Yesterday was a strange day in Pensacola. When we got up, it was already a humid seventy three degrees, and the sky had threatening clouds of an odd color. We hit the pool, and when we came out, it felt cooler. The skies broke forth several times with pounding rains, and then . . . the clouds disappeared, and by five, we had clear skies, no clouds, falling temperatures and a chilly breeze.
It was a great night to go see the Pensacola Zoo Lights. This is probably something AdventureMan and I wouldn’t do if it were just the two of us, but our son had asked if we could pick up our grandson and take care of him for a couple hours and the Zoo Lights seemed like just the thing. I call them Pensacola Zoo Lights, but the Zoo is actually in Gulf Breeze, it is the Gulf Breeze Zoo Lights. As we picked up Q, we were glad we all had jackets and long pants – it was COLD!
Zoo lights is a lot of fun. The place was packed with families and children, but not so packed you couldn’t visit some of the paths without interruption. The main population of children and families was around the train station, where there was also, conveniently, a little play ground for people waiting for the train.
Lots and lots of lights:
Q’s favorite light, LOL!
Near the angel was a place where something like soap was coming out of a tube, it looked a little like snow. Every now and then a great gust of wind would blow and the soap would flurry everywhere, and then it truly did look a little like snow and the children would scream with joy and chase after the snow-soap flakes.
This is worth a trip at this time of the year, with children. Here are the directions from the Gulf Breeze Zoo website:
Enter the following address into your GPS navigation system:
Gulf Breeze Zoo
5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
From TALLAHASEE and points EAST:
I-10 West to Exit 31. Take Rt. 87 South to Hwy. 98 West, towards Gulf Breeze.
Go 5 miles. Zoo is on the left.
From PANAMA CITY and points EAST:
Hwy. 98 West to Gulf Breeze. Zoo is on the left.
From MOBILE, AL and points WEST:
I-10 East to I-110 South through Pensacola, FL. Take Hwy. 98 East to Gulf Breeze. Zoo is on the right.
From MONTGOMERY, AL and points NORTH:
I-65 South to Exit 93. Take US 84 East to Rt. 41 South. Turn onto Rt. 87 South to Hwy. 98 West, towards Gulf Breeze. Go 5 miles. Zoo is on the left.
Sorry for the silence, I had the iPad with me, but it is complicated connecting, uploading, getting it all right . . . and I just didn’t have the time.
We had one of the best Thanksgivings, ever. The weather was gorgeous, the setting was perfect, and the company was delightful. The food was copious and delicious (photos will follow).
We were staying at the beach, at our old favorite, the Sunset Inn. I had noticed a few little bites as we were eating, but no big deal, and I put on some repellant and went on with my life. When we got back to the beach, I started itching. And scratching. What had seemed like little bites were growing red and irritated. I had brought Benedryl gel with me, a Godsend for a mosquito-magnet like me, and I got to work immediately.
We took a drive to Apalachicola for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and drove out to St. Vincents National wildlife refuge and St. Joseph’s state park, part of the national birding trail. Last night, I treated more bites.
Today, back on Pensacola, AdventureMan took a look at me and said “Are you sure those are all mosquito bites?”
No. I know mosquitos love to bite me, but other things love to bite me, too.
“Those look like chigger bites,” he added.
I don’t even know what chiggers are. All I know is that whatever bit me – and I was stupid, and wearing a skirt and short sleeved t-shirt, so there was a lot of bare skin to bite – bit me a lot, and today, I am suffering, and not so silently, either.
I knew what I was going for. Not the pallid ‘snaps’ that pass in the stores, no, the real gingery cookies, with real snap.
I went to my old faithful, a book I got back many a year ago when I was a new bride, the Joy of Cooking. It is a great edition, and you can see, it is falling apart. I can’t part with it:
Here is the Gingersnap recipe, altered slightly because I wanted guaranteed ‘snap.’
(Makes about 10 dozen 2 inch cookies)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Cream 3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 well beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vinegar
Sift and add:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 – 4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
Mix ingredients until blended. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes. As the ball melts down during cooking, the cookie develops the characteristic crinkled surface. At 12 minutes, take the cookies out, sprinkle top with the decorator sugar (bigger chunky sugar that won’t melt down into the cookie) and return to the oven for 5 or 6 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool.
Mine are not the prettiest – next year I will know to leave more room between the cookies – but they are the BEST gingersnaps I have ever made. They have a little soft chewiness, and a little crispiness, around the edges. They are SPICY!
The original recipe, in the Joy of Cooking, uses a little less spice and a marshmallow topping. The Joy of Cooking is a wise investment, and if you can find one of the older ones in a used book store, you will have a treasure house of old, tried and true recipes. The authors are Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, and my edition is a Signet Special, first edition, printed in 1973.
We usually make it to the early service at Christ’s Church, Pensacola, but this Sunday we took it easy, and headed to the second service instead. AdventureMan loves the second service for the music; I love it because sometimes our son and his family are there and we get to sit together.
Father Neil gave a thought-provoking sermon, as usual, incorporating some of the things he learned serving as a chaplain to our American troops in the desert in Kuwait. During communion, the choir sang a song known by some as the Navy Hymn and by others as the Armed Forces Hymn. The last two lines of each chorus pray for our men and women “in peril” on land or sea or in the air. While I am a stoic, that song shakes me to my core, and brings tears to my eyes.
At the end of the service, just after the recessional, our superb music director, Kenneth Keredine, with two fellow musicians on drum and cymbals, played a rousing Sousa march, a joyful and happy way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.
For those in a hurry, in addition to the daily readings in The Lectionary, there is a small booklet, Forward Day by Day, which prints a short reading for each day.
I love the reading for today:
monday, july 4 independence day
Deuteronomy 10:17-21. For the Lord your God is…the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe…and who loves the strangers.
In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses charges Israel to love the stranger, because the people of Israel were once strangers in Egypt. In Mark, Jesus entreats us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us because God is not partial. The sun rises on the just and the unjust.
It is easy for us to love friends and people like ourselves. Christians are called to greater challenge: to create a community in which we love the stranger and pray for the one who wants to do us harm.
I remember standing on the Lake Erie shore and reading that during the War of 1812 soldiers died there so that the lake would not belong to the British. The British were the bad guys. A little over a hundred years later, the United States fought two World Wars on the side of Great Britain. The British were good guys. In the intervening years, each country learned to see the other not as evil strangers, but as allies with common interests.
As we give thanks for our country, let us accept the challenge to create a community that includes those who might be our enemies, the people who today don’t seem to be one with us. Our perspective can change.
PRAY for the Diocese of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada)
Ps 145 * 145:1-9; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48
The 0815 service this morning was glorious. We got there early, because those who had gone to the early-early service and had stayed on for breakfast would be leaving, and this is Easter – we needed a parking place. The front of the church was laden with flowers, so many flowers it looked like a private garden, and the flowers scented the entire church, an odor of sanctity.
Getting there early was a really good thing – just after we entered, the brass trio started serenading us, exultant music, full of joy and triumph, perfect way to start an Easter morning service. It’s a special treat, having music and the full choir at the 0815 service, but a member of the choir told me earlier that this is the only Sunday of the year that they sing at all three services. If you like music, oh, what a treat!
The church filled up quickly. I couldn’t help it, I had to look around to see if there were any Easter bonnets. I remember being a kid – a girl kid, that is. We always had hats for Easter. Being kind of a snotty kid, I was often critical of the one I got and somewhere along the line that tradition was discontinued. I guess it must have been discontinued widely, as there were only six ladies wearing hats (we couldn’t help it, we counted), but very nice hats they were. The little girls were all dressed in lovely dresses, some even with chiffon and lots of ribbons.
As we reached the offering, people behind us were criticizing the parents whose children were making noise.
“They should know better! Why don’t they just take them out, so they won’t bother the rest of us?”
“It’s SO disrespectful!”
There is child care available, but I personally love having the children in the service. Maybe it’s a little disruptive, but you know – we’ll live. And I just thank God they are there! I want them to be welcome! I want the parents not to have to leave, but to know their children – and their antics – are welcome! I miss our noisy services in Doha and in Kuwait, with the babies, the children. Even though they left, there was always a little serendipitous bedlam in the service to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously.
As we left, we also sighed – we miss the gorgeous colorful displays of all the saris on the high holy days, the saffrons and fuschias and peacock blues and greens and golds.
Later this afternoon, when the Happy Baby wakes up from his nap, we’ll be having Easter Dinner. He got going too fast this morning and split his lip when he fell. I remember our son at that age, and the doctor who looked at me meaningfully and asked “does your son often have bruises?” I was so offended, but all I could do was laugh – when they start running, they fall down. Once, I was right there when he tripped – inches away from me – and fell against a sharp edged table. It all happened so fast there was nothing I could do (except take him to the emergency room for stitches).
Actually, we were at a school friend’s house in Jordan, his father owned the hospital, his driver drove us, he Dad-the-doctor put in the stitches and we were back at the party before ice-cream and cake were served.
We try to protect them. We do our best. We try to teach them how to behave at public gatherings, like parades, like church, like change-of-command ceremonies, things we are not born knowing. It takes practice. Like parenting.
Wow. Magnificent. Amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it, so creative, so wonderful:
Come back and watch this when you have twelve minutes, and click the expansion box so that it fills your screen. Oh WOW.
Thank you, N, for sending that link. WOW.
Update – Part 2
A fabulous video posted on youTube; camera jiggles a little but not so much that you can’t get the full effect of the kaleidoscope effect – MAGNIFICENT!
BRAVO! BRAVO! Magnificent, Kuwait!
Wishing you only good in the coming years!
Here is what Ken found at Google.com.kw
How cool is that??