Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Semi-International Lunch

Vacations had my friends traveling to different parts of the world. Africa, Greece and Turkey, Hawaii, Paris, France; and New Mexico. It was fun having each person tell about their visits to the other side of the ocean. I don't know who decided on having a lunch with food commemorating the countries visited but on July 12, 2018, we gathered at the home of the friend who had traveled to Paris. Her d├ęcor was all French; serving dishes, plates, wall hangings, wine, bottled water (Perrier),and crepes she prepared herself. She looked very French in her black beret as she greeted us at the door.

 The lady who had traveled to Africa had already treated us to African food at her house but on this day she brought a dish with cheese, watermelon and cucumber. I do not know if she was kidding, but she said that the watermelon was African!

Hawaii was represented by a beautiful looking dish of fruit and coconut covered bananas. New Mexico had a plate of calabacitas; a dish of zucchini and corn. Greece and Turkey was represented by a Greek salad, Kalamata olives plus cookies from Turkey and Greece. Eiffel tower cookies and apple strudel were brought by a friend for our dessert. The cherry tarts were prepared by the hostess.

Not only was the food original and tasty but the conversation flowed as we talked about our travels.
A fun afternoon and having our eyes opened by tasting different foreign foods.

A great luncheon that couldn't be beat
by a few ladies who love to eat.
Cuisine from different countries we did share
and it turned out to be a fantastic affair!
E. Moscoso

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Horrible Scar

Today I saw a horrible scar about five inches long. It hurt to look at it. Yet, I am sure it hurt my friend more! She had her knee replaced and looked forward to better days. Her leg was all black and blue from her upper thigh to her ankle. The skin around the stiches looked red and her knee looked swollen. She mentioned that she could only handle the pain with drugs. What do you do? You sympathize, try to empathize, try to distract her by what you hope are interesting conversations, you take her food, you eat lunch with her, water her plants, but there is nothing you can do about her pain. I guess it is something only the person who has been operated has to figure out for herself.

On the other hand, I was impressed how well she gets around with her walker. She mentioned she showers by herself. She can fix her own lunch, though she mentioned friends had stopped by with food so she didn't have to cook. "I would if I  had to," she told me. She seems in good spirits and I am not sure I could handle an operation like that and do as well as she is doing.

At her first appointment with the doctor he told her she was exactly where she should be and that made her feel so great that she and the friend who drove her to the office went out to dinner after the  appointment. Time is the important factor in recuperating from a knee operation and also doing her daily exercise therapy.  I know that before long she will be back to normal because her positive attitude, her sense of humor and driving will are always present in my friend!

As much as I wanted to take a photo of the bruised and stiched leg, I did not. So it is up to your imagination to picture the horrible scar!

"I'm fine, and my hips are fine.
My false knee is fine.
My false hip is fine.
Everything is cooking."
Liza Minnelli

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Coney Island Lovers

Looking for a movie to watch on Friday evening, I checked out Prime free movies. One caught my attention because the blurb said it had action, passion, infidelity, and excitement. I had not heard anything about Wonder Wheel with Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi and a Juno Temple.

Those seemed to be good actors so I clicked on it.  The background music was upbeat and my first thought was that it was Woody Allen's style. I couldn't help but think that someone was copying his method of beginning a movie.  I watched the credits before the movie began and guess who had written and directed the movie? Woody Allen! How about that, I thought, I can pick my favorite writer, actor and director before seeing the credits!

Woody Allen has always been a favorite of mine for his sense of humor, how he manages to have characters true to life and how he can move the characters through life in a realistic way. This movie did not disappoint me. Jim Belushi is married to Kate Winslet and he is a rough, gross man that loves his wife but she is unhappy. She runs into Justin Timberlake where he us a life guard on the beach. An affair follows but then Jim Belushi's daughter shows up, running away from gangsters who want to kill her and there is a shift in the relationships. When Justin Timberlake meets the daughter it does not take long for him to fall in love with her. The mixed up group is mismatched; Kate Winslet does not care for the daughter, she sees Timberlake as her escape out of being a waitress, she has a son who starts fires, Jim Belushi is a recovering alcoholic and treats women without respect yet in his own way loves them, and no one appears to be content with their life. Yet, one wonders how their lives will turn out. It is almost predictable but not quite.

I enjoyed the movie, felt bad for some of the characters and enjoyed others. What surprised me is that I had no idea that Woody Allen had a new movie out. I read that he does a movie a year and I usually find out before hand that one of his movies will be coming out. Wonder Wheel was a surprise. I guess you will have to see the movie to know what happens.

Some reviews were not favorable but I liked the movie and it could be that anything Woody Allen does, I will like.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Best Seat In The House

Every year, for the 4th of July, I drive to Greeley, Colorado to attend the famous parade and rodeo. After the parade I usually visit friends and return home feeling as if I had celebrated the day properly. This year I did not feel like making the drive fifty miles north. A friend invited me to go to Blackhawk and I did not feel like going and giving the casino my money. Instead, I got up and decided to cut down some small trees and branches that were popping out of the larger trees. I believe those seedlings are called weed trees and they grow where they don't belong. Grabbing a saw I began  sawing and feeling like Paul Bunyan as I brought down many branches. Most of the limbs were about finger thick, so it really wasn't hard work!

My grass cutter arrived around ten and began mowing the lawn I asked him if he celebrated the 4th of July and he said, "I celebrate every day!"  After he finished the lawn, he began working on the gate he had repaired about two months ago. He did not like the way it scraped on the cement. He sawed and drilled until he felt content with the gate. By then I had a pile of large branches I had cut and he took them, along with the mowed grass, to get rid of them at the dump.

I received a couple of calls from friends wishing me a Happy 4th of July but even then I did not feel as if it was a holiday. I read where Bette Midler said she did not feel like celebrating this year either!

Going to the grocery store, I thought it would be empty because every one would be at barbeque's or family gatherings. How wrong I was because the store was teeming with grocery shoppers. They must not have been celebrating either, I thought.

 In the evening, I turned the television to the PBS station, and saw there was a 4th of July show from Washington D.C. I decided to watch it and enjoyed the entertainment, fireworks, patriotic music plus songs by Jimmy Buffet, The Temptations, and the Beach Boys. A couple of the old songs made me get up and dance in my living room! What a fun show and seeing the many persons in red, white and blue outfits gave me a feeling that I was finally celebrating the 4th of July. With my feet up on the coffee table, no Sulphur smelling fire works, no traffic and no ear splitting booms I enjoyed the party!

The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and God Bless America brought tears to my eyes
because I kept thinking how proud I am to be an American. There is no other country I would rather live in than right here. Seeing our beautiful flag flying gave me a good feeling. I couldn't help but think,  how great our country is and to watch a patriotic show without political tensions was a pleasure.

I was celebrating the 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Colorful Butterfly

Today I heard a story of a beautiful, colorful butterfly who lived in an area with many brilliant colored butterflies. He got bored and decided to fly to another place where he met up with the grey  moth who could not fly. "Why can't you fly," he asked. He was told, "Because I do not have any color on my wings." The colorful butterfly reached over and placed his wing on the dull looking moth. Before long, the moth began to get color on his wings. Once he had his wings all colored he was able to fly away. The sad part was that the original butterfly slowly lost his color and would soon die.

The butterfly was compared to the eighty-five year old man who passed away on June 11, 2018. His funeral was today and even though I do not look at the dead in the casket, I did take a peek at the man. I could not believe how handsome he was as he rested on the satin cushions and appeared to be sleeping. I remembered the first time I saw him about seven years ago. He was singing in the choir and he stood out because he was handsome and very striking. He reminded me of  a cross between Perry Como or Dean Martin and the thought entered my mind that he looked like someone I might like to get to know better.

I would see him around the church and always liked his Italian look. When his partner passed away I went to the funeral and at the reception I offered my condolences. He put his arms around me and thanked me and told me how much he would miss his partner. The feeling I had was that the man was warm and friendly and he spoke to me as if we had been friends for a long time.

He never lost his good looks even when I would see him with oxygen and in a wheel chair. And now he has gone to his final resting place. I heard he loved flowers and there were many flowers at his mass. I read the obituary and was amazed at all he had done in his life. Ice skater, actor, waiter, degree in cosmetology, singer, veteran, dancer, and it seemed that no matter what he did, he was loved. At the mass I heard he "never met a stranger."

Descriptions floating around were: warm, talented, friendly, humorous, diverse, and interesting. He made everyone feel loved and welcome, enjoyed his flowers, loved to sing and anything Italian. I would add that he was a handsome man outside as well as inside!

Back to the butterfly. The priest described the exciting man to being like the colorful butterfly, flying around and touching many who did not have color in their wings and giving them a touch of beautiful. As he gave away his color he slowly faded away but left his color on those he met.

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous
Judge, will award to me on that 
day -- and not only to me,
but also to all who have longed
for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Third Day of Our Journey

Amazing that after my frantic phone call the night before that all the travelers got up to attend mass. There were only two who had gone out the night before and were too tired. Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was celebrated by Fr. Janusz Korban and he welcomed the Young At Heart group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community.
After mass we returned to the motel to eat breakfast and to pack so we could get on the road again and head for Cheyenne. We stopped at a Lusk rest area while the driver went to refuel the bus. The area has a playground and some of the travelers decided to return to their childhood and swing. Most gathered in groups and talked as they waited for the bus to return.

When the bus returned we loaded up and headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming where we would have lunch. A nun on the bus told us Ghost stories, I told jokes, there was some singing,  and prayers for a friend who had gone into surgery. There were plenty of snacks; pretzels, twisslers, cookies, peanuts, m&m's, licorice, and trail mix. When we arrived at the Hacienda Guadalajara Restaurant everybody was hungry but it would have been worse if not for the snacks that were shared. We ate the good food and a few ordered Margaritas or wine. The bill was less than the check so with the extra money we drove to McDonald's for a cup of ice-cream. We had one more stop at the giant Lincoln head but everyone wanted to get home so we did not go visit the large head of Abraham Lincoln that sits on a thirty foot pedestal.

A wonderful three day trip with new friends being made, different sights being seen, and old friends chatting. I thanked the great bunch of travelers and especially the bus driver who returned us safely home. Of course, God is always thanked because without His help these journeys would not be successful!

The Happy Travelers

Second Day of Our Trip to Mt. Rushmore

Continuation of our Journey to Mt. Rushmore:  Breakfast at the motel was from six thirty until nine in the morning. Today we were going to take a ride on the 1880 train from Keystone to Hill City, about an hour ride. We had one car reserved for our group and as we chugged along we saw three deer. The deer in South Dakota do not look the deer in Colorado because they are lighter in color and smaller.  No other wild life sightings but we did enjoy the green scenery and old buildings along the way. A pleasant voice came over the speakers and explained what we were seeing until we arrived at Hill City where our bus was waiting for us to take us to Crazy Horse Memorial.

We were fortunate to have an excellent bus driver who had experience driving to Mt. Rushmore and knew how to get us to our destination.

Since no funds are accepted from federal or state governments and they subsist on donations, the work progresses slowly. I recall seeing the statue in the 70's and it still looks the same which makes me wonder if it will ever be finished. The finger pointing, when completed, will be 29' long and I read that the statue will be the largest in the world!

There are plenty of things to do at the Memorial; Laser show (which we did not see), orientation movie, Indian museum, sculptor's studio, Native American artifacts and dancing. Everyone scattered to different parts of the Memorial until it was time to board the bus to head to Keystone and the National Presidential Wax Museum.

The museum of wax figures was practically across the street from where we were staying so as people finished looking at the forty-five wax presidents, they were able to walk to the motel. There was a lot of history to be learned and we were able to listen individually on remote looking apparatuses. As we entered the museum, Felix greeted us and I had my picture taken with him!

A quick rest and we headed to the Circle B Ranch where we would have dinner and a western show.
Once the bus parked in front of another bus filled with teen-agers, we all made our way to a grassy area to wait for the shoot out that had been advertised. The wooden structures housed a country store, the dining area and the ticket office. In the center was a jail, a lasso a bull area, and a place to shoot blanks! 

We entertained ourselves by taking pictures, sitting on the couches or on a deck to await the promised shoot out!

I suppose if I was a kid, it would be quite exciting to see two men shooting at each other, but my thought was that the shoot out was pretty corny!

After the brief shoot out we entered the dining area filled with wooden tables and benches. We had our own section and as we took our places by lifting a leg and sliding into the bench, we waited for instructions on how the large groups would be fed. We were called by numbers in sections, very much like our Young At Heart dinners, and picked a tin plate stacked vertically. We continued to where the food was being served; baked potato, barbecue beef and chicken, beans, apple sauce, biscuit and spice cake were placed on our plate and we marched back to the table.

The entertainment began by the owners of the Circle B; husband(bass), wife (singer) and son(guitar) joined by a fiddler player. What fun as they played old tunes and told funny stories. Someone told me that the Circle B was a highlight of the trip!

The rain was pouring when we left the Circle B but our hearts were filled with joy after the fun show.
The rest of the evening was a free night so some walked into Keystone, others went to bed, some met 
to chat and my room mate and I retired to our room. In the morning the plan was to go to an eight o'clock mass. Around 9:50 p.m. I received a text that the mass was at 7:30 a.m. An angel of mercy took it upon himself to verify the mass time. That's when the fun began!  I called everyone to let them know to meet at the bus at 7 a.m. I hated to call the bus driver because he had worked hard and my guess was that he was sleeping but he sounded wide awake and said he would have the bus ready at 7 a.m. I finished calling everyone around 10:30 p.m. and then asked for the desk to give a wake up call to my group around 6:15 a.m. the next morning. 

Our last day on our journey will continue in my next blog.