Friday, May 30, 2008

Gotta Love Those Sony Products!

Nathan had a football match on Wednesday. It was a busy day with my brother arriving to surprise both my parents and Nathan. Nathan and Uncle Howie share a special bond since he is the only nephew and grandchild on my side of the family. It turned out to be a great day!

The football match was much like the the last one. It was a lot of boys running around the field chasing a blue ball. They looked cute in their very yellow uniforms. Maybe the next team we play won't have yellow uniforms, too.

Both teams lined up before the game to shake hands and for the coin toss I suppose. The ref was very helpful and compassionate. When one of the players got hurt he would stop play to make sure they were okay. He would also stop play to bend over an tie a shoe.

Nathan talking to Coach.

Ball in play.

Wata break.

Too busy to visit with mom.

We didn't win, but the score was only 2-0, so they did a lot better than last time. I was very proud of him and how hard he tried. Nathan was thrilled to have his DeeDee there to see him play. I would have had more pictures but I had a lapse in memory. I remembered to charge the camera battery before I left, but when I got to the game I realized that I didn't remember to put the battery back in the camera. But, Sony products being what they are, Todd told me to take the memory card out of the digital camera and he put it in the video camera he was using and was able to take some stills for me. Needless to say, I am a big Sony fan. In case you were wondering...I love my Sony VAIO laptop too.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All Together Again!

Yesterday was a busy day for us. Uncle Howie arrived and surprised Nathan, Mama and Daddy. It is so hard to keep something like that a secret. All week I have almost said things like "when Howie gets here we can..." or "we need to wait and do...when Howie gets here." But, we pulled it off. My cousin April drove Uncle Howie to Orlando airport and knowing it was a surprise, she called and said, "The eagle has landed," letting me know in code that he had been dropped off.

Nathan had a football game yesterday too, so we had a lot of finagling to do. The plan was that Todd was going to go early to the football game so the DeeDee wouldn't have to sit in the sun waiting for the game to start. Really we just needed to drive separate so Todd could go to the airport to pick up Uncle Howie. And the reason he left the game early was to go pick up pizza for supper. Which he did after he went to the airport.

Nathan giving Uncle Howie a HIGH five.

Uncle Howie brought Nathan a "safari" style hat for culturama. Stay tuned... more to come on culturama later. He also brought him a Raiders of the Lost Ark movie and they were watching part of it on his portable DVD player.

Today we are off to Mega Mart. We are going to have an early birthday party for Nathan since the family won't be here in July when his real birthday is. He is so excited. On the way to school this morning he told me what he would like the menu to be for supper tonight. Let's just hope we can find everything at one store.

Monday, May 26, 2008

When He Was On The Cross...

Mama and Daddy went to church with us yesterday. I know it was hard on them with them not being use to the heat and the chairs being less than adequate. But, in true missionary style, they were champs. We did take a comfortable padded chair for mama. All of our people came to hear Daddy sing and speak. As always he did a wonderful job. After almost 43 years, I never tire of hearing my Daddy sing and speak. Although age has affected his mellow tenor voice, his passion still shines through and the result is as beautiful as it has always been.

The service began with just a handful of people. Among them, a heckler, whose name is Ricky. Ricky is big boy. He could easily pass for an American football player. As we began the music, he started laughing loudly and whistling, clearly trying to show off and disrupt. And, my mama, went to praying. It wasn't long before Ricky settled down and realized that he wasn't going to deter the service. Ricky has been with us before with other hecklers and has come in, put on his show and left, never staying for the whole service. Yesterday, however, he stayed from beginning to end. Everyone in the community knows Ricky and I watched the surprise on the faces of latecomers when they saw him sitting quietly and being attentive. He even went up for prayer at the end of the service. We all know he will be on Evelyn's prayer list for awhile.

When Daddy came up he told the people a little about himself and then sang, When He Was On The Cross, I Was On His Mind. He then preached out of Mark about Jairus, whose daughter was sick and the woman with the issue of blood. He shared how even though Jesus was on his way to help Jairus' daughter he stopped and took the time to talk to the woman who had been an outcast for twelve years. And, just like he had time for her, he has time for the needs of the people of Jamaica, some of who themselves feel to be outcasts.

Several weeks ago we ordered a podium for Daddy to use from the wood shop next to the church but, not surprising to us, after being promised for three weeks that it would be finished, it wasn't ready. So, we came up with a makeshift podium and it was an eyesore but, it served its purpose.

We took one of the air conditioner boxes Todd used for his makeshift desk and stood it on end. Todd put some books inside it to weight it down. Then I covered it with a table cloth and we set Nathan's adjustable desk on top of the box.

Daddy was able to read his notes and hold the microphone. It was actually sturdier than it looks.

For lunch we went to our new found Chinese restaurant and had a nice air conditioned lunch overlooking the azure waters of Montego Bay.


In other news around the house, we have spent time visiting and just being together. Nathan is enjoying having someone watch him play his Nintedo DS...even if it is Granddaddy. To him, his granddaddy is only blind sometimes.Below, DeeDee gets in a playful "spanking" with a piece of rolled up foam. She was lining my kitchen cabinets and are they evermore nice and organized.

She has also decorated the top of my kitchen cabinets with a few things she brought from home and the empty bottles of olive oil that I have saved because they were too pretty to throw away. My brother, Howard, and I have always loved pretty bottles. Wine bottles and olive oil bottles are the prettiest.

In typical Evelyn style, she said this one needs some greenery around the bottom of the plate. No doubt we will find some before she leaves.

And, finally, for all who were wondering...the chicken and dumplings the other night were delicious and oh, so comforting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Ultimate Jerk Centre in Discovery Bay, Jamaica

Yesterday we drove an hour and a half to Discovery Bay, Jamaica to have lunch at the Ultimate Jerk Centre. I remember reading an article in the Tampa Tribune before we moved here about how the author thought it had the best Jerk on the island. It is a little over half way to Ocho Rios where Dunn's River Fall is.

Daddy loves spicy foods and so, with Nathan being off school yesterday and today, we took advantage of the time to take Mama and Daddy.

The Jerk Centre is brightly painted with accents of hot pink. It would be hard to miss it driving along the north coast highway. It is also located right across the street from the Green Grotto Caves. We have never been to the caves but I imagine we will before we leave.

The menu includes all Jamaican cuisine, including curried goat and chicken, rice and peas, pumpkin soup, and of course the highly acclaimed jerked dishes. We ordered the jerked pork and chicken. They both have a great flavor but it takes some getting use to how they cut the meat. Their meat cutting process is to take a meat cleaver and chop, chop, chop. There are no wings, thighs, and breasts. It's all chopped to bite size pieces, bone, gristle, and all. Although, yesterday I could make out a leg for Nathan. The pork too, is chopped and it may contain bone and skin with a few pig hairs still attached. We also ordered french fries and Daddy said they were as good as homemade fries. The meat is a little spicy on its own, but see the sauce in the little cups? Oh, my! It gives a whole new meaning to hot. It is made with scotch bonnet peppers and besides being hot has a great flavor with just the right amount of salt. We bring home several containers to use here at the house. The other night, we added a few little dobs to a bowl of lima beans and rice and it was good. WARNING: Eat sparingly. The next day you will need a fire extinguisher when you go to the bathroom.

Mama was intrigued with the way the roofs and ceilings were woven together. I'm not sure if it is called thatch or what? But it really does look cool, both from the inside and the out.

I thought this Victoria's Secret bag looked out of place but it did match the paint.

Nathan took his soccer ball and he and Todd played in the cricket field behind the restaurant. The wind was blowing so hard that it was hard to control the ball when kicked. So, they gave up soccer and just raced each other.

DeeDee and Granddaddy watching Nathan play soccer.

DeeDee wanted to check out the bougainvilleas.

DeeDee and Bubby.

The only person DeeDee would get on her knees for.

Mother and daughter.
It was a good day. Needless to say we were all tired when we got home. Today is a holiday here. It is labor day. Most of the stores are closed. We are planning on taking Nathan to the Yacht Club to swim while we have lunch. And I think DeeDee is making chicken and dumplings for supper!

American Idol: We Were Disappointed!

David Cook was good but David Archuleta was our favorite.

Now on to what we've been doing. Mostly we've been doing a lot of eating, sitting around, eating, being disappointed at the American Idol results, eating, reading blogs and did I mention eating? Yesterday I took Mama to town. We went to the bank and to Mega Mart. We also ventured to the pharmacy, ate lunch at KFC and went to Super+. Then we went and picked Nathan up from school early. He was a filthy little boy so when we got home I scrubbed his white P.E. shirt and his socks.

Nathan doesn't get far from his DeeDee's side. Only DeeDee needs a throw over her legs in this hot tropical island.
Uncle Howie sent Nathan the coolest marshmallow shooter. It is made of PVC pipe and it shoots mini-marshmallows with precision. Nathan has had to practice because he can't quite blow hard enough to make the marshmallows go very far. Let me assure you he is getting better and thinks it's funny when he hits his granddaddy in the bottom. He really prefers DeeDee to shoot at him and he tries to dodge them. She nails him every time but he doesn't mind because he pops the marshmallow in his mouth. Hmmm, you know the sugar high gets on my nerves.

Granddaddy washed the dishes for us because he wasn't interested in watching American Idol.

He perfectly lines the dishes up on the towels. Just as he perfectly cubes potatoes and rutabagas when he cuts them up.

DeeDee has peeled a bushel of mangoes. Nathan enjoys gnawing the seeds like his Granddaddy and Daddy. DeeDee and I don't like to get the strings stuck in our teeth.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They're Here!

We arrived at Sangster International Airport a few minutes before arrival time. Todd dropped Nathan and me off and he took the car to the car park. That's the parking lot here.

Nathan sat down and played his Nintendo DS while waiting for his DeeDee and Grandaddy to come out of customs.

"What, mama!?"

Bubby was glad to see his DeeDee.

Todd and Daddy share a hug.

Group shot.

Three happy people.

Nathan helping his daddy load the loot.

DeeDee strapping in until she can get use to riding on the left side of the road.

We have sat around most of the day. Mama and Daddy brought four suitcases and most of it was stuff for us. I sent mama a list and she brought everything we asked for and everything she thought we needed or wanted. It is wonderful having them here. Nathan is off school Thursday and Friday for his mid-term break so I think Thursday we will go to the Ultimate Jerk Centre and Friday we will probably take him to the Yacht Club to swim.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dottie Rambo in Anchovy, Jamaica?

In honor of Dottie Rambo's "Home-Going" celebration today, I thought I would do a special post. She was tragically killed in a bus accident last Sunday and today her family, friends and fans are celebrating her life in Nashville, TN.

All week I have had Sheltered in the Arms of God stuck on my brain. It's kind of like when you are at Disney World and you make the huge mistake of taking the boat ride through Small World and then It's a Small World runs through your mind the rest of the day. I hate when that happens. It ruins the rest of my day at Disney. Anyway, Sunday morning I found the lyrics online but I couldn't find the guitar chords. But, being the research specialist that I have become, I went to YouTube and watched the video of Dottie singing and playing it and on the close ups I was able to see enough chords to pick out the key. My intention was to sing it with Mama and Daddy next Sunday but Todd heard me practicing and asked me to go ahead and sing it yesterday since it went along with his sermon. I don't profess to be in the same category as Dottie but I do come from a family of singers, starting with my mama and daddy. Both my brother Howard, and my cousin April can sing the paint off of the wall. I have also had the privilege of singing for several years with Tonya Mayo, sister to gospel recording artist Kim Boyce, and Shellie Massie, who can belt with the best of them.

Service yesterday started as usual at 11:00 a.m., with the three of us and one other lady, Jackie, and her six month old baby, Crystal. Jackie and Crystal have come the last two Sundays. Crystal is a twin and was born premature. Her brother died at birth. Around 11:30 a few others started trickling in and then around 11:45 everybody that was coming arrived. After telling about Dottie Rambo, I sang for the offering and while I was singing I heard another voice join me on the chorus. As I began to look around I realized it was Jackie. I know Jamaica isn't that far from America, but as I was singing, I couldn't help but picture Dottie Rambo penning that song never dreaming that it would reach all over the world especially to such a small, poor community in Anchovy, Jamaica. But, it did. It arrived here long before I did. With the hard life that many of the Jamaicans have, they take comfort knowing that they are sheltered in God's arms. And, today, those that are gathered in Nashville, TN. can also take comfort knowing that Dottie Rambo is literally sheltered in the arms of her God.

I apologize for the length of the video but I haven't learned how to edit them yet.

As I write this, my mama and daddy are on Air Jamaica, Flight 80. They are on their way to see us and we are so excited. I am confident that they too, are sheltered in His arms. However, in just about an hour and a half they will be sheltered in my arms and I can't wait.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Day

It's taken me a while to get around to this post, but it's been mulling around in my brain for several days. This was my first Mother's Day in Jamaica. I must confess it was a very emotional one. It was emotional for several reasons, but the biggest reason was that I wasn't able to be with my beautiful mother. This was compounded by the fact that Reba Rambo lost her mother, Dottie Rambo, on mother's day. My brother, Howard, called me early Sunday morning to wish me a Happy Mother's Day and while we were talking his college roommate, Bishop Jim Swilley from Church in the Now, beeped in to give him the news. Now, even though I have never met the Rambos, they still played a huge role in my brother's musical formation years. He use to listen to their music by the hours and since he listened, the rest of us in the house listened as well. Another compounding factor was that I know of several other mothers who are battling brain tumors and my heart was sad for their children. I guess it affected me so because I realized that one day I, too, will lose my mother. And, quite frankly, I'm not ready nor will I ever be ready to face that day. So, even though I was close to getting in the fetal position in a corner of my closet and staying there all day, I didn't. Here's the reason why:
My redheaded sweetheart!

I, too, am a mother to the most wonderful, sweet, precious, charming, at times trying, little boy. Many days he keeps me going. He had made me a card at school on Friday and it took everything within him not to give it to me ahead of time. As you can see, the card had a heart cutout and he made a "C" in glitter on the front for Carla. So, because I didn't want him asking his daddy why mommy stayed in the closet all day, I pulled myself together and kept going.

Another reason I kept going was because we had a missions team here and because we were honoring the mothers in our little church. We made up care packages for all the mothers and had three small gifts to honor the oldest mother, the mother with the most children and the third one was drawn out of a "hat." We were going to give a gift to the youngest mother too, but we really didn't want to promote that, if you know what I mean. Children having children is rampant here.

The care packages were made up of motel soaps, shampoos and lotions that Todd's mom collected for us, along with various other health care items that had been donated. We also added some "sweeties." Sweeties are what the Jamaicans call candy. A piece of candy goes a long way here. We placed all of these items in a Ziploc bag and each mother received on of these.
At 54 years old, Sister Dell was the recipient of the oldest mother.

Sister Wright was the mother with the most kids. She has seven. She couldn't stand because she had one baby asleep on her lap.

This lady, a first time visitor, was the recipient of the third gift.

Todd and Nathan gave all of the kids a blow pop.

After church we took the team to a Mother's Day buffet at the Coral Cliff. It was a nice Jamaican buffet. Nathan enjoyed making trips back and forth to the orange juice dispenser. I enjoyed the "made to order" omelet, and Todd enjoyed the sliver of smoked ham he insisted the chef carve off of the already clean carved bone. (Side note: Todd priced a smoked ham in the store yesterday and it was US$92.00.) As nice as it was here, I wish I could have been at the Ramada Inn in Plant City celebrating with my family. Even though the rest of the world celebrated Mother's Day last Sunday, I will be celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day this coming Monday when my mama and daddy arrive. WHOO HOO!

You can read more about my mother at my brother's blog here.