Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend in Napa (and lots more that I didn't plan on writing about)

This past weekend my cousin Nathaniel, who lives up in Napa, graduated from high-school. My family had plans to go up there for it since a while back, but I did not think I would go - for work reasons. However, a day before my family was scheduled to leave, I decided to try to get some people to cover my shifts for Friday and Saturday. After two hours of tedious effort, and contacting every Starbucks location in Rialto and one in University, I finally found two gracious baristas that would cover for me. I then let Nathaniel know that I would indeed be coming. He was glad.

When we got there Friday afternoon we all met each other, as always, with hugs and kisses and hugs and kisses and more hugs and more kisses, etc. If you didn't know, we Browns are a very huggy and kissy family. (If you don't like it, turn away. (as they say)) In fact, we did that an awful lot this weekend. (we don't get to see each other very often any more)

This weekend was a very memorable one and precious not only to me personally but I believe it was special to each one of us, seeing we grandkids are all getting older and will be going our separate ways as life would direct. This past weekend was the first time that the entire Brown family had gotten together in a very long time (I don't remember when the last time was, as a matter of fact). And I know Grandma loved getting to be with all her kids and grandkids (especially me) one more time. I don't know how many more times we'll be able to get together like that again, so I cherish the times that I have now. When I was young I didn't really appreciate my family like I do now that I'm older. This whole weekend I had sort of a sentimental feeling down deep in my heart. I don't want to ever lose the times that I get to spend with my grandma and uncles and aunts and cousins, but I know that time has a dirty way of stealing them from all of us.

So, lately I've been really thinking about how good of a family God has given to me. My dad turned 51 last week; so at the table today after this morning's church service, Uncle Clayton had everyone take a turn to say something special about my dad. Without going into great detail, suffice it to say, it got pretty emotional pretty quick. People were crying in no time. The occasion opened, even further, my understanding of how much my family loves my dad. God has indeed blessed me with a wonderful father. It almost sounded like a funeral - all the sniffling and wonderful words. :-)

The occasion also reminded me of how much we all love and deeply care for each other. I remember when us grandkids were younger, even though we had a lot of fun playing together, we also had several times of great disagreement (which is natural in children). But now that we're older, it seems like it's easier to look past the differences and relish the friendships created by the family bond that has been built over the years by the generation before. I love all my cousins very much. But I especially love my Grandma who (along with Grandpa Brown) created the family that I am proud to be a part of today.

When I began writing this, I didn't think I'd end up writing an epistle. If you read this entire post without either going cross-eyed, falling asleep, or some other way losing consciousness midway, I commend you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for your attentiveness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Happy Fruit

Before Sunday May 31, I don't remember ever eating a mango. I knew nothing about them other than that they were fruits that tasted good in smoothies. But during the course of conversation with Bro. Saul Flores I learned that the mango is not only a tasty fruit, but also a very healthy one. Of course I understand that most all fruits are healthy in some respect (what with all the different vitamins and so forth), but the thing that Bro. Saul told me (while munching on a very juicy mango) that really stuck out to me was that mangos contain a lot of tryptophan, which is (according to scientific studies (you can look it up online. it's there. all over.)) the pre-curser of serotonin, aka the "happiness-hormone." Apparently mangos possess a source for happiness. I didn't not know that, and was shocked when Bro. Saul told me that. "Eat mangos and be filled with happiness!" he said with a smile as he took another bite...

By the end of the night I had downed at least four of those things, and was filled with joy! (well, I didn't really feel a drastic change come over me all of a sudden, but I imagine if I keep eating them, I will eventually start to feel it.) At least they taste good. Plus, I like being happy. It gives me a more happier feeling than does being sad or mad). I noticed the seeds are pretty weird looking too.

Wololoo! HAHAHAHAHAHA...Hic! YES. You played two hours to die like this? Nice Town; I'll take it. Wood Please. The wonder, the wonder, the...NOOO!!!

It's old, but it's still a blast to play with friends. It's called Age of Empires - "The Conquerors."

(In case you're wondering what the hidden meaning behind the strange title is, they are just some of the audible phrases and taunts that AOE has a part of the game. They are a blast to use in multiplayer... during the entire gameplay.haha)

I dedicate this post (can you dedicate posts? If so, I do) to my good buddies Josh and Josiah Winkler, with whom my brother and I play AOE everytime we get together, which isn't nearly enough. Wololoo!!! Ah, smite me!

I also dedicate this to my good buddies and cousins Loren and Nathaniel, with whom, also, we play when we get together, which also isn't nearly enough (however, since Nathaniel is graduating from highschool this year, (tomorrow as a matter of fact) tomorrow morning my family is heading up to Napa for the big Brown Family weekend sha-bang!! Woohoo! I can't wait! BTW congrats Nathaniel - and many happy returns!!!).

In case you've never played AOE or seen someone play it, but you might know someone who watched someone else play it maybe, then the following menu and in-game screenshots are for you. Maybe they will inspire you to go out and buy this 10 year old masterpiece.haha

Don't these guys look like conquerors?

(Read aloud with heavy English accent as is spoken in Stan Freberg's "The United States of America - The Early Years" (which I plan to post about sometime in the relatively near future).).

"Look at them all out there - how fierce they look. Why, they're not moving a muscle! Seem to be frozen in their tracks. Almost like a painting. Grim visage of war. My, look at the determination on that fellow - the skinny kid with the pipe."

(This too.) "Hello! They've begun their barrage. Great heavens lord Cornwallis, I'm afraid we've had it. Yes, well, time for the better part of valor and all that. Shall we go? After you sir. Righto."
End of quotes from Stan Freberg.

Sorry, when I saw the first picture of those three guys up there, I thought of that dialogue...thought you might enjoy it.

BTW, I hate population limits.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Are you native Californian?"

asked the barista to his blonde co-worker today. "No! duh, I was born here in California."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You Too...

There's a very nice, very old man that comes into my Starbucks every morning around 9am with his newspaper in hand and orders a grande coffee with either a slice of lemon loaf or a butter croissant. His name is Mr. Simpson. A few months back, through the course of conversation, I learned that he grew up in the same area of Oregon that I did. His sister lives in the same town where my Nana lives. So we both have alot in common; and I enjoy talking with him. There's one problem though - he's really hard of hearing. REALLY hard of hearing. So, I have make sure to talk loudly to him. Well, yesterday at work (on Saturday's he comes in the afternoon) he came by. When he was finished with his food, he gave me his plate, and here's how the conversation went:


Mr. Simpson: "You too!"

And he walked past me, out the door.

You talk about being thrown for a loop. I just stood there for a second, dumbfounded, not knowing what just happened. That's when I realized just how shot Mr. Simpson's hearing is. When he left, I told my co-workers and we all laughed about it. We all at Starbucks 210/Riverside love Mr. Simpson. He's one of my favorites!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When the Fire Fell 2 Hours before Church, Adam Put it Out

Yesterday afternoon as I was sitting outside of our home relaxing and watching an intense lightning storm, which I have always enjoyed doing, while also listening to the sirens of fire trucks as they sped to and fro throughout the city, as I was enjoying the phenomenon, I suddenly was jolted out of my chair by the deafening crackle of lightning not 100 feet away along with the simultaneous boom of thunder.

I thought the lightning hit the street that our church sits next to. So as I was running around the church to the perceived bomb site, I noticed plumes of smoke and flames of fire pouring out of the top of one of our cyprus trees that are right next to our Church buses by the conference room. I then perceived that the lightning had not stricken the street. Immediately I called 911, then got Adam Pierce who was in the conference room.

He had me move his truck, and in 2.85 seconds (I think) he was on top of the bus. (In his suit. Remember, it was two hours before service, and he was there early preparing for a meeting.) He proceeded to spray the tree with a garden hose for about 20 minutes until the fire was out. Then a police officer pulled up to see if everything was okay (apparently the fire dept was backed up with several other fires.) So Bro. Adam ended up a hero in a drenched suit and tie.

Today, reminiscing about it got me to thinking,  Azusa and Topeka aren't the only places where the fire fell. When it fell at Inland Lighthouse Church in Rialto 2 hours before church, Adam put it out.

Here are some pics I took with my phone during the incident. The last one I took today.

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Unfortunately there was a fatality that we were unaware of until today's inspection of the scene.

This poor possum got barbecued.