I hope you all have had a great weekend. Mine has been hectic, but not in my regular busy way. I want to take a whole different direction for just a moment: separate from the crafty, recipe-filled norm. My family lost a very dear woman early Friday morning. My great-grandmother, Marjorie, was 92 years old and was as sweet as sugar. Luckily, she was in the hospital where I spend half my days. Tireless care was given to her by my friends/nurses that work on our sister unit and I am so thankful. At various points in my shifts last week I would steal away to check on her. Before the end of my shift early Thursday morning I made one last visit to her before I went home to sleep. A nurse I knew had cared for her all night, and she told me Grandma Margie had been largely unresponsive and had some significant changes in her condition, changes that I knew were impending but still upsetting. Her course was very clear to me, given the incidents that led to her hospitalization and my nursing background. But still, that stung to hear. I deliver that news to people every day. And while I cherish my patients and their families, and I know how difficult death and dying can be even when you’re braced for the hard days ahead, it’s SO easy to forget just how that information feels to receive. It’s a blow to the chest. And my heart ached for her when I entered her room and witnessed the changes myself. I took a seat, not wanting to disturb her sleep. I felt like crying, and I felt the lump in my throat signaling that an all out breakdown could overcome me if I allowed it. She wasn’t moving much, but she was moving just enough for me to feel like talking to her was the best thing for me to do. Even if she didn’t respond, I knew she would hear me. So I got up, held her little hand in mine and told her who I was. She didn’t open her eyes, but her eyelids were twitching and moving so much at the sound of my voice. I know she recognized me. While that sign was a good one…I didn’t expect much more. I told her I loved her, and oddly enough she broke a nearly 12 hour silence to say, “I love you too.” My heart skipped a beat. Stuff like that feels really spiritual to me, and those four words were let me know she was ready and willing. Just like any wonderful grandmother would, she gave me exactly what I needed, she was looking out for me even in the end. Those were the last words we spoke to each other before she passed. Grandma Margie was beautiful and kind, and always made it a point to tell you she loved you (we should take a page from her book). Today, we will lay her to rest and I’m so at peace, and she gave me that. I wish that for the rest of my family in the days ahead.
On a happier note, I feel like I should report to you that I completed my “something new” resolution for June. My frand Katie and I went on a pottery painting adventure. We visited this cool place near her house called The Art Studio. They had so many different options for our projects. Katie decided on a plate display for an empty wall in her house and I chose a cookie jar, since mine was dropped by someone else last year. Pfffttt.
Katie used ikat patterns to inspire her work and I attempted to draw from those vibrant asymmetrical Aztec patterns. The first stroke was definitely the hardest but we prevailed out of necessity. At first it was fun and we were really excited. Then we hit a low point of frustration…about 4 hours in with no end in sight. None of the people we started the day with were still there. It takes forever because in order to get bright, solid colors you have to paint every stroke THREE TIMES! So basically if you ask me and before you judge us for our slow progress, I painted three cookie jars and Katie painted 12 plates. If you ask me.
All I have to say is this craft takes a lot of skill, precision, patience, and Mountain Dew. Nine hours later we finished our masterpieces. Thank heavens, since the place was closing in minutes! Even now, it’s hard to imagine how things will look: the paint is chalky and pale in color before firing, and pencil markings have to burn off in the kiln. We are incredibly hopeful though, I don’t think we can stomach the thought of 9 hours with nothing we want to show for it. We get to pick them up in a week’s time. Stay tuned for an update.
We tried all kinds of things this day, including a new recipe. I pinned this Chicken in Basil Cream recipe just days before, and Katie and her husband were down to try it out. Success! It was delicious. I’ve added it here with a couple of alterations I think might be necessary.
Chicken in Basil Cream
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup Dry bread crumbs
1 pound Boneless skinless chicken breast; 4 halves
3 tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup Chicken broth
1 cup Heavy cream
1 can (4 oz)Pimento; sliced with juices
1/4 cup Basil; fresh, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan; shredded
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in milk, and then coat with crumbs. Add chicken to skillet with 1/2 of the butter about 5 min. Add remaining butter flip chicken and cook another 5 min till chicken is cooked. Remove and keep warm. Add broth to skillet bring to boil over medium heat to remove fond. Stir in cream, and pimento; boil and stir for 1 min. Reduce heat, add parmesan cheese, basil and pepper; cook and stir until heated through. Serve chicken with sauce poured over.
Hope you all have a great week and have fun celebrating the 4th with your friends and families. Be careful out there, party people!