Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kickin' It at the Museum

My 13 year old grandson, SP, and I shared a rare day together recently.

No, this NOT my grandson with a new "punk" haircut!
This kicked-back guy is a fairly good-sized Iguana from the live animal exhibit at the Riverside Museum. He is a VERY cool and laid-back creature, actually not unlike SP!
Which reminds me: what an HONOR the first Adam had, to name ALL the animals of the earth!! Don't you think it must have been SO fun??? A huge task at any rate!

My barely-teen grandson is almost as tall as me already! It was SO much fun to pal around with him! We are really blessed to have this time now; in a few more years, he may have other things to do, or will have to bring a girl with him or something! YIKES! He really is handsome and brilliant (not just bragging), he has a great sense of humor, I love the way his mind works, and most importantly he loves GOD! He and I made several cool discoveries this day:

1. Dubliner Cheese - Glory be! (as my grandmother used to say). What a taste delight!!!! It is an aged Irish cheese - sort of a cheddar-like texture, with a nutty flavor similar to Swiss and the tang of fresh Parmesan! YUMMMMY is our description!!! We were on a hunt for summer/beach wear at Costco, when a kind lady offered us a sample of this most awesome cheese! We immediately bought a 2 pound brick and headed for the bakery department, which led to our 2nd discovery:

2. Olive-oil and rosemary French bread - A match made in heaven, this AND the Dubliner! Oh my goodness! PLUS we had some big juicy green table grapes to go with! SP carved the cheese, we tore off the fresh bread in hunks and enjoyed our somewhat Medieval feast all the way to our 2nd destination - an appointment with my surgeon. (YUCK)

Good news! My elbow is healing nicely and my range of motion has improved significantly. Thank You, LORD!!! And thanks everyone, for all of YOUR prayers!

Whew, a LONG road, this one! Somewhere down this "merry path," the doc will take the pins, screws and wires out. He has promised to stitch me up as nice as he can, as the staples left a nasty scar (don't look, if you have a weak stomach). Can't wait - actually, yes, I can!!

SP got to see the x-rays of all the cool hardware in my "bionic" arm. I suggested to him that he might like to do what my surgeon does, as "there are lots of power tools involved." *shudder* ... plus he makes about a bazillion dollars a year! The Dr's eyes LIT up and he asked SP if he liked tools. Hesitantly SP answered, "yeah." Doc replied with a smile, "This is easy! You like tools? Really, it's easy!! " YU-UCKK, yeah ... if you don't mind carving on PEOPLE!! LOL

Anyway, SP and I adventured to the historic section of downtown Riverside and our 3rd discovery:

3. Riverside Metropolitan Museum: There were two featured exhibits. The American Grizzly and Quilt Stories - both very interesting! Well, actually the Griz exhibit was a "little" sparse, but there were also lots of interesting historical items and memorabilia from the local area.

OK, this IS my grandson apparently in the grip of a griz cub. Just happened to get a reflection of the California flag in the shot!

There were many examples of how the grizzly has been used in advertisng as a symbol of strength and power! Showcased were some nice griz art, a few books, a bear rug, pictures of bears as circus attractions, and Theodore Roosevelt's first naming of the "Teddy Bear." Teddy Roosevelt actually lodged at the Mission Inn back in "the day."

The intricate indigenous Native American baskets of the Chumash and the Luiseno were a striking contrast to the brightly colored modern Native American quilts: both told stories of their everyday lives!
Luiseno basket-1890s
Collage of Quilts
We saw Community Quilts, that record the stories of entire communities. Among them were quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama and a film interviewing the elder lady quiltmakers. The U.S.Postal Service commemorated these quilts on stamps in 2007! Most awesome to see them in person! These traditional quilting skills have been handed down from mother to daughter continuously since before the Civil War!

Also on display were Riverside Citrus Heritage Quilts, which depicted stories of the Washington Navel Seedless Orange that was developed in Riverside! The matriarch of that citrus empire had the SAME last name as the maiden-name of my SP's other Grandma! Hmm...will have to research that! I heard that the fam was not related, but SP and I think it could be...worth a little digging.

The Cultural Heritage Quilts were my personal favorites! There were exquisite depictions of the life and traditions of the Navajo and Hopi people. There were also Family Quilts, which were passed down through generations of families.

NOTE: My maternal grandmother was a master-quilter and hand-sewed all three types of quilts beautifully. Unfortunately, her skill was NOT passed down in our family, but her quilts certainly will be. I will put OUR stories on my "blogs to-do" list! :)
Cougars used to roam local hills.
(This poor guy reminded me of your displaced panther, Gateway!)
Being a Natural History-type musuem, there were lots of specimens, animals, insects, birds and really icky stuff in jars...curiosities they call them. These of course, were some of SP's favorites!
Better yet was the live animal exhibit, the Nature Lab! Besides the iguana, there were tarantulas, black widows (like I don't have enough at home!), all sorts of local snakes (minus a rosy boa), lizards, millipedes and other lovely creepy-crawly and flying what-not that are best enjoyed by men and boys!

What stood out the most to me was the immeasurable variety within each and every species that the Lord creates! The beauty, colors, patterns and the delicate/perfect balance that HE created and provided for all His creations to exist, thrive and multiply just blows me away! Each is unique to its own environment, yet all are in perfect balance on this one earth!! Unfathomable to my finite mind! He is SO the God of marvelous detail!

How could anyone see all of this and not believe in GOD ... in a CREATOR??!!! Can anyone really believe that all of this just "happened"???!!! Only those who, like Pharaoh, REFUSE to see, and CHOOSE to harden their hearts! That is SO sad!!! We MUST pray for these lost souls and especially for their families!!!

SP and I had a great time together! We topped the day off with a personal tour of a new state-of-the-art Athletic Club in our neighborhood. Seems the LORD blesses US with favor when we go anywhere too, we got celebrity treatment! Of course, we are children of THE KING! Bless His name!

We ate as much Dubliner, bread and grapes that we could on the way home! Ahhhh yesss... !!!

THANK You Lord, for turning my long drive to the doctor into a fabulous adventure with SP and for the very special memories You gave us!
"O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth,
who have set Your glory above the heavens ...
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and stars, which you have ordained,
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
and You have crowned him with glory and honor ...
Psalm 8:1, 3-5

Friday, June 6, 2008

Awesome Wonderful Special Very Good Day

Elephant Seal Pups
Our Awesome God just NEVER ceases to amaze me! It is oh-so-precious when He just POURS out His grace and His favor on us, for no "apparent" reason, isn't it??!!! Sometimes He makes us SO aware of His Presence that we can almost "taste" His SWEET love for us!! As the song goes, "... when Your eyes are on this child, Your Grace abounds to me ..."

THIS day was one of those VERY special times for my g'daughters & I. Actually, the Lord seems to give the 3 of us EXTRAORDINARY favor almost always, when we adventure out together! Bless His heart. :) My theory is that people see Jesus in us and, even if they're not conscious of it, they are drawn to Him & want to bless Him. It doesn't take even a snippet away from HIS Amazing Grace, that my 8 year old g'daughters are irresistably cute and incredibly intelligent! Braggy but true! :)

Anyway, I had seen a children's show on TV that visited a Seal Rescue Center located within day-trip distance. SO ... we got an early start & took a leisurely drive over the mountains to the ocean. We drove through the Cleveland National Forest, throughout which God blessed us with spectacular views and an amazing array of wild flowers, plants and trees! There were huge succulent flowers growing right out of bare rock walls of the canyon! We passed through very inviting campgrounds and hiking trails and drove right by the Mission of San Juan Capistrano in full Spring bloom! NOTE: we resisted the temptation to stop and reserved those adventures for another time!

We finally found our way to our destination: the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Wow! They had 17 in-house patients that day - all animals that were injured or sick and/or stranded on one of our West Coastline beaches. Some had cuts from fishing nets, many had wounds from BIG fishhooks stuck in their mouth or cheek, most were underweight and there were lots of malnourished pups. Come to find out: this year there are LOTS of 2 year old harbor seal mommies (equivilent to "teen-moms") that are not very good mothers and don't have enough milk. So, unfortunately, a LOT of their little babies are showing up ONshore! It is an expected cyclic occurance, we were told. These pups are BEYOND cute!!!

This incredible group (mostly volunteers) sends Rescue Teams out to pick up these poor guys as soon as they are reported. They doctor, feed and rehabilitate their patients until they are strong enough to release them back into the ocean!

People come from around the globe to study/visit this little haven that is tucked away in the coastal hills of SoCal. However, THIS day we had the place completely to ourselves for several hours!! We were blessed to meet the onsite Veterinarian, who is one of only 22 in the entire nation! He invited us for a personal behind-the-scenes tour with him, which is generally reserved for VIPs! A very unexpected privilege and honor ... I call that FAVOR!!! Bless the Lord!

Then, to top off this incredible visit: as we were about to pull out of the parking lot, a Rescue Team truck came rushing through the gate with a JUST rescued yearling sea lion! We jumped out of our car and hurried over, just in time to watch them pull the big plastic dog kennel off the truck, then weigh and check her in ... it was SO exciting! Heroes-in-action, that you don't ordinarily HEAR of, much less SEE!!! What a major BLESSING! The Rescue Team named this little one Betsy. We are hoping to attend her release in about 3 months! THAT is what it is all about! They say to bring tissues ... that's probably a very good idea!

I could go on all day (or have I already?). You can visit their website and learn a WHOLE lot more about this amazing place and the amazing work they are doing! Check it out:

The weather was absolutely PERFECT for us too! So, we drove down to the shore, stopped at a See's Candy store for a couple of treats (mm mmm MMM!!!), got some lunch, then decided to stop at the beach before we went home. Just look where we "happened" to stop!

A breathtakingly beautiful little cove where you could see right through the incredible blue and jade green water! It is actually a Marine Tidepool Reserve - no wonder it was so pristine! A very welcome change from the average SoCal overcrowded beaches!

What a jewel that we "stumbled" upon! So peaceful, so relaxing, WOW! Our Father gave us such a FULL experience! E-Triple-A indeed!!!

I find that these times of refreshing USUALLY precede an upcoming trial or time of service. All through the Bible the Lord refreshed, strengthened & prepared His people before sending them into battle or into other service. As you may have also noticed in your lives, He clearly STILL does!

The girls returned to school the next day and I unexpectedly got a call to return to work that next day too! Coincidence? I think NOT!!!!

Check back, I tried to upload a video of the ocean, but it wouldn't work tonight. I will keep trying!

What unusual and interesting *day-cation* spots do you have near your home?

*Term borrowed from Becky...thanks!