Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Would You Do if You Weren't Afraid?

I was in a plane crash when I was six years old.

It was Christmas Eve, and we were flying home in a twin engine Beechcraft Baron. In a one-in-a-billion freak accident, the landing gear malfunctioned and retracted just before we touched down. I remember the bone-clattering jolt, the sickening lurch as the plane listed to the left, the horrific screech of steel on steel and steel on concrete, the sparks of the prop as it hit the runway, the shattered glass, the heat and acrid smoke of the port engine as it exploded, and the unexpected smell of wet dirt as we plowed into an arc off the runway. We took out two runway lights. I clutched my teddy bear, and when it was over, I sat frozen and just wanted to be still for a minute, but my parents literally threw me out onto the cold tarmac to escape the hot flames.

None of us had a scratch. If not for my dad's skill and experience and the fact that I was in the copilot seat of the cockpit, the plane would have cartwheeled. I wouldn't be sitting here, typing on this blog.

It makes sense that anyone who had been through that would develop a lifelong paralyzing fear of flight, but I didn't. Flying is still a thrill to me: there's nothing more exhilarating than a takeoff or more fortunate than a good landing. I even married a pilot. You're probably thinking, what, is she crazy? Why wasn't I clasped in the grasp of fear?


I solidly realized that God's Will really is done every day. For some reason we decided that I would sit in the front for the trip, which was very unusual as I couldn't even see over the dashboard. He guided Dad's hands and took care of us. He could take me out in a one-in-a-billion freak heart attack right now as I sit typing just as easily as He could have my whole family that Christmas Eve, but it wasn't our time. Nothing else can explain it.

That knowledge has enriched my life in ways you'll never know and led me to do crazy things you wouldn't believe, and I'm so thankful for that.

Auntie Mame said, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death," and that line has landed me in more hot water than I'd like to admit. But it sure has been a fun road. And now I'm thrilled to be doing this:

There's so much fear surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Thank you to my friends who have chosen not to impart on me their horror stories. But through it all, I've felt physically solid, calm, and happy and, as a result, hale and hearty. Again, the only explanation that I have is faith. I fully expect the Peachick to make an ordinary, run-of-the-mill landing into this world, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that if a one-in-a-billion freak accident should occur, God will be there and will take care of us in His own way through our incredible medical team's skill and other factors about which we might never know.

What would YOU do if you weren't afraid?

Baron photo courtesy of Raytheon, poster photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

The only drawback of pumpkin spice muffins is that they don't use a whole can of pureed pumpkin. A standard can is 15 ounces, and 3/4 cup is (if my math is correct) only 6 ounces. Sure, I dump in more pumpkin to make it more of a full cup, but that still leaves 7 ounces of pumpkin hanging out in the kitchen.

Then I decided to bake another batch for a friend, so I had the better part of a whole can of pumpkin hanging out. Hmm. What to do, what to do. Mike had the solution:

"Why don't you put it in ice cream?"

Did I mention this man is brilliant?

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8-12 ounces canned pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon, or to taste, ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon, or to taste, ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon, or to taste, ground allspice
1 teaspoon, or to taste ground cinnamon
2 cups whipping cream

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, pumpkin, and spices until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the whipping cream and whisk for another 30 seconds or so. Whisk it just long enough to incorporate some air into the whipping cream but not long enough to actually whip it.
Slowly pour into an ice cream maker and churn for 20-25 minutes, or until it reaches desired consistency.

Goes well with chocolate syrup.

And it tastes just like chiffon pumpkin pie.

Photo courtesy of Eliza.

How Many College Degrees Does it Take.....

To put together a jogging stroller?

Actually, it wasn't that bad, but I'm certainly glad to have a nuclear mechanical engineer around to figure out this stuff.

Dante was excited and really wanted to help.
I figured I'd be more help sitting at attention and being a gofer. The flashlight really helped Mike find the screw holes.
All done! Just hooking up the MP3 speakers. Fancy pants, Mr. Peacock.
Kearney was completely unimpressed. He kept giving the stroller the hairy eyeball. Then he parked himself directly in front of one of the back tires.
So naturally Mike decided to threaten his life with it. Of course. Kearney was so not amused.
Insert snarky caption here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Naked Ladies

The garden has been a complete disaster this year. Tragedy and travesty.

In May we had a couple of trees taken out of the back yard for more sunlight, and the crew smashed and took out more than half of my tomato plants. Then when we left town for a couple of weeks back in June, I forgot to set the sprinkler system. The excessive heat left most of my plants looking literally as if they had been set on fire upon our return. I was able to salvage some of the herbs, tomatoes, and peppers, but the damage had been done. We weren't the only ones with the problem: friends and family called us in search of some good home-grown backyard tomatoes. That made me feel somewhat better.

Then in August I took out a flood insurance policy on our house, thereby jinxing us into not receiving a single drop of rain ever since.

Weather forecasts clearly show that it will Never. Rain. Again.


Reminds me of a silly song we used to sing as kids:

Oh, it ain't gonna rain no more no more,
Ain't gonna rain no more,
How in the heck can I wash my neck,
When it ain't gonna rain no more?

Once I had an old gray dog,
I wish I had 'im back,
He chased the big pigs over the fence,
And the little ones through the crack!

I found something similar to it on YouTube; the words aren't quite right, but you get the gist of it.

No matter how much water we poured into the yard, the heat and weather factors just would not cooperate. Now I understand Grandpapa's frustration during his farming days. It makes much more sense to me why he wanted a weather/crop report from me when we'd travel through the Delta to visit when I was younger.

So you can imagine my utter shock when I saw this outside the window the other morning!

Mom and Cindy dug up these spider lilies, or lyroris radiata, from Cha-Cha and Papa Doc's house up in Canton years ago. I planted them in the first few months after we moved into this house, but they never came up. I eventually gave up hope and forgot about them.
These were Cha-Cha's favorite flowers. She called them naked ladies because they have no foliage; just a slender green stalk with an exquisite red Amaryllidaceae on top. You should have heard my phone call to Mom, "There are NAKED LADIES in my back yard!" Without missing a beat, she responded, "They're in my yard too!"

If Big Brother was listening to our conversation, I'm sure he's investigating via satellite right now.
But why did they decide to come up this year, of all times? Nothing but dirt is currently growing in the yard. Even our evergreens are browning up. But we have naked ladies all over the place, throwing caution to the wind and stubbornly visiting us, making the yard look not so forlorn and crispy.
The only thing I can figure is that Cha-Cha is pleased about the Peachick in my belly and letting us know it in her own way. I hope they come up every year forever.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well, even though there's no frost on the pumpkin just yet, I decided the cooler weather warranted a hot breakfast. And what better accompaniment to eggs and sausage than pumpkiny muffins to warm us? And even though these would be fine without the semi-sweet addition, is there anything that goes better with a pumpkin muffin than chocolate chips?

I think not.

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Donna at AllRecipes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Mom bought these little dresses for Peachick, and though I initially hung them in her closet, they're so sweet that I just had to pull them out. Every time I walk through her room, I see them and my heart does little flips akin to the ones I experienced when Mike and I first started dating. Maybe this is what life is all about.

Little birds and the poem "All Things Bright and Beautiful," have both become recurring themes in the nursery, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bousillage (pronounced "BOOS-ee-ahsh") is a Creole word that literally means "big mess." It describes a style of Colonial French architecture in which a combination of mud, sand, horse hair, and whatever else settlers could find was used to make the walls of their homes. It was practical, provided good insulation, and most importantly, was very strong: many Colonial homes along the River Road were constructed with bousillage and are still standing today, despite hurricanes that wreak havoc on the region.

It's a word I associate with Peachick often lately: she's a strong big mess. She must have some Creole in her because she and I both adore spicy stuff. Tabasco on pizza is a particular favorite. She has recovered from her shyness around her daddy and kicks the heck out of me when he's around and she hears his voice. She delights in poking and prodding me while I'm trying to focus on a hard puzzle, and oh my, is she a night owl.

And strong! We had a great appointment with Dr. K last week, and he said her heartbeat was impressive. I passed the gestational diabetes test with flying colors and rather enjoyed the sugar high induced by the glucola. That's the strongest stuff I've had since April, and I can't imagine what a lightweight I'll be come January. Peachick had a party in my pelvis while we worked the glucose off together.

She's quiet during our morning walks with Dante, so I have a feeling she'll enjoy being rocked to sleep, and I can't wait to watch Mike rock her. Dante thinks she's the bees knees. I wish you could see him gently head-butt my belly when we're on the couch together. Then he settles in with his head right against me, just waiting for Peachick to join him in the outside world. I have a feeling they'll be good buddies.

My belly is burgeoning, and we can see her moving around, which is kind of a trip. Mike is having a more difficult time in the evenings finding a spot for his head just before we turn off the light, but somehow we manage it. He can even hear her heart beating just by laying his head against me.

Things are just rocking right along. We're looking forward to meeting this big mess. Our own Bousillage.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wedding Cake Love

I adored our wedding cake, but how much fun would this have been? Mosey on over to the Sunday Sweets section of to see more ostentatious peacock.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Missing You

We love you so, Alan, and we miss you more every day. Thank you for brightening our lives.


Made by Lena