Friday, June 30, 2006

Salam - greetings from Doha! It is Friday, which is actually the equivalent of Sunday in Qatar. In any case it is weekend time! Not a lot to do other than watch the mercury boil. The Shamal wind (i.e. north wind) has arrived to distribute the heat evenly ;).

Today I ventured to the northern tip of the peninsula to see what's on offer there. Not a whole lot. One fort, lots more sand and desert, warm water, the odd villiage and camels on the run.

Next week will be a joyous and sad time; I will be with my angels again but we will also have Barry's internment service at Arlington. The time for closure has come.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ellie had a check-up with her pediatrician in New Orleans yesterday (all's well!), so we just spent the night at a friend's house and flew out to Virginia this morning. All in all, in New Orleans less than 24 hours, but had a happy New Orleans moment just the same. This morning, we woke up early, so Ellie and I headed to the Bluebird Cafe for breakfast. Two gentlemen in their 60s(?) were arriving at the same time we were. One of them, wearing large square sunglasses and a straw cowboy hat stood pondering the new parking meter until I showed him how it worked. Once inside the cafe, they took seats at the counter and Ellie and I claimed a table. Halfway trough breakfast, my waitress came over to my table, clearly trying to suppress a giggle, and said, "One of the gentlemen at the counter would like to buy your milk."
I love New Orleans.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The time we've been waiting for is just around the corner! This week, Ellie and Jennifer will head to Virginia for some family and friends time before Dad's interment on the 6th...and Markus will join us there on the 4th of July! Woo-hoo! Reuniting our little family! Hooray! It has been a long, hard journey here, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel, the rainbow after the storm...yippee! Of course, not everything is done (or even close) on the estate end, which is why we'll be back for another week mid-July. Hopefully, by then most things will be ready to manage by mail or by phone. We hope.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hm...looks like a clothes pin.

Tastes like a clothes pin.

I LOVE clothes pins!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are you familiar with the song, "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?" We used to be, but after having been there three times in the past seven days, we practically feel like residents again. Today, we made an unexpected trek back to the "city beneath the sea" because Miss Ellie needed to see her pediatrician. She has had three upper teeth stalled out mid-teething for weeks now, so when she started getting symptoms like needy-grumpiness (she's normally happy always), stuffy nose and a cough (based on post-nasal drip), I thought those teeth might finally be coming through! On Saturday, she started refusing food. Although she is still happily nursing (and more often than before to make up for lack of baby food), it was noticeable that she still wasn't interested in eating several days later. I called the pediatrician's office this morning, and they found an appointment for us this afternoon. Of course, when we arrived, Ellie was in great spirits. She made friends with everyone in the waiting room and had completely charmed all of the office staff before we saw Dr. Oates. The happy little clam almost had us fooled that she was completely well until Dr. Oates checked her ears. Whew...what an ear infection! It's a good thing we made the trek today, because we'll be flying to Virginia in a week to see the Mimi and our friends there, and this gives us a full week of antibiotic first. Dr. Oates did notice that Ellie's gums are "very full" (her words), so we suspect those tricky teeth had something to do with this. Ellie doesn't seem to mind at all. If anything, she seems relieved that her mama finally figured this out. She was happy all day and even ate a jar of baby food this afternoon.
Look at this face! How could I not be completely crazy about this little girl?

In other news, this morning I finally was able to mail the insurance checks to the mortgage company. It is now out of my hands, at least for the moment. I don't usually write about handling my dad's estate in this blog, but this is seriously newsworthy! For the few of you who know the extent of this estate management debacle, this is INCREDIBLE, FABULOUS news. For those of you who don't, just trust me on this and realize that today was a VERY good day for me! I even managed to have a chat with my very-busy-and-thus-elusive contractor. Let's just hope another road block doesn't come up. This has been an incredibly arduous process, and many road blocks have popped up where I've least expected them. Keep your fingers crossed that we are past that now. I would love to see this beast work out!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Until today, Ellie was only ticklish when she got belly kisses just under her ribcage...but this afternoon, tickling fingers brought some priceless laughter! After the first 30 seconds, Mama goes for some belly kisses anyway (thought the video was stopped!) and then Ellie grabbed a handful of hair, so please looks rather silly! We're after the laughter here, people!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Markus with Ellie

me with my dad

Friday, June 16, 2006

This week, we finally gave ourselves some time off of the estate management nightmare and spent time in New Orleans. Good food, great friends...what a gift! It was wonderful to see our friends Tasha and Elio. Ellie and I had a deliciously good time. Mary even snuck in a pedicure at Belladonna's! Ooooo...the decadence!
We had to share pictures from our fun day.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'm at it again. gail, I don't know that I should have been introduced to chockylit's blog. I made her chocolate cupcakes from the Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache recipe, only I skipped the filling and used vanilla buttercream frosting instead. Oh. My.
These things are DANGEROUS! Look at this recipe, people!

Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

5.4 ounces dark chocolate or 3/4 of a 200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cocao
22 tablespoons butter
1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
4-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

1. Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
2. Add sugar and stir, let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
3. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
4. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
6. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The first two ingredients should be enough of a warning. Count 'em... TWENTY-TWO TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER! These things are SINFUL!! A single bite will send any good Catholic to confession, mark my words! Especially if you use good chocolate (I used Lindt's 85% cacao). I highly recommend using the mini muffin pan for these. Somehow it makes you feel less guilty when you find yourself on the second (or third) cupcake of the afternoon...

By the way, in case you must, the vanilla buttercream recipe (also lifted from chockylit's recipes) is:

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl
2. add 2.5 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, beat until combined
3. add more powdered sugar until you get to the consistency you want (not too stiff so that its hard to pipe)


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Last night, we went for dinner at The Shed. For the uninitiated, The Shed is literally that. It's a great BBQ place that's pretty much made from scrap materials located in a campground on the bayou, right off of the interstate. The devotees call themselves "Shedheds" (spelled incorrectly since we are, after all, in Mississippi). The bathrooms don't have stalls; instead, there are shower curtains strung up to divide the toilets. All the picnic tables outside show various stages of weather wear. None of the tables inside match. People write on the walls and tack up dollar bills and their old license plates. The place is crazy. And I LOVE IT THERE!
Saturday nights mean live music at The Shed. When we pulled up, the place was packed and there was a bluegrass band on the stage out back. Everyone was eating barbeque, drinking beer or iced tea, and having a grand ol' time. I waved hello to Brad (one of the owners), sipped my tea, chatted with my dinner companions and cheered on the band (playing "Dueling Banjos" or singing "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow") while Ellie squashed a piece of Texas toast into oblivion.
This is how I survive Mississippi. It's wonderful snapshot moments like that. I just can't have them anyplace else.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We realize that Easter has come and gone, but we missed it in Doha and couldn't resist...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mimi is visiting this weekend! HOORAY! We love the Mimi!