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Learning to Cook with Gas

Before we get into cooking on a gas stove, and, out of someone else's pantry, I need to write about the tragedy that unfolded on the morning of my departure for California.

My flight was scheduled for a 9:45 AM departure and knowing my stomach as I do, I was happy I woke early before needing to leave for the airport. Bruce, an early riser as well, also woke up about 5 AM. Walking outside to pick up the newspaper on the front walkway, the sound of helicopters was quite loud. Weird, but not unheard of in our neck of the woods, being so close to ORMC and all. What did seem a little strange is how they stayed almost in place, but still we had no idea what we were soon to learn. Around 7 AM I ran up to the store for something last minute and saw that police cars blocked Orange Avenue at Michigan. Weird. Asking someone standing outside if they knew what was going on, I received a "no clue" response. Driving home down Michigan I saw police cars blocking the side streets, including Delaney, which definitely made me think something out of the ordinary was happening. The minute I walked in the door I told Bruce that perhaps we should turn on Channel 13 to see if there was an explanation. NEVER, in our wildest imaginings could we have predicted the horrible news broadcasting from our television. TWENTY people shot and killed just two miles away???

Texting Matthew in London, I sent him a link to the broadcast. Amazingly enough, he had already heard what we were just learning. I wrote that I wondered if it had anything to do with it being a gay nightclub. In the next few days, we learned that it did. :(

Because it was only the second time I'd flown by myself, my darling husband, using Delta miles, booked my tickets first class. But you already knew I was the luckiest girl in the world, didn't you? Anyway, we were so fortunate to have the most wonderful flight attendant I think I've ever had. An Orlando resident and gay, he kept coming to my seat to watch what EVERY SINGLE person was watching as well. During the entire flight to California, I might add.
See the fun sign above the tv? Gosh he was the greatest! The shock of finding out, almost as soon as I was seated, that 50 were dead was, well you can imagine because you felt the same way. I will say I was very proud as I watched Mayor Dyer and Patty Sheehan on CNN.

Unfortunately, my sister felt to ill to talk about it, begging me to stop even mentioning it during my time there which was difficult for me because, on the one hand, I was happy to be there helping her, but on the other hand, I needed to talk about it. Thank God for facebook and my iPad where I was able to stay in touch, albeit from nearly 3,000 miles away.

And now to the reason for my trip.

Carol had a Whipple procedure done for a benign tumor two weeks ago today. Serious, serious, abdominal surgery. Because of the uncertainty regarding her recovery and discharge from the hospital, it was decided I would go there last Sunday. Unfortunately she remained hospitalized until Tuesday morning because of a higher than normal white blood count. Honestly though, doesn't she look good on the morning of her departure?
We, and by that I mean my brother-in-law Hank and I, picked her up Tuesday morning. The flags were flown half mast in the hospital courtyard.
Speaking of the hospital, it was quite nice, but in a real California move, the concession stand outside sold only diet drinks because regular soda has too much sugar. I really hated being in a police state!!

They live in Beverly Hills, and of course you've always heard that name, but did you know that there really are hills, and that they are mostly brown? Here's a home around the corner from Carol.
Carol's house is in a similar style with amazing succulents in the front.
Aren't they something? They live in a canyon with hills both front and back. Here is the view from one of the four back decks, taken during the sunrise, giving it a golden glow which faded fast and then just looked brown to my Florida eyes.
Because I only got home last evening I have some catching up to do around here, although I will say Bruce kept everything in tip-top shape, that's for sure. Anyway, that just means this post will be short!
On my first day I asked Hank if there were many birds around there. Yes there are, and we have loads of hummingbirds as well. Say what??? Indeed, on Monday morning, after learning how to walk the dogs (!!), I went back out and saw this down the street!!!
Oh my goodness!!

My days were mostly spent either cooking or running up and down her stairs which I'll show you in my next post. I'd never cooked on a gas stove before, and now that I have done so for seven days, I'm pretty much in love. Oh how I wish I had the same. What was I cooking? Anything I could think of and could find ingredients for from the pantry. The grocery store is about five miles away, and this girl did not have the guts to face the California traffic, not to mention the hilly, winding, roads, so it was quite a challenge. Then too, Carol is on a special diet for a little while which presented it's own challenges, but somehow we managed. Plus I left meals in the freezer which I hope will help.

As you might expect, her days were not pain free, and she spent a good deal of time sleeping. Sleep--God's gift to man.

Speaking of gifts, almost as soon as we arrived home from the hospital, a darling flower arrangement arrived from David and Michelle. So cute with the little flower doggie!
Carol's artwork pictured above the sofa. :)

Yesterday morning I realized I'd yet to get a photo of Hank, Carol's bedrock. He's sitting at the kitchen table enjoying the only peace and quiet of the day, reading his LA Times with his breakfast.
Disappointing I waited till the last minute with the terrible lighting! He is how she will get through this, and it won't be easy in spite of his attention.

The tincture of time will be the saving grace of both Orlando, and Carol.

Happy to be home,

Gail

p.s. Some of the nurses expressed appreciation for the quilt after Carol introduced me. :)
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