Monday, May 30, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

What better than to spend a beautiful day with my boys!! They were so sweet. Lorie and Mops helped them pick out little gifts while we were in Vegas. Then they picked out pictures on the computer each to make a big collage for me with help from Lorie. Thank you Brenda and Lorie. That was very thoughtful of you! I am sure you probably saw this on Facebook, but Ben also made some cards for me at school and was very sneaking trying to get them home under his jacket when he got off of the bus in 90+ degree weather.  It had been quite a busy week for us. I had totally forgotten about having pictures taken when we were still dressed up for church. That's okay. I'd rather remember how we just were, on a normal day. God is good. I am so very blessed by my boys. They are silly, smart, messy, cantankerous, ornery, funny, and full of quirks and surprises. They question us constantly, and they do not forget a thing, ever. They keep me guessing and they astonish me. Though it is not always easy, they teach me how to be a better mother every day.  One of the best things at their young age is that they are best when they are home with us and we know them the best and get the best part of them. A constant reminder that who a person is when no one else is looking is the most accurate version of who we are. Sometimes I wish I could just press pause.  I can't wait to see who they grow up to be.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Las Vegas

Catching up here! Earle and I went to Las Vegas at the end of April for the first time. It was fun! A very short trip considering the flying days were a little long. We stayed on the strip and did lots of walking, eating, saw what all of the hype was about. We saw three shows, The Hypnotist Unleashed, Beatles Love, and Penn and Teller.
Though we had a good time and yes, even I tried my hand a few rounds of three dollar blackjack on Fremont street, I was somehow struck a little by something unexpected. Vegas is so extravagant. I can see why people want to go there. The luxury hotels are amazing and the casino resorts are all decorated and presented in the most over the top way possible. There is no expense spared. It is pretty incredible. And while you may find a great hotel and flight deal to Vegas, you still have to pay for everything while you are there. I'm not saying that this is not what we expected, it was. We were prepared. But what I was not expecting was to find a place where many people are starving. I mean, I have lived quite a few places where there are large homeless populations, but they were different than this.  Generally I see homeless asking for money, food, and beer. In Vegas, we would be walking around day or night and there would be many homeless people sitting on the walkways between the casino resorts holding up signs that would say, "Need food. Need water." Most of them would not ask for money. This kept baffling me. When we would eat a meal, we would try to pack up our leftovers so that we could have something to give these people as we walked by them.  Another thing that really bothered me was that I hardly saw anyone give anything to these people. Most people come to Vegas with money to blow for their vacations of luxury. And they would not even look at these starving people. It blew me away.  Though we had a great time, I could not get past this. The ethics of it really bothered me.
 One chilly night I saw a girl in her late teens hunkered over on the walkway to our hotel and she was wrapped up in a blanket sitting there holding a sign that said, "Nine weeks pregnant. I need food, please. I need water. Anything. Please."
Over the next two days I saw many of these young homeless pregnant girls asking for food or a water bottle. Never coming up to you. Never asking for money. Just sitting there. I am sure that lots of run away girls go to Vegas because they think that they can get a job there dancing or being a waitress or being a lady of the evening. Young teenage boys stand all along the streets at night pushing cards with naked call girls on them that would be happy to come to your hotel room if you would like them to. They tap the cards loudly in your face, and get right into your personal space.  I guess I can see why these girls are homeless, pregnant and starving. They are used and cast out and have probably come from a bad circumstance to begin with.  It was just so terribly sad to watch. 
Earle felt the same way that I did about the situation. Only he is not as dramatic, of course. And I did not want to over discuss it to kill the mood of the trip. But it did nauseate us. Sadly though the situation of these starving people and the way that people refused to even acknowledge their presence is what stuck in my head the most about the trip. Where is God in the hearts of those who won't look at these people and have no compassion on them? Seriously?! How can we as human beings in a situation where people have pockets stuffed with cash for throwing away in casino's and meaningless entertainment walk by people who are begging for water? And all that these poverty stricken people ask for is your crumbs? Dip your finger in the water people.  It was so Lazarus and the Rich Man! Come ON!!  I know the extreme cheesiness of that last comment.  I don't mean to be a buzz kill on the awesomeness of Las Vegas. I have talked to many people about their trips to Vegas. Most people have told me that it was one of their favorite places and that they hope to take many more trips there.  I have talked to at least a dozen people about it in the past few months and not ONE single person happened to mention these destitute girls.  It was like eating the most magnificent chocolate dessert...only to find that after the first few bites there was a rotten taste in the fudge icing...and then your realize that the milk in the icing had gone sour.  Oh how easy it is to ignore other people's pain when it is not our own. Okay, I am getting off of the soapbox now. Mission/Relief trip to Vegas anyone? It would be a great way to help people and also have a good time at the same time...a real win/win!!

     All that being said, the trip to Las Vegas was not one that was wasted. I truly enjoyed getting to spend time with Earle and we did do quite a few fun things. We had a great time. If we go again, I'll just go prepared with lots of granola bars and water bottles. We LOVED going to Fremont street, which was the old "strip". This is the strip that many of your grandparents remembered from their golden age. Only not mine because they, well, at least my father's parents would have rather died than step foot in a casino resort. You can have breakfast for a normal price and even play three dollar black jack a time or two without breaking out a twenty. Also it was much more family friendly. You saw normal people there, and the waitresses and housekeepers for the most part had on more than bra tops. If we do go back however, we have decided that we will stay at the Golden Nugget Resort Casino on Fremont St. and ride the seven dollar-a-day bus called, "The Deuce"  to the new strip for the shows and shops. Just a little FYI.
 Now you just mark my words. You will decide to go to Vegas for a trip and you'll have your eyes open and your purse stuffed with granola bars, and coincidentally all the unfortunate young women I've mentioned will have moved to L.A.

Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Orange Bag Kind of Girl

For a few days now, I have been walking by a bag of hardly eaten oranges. They were starting to get a little soft, but not quite bad yet. For days I've been asking myself, "Why did I get the bag instead of just one or two. I never eat them..."
So, like a little boy might experiment with anything he sees, I decided to see what these oranges could do for me. I grabbed an orange, rolled it on the counter for a moment, and sliced it in half. I then headed straight to my bathroom. My shower door has not been really soap scum free since the day we bought our home. I clean the inside but usually have so many other things to clean that the last thing I care to spend my energy on doing is scrubbing down the glass door.  I cupped the peel side of the orange like a round scrubbing brush, I started scrubbing the inside of the glass door with the orange. And then it happened. Instant gratification. And as soon as I started scrubbing, the citric acid in that orange cut straight through a year and a half of the scum on my shower door. I kept going, with a circular motion till the juice in that half of the orange was gone. The glass was clear, but there was sticky pulp all over the glass. I decided to put the stopper in the sink, and fill it with warm water and some white vinegar. I grabbed a washcloth and went to town wiping the pulp off of the shower door. What took a year and a half to form on that door, took about 10 minutes to obliterate with an almost bad orange. I'm guessing that lemons do this trick as well, without the stickiness.
I took the oranges outside to our patio table. Our table is wrought iron with a glass top that has literally not been cleaned off since last summer. I am aware that disclosing this information is totally disgusting. Rest assured we have not eaten on it since then either. It is what it is folks.
 Anyway,I grabbed my oranges, rolled one, cut it in half and went to
work on the table. Five minutes later after wiping it all off with the warm water and vinegar, a brilliant shine! I'm sold!!  This must have been how my great-grandmother used to clean things. I will never go back to buying one or two oranges or lemons. If you think about it, there is only a little citric acid in the cleaning products that you buy at the store. Even the all-natural organic cleaning products. You still have sit and scrub for quite awhile sometimes. In it's strongest form, the citric acid is so much quicker and more potent.

 Plus, I don't feel bad at all about handing my boys orange halves and some vinegar water and telling them to go wipe down the shower or some windows. Since we need things to do in the summer this daily pastime will fit into their routine quite well. 
~ CB