Children Food Social

The Age of Pink


Three or four years old, she trailed a few steps behind her young parents as they walked from the carnival and leisurely strolled the gravel driveway of the RV Park. Her blond hair awash with sunshine, in her hand she clutched a paper cone of cotton candy. Its young color was pink and I noted it to be the same hue as my morning and evening calcium tablets.

When changed in my hand the grasp of cotton candy to that of bone preserving wafer?


Children Christianity/Religion Food Social Travel



Oakley was the first stop on our trip to this area, and it is quite a drive from Crestline, especially in our motor home which we don’t drive as fast as we do our car. When I’m driving, I set the cruise control at just over 60; Jerry drives a few miles faster. (Yes, I drive our big motor home. It sports a wide body and extends 40 feet long; additionally, we tow our Jeep, which makes for a combined length of 60 feet or so. To tell the truth, it sounds harder than it actually is, and I feel pretty comfortable driving it. Such a motor home has excellent mirrors and sets high over the roadway, so it is quite easy to see and to judge both the traffic ahead and that approaching from the rear. But if I haven’t driven the rig for awhile, and I look hard at it before I climb inside, it seems awfully big and dangerous. And of course, it is, and traveling in such a vehicle requires constant and close attention. My real concern is if something should go wrong when I’m driving, such as a failed tire or other emergency. I just pray I would make quick and accurate judgment. Jerry is always in the passenger seat, for although he is comfortable with me driving, he has yet to go to the bedroom and take a nap while I scamper down the highway.) Anyway, our trip to Oakley was an all day affair. We had planned to leave Rebecca’s sooner than we did, and even though it was a Saturday, we still mixed with lots of traffic in the Inland Empire and through Los Angeles.

In the afternoon, Jerry’s cell phone rang again, and Peter Connell asked. “Will you be here in time for dinner?”

Jerry hesitated, then said, “Let’s not plan on dinner with you tonight. We’re running late, and we are not able to say when we will be in Oakley.”

But traffic cleared away, we made “good time” the last couple of hours, and it was still daylight when we made the phone call to Carol and Pete’s home. “We’re in Brentwood.” Peter gave excellent directions and soon we pulled into their neighborhood, greeted by the smiling face of Peter Connell who had walked a short distance from their house to show us where to park. The Connell’s live on a cul-de-sac, so Jerry parked the rig a block away and disconnected the Jeep, which I drove on to their house. The men walked. Paul, their eleven year old black-eyed son with a smile as dazzling as mid-summer fireworks, preceded me on his bike, guiding me to their home.

For their daily devotions a month—or a year—over, Carol and Peter Connell must have dissected the subject of hospitality, settling on Titus chapter 1 as a theme for their home: “For a bishop must be…a lover of hospitality.” Believe me, when I say, that in a loving and masterful way, they prepared such a meal as has seldom passed my lips:

Thick Filet Mignons

Lightly marinated in wine (and something else—can’t remember), then quickly grilled on hot grates

Giant Shrimp

Brought just to a boil, seasoned, dried and placed on a second sizzling backyard grill.

Hand Cut Fresh Veggies

Splashed with olive oil, tossed in a bowl, sprinkled with savory spices, then placed long side the shrimp.

Loaf of Crusty Bread from Panera Breads

Served with slathers of fresh creamery butter

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Couple the thought of this delectable meal, if you can, with a charming, hospitable family, consisting of those I have mentioned and 14 year old Jen. She is charming, beautiful and talented, and I tried to think of one of my grandkids she could marry when she is old enough, but the only one close enough is Nathaniel, and he’s only 9, so I doubt that will materialize.

Was not Jesus Himself a believer in hospitality? We have extensive record of His eating, drinking and fellowshipping, both with neighbor and stranger. Opportunity for such ministry circles each of us, and, I assure you, my friends the Connells are masters in this arena. No doubt it would embarrass them, as well as it would Jerry and me, if I wrote an extensive list of their gracious and giving ways demonstrated over the past days.






Children Food Medical/Technical Photography

Does Breastfeeding Increase Baby’s IQ?

I disagree with my favorite talk show host, Dennis Prager, about a couple of things: one is the use of tobacco, which he believes is a good thing as long as one smokes cigars and not cigarettes. The other is that he does not believe breast feeding is a superior way to feed infants.

Although it does not point to an accelerated IQ, the following article does cite many health benefits of the breastfed child.


Breast milk ‘does not boost IQ’ BBC

Woman feeds her baby

Breastfed babies tend to be brighter

Breastfed babies are smarter because their mothers are clever in the first place, not because of any advantage of breastfeeding itself, a study suggests. Researchers found breastfeeding mothers tended to be more intelligent, more highly educated, and likely to provide a more stimulating home environment.

Read the remainder of the article here.

What say you?

Christianity/Religion Food Social

A First–Goat Meat!

It was a Spanish Ladies Conference that I attended yesterday and today, and it was hosted by a church in Santa Ana, and all the services were held there. I believe it was a group from the host church that prepared and served food after the evening service yesterday. I also had been invited to a leader’s reception in one of the suites at the hotel, so what could a polite girl do except eat at both places. Actually, by the time we leaders and speakers were free to eat, most of the church food was gone, so it eased the awkward situation a little. But I wanted some of the food they had cooked, so they dug around and filled me a plate…of…guess what! Goat! I had never eaten goat meat, and when I heard that is what they had prepared I wanted a taste of it.

The dish was called Birria, I believe, and I think its name describes a particular recipe for goat: it was cooked in a dark, savory sauce. Although he spoke English, the gentleman who cooked had a heavy accent and I had difficulty understanding him. As I understand it, the dish is prevalent in the Jalisco area of Mexico.

At the hotel, someone heated up my goat meat, I offered it around, but there were no takers, so I ate it all myself. It was delicious.

Sunday morning edit—a link to Birria preparation.

Second Sunday morning edit—a link to a picture of Birria.

Food My Home Sports Weather/Nature

Of Berl and Early Cold

Yesterday, from the San Diego airport, alone, my friend Lavelta flew to Mississippi where lives her son, and where in a few days will be a wedding she wanted to attend. Berl and Jerry talked on the phone of Berl’s impending loneliness, since Berl was now rattling around in their house by himself.

“Come up and see Shirley and me. We’ll take care of you.”

“Okay, I’ll leave around noon.”

So, yesterday, here came Jerry’s best friend, Berl, and with him came cold and foggy weather, and he was shivering as he walked up the garage steps and into the living room. Gave me a hug as he fumbled with a sweater. “Shirley, I’m freezing. It’s cold here.”

This drastic change in weather was unexpected, and Berl continued to be cold, (he lives in the East County of San Diego and it gets quite hot there, and I suppose his blood is wimpy) so we turned on the furnace, and after Berl growled enough, Jerry went outside and gathered firewood, and soon a splendid fire was roaring—our first of the season. We burned nearly all our wood last year, and need to order two or three cords—have it delivered and stacked. Firewood is expensive here—oak will be more than $200.00 a cord.

We had a pleasant evening with Berl, a good fattening meal and many hours of important (and non-important) conversation. Berl is like a brother to me, and our families have been extremely close for many years.

It’s nearly noon and still in the 40s, foggy and wintry feeling. I’m off to Orange County for a conference and won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon, leaving behind these two bachelors.

Children Food Science & Technology Social

Hope for Starving Africans

I’m glad about this. When I think of starving children and weary, hopeless parents, I value what Bill and Melinda Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation are doing for a dismal and needy part of the world. I honor these generous people, who, in a grand and noble way, share their riches with millions of much less fortunate beings.

Gates, Rockefeller Charities Join to Fight African Hunger

By Karen DeYoung

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 13, 2006; Page A01

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s richest charity, joined with the Rockefeller Foundation yesterday to launch a new development initiative for sub-Saharan Africa that they said would revolutionize food production and reduce hunger and poverty for tens of millions of people.

Modeled on the Rockefeller-pioneered “green revolution” that transformed farming methods and staved off widespread famine in much of the developing world nearly a half-century ago, the initiative coincides with a new round of Western concern about the long-intractable problems of the poorest continent. Read more here.

Bill Gates said his foundation wants to reduce extreme poverty.

Art/Architecture Christianity/Religion Food Photography Social

A Special Lunch in Riverside

Yesterday, I spent a delightful few hours with my friend Holly who was up for a bit of recognition, seeing she had a few days earlier celebrated the momentous mark of birthday number 40. She showed me through their house, pointing out the work she and Patrick had already done, and explaining they were not finished, and then listing their projections for later work. “A house is never done, Holly,” I spoke with incredible and remarkable wisdom gleaned from agedness and the experience of owning—co-owning, I suppose—several houses, and the sorry acknowledgement that we had never been “through” with any of them. House tour over, we moved into our car

I had chosen Riverside and the Mission Inn area for our lunch.Mission Inn Virtual TourHolly and I strolled the pedestrian walkway and through the unique shops situated in this beautiful area. Fall decorations were themed in most of the stores, and both she and I found ourselves edging into the “fall decorating mood,” and declaring to go home, take down so labeled boxes and tackle our homes. “It’s such a hassle to repack all that stuff,” Holly told me at one point. “I had decided to forego fall decorating this year.” But now…after seeing this…She smiled. “Guess I’ll go to our garage and take down the boxes.”

“Have you selected a place for lunch?”

“No,” I answered. “Just some place around here.”

“Good, let’s go to Simple Simon’s. I love to introduce people to this great place. We’ll have to be there before noon, though, for it’s so popular that, for lunch, long lines streak out the door and into the walkway.”

Simple Simon's Bakery & BistroSimon’s it was and Holly was right. It was delicious. We choose to eat in the outdoor patio area under shady trees, and we had identical food—grilled open face sandwiches of eggplant, mushrooms, onions and cheese on a hefty bread slab. Luscious. We split a chunk of carrotcake, healthy of course because of the carrots, and chock full of nuts, with toasted coconut enhancing the generous lobs of frosting.


Then, more, we talked.


I’m honored and downright happy that Holly is my friend. Want to know why?


1. She’s smart.


2. She’s real.


3. She loves God and His business.


4. Our families are intertwined and have been friends for many years—into the generations now.


5. She is scholarly and schooled, a registered, degreed nurse.


6. Because she has two little boys, she has gone from nursing (for now) to be a “stay-at-home” Mom.


7. She scrapped around and found work to do at home to supplement her husband’s income.


8. She is kind and caring. (Latest case in point: One of her friends, because of a threatened pregnancy, is on complete bedrest. Holly just threw a “bedrest party,” with guests, big signs, games, food….the works.)


9. This weekend, in Long Beach, she is walking to raise money for breast cancer research. Twenty-six miles on Friday, and I forget how many more on Saturday.


10. Yesterday, she told me of many nursing experiences absolutely confirming that sometimes people plan the time of their deaths.

11. Occasionally, Holly and I engage in “soul” talk.


12. I think she loves me. She was willing to spend time with me yesterday. (I’ve come to the clear conclusion, while not at all feeling sorry for myself, that as one becomes older, many younger people are so tied up with their own lives, plans and agendas, that they often have little time to give the elderly.)

Edit: 4:45 One more thing about Holly. Yesterday as we ate lunch, she said, “I feel bad about us eating lunch here while Patrick is at work.”

I looked at her in surprise, for Holly is quite an independent girl, not at all weepy, wimpy, or delicate.


“Well, I just feel bad…his eating a sandwich…and we’re having this nice lunch. I don’t like to eat sandwiches at home, so I just feel sorry for Patrick today.”

Wasn’t that sweet. (I don’t think I’m that sweet, for to be truthful, I wasn’t thinking of the sadness of Jerry having to eat a sandwich at home while I was feasting at Simon’s. 😦 )




Edit # 2 8:15 pm Pictures of Holly and her boys are on her cancer walk site.

That was yesterday, an unforgettable few hours with my friend Holly. This morning as Jerry and I concluded our walk, remembering those shops in Riverside, I grabbed up a stray Manzanita limb and carried it home with me. I have visions and plans for that stick. Maybe I’ll take pictures for you.



Food Photography Travel

Funnel Cakes in Colorado Springs

DSC_0402, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Toward the end of that spectacular Sunday evening, Debbi and one of their daugthers left Jerry, Ed and me amidst the strikingly beautiful balloons and stood in the funnel cake lines. The funnel cakes—unhealthy things that they are— were scrumptious.

Food Photography Travel

Caramel Apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Store

DSC_0346, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Among many other shops, a couple of floors beneath our condo facilities, was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Store. Don’t know if you have one of those in your area, but they sell yummy goodies. Their trade mark is a lounging, stuffed bear whose fat self sprawls on a chair near each entrance.

On Friday afternoon, Michael, Sarah and I roamed the resort, choosing not to miss opening the door and entering this bastion of sweetness. We resisted the apples–too healthy–and sprang for other morsels of butter, sugar, nuts and high quality chocolate.

Children Food My Family My Home Weather/Nature

Why Rice Krispies Go Snap, Crackle, Pop!

(Edit November 11, 2006. It appears that part of this article has disappeared into the nethers. Sorry about that. )
Suggestions that explain this noisy cereal.

Well, why not? I have five visiting youngins’ today, one wanted oatmeal, but dry cereal won out. I pulled out the boxes, and, with great consideration, these breakfast cereal affectionados made their gourmet choices. Alas, not a box of Rice Krispies on the place, although there were other crunchy morsels upon which they chomped.

Lunch will be better. Still a nip in the air, but it’s bright and sunny, besides, lots of community jackets, caps, mittens and boots reside year round here at Granny’s. When the youngsters come, they, with particular discernment, pick what they need. Works great. In addition, we have planned ourselves a picnic. Just inside the woods at the end of our street will be our dining spot. We’re hauling everything in by wooden wagon, its sides outfitted with red sideboards.

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