Sunday, September 25, 2011

Update on Dad

For those who are following Dad's condition... All updates will be posted to the McGarvey Family Blog.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers during this time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SUZI: Cooper in the Kitchen

Cooper has been observing me in the kitchen since he was born.  He loves to watch me cook.  When he was just a baby, I’d put him in a bouncy seat on the floor and he would fuss and fuss and fuss until I picked him up.  He wanted to see and not be so far away from all the action.  I’d put him in his high chair and hand him toys and kitchen utensils to try to keep him occupied while I chopped and sautéed, but he still spent most of his time fussing…until I was holding him and chopping and sautéing with one hand.  

So I hold Cooper a lot while I prep food and cook (for those who are nervous at this point – I obviously keep Cooper away from dangerous things like open ovens.  He’s not playing with knives or helping me chop food, so you can relax.)  I’ve gotten pretty good at doing a lot of things in the kitchen with one hand.  Did you know you can bake a cake from scratch with one hand?  Did you know you can cut up a tomato with one hand?  Did you know you can prepare a meal for twenty people with one hand?  Yes…yes, you can.  It may take twice as long, but it is possible.  And I know that one day soon Cooper will prefer running and playing outside while I cook by myself in the kitchen, so in the meantime, I enjoy having him in there with me.  And, clearly, we discuss fractions, addition and subtraction while we measure various ingredients.

My mom has become quite the garage sale queen (Cooper has a room full of wonderful, like-new toys that my mom has found for him for dirt cheap – it’s great!).  I sent her on a mission to look for a kid’s kitchen in “boy” colors.  It took a while, but low and behold, she found a blue plastic kitchen for Coop.  Let the rejoicing begin!  We played with it together for many days and then one day while I was cooking, Cooper ran over to his kitchen and began “cooking.”  Bravo!  Exactly what I had hoped for.  It was fantastic.  

The next day, I was getting ready to make dinner and I put a little bowl of Teddy Grahams in his kitchen – bait to encourage him to play over there so I could quickly get my work done.  Once again, my genius plan worked.  He was happily whipping up some deliciousness in his kitchen while I enjoyed having the use of both of my hand.  I turned around to get some milk out of the frig, and noticed that there was something all over the floor.  “What on earth?”  Small little specs of something were everywhere.  In fact, there was a little trail that led straight to Cooper.  Who happened to be standing at his kitchen furiously shaking Mrs. Dash into his bowl of Teddy Grahams.  Obviously, at some point when I wasn’t looking, Mr. Quick-As-a-Wink snuck the Mrs. Dash out of the Lazy Susan (which he LOVES to spin around and point to all the spices – he’s probably one of the few toddlers who is learning how to say “Rice Wine Vinegar” along with “Ground Cumin”).  He had a huge grin on his face - he was so happy that he was cooking all by himself.  He had already dumped half the container of spice when I caught him.

But, seriously, how could I be mad at him?  He was doing what he’s been watching me do for 17 months.  So I simply told him that we needed to get the vacuum and clean up the mess.  At which time, Cooper squealed in delight, threw the Mrs. Dash on the floor and ran to the closet with great anticipation while we got the vacuum out.  Vacuuming happens to be one of Cooper’s favorite pastimes.  

We’re hoping this phase lasts for a looooong time.

So one day when Cooper is a great chef in a world famous restaurant, we’ll all know that it started with Teddy Grahams and Mrs. Dash.  I see a new Teddy Grahams flavor in the making, don’t you?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Once Lived in a Palace

Going through some pictures tonight, I came across this panorama from Prague.  This was our street.  Our building was the center one with the statue.  I've mentioned it before.  I guess I'm just sayin'... There're some amazing places on this little ball of mud we call home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another 9/11 Post

Suz & I moved to Missouri in late summer, 2001.  I was commuting back & forth to finish my USCC job in Chicago, living in the hotel just across Bryn Mawr off the Kennedy.  That morning I didn't turn on the news.  I even thought, "Just get to the office; you're gonna be late."  By the time I walked into the building & got in line at the lobby breakfast kiosk, the first plane had already hit.  The girl behind the counter had the radio on.  Something going on in NY, she said.

That singular moment impacted my life in ways I'd never realize.  What if I'd checked the news?  I probably wouldn't have left my room.  Every morning we lived overseas, the first thing I'd do is check the news... "Just to see if America's still there," we'd say to each other.  Suddenly, you never knew what morning you'd wake up and everything would change.  Forever.

When we were in Prague the first time, my grandmother died.  We'd said goodbye.  She knew she was going soon.  It was agreed that we wouldn't come home (a mistake, I belatedly realize).  It was early in the morning... or very late... a jarring awakening.  Then, Sasha's cancer.  My dad's bouts with cancer.  Jan's sudden death.  All calls seemingly in the middle of the night. I'm realizing it now, but for the last ten years, I've been waiting for the other shoe to fall.  Dreading that lobby experience... something in NY.  In Boston.  In LA.  In my life.  It got to the point that I always answered the phone with a subdued tone.  I never knew what disaster would await me on the other end. 

You could see the end of O'Hare's runway system from my 7th floor office.  On approach, it seemed the heavy haulers were at eye level.  There was just a constant roar.  As the FAA shut down the skies, the atmosphere became eerily quiet.  There was a TV on the 8th floor and we alternated between projects & soaking in the awful reality, replayed over & over.

That night I went out with some friends (to a TGI Fridays or something) and just watched TV together.  Nobody wanted to be alone.  Later, I looked out at the city from my hotel, watching the Hancock & Sears Towers glittering in the distance, wondering if they would be there when I awoke.

Of course, there was no going home then.  The whole country was in lock-down.  I think I finally rented a car & drove home several days later, grateful to be with my family when so many others weren't.

On a desperately cold November weekend in 2002, my family visited NYC.  We made the pilgrimage to Ground Zero.  I grabbed a few shots of 10 House... the FDNY firehouse across the street from the Twin Towers.  They lost 5 guys and a truck in the collapse.  Along with their normal job, the firefighters play host to innumerable tourists, telling the story of Tuesday over and again.  Here's a quote from their site:

As the towers collapsed, tons of building debris fell onto the firehouse and forced its way into it, blowing out windows and doors and causing extensive damage to the facade, interior structures, utilities, lighting and the roof. Inside the firehouse, the apparatus floor was flooded with over three feet of debris and in some areas in and around the firehouse the debris from the collapse was nearly six feet deep. The building’s ventilation system, air conditioning units and Nederman exhaust system were completely destroyed.

Back in early Texas history, the battle cry was, "Remember the Alamo."  Today, we "Never Forget."