those are not actually the words.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Laughin' at Clouds

You know the adage, "When it rains it pours?" I used to have a hard time relating to that. Because in Washington it just mostly drizzles. Constantly. No pouring. But whoever coined that phrase hailed from Carlsbad because that is exactly what happens here.

A single rain in this city causes street floods which last for hours. In some places, the water is six inches deep. And the lightening storms (which accompany the majority of rainfalls) are nothing short of spectacular. Brad and I sit in camp chairs on our front porch (yes, very white-trash-like) watching the scenes.

I love the rain. I love the smell of rain. And so during the last storm, Grace, Claire, and I twirled in the downpour. We had so much fun.
We had so much fun that at the next rain, Brad took a turn.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My New Favorite Holiday

Our summer so far has been high stress. It is not fun trying to get a house done and attempting to earn money at the same time. And I am not very good with stress. Or deadlines. You could say I've been a grump. Or an insane-workaholic-slavedriver. I don't know. Somewhere in there.

So yesterday--the Fourth of July--was the perfect cure. It reminded me of the childhood summers I spent in Charlottesville, running through the trees, laughing and catching fireflies. It was enchanting.

We started the day with a trip to Roswell to pick up my brother, Jay, at the airport. There was an incident with a bird-sized insect, but mostly we enjoyed hanging out for hours at Hastings Bookstore and eating at The Rib Crib while we waited for Jay's bag to come in on the next flight.

We spent the rest of the evening at the Volpato's annual Fourth of July Barbeque. This is the party that welcomed us into Carlsbad. And sadly, it is the party ushering us out. Temporarily, anyway. Brad and I are talking about making a yearly pilgrammage for this party. It's that good.

It was one of the first times since childhood (my oh-so-happy childhood) that I can recall feeling carefree. I love that feeling. I have to do that more often.

Probably part of my bliss was due to my out-of-charater inclination to observe and savor everything. I knew that I wouldn't be seeing these people every day anymore. And that fact is still hurting my little heart.

Anyway. Click on the photo below for more pictures. Not that you have to. No pressure. Oh, and even though there are no pictures of them, just know that the fireworks were amazing. Especially when the fire started in the neighboring field.

Oh. And I am also lacking pictures of the many girls who assaulted me asking for Jay's name and number. He is, apparently, hot.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Conversation Between Grace and Brad

"Daddy, I love you," Grace says, rubbing Brad's cheek.

"I love you too, Grace."

Grace grimaces. "Daddy. Your face is ugly."

Huh. What a nasty change of subject. "Uh, really?" is all Brad can muster.

"Daddy, how did your mom make your face so ugly?"


"It's very porky," she says. "Like a porky-pine."

"Yes. Yes it is."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If Only

I still shower with Grace. I admit, she's probably getting a bit old for that. A fact which was brought to my attention earlier today as we were getting out of the shower.

We'd been in there for a while. And so I held out Grace's hand, pointed to her fingertips, and said, "Grace! Your fingers look like raisins! What did you do to them?"

She replied, "I didn't do that! The water did it!" We laughed.

Then her little finger poked my not-so-little tummy and she exclaimed, "Mommy, look! The water made your tummy into a raisin, too!"

She was sadly mistaken. [Sob.]

I hate stretch marks.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Single Best Bread Recipe I've Ever Tried

(and I have tried many). My few notes are in brackets. []

French Bread

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-5 1/2 cups bread flour [I never have bread flour on hand, and it's hard to find here. I use regular flour and it turns out just fine.]

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. [I do not knead by hand; I use kitchen aid on medium for approximately 5 minutes.]
  5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
  8. Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
  9. Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
  10. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  12. Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust. [Turn finished bread onto cooling rack to avoid soggy bottoms. And for a very soft crust, cover cooling bread with dish towel.]
  13. [It's hard to mess this recipe up. Try it. You will suddenly become a baker.]

Courtesy Recipezaar