Friday, January 12, 2018

A Little Sympathy Goes a Long Way

My step-brother died this week. Having not seen any of that side of the family for 13 years at my step-mother’s funeral, I decided to fly to Texas. Dean, Oso and I took a nice walk and then I sat down to make all the arrangements. All I did was sit. And I when I got up I was exhausted. 

Part of that was emotional exhaustion from people’s genuine kindness as they deal with you on the phone. I called to postpone a doctor’s appointment and when I told his receptionist why I had to cancel, she was so sympathetic. When the agent at American Airlines told me I had to spend a certain amount for booking so close to flight time and I said, yes, it was a family funeral and you can’t plan those ahead of time, he was very sympathetic and hopeful they would make my flight as easy as possible. 

The family was pleased that I was coming. The friend with whom I am staying is pleased to have me there. She remembers my brother well and liked him very much. 

People are basically nice and empathetic and given the state of the news right now, that is nice to have affirmed especially if it is at a sad time. It takes so little to smile at someone or to express sympathy and it means so very, very much. Practice kindness wherever you are. It costs you nothing. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Personal Story Worth Telling

This afternoon after a Costco run, we had ordered our lunch at In & Out. I took my tea to a table in the corner and as I turned to head for the restroom, the grandfather at the next table was giving his granddaughter one of those little copies of the Declaration and Constitution. My guess is she was 11 to 13 - hard to tell these days. 

I leaned in, touched her shoulder and said, “You have just been given an incredible gift. An incredible gift.” She smiled and said thank you and I left for the restroom. When I got back to the table the grandparents were still there talking to Dean (who could hardly hear a thing in a busy In & Out on Sunday.) They were So excited. They thanked me over and over. The grandfather - had to have been the girl’s maternal grandfather - talked about “her father thinks he knows everything and if you don’t believe him just ask him”. Grandfather hopes father doesn’t throw the little book away. 

I am hoping that because a stranger told her it was an incredible gift, she will think it is special enough to make sure she keeps it. 

The whole episode warms my heart and I am so pleased I said something. Oh, and as the grandparents were leaving, grandmother said, “Have a happy new year.” 😀

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Philadelphia Food III

There is one more meal I want to share from my eating my way through Philadelphia experience. 
Son-in-law David cooks! Yes, the helicopter pilot comes home from fire-fighting season and relaxes in the kitchen. When he asked what he might prepare for me, one of the options he gave me was prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. I didn't need to look at the other options!

Perfectly done ~ and much to my joy, served on my mother's china platter.

Makes me hungry again just looking at the picture!! 
I understand they had it again on Christmas day.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

It is Christmas! The Christ candle is lit. The waiting is over.
The Babe has arrived!

This nativity lives on the mantle in my house as a reminder.
I bought it in South Africa. I loved it immediately because everyone, 
including the Baby, is smiling with eye brows raised at this miraculous 
birth. Joy to the World!

Earlier this season, I was doing a puzzle on line and chose a nativity. 
I didn't think much about it until it was complete. There they were, 
even the animals, wide-eyed and smiling and So Happy over this 
miraculous birth. Most nativities picture Mary in what I would call
"solemn wonder". I like it when she and everyone else is just plain happy. 
Merry Christmas, friends ~ and a happy and blessed holiday
whatever you celebrate. The Light is back! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Please forgive my missing last Sunday. I was traveling and wifi was sporadic and unavailable. On those long flights, I read Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”. Once again I discovered words that having nothing to do with Christmas had everything to do with Christmas. 

“When I track the orbits of asteroids comets, and planets, each one a pirouetting dancer in a cosmic ballet, choreographed by the forces of gravity, sometimes I forget that too many people act in wanton disregard for the delicate interplay of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land, with consequences that our children and our children’s children will witness and pay for the their health and well-being.
And sometimes I forget that powerful people rarely do all they can to help those who cannot help themselves.” 

Here is the Christmas story in the words of a 21st century wise man. Wise Men looked to the stars. Shepherds looked to the sky and saw angels and heard words of hope and anticipation. And they all gathered at a very down to earth event: the birth of baby. Too many people ignored that event. Powerful people, Herod for instance, did nothing to help but rather ordered the killing of children for no other reason than he felt threatened. Today is a day for sky gazing and earthly awareness. A day to feel ourselves pulled toward a higher, brighter power while at the same time finding the courage, the strength and the grace within ourselves to live out the down to earth work of the planet. ~ Blessings to you in this season of Hope

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Philadelphia Food II

The second day of Food in Philadelphia started with lunch at The Dandelion. When Meredith first told me about the place, she indicated they loved it but we would go there for dessert having eaten lunch somewhere else because this was 'just a British pub'. As she said later, "The things you learn about your parents!" I love pub food and having had a look on line at this menu, I was ready to go. 

 We started with deviled eggs. So good. Not sure exactly what was in them
besides the good dry mustard but something to kick up the flavor just a bit. 
I also think the paprika was fresh ground.

David had a burger and their signature fries (sorry, chips ~ although 
the woman next to me had a sandwich with what we call chips and
they looked homemade too!)

Meredith and I had butternut squash and cheese soup and a side of chips.

Although full from his burger, David was glad to order Sticky Toffee Pudding 
a classic British dessert that I have never had. We all decided the ice cream
was superfluous. It was rich and full of cloves. The pudding was moist and spicy.
I liked my taste of Sticky Toffee Pudding.

My speciality was Mrs. Beeton's Snow Egg. 
If you don't know her, let me introduce you to Mrs. Beeton. 
She wrote her cookbooks in the mid-1800s for the housewives and
housekeepers of a new culture. First she wrote for Housekeepers who 
were managing staff that had no history of keeping a big house. They had
not started as a tweeny and grown to be a cook or Housekeeper. So Mrs. Beeton
wrote a house management and cookbook for them. 
By her later editions, the housewife had become the housekeeper and manager
of the household. Her cookbooks covered everything from laying the table 
to the food placed on it.
The Snow Egg is a poached meringue covered in custard. With a bow to the
season the custard was an egg nog. Light, airy, not too sweet and Delicious!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Philadelphia Food

It was a very short trip to Philadelphia to visit Meredith and David. Short as it was, it seemed as though I ate my way through the visit. 

We started the first day with High Tea at the Rittenhouse Hotel.

This is our sandwich and scone course. The sandwiches were traditional
except for the large slice of radish with humus on top. Had not had that before.
The scones were small and there were 9 of them, three each of savory, sweet,
and plain. There was Clotted Cream, Strawberry Jam, and Lemon Curd to
accompany them. 
Each of us had our own pot of tea. I chose a mixture of Earl Grey and Roiboos. 
It tasted more like a softened Roiboos. Delicious. 

Thinking we would never eat again, later in the evening David decided to make biscuits.
He was just in the mood for biscuits.
Of course Meredith and I had one! 
I have will power and I am not going to refuse a homemade biscuit. Oh yum!!

I think I will leave you there for now. More meals to come!