Saturday, May 29, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Hugh being in med school has left me with surplus of spare time. So, I've become a gardener. A Master Gardener, actually. No, not really. That takes a long time. I'm like 1/52nd Master Gardener.

But, I have grown a lot of plants. Plants like basil (2 types), dill, mint (5 types), cilantro, parsley, lettuce (4 types), carrots, green onions, tomatoes (3 types), peppers (4 types), fennel, and about twelve types of flowers. I've been busy! Not learning to identify the 27 bones in the hand or anything, but I also don't come home smelling like formaldehyde.

I tend to have a short attention span when it comes to new projects (see: eight inch long scarf that I started knitting in 2008, half-sewn dress from 2009, the eight not-quite-completed redecorating projects around this house), so I didn't know if the gardening thing would stick (neither did Hugh, but being the supportive husband he is, he never actually vocalized that. But I could see it in his surprised excitement when I was still digging away in the dirt eight weeks later). However, watching your patio go from this:

This is what happens if you decide to experiment with "Survival of the Fittest" during GA's coldest winter ever and leave all your plants outside to fend for themselves. Everything dies.

to this:

to this:
Did you observant readers notice the new door to the porch? You can thank a rock that flew out of the lawnmower and shattered the old (much uglier) door for that beauty. And also Hugh, who has proven to be quite handy over these last 5.5 years.

to this(!):

in less than three months has proven to be addictive. So I persist, happily.

A word to the wise if you ever plan to start a garden of your own: if you plant nine heads of romaine lettuce and six heads of bibb lettuce at the same time, they will all be ready to eat at the same time. So you'd better be sure you like salad.

Happy gardening!

side note: My Mom has quite the green thumb and she has been a patient source of gardening wisdom. One such pearl of advice was to make sure I planted radishes. She said, "Oh, that's such a fun thing to plant because they are ready in a month and you can't mess them up. It's a great project to do when you have kids." Now, Hugh and I have no human children, but I love some instant gratification, so I was in. And then I was out. Because I failed. Apparently, I can grow an entire salad bar, unless you like radishes on your salad. I did, however, grow some really tall radish greens that eventually bloomed with pretty purple flowers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Three Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is upon us! What it is about that one extra day off? Love it.

Tonight, I plan on grilling and having cocktails on the porch and generally just relaxing with these handsome boys:

And then on Saturday, we get to be reunited with M Cubed! While I am spoiled enough to see these three almost every week, Hugh is not so lucky. We are excited for their arrival, to put it mildly. I have missed cooking for them every week and have been dreaming up elaborate (and indulgent) meals for a month.

I know we will spend the weekend eating and drinking and laughing and generally feeling like this:

New Year's Eve, 2007

Can't wait!

Monday, May 24, 2010

What's for Dinner?

So, back to my love of food. Thinking about what we're going to have for dinner during the week takes up a lot of my time. And I love it. Meal planning is like a legitimate hobby for me. (So is blowing our meal plan by going out to eat a lot).

Here it is for this week:

Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Olives, Orzo with Feta and Herbs, Baguette

Crockpot Barbecue Pork Tenderloin, Vinegary Coleslaw, Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Lime and Soy Marinated Salmon, Asian Noodle Salad, Sugar Snap Peas

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

side note: I work out of town two (sometimes three) days a week. This makes meal planning slightly frustrating. On a good week I tell myself it's a challenge and we eat delicious and nutritious pre-planned meals that I manage to cook before I leave for work. On a bad week Hugh eats China Buffet (and enough msg to kill a herd of goats) and I eat Fig Newtons and order room-service wine.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Somehow our little pup is already one. Happy first birthday to the world's most perfect dog!

One year ago I had no idea what to expect when we picked out this little gerbil to be our boy:

Four weeks old.

Or how cute he would be when we saw him for the first time:

July 4, 2010. Bringing Fletcher home!

Whatever expectations I had, they could never have prepared me for the love I have for this dog (or how cute he would be twelve months later).

Christmas Eve - seven months old.

Happy Birthday, Fletcher. I'm so glad you were born.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Down

Today is Hugh's last day of his first year of medical school. This is what a second year med student looks like:

12:00pm, today.

The last nine months have literally flown by. It seems like a mere blink ago that we were taking this photo:

first day (on my birthday, I'd like to note)

When Hugh decided he wanted to apply to Medical School, it was four months after we'd gotten engaged and one year before our wedding. And to put it bluntly, I freaked out. This was not part of the plan. The plan I had accepted in my mind before Hugh put that ring on my finger. I did not want to be married to a student who studied all the time who became a doctor who worked all the time. After I finished freaking out, I changed tactics and stonewalled any discussion about medical school for a couple of weeks. And then I cried. What can I say? I'm prone to the dramatic.

Eventually, though, I calmed down. I thought about it long and hard. I realized at the end of the day that if I really didn't want Hugh to start this process, he wouldn't. We would still get married, he would find another career path, and our life would probably go along just fine. But I knew that Hugh would always wonder if he should have let this opportunity go. And I knew I never wanted to be the reason for the what-if in the back of his mind. I wanted, and still do, to be the person building him up and breathing life into his dreams.

So, here we are. One year down. One really great year. Hugh studied a lot. I got some new hobbies. We had some growing pains, but we survived. We thrived, really. And we have come out on the other side happier than ever.

And, when Hugh comes home from an endless day of studying or five hours of exams or just a long, hard week, I know I'm the only one he wants to see. He stills picks me up and spins me around our kitchen. Would he have done that if I hadn't agreed to this path? Probably. But seeing how happy he is doing what he's doing reminds me that I wouldn't change a thing.

Happy last day of your first year, love. I just couldn't be prouder.

The Characters

Hugh, the husband.

We have been married for two years. We met five and a half years ago in college in an honor's seminar. We rode together on a the way to field trip in October 2004. Hugh knew that day I was the one for him. Four short (or long, if you ask Hugh) months of friendship and wooing later, I woke up at the crack of dawn on February 13, 2005 at 7:00am and I knew that I could never be without him.

After we graduated, Hugh taught high school English for four years. Now he's a first year medical student. A man of many talents, that guy of mine.

Cliche as it may sound, Hugh makes me my best self. Impossibly, I love him more every single day. Also, he's damn funny. And nice. And smart. And modest. If your pet runs away, or your car breaks down, or you have a totally random question you think no one would ever know the answer to, he's your man.

Henry, the cat.

Our firstborn. After Hugh and I lived in Savannah (more on that later) for four weeks, I decided we needed a pet. Our rental did not permit dogs, so a cat it was. Hugh was fine with, but totally dismissive of, a cat. He was a "dog person." Long story short, I was set on a grey cat with green eyes. Hugh found a loud, loud blonde kitten at the Humane Society. I vetoed. The next day we were back at the pound putting down our deposit on that yowling kitten. Two days later, Hugh was picking Henry up and bringing him home.

Henry and Hugh are bonded on some different level. Henry loves me, but if Hugh walks in the room, Henry's purr motor revs up. When Henry was a kitten, Hugh would carry him around on his shoulder. I would always caution, one day Henry will be full grown and he will still want to ride on your shoulder. Sixteen pounds later, I don't think either of them are complaining.

Some may call Henry surly, but I think he's just particular. He is a beauty cat and he loves to chat with us, meowing back if you (well, not you) ask him a question. He is the ultimate nap partner.

Fletcher, the dog.

Our second child. When we found out Hugh had been accepted to medical school and we were moving, one of our priorities was finding a house with a yard for a dog. Mainly for Hugh, because I'm not really into dogs.

Fletcher is a boxer. He is almost one year old. He is crazy. He has completely stolen my heart.

Just as I envisioned Henry loving me best, Hugh had similar visions for Fletcher. Well, just like it didn't work out for me with old Henr-o, too bad so sad, Hugh. Fletcher defines Momma's boy. He does not want to be apart from me. I cannot shower, check the mail, work in the garden, or talk on the phone without him by my side. He does not want anyone to hug me. Not even Hugh. This makes for humorous hello and goodbye moments in our house.

Whatever you may know about boxers, Fletcher is personality plus. He has more energy than twelve five year olds and a face that will compel you to open the refrigerator and feed him cheese or pull him right up onto the couch for a nap (shhh...).

So, those are my sweet boys, my funny little family.

Hello there.

Well, I am making a foray into the blogging world. After thinking about it and blog stalking my days away for some time, I have decided to go for it.

I'm Cassie. I'm married to Hugh. I'm Momma to Henry, the cat, and, Fletcher, the dog.

I love my little family of four. I love my clever friends and magazines and fresh flowers. I love to read, and write, and recently, to garden. And then there's food. I love it. I love to cook it, I love to eat it, I love to read about it and to write about it, I love to think about it, I love to talk about it.

As a college graduate, I wondered when I would finally figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I waited and thought and talked about what that elusive thing might be. And then I realized my life was already going right by, life-defining career or not. And that life that could have just been passing me by was pretty lovely.

As Harper Lee, a true idol for any respectable Southern girl with a penchant for reading and writing, once said, "You don't sit down in 'white hot inspiration' and write with a burning flame in front of you." And I think that's what life usually looks like. No magic answer, no flawless solution, but a thought, or a hunch, or a hankering. An idea for a recipe or a book or a life that you dream up in the back of your mind and bend and shape and work on every single day until you make it your own. And then, one day you wake up and realize you've answered your own question. You've found your own white hot inspiration.