Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nurturing The Spirit

Our kids have a lot of physical problems - more than any of us will ever experience - yet they remain generally cheerful and happy. It's amazing, especially for those who don't really have cognitive deficits to go along with their physical limitations, how they stay so upbeat in spite of the mountains they face every day. I believe it is a testament to the strength of their spirits.

We take care of their bodies, and we do it really well. We also love them to pieces, and they know it. But there is another side to our kids, and to anyone living in a residential care facility, indeed to all of us, that tends to get overlooked in caring for the overwhelming physical problems - their spiritual side. They have the same need to reach out; to seek something bigger than themselves. Something to feed their souls. Something to give them hope & comfort in the night when they are surrounded by medicines and machines.

Brandon went to Easter church services with one of my co-workers, and he has been asking to go again ever since. Well, we finally found a weekend when everyone was available. Then he decided that he wanted to share the wealth, so he asked some if some of his friends could go along. So now we snowballed from a mildly complicated outing for one (as it always is with our guys) into somewhat major undertaking with 4 kids, 5 adults, 1 spouse for any needed manual labor, 1 big bus (that I drove), a suitcase full of accouterments, and a boatload of optimism.

But, holy COW it was hot work getting them all loaded & unloaded!

First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk welcomed our interesting little group with open arms. We attended the contemporary service at 9:30 which takes place in a new addition behind the beautiful old church. The service was uplifting and full of music. I think I can speak for the kids in saying it meant a lot to them.

Oh, but just look where the 11:00 service is held:

I'm a big fan of Gothic architecture.

Many thanks to Jennifer, Diana, Danyell, Terry, Mr. Terry, and Cline for making Brandon's wish a reality.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Al Gore would be so pleased . . .

Because, you see, I have irrefutable proof that he has been right all along.
Really, I do.

See these two kinds of trees?
First is Lagerstroemia, aka Crepe Myrtle.
Lovely lilac-esque flower clusters in all shades of pink, purple, and white.
When it blooms, it totally redeems itself for it's winter & spring bald branch ugliness.
When it blooms, it is a glorious profusion of color.

Then there's this tree - Albizia Julibrissin, aka Mimosa, or Powder Puff Tree.
They grow everywhere around here.
Everywhere, especially wild along the roadways.
The scent is sweet & heady.
The flowers come in all shades of pink.
The leaves look like ferns.

So what about these trees?
The thing is, they usually bloom mid-to-late summer.
It is something to look forward to after the spring flowers and azaleas wither away
and the brown grass of a hot, muggy summer sets in.
But noo-ho-ho-ho. Not this year.
These idiots started blooming at the end of May,
still technically in the spring.
What the heck?
It's Global Warming, I tell ya!
Gotta be.
What else would explain it?
Al Gore would be so pleased at this concrete & corroborating evidence.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dirty, Dirty TV Cooking People

And, no, I'm not talking about the near-constant display of Giada's cleavage.
Or the near-constant innuendo when Paula Deen does anything with a piece of meat.

I'm talking about these:

There are other things they do that make me nuts, but I'll start with these.

The food people are crazy about citrus zest, some more than others. They put it in everything. Their little microplanes are whizzing back & forth a mile a minute, and the zest is flying all over the kitchen. Well, I might exaggerate, but not much.

Not that there's anything wrong with citrus zest. In fact, it's a very tasty ingredient that enhances the flavor of many dishes, both sweet and savory. Dang, I went back and read that last sentence. I sound like a commercial for the Lemon Board.

Here's the problem. I've watched just about all the programs on the Food Network, some only a couple times, some over & over. Much of the time, their only concessions to cleanliness in the kitchen seem to be waving their hands briefly under some water after handling nasty raw meat or talking about rinsing your herbs when you bring them home from the store. Otherwise, the cross-contamination and ingestion of unpleasantness is rampant.

You NEVER hear them mention the importance of washing any other items of fruit or vegetable matter. Certainly not citrus fruits. Think of it - those lemons have been sprayed with pesticides, had all sorts of bugs & vermin crawling over them in the warehouse, and been handled by dozens of filthy hands before it ever gets into your grocery bag. And then you're going to happily zest away the outer portion of the peel, the part with all the filth, and put it in your food?

I wash my citrus. With soap.

My mother will love this post. But then she'll call me up and berate me for smashing lemon slices
down INTO my glass of water when we go out to eat.
Do as I say, not as I do.
After all, one must ingest little bits of nasty to build up our immune systems, right.