Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Promotion & A Song

Conversation in the car with my recently-turned-four-year-old:
Jillson: Papa said that some mommies go to his school.
Me: Yes, that is right, there are some women who go to his school.
J: Why don't you go to his school?
Me: Because it is only for [people who do what the Gutsy Dad does].  And I am not a [person who does what the Gutsy Dad does].
J:  No.  You are a Choir Singer.

Yes, that's right folks, after a full year of me singing with our choir at the cathedral, my daughter has finally promoted me.  Presumably, I will no longer have to listen to this conversation or its variations:

Random Person: And what does your mommy do?
Jillson: She's a Vacuumer.

Perchance I will hear instead:
Random Person: And what does your mommy do?
Jillson: She's a Choir Singer.

I'll take it.


Not two minutes after this conversation, Jillson composed a song.  Or, I should say, she taught me new lyrics to a tune she knows from church.  (The tune is the Sanctus or Holy, Holy, Holy by Robert Powell, which you can find as S129 in the 1982 Episcopal hymnal, if you care to try to sing along.)

I'm not sure if this will be as amusing to you as it was to me, if you do not know how the words fit in with the tune, but here you go anyway.

Her song:
Holy, holy--this is a dilemma--
A dirty flip-flop!

We practiced this portion for a few minutes, and then she taught me the rest of the words:
A dirty tree and a dirty sky--
Sun!  Alleluia!

I dutifully sang this song with her all the way to the grocery store, since I am, after all, a Choir Singer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cocktail of the Month - Pimm's Punch

It is my pleasure to introduce to you what we in the Gutsy Family are now referring to as British sangria.  If you are already familiar with this concoction, you may indeed be wondering why it has taken me so long to discover it.  But now that I know of it (thanks to my sister-in-law Heather), Pimm's seems as ubiquitous as my other summer favorite, the gin & tonic.

Pimm's is indeed a marvel of pure summer yumminess, and it goes down as easily as iced tea.  There are hundreds of variations of the cocktail recipe online, and from my limited research and, um, field testing, I would say the lemon and the cucumber are not optional.  Beyond that, it's just tweaking.

So, without further ado, I present for your summer enjoyment...

Pimm's Punch (It's not just for Henley anymore)
Pimm's No. 1 Cup
Ginger ale (or British-style "lemonade," i.e. a not-so-sweet, lemon-flavored carbonated beverage)
Lemons, sliced
Cucumbers, sliced (we used chunks)
Oranges, sliced (we used clementines)
Strawberries, quartered
Mint leaves, chopped up a bit

Into a glass or pitcher, place one part Pimm's to two parts ginger ale.  (For the pitcher pictured above I used 1 c. Pimm's and 2 c. ginger ale.)  Chop up the assorted produce and add to pitcher with copious amounts of ice.  Goes just as well with a fancy Wimbledon-watching gathering as it does with a casual backyard barbecue.

I recommend if for the post-pool "what shall we have for dinner" summer cocktail hour, which for me is evocative of sun hats, flip flops, browned limbs, and my favorite Spanish proverb:

What a marvelous thing it is
to do nothing
and then rest afterwards.

Here's to you!

ps: The very simplest version of this cocktail is also mighty fine, so do not feel you need to have all the fresh produce on hand to make it work.  Simply put 2 oz of Pimm's in the bottom of your glass, fill with ice, then fill with ginger ale.  Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top, and swizzle it with your finger.  Enjoy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hilton Head Highlights Part Three

Dearest Readers,

Due to my frustration with the length of time it takes to upload photos to Blogger, along with the fact that I cannot figure out how to randomly select and highlight photos from a list for uploading, I decided to post the rest of my photo highlights from our vacation on Facebook, which has a speedy and user-friendly photo uploader.

I realize this means you have to know me on FB to see the photos, and, well, that's probably a good thing. But I also realize this means some people (hi, Mom) will not be able to see the photos. (Mom, please pester Dad to get onto his Facebook account, and you two can enjoy the photos together.)

With love,
the GM (who should totally be cleaning the house right now because Libby & Gabe are coming tomorrow)

The Un-Highlight of Vacation

Here's how it went down. (More than you ever wanted to know about a fairly routine medical situation.)

After a typically awesome day on Heron Island, we were all gathered in the cottage thinking about getting dinner together, when my stomach started to feel a little bloated. I didn't think much of it, but as dinner progressed, the pain and bloating got worse. By dessert I had excused myself to lie on the couch. I just thought I had really bad gas (from what I had no clue), and to be honest I was kinda pissed off about the whole thing. I could hear my parents and the Gutsy Dad in the other room debating whether it could possibly be kidney stones or appendicitis. Whatever, I thought, I have a Mexican train title to reclaim. I was determined to be better by the time dessert and dishes were done.

Nope. We searched the cottage for relevant medicine and found only ibuprofen and alkaseltzer. I downed both.

By 10pm my back was aching all over. A long massage (thank you, honey) made it feel a bit better, and then I just fell asleep from exhaustion. At 1:00am one of the girls woke up needing something, so I was up. Within minutes it was clear that things had gotten worse. Not only was my stomach bloated all over and painful to the touch, my back was in major crisis mode, frozen stiff from neck to butt and hurting like hell.

The Gutsy Dad suggested it was time to get help. I immediately burst into tears (because I wasn't "winning") and then we woke up Mom and Dad. (Side note: the Gutsy Dad reports that when he went to knock on my parents' door, my Mom was already up, standing there in her nightie and headlight, ready to serve. Once a mom, always a mom.)

Dad went to get the boat in from the mooring, and Chris went down to get the Toro Twister, a small farm utility vehicle shared by the islanders, which looks something like this. There's no such thing as a smooth ride in the Twister on Heron Island, but we decided the pain from the bumpy ride would be worth the speed to get me down to the boat.

Of course down at the North Shore, Lori was up and offered to follow us to the cove to make sure we got there without a snag. (Literally. Motorboating in the dark in Maine means navigating around buoys which are nearly impossible to see in the dark. Especially if, say, your running lights are out and your spotlight's batteries are dead. Getting the motor snagged on a lobster buoy is annoying at best during the day, and not something you want to do at all in the middle of the night with your daughter moaning on board.)

Anyway. We arrived safely in the cove, and the half hour in the car to the hospital was over lickety split. We checked in around 2:30 or 3:00am.

Through a series of routine tests the doc ruled out kidney stones and something ovarian or uterine. My white blood cell count was high (17,000) so we knew that something, somewhere inside of me was infected. By 5:00am I was having a CT scan and by 5:30 (thanks to radiologists in Australia who reviewed my scans via email) appendicitis was diagnosed. (No, I did not have pain in my upper right side. I had pain ALL OVER my belly and ALL OVER my back. The most acute pain was in my lower gut, practically my groin, on the right side.)

By 9:00am I was being wheeled in for surgery, having successfully convinced my husband that he no longer needed to be wearing his headlight. Both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist were awesome. And those of you who know my fear and hatred of anesthesiologists know I wouldn't use the word "awesome" lightly here. But she really was. Coming out of the general anesthesia was A BREEZE, especially compared to the horrific experience I had coming out of it twelve years ago after kidney surgery.

But I digress. Laparoscopic surgery itself is pretty amazing. Three little tiny incisions. Twenty-four hours to recuperate in the hospital, one week of "taking it easy" at home, and I felt (and feel) back to my same old self. I'm so glad they did not have to "open me up" and that the appendix didn't burst, either of which would've lead to a much longer and much more painful recovery.

At my follow-up appointment I learned that the pathology showed acute gangrenous appendicitis (which can develop rather quickly, i.e. it wasn't stewing in there for ages). So it's a good thing we went in when we did and got it out.

Lesson learned? Next time you think it's "just gas," take a moment to reconsider, don't try to tough it out, and make sure the lights on your boat are working.

Next up: fun photos from Maine which make it look like none of this ever happened. YAY!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What I Left In Maine, Part One (The Teaser)

Just a little shout out to say the entire Gutsy Family is now back together, home in Kansas, after our almost month-long vacation. We three girls survived our late-night trip home intact, with one easy flight and one flight on which two out of three Gutsies cried. A lot.

If I owe you an email, a phone call, or a FB response, please, pretty please, be patient with me. (Except for Pam and Libby whom I will contact and see quite soon, YAY! You two can feel free to be impatient.)

While I'd like nothing more than to sit down and lose an hour or a day to my online world, sharing photos, story-telling, and figuring out what you all have been up to, I must first attend to household needs (i.e. vacation is over).

I'll be back soon to tell you about the things I left behind in Maine. The first is obvious (an amazing extended family, especially a brother who handles his three children by himself so well it's heartbreaking) and the second is less so (a small body part I apparently no longer needed).

Stay tuned!

the GM