Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Torch Expedition

As the Olympic Torch was being lit last night during opening ceremonies in Vancouver, Canada----I joined in the celebration by lighting the candle inside my Olympic Torch Relay souvenir from the trip my son and I made to the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, in 1988.
For that trip, I went through the official Olympic Housing Bureau to get lodging. All of the hotel rooms were booked up, so the housing bureau started using the spare bedrooms of Calgary families who agreed to take strangers into their home during the games. The family that hosted us demonstrated that wonderful hospitality and graciousness that Canadians are famous for. They even picked up my son and I at the Calgary airport in the middle of the night to drive us to their home. The next morning, they had a delightful breakfast for us that included what else---Canadian bacon, of course! It was the sweet lady of the house that gave me this candle holder, which she had received when she went to one of the Torch Relay events earlier in the year. Their home was near public transportation, so we had easy access to the competitions we had tickets to. As another indication of Canadian hospitality, a dietitian I had corresponded with in Calgary arranged to take me on a tour of the food service facilities in the Athletes' Olympic Village. I was able to see the massive institutional kitchen, serving lines, and countless athletes from all over the world as they "fueled up" for their events. I had read in text books that black beans were a favorite food in the Caribbean, and I walked past an athlete from an island nation of that area, and guess what he was eating---a big plate of black beans! It wasn't until later that I realized that the "legume eater" was a member of the now-famous "Jamaican Bobsled Team". Years later, there was even a movie made about their unlikely participation in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Flatulence is a byproduct of consuming legumes, so perhaps those black beans helped "propel" the bobsled team down the track, so to speak. Another highlight of visiting the Olympic athletes food service facilities, was getting to see and photograph Prince Albert of Monaco (along with his royal father!) as they dined beside the "commoner" athletes there. Prince Albert was competing in the Bobsled competition in Calgary, and according to an NBC commentator last night, remains active in the Olympic movement by being a member of the International Olympic Committee. ( My son must have also had a good impression of Canadians, as his lovely fiance is a Canadian citizen!) For the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta that my husband and I attended, I once again used the Official Olympic Housing Bureau, and they placed us in a Motel 6 that was one hour away from Atlanta via the Interstate. The amazing part is, we were paying about $300 per night (ALOT in 1996!) for the Motel 6 room that had sold for $29.99 the week before! The motel manager said that he was making the same profit margin as always, and that it was the Olympic Housing Bureau that received the benefit of the big price markup. It will be interesting to see how the housing is managed for the 2010 Olympic games. There was a lot of new technology that went into the development of the Olympic Torch for the 2010 games. That is because this was the longest, single-country torch relay in Olympic history---28,000 miles. The light had to endure the forty degrees below zero Arctic temperatures found on Baffin Island (which I had never even heard of until my son went on a climbing expedition there), plus the wet conditions brought on by snow, sleet, and rain. In other words, the 2010 Olympic Torch was designed to be "weather proof". Matthew 5:16 quotes Jesus as saying, "In the same way, let your light shine before men...". It takes constant study and effort on my part to "weather-proof" my light to endure the storms of life, but the reward is worth it! Miles of light-filled smiles! Tricia

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Cone Expedition

The expedition that this paragraph depicts occurred more in my mind than in actual miles traveled. When I looked out on my front yard this morning, I was impressed by the beauty of the snow-covered cedar trees that had taken on the shape of cones due to the weight of the snow. Being a person blessed with an excellent appetite, when I put the words "snow" and "cone" together in the same sentence, my mind immediately pictured the image of a favorite childhood treat---snow cones. But remembering that I am trying to limit my intake of concentrated sweets by following the First Place 4 Health ( program, I began brainstorming on how I could make a snow cone without all the calories. That made me recall how several years ago, I sprayed fruit-flavored, sugar-free syrup on "frost blossoms" from my front yard's unusual plants, known as frost weeds. That was a fun experiment, so I started experimenting with the abundant snow around my house, and came up with an incredibly simple, low-calorie version of a snow cone. I simply stirred in the Torani sugar-free, raspberry flavoring syrup I had in the pantry, into a big bowl of freshly-gathered snow from outside, used an ice cream scoop, and "voila!", I had a delicious mid-day snack! Torani has a huge variety of these sugar-free flavoring syrups, which you can sometimes find locally, or order from their website at (Another common brand is Davinci.)
I can't conclude this post without completing this "expedition" my mind went on: When I remembered my First Place 4 Health commitment, I realized I needed to also see if I could remember the First Place memory verse for this week, so here it is: "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57 This could also be the favorite verse for the "Who dat nation" (aka, any of the thousands of New Orleans Saints fans) who are joyously celebrating their SuperBowl victory this year! Miles of snowy smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa