Monday, January 30, 2012

Billy the Kid

 Billy the Kid, the Endless Journey, is the third book I have read about this young outlaw. Some versions agree on his life but some believe that his myth is just that, a myth.  It seems odd that he is so popular, or so it seems, because when I least expect it, I'll hear his name mentioned. Once, a friend's blog mentioned that Rudolfo Anaya  had written a play about Billy the Kid. Another time my granddaughter's ten year old friend mentioned she was from Riodoso, New Mexico and I told her I was reading about Billy the Kid. She said,  "In Lincoln City, near where I used to live, there is a festival where gunslingers show up dressed like in the past and with lots of shooting pretend to relive those wild days of Billy the Kid!"

A few years ago while working on my genealogy, I became interested in Billy the Kid because a relative in New Mexico mentioned that my great-grandfather would hide Billy to keep the law from apprehending him.
I began doing research on Billy and found out he was well liked by the Hispanic community, he spoke Spanish fluently, he liked to dance and he dated some of the Spanish girls.  My cousin mentioned that Billy got a few of the girls pregnant and those children went by the name of Bonney.  No one seems to know why he picked the name Bonney. I lean toward the idea that since he read ten cent novels glorifying criminals by an author named Bonney, he picked that name.

Depending on what book is read, it is difficult to figure out exactly how old Billy the Kid was when he was killed by Sheriff Pat Garret.  First, because there is no accurate birth date (some say he was born in New York City on November 23, 1859) and second, because Garret thought it would be better for Billy to be in his twenties and not a teenager.  Shortly after shooting him, Pat Garret wrote a book about Billy Bonney and he mentioned that Billy was twenty one years old.  Other writers say Billy was only a teenager, possibly seventeen years old when he was killed.  The legend of Billy the Kid is that he killed twenty-eight persons but other sources believe it was between four and nine men.  Some writers mention that Billy was a cold blooded killer while others say he only killed in self-defense.  Some say he would easily get angry while others say he was a gentle person. There is agreement among the writers that Billy was an outlaw, cattle rustler, stole horses, gambled and never drank to the point of drunkenness.  They also agree that he was a good and accurate shooter.

I've read Billy died in a room where Pat Garret was sitting on a bed when Billy entered the room. Everyone seems to agree that Billy kept asking, "Quien es? Quien es?" before getting killed. Another story is that Billy's girlfriend is tied on the bed by Garret and when Billy comes in, he is shot by Garret. In New Mexico, at Ft. Sumner, I saw the grave where Billy the Kid is supposedly buried. It is rumored that the governor of New Mexico perpetuates the myth of his burial place so that tourists will visit the state.  I know my father, from the Silver City area, heard stories about Sheriff Pat Garret and Billy the Kid.  I wish I had paid more attention when my father told stories about the past, but I didn't. It seems that Billy the Kid roamed the area where my ancestors lived so I tend to believe the story of Billy being befriened by my great-grandfather.

Even though there are numerous books, movies, plays, music, poems and television shows about Billy the Kid, no one seems to know the real story about William Henry McCarty, Jr., aka Henry Antrim, aka William H. Bonney, aka Bill the Kid.  Even though no one knows exact facts about Billy the Kid, it does make for interesting reading.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Better Than Sliced Bread"

How can a one and a half by one and a half gadget give me so much pleasure?  My first thought is that it must be magic.  To think that my face is transported close to 1,000 miles away is like something out of a science fiction story.  The small square sitting on top of my laptop opens its tiny green eye and I can hear a voice asking, "Are you there?"  Are you there?"  Suddenly, my granddaughter's face appears on the screen.  I can see myself in another small square in the corner of my computer screen.  Even though I am in Colorado and she is in California we can talk and see each other. 

With my granddaughter's help, I have entered the world of Skyping!  Sometimes, her whole family will be on the screen but usually it is just me and my granddaughter. On Christmas Eve my granddaughter said, "I am putting you in the best seat in the house so you can see us open our gifts!"  She placed her laptop so that I could observe everything going on in their living room. I watched as they opened their gifts, heard comments, made my own comments, laughed and chatted with my far away family.  I felt as if I was physically present in their living room.

I don't understand the technology that went into inventing such a clever device or how it works but I do know I enjoy the time we spend together when we Skype.  It is fun, entertaining and informative to be able to chat with my California family.  My granddaughter, since their laptop has a web cam built into their computer, can take me to their backyard, to the front of the house, to see what their pets are doing, model new clothes or show me photographs.  As she moves around carrying her computer, all I can see is her head bobbling around and I teasingly call her a "walking head."

When my Colorado family visits, we all get in front of the web cam and talk with the California people via the magical air waves or however we are transported! The feeling of being connected is amazing and makes me feel as if we are near to each other.  Now, if I could get the East Coast family to get a web cam, I would have all my family as close as a click on my computer!

The ad for a web cam explains that experiences can be shared, people can stay connected with loved ones and all one has to do is plug and play. I agree that such a simple function will bring many hours of joy.

Sometimes I wonder if the computer is actually thinking. Many times it seems to know more than I do...lots more! Then, I remember seeing a quote by an Edsger W. Dijstra. "The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Music Box

Five years ago my friend lost her husband to cancer. They had been married for fifty years and the pain and shock seemed impossible to overcome. She would say to me, "How does one go on living when a part of you is taken away?" Her daughter, on a visit to Italy, had brought her a wooden box from the Vatican. Even though my friend had the small box for years, she had no idea it was a music box. She thought it was a small box for trinkets. Shortly after the funeral, imagine her surprise when she heard the Ave Maria coming from the box. When she prayed, the box seemed to acknowledge her heartfelt prayers by its music.  A strange feeling would come over her after listening to the music box.  It was as if her husband was with her and she would begin to talk to him.  A peace would settle over her because she knew his spirit was near.

After a few years she stopped questioning why it went off and just accepted the fact that something spiritual happened when the music box played.  Even though five years have passed since she lost her beloved, she daily tells me stories about how the music box affects her life and how it continues to play its melody every morning.

I liked the concept of a music box sending a message to a grieving widow and wrote the following:

 Music Box Message
The tiny bell-like tinkling of the music box played,
"I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places,"
as he gave her the white porcelain box with the pink rose.
She smiled and kissed him, long and hard,
to let him know her love for him and how much
she appreciated the gift.

Whenever they heard the tune,
their love was reinforced.
Clasping hands they would feel the blood
gently throbbing in their veins.
No words needed to be spoken
because they knew the strength of their love.

After many years the music box stopped playing.
Their love continued to grow as they
 planned their 50th wedding anniversary
and decided the music box tune would be
their song to dance as they celebrated their everlasting love.
They could picture themselves
dancing close to each other; he holding her hand
over his heart and her arm embracing his neck.
They would profess their love to family and friends
as they danced to their special tune on their 50th anniversary.

It was not to be.
The shock of death came suddenly,
taking him away and leaving her alone
without the love of her life.
The ache in her heart would not go away.
The pain she felt was like no other she had ever felt.
The loneliness became unbearable
until one day,
she heard a faint sound coming from a shelf.

Moving some books she found the dusty porcelain
music box faintly playing their song.
Was this a sign, she wondered?
Was he sending her a message?
She erased the thoughts from her mind
because things like that do not happen.
He was gone.
She knew she had to accept that fact.

The next day, around the same time, the music box
played their song.
Tears exploded from her eyes.
Why had he left her?
Why did it hurt so much?
She didn't want to dwell on her sadness
so she combed her hair, put on her coat
and went out to clear her head.
Couples holding hands filled her with envy.
A sweater like he used to wear,
hair like his, hands, a back of a neck
reminded her of him.

She knew he was gone
but it would be nice to know that he was all right.
That his spirit was nearby so she wouldn't feel so alone.
A sign would be nice.
Something to let her know that he was fine
and watching over her.
She heard a man say to his friend, "I'll be seeing you."
She picked up a card and the front had,
"Miss you."
While the inside of the card,
"I'll be seeing you in my dreams."

She began to think that it was all very weird.
Maybe he was sending her a message.
She entered a music box store with hundreds of boxes.
They were ornate, large, small, wooden, glass
and in many different shapes and sizes.
Sliding the top off of one,
"I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places,"
floated up to her.
She began opening them all up and they all had the same tune.
She looked for a clerk but he was helping another customer.
They seemed unaware of the phenomenon
of all the boxes playing the same tune.

Her heart began to beat faster
and she suddenly knew.  Here was her sign.
A message from beyond had been sent to her.
He, in his place in another world,
was making sure she heard his message.
A peace descended over her.
She no longer doubted, as she whispered,
"My love, I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places."

E. Moscoso
December 6, 2006

Written for a friend Louise Abeyta at the loss
of her beloved husband,
Jerome P. Abeyta

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Goodness of God

Many things will inspire you to see the goodness of God.  It can be in a beautiful sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, the smell of freshly cut grass, a snowflake, a kindness or a smile. Sometimes, the goodness of God comes as a big surprise like the story Fr. David Bluejacket of the Spirit of Christ Catholic Community told us during the homily. Following is his story:

     "In 1993, the year that Pope John Paul II came to Denver, I was assistant pastor
     at Sacred Heart Parish in Boulder.  Our parish hosted about 80 young people
     and buses would pick them up in the morning and bring them back to the parish
     in the evening.  One night they returned very late, after eleven p.m., and we were
     told they had not eaten anything since noon.

    We checked the yellow pages and realized that restaurants were closed or
    closing except for a Burger King.  Inquiring if the restaurant could
    stay open I was told that they would call the owner for his okay.  The owner 
    told them he would keep the restaurant open and that he would pay for all
    their dinners.

    The bus drivers, even though they were off duty, volunteered to stay and drive
    everyone to Burger King, and then return them to Sacred Heart.
    The Burger King workers stayed late to prepare the food and the
    cleaning staff stayed to clean up afterward.  A few of the young people
    began to entertain everyone by singing.  Another group of young people
    began helping the clean up crew by picking up trash inside and outside
    of the restaurant.

    I saw the goodness of God in everyone involved that evening.  The Kingdom of God
    is at hand when we show the goodness of God within ourselves.  Who would have
    thought the goodness of God would show itself in a Burger King in Boulder?

Once, on television, I saw the goodness of God at an NBA playoff game.  A young girl began to sing our National Anthem and forgot the words.  A coach, Maurice (Mo) Cheeks, came to her aid and standing beside her helped her with the words. Soon, the whole stadium was singing along in solidarity. That coach had the goodness of God because when he saw the girl's dilemma he helped her without expecting anything in return.

If we open our eyes and our hearts I am sure we will see the goodness of God all around us.  As I left the church the goodness of God sent a message to me on a purple t-shirt in front of me.

What we are is God's gift to us.
What we become is our gift to God.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


Isn't it strange how you go through life thinking
you understand what love is all about?
Looking at your mother
you are filled with a thankfulness
that she is your Mother.
She makes you feel special
as if you can do anything.
She is always there,
protecting and loving you
in the best way she knows how.

You meet someone.
Warmth consumes your body.
There is excitement
and your heart flutters
in anticipation of spending
the rest of your life with
this special person,
"This, " you say, "is true love."

A child is born of the two in love.
Gazing at the baby
there is tenderness,
a special caring
and a feeling that you would die for
this tiny being.
You vow that you will
always be there for your child
This certainly is a special love.

Children grow up but you never stop loving.
Near or far,
the love hovers quietly, patiently.
A strong desire
to keep your children from harm,
to keep them happy,
to keep them content
is always there for your children.
You understand the love
your parents must have had for you.
It doesn't matter how old they get,
or how old you get,
the love for your children is forever there.

When a child is born of your beloved child
another kind of love takes over.
From the minute you see the
beautiful, tiny face,
the perfectly formed
hands and feet,
the itsy-bitsy fingernails,
the crooked smile,
the wispy hair,
those large eyes,
you have reached the ultimate in love.
Like someone blowing up a balloon,
your heart swells, larger and larger
but never breaks.
An infinity of love passes through
from you to the perfect little child,
your grandchild.

Falling on your knees
you thank the miracle giver.
The one guiding you through
different kinds of love.
The one whose love is never ending.
The one who is always there for you.
The one that loves you unconditionally.
You thank the almighty
with a heart overflowing with human love....
a mere speck
compared to the love God has for us.

E. Moscoso
August 4, 1998





Monday, January 16, 2012

Hanging Up My Dancing Shoes

Sunday Morning, on CBS, had a segment on a Dutch violinist, Andre Rieu, and his fifty member Johann Strauss Orchestra. They play to packed houses all over the world with their upbeat and lively waltzes. The music is so catching that people dance in the aisles.  As I heard the music, I also stood up and danced a fast waltz in my kitchen.  My knees hurt and I could tell my movements were not as graceful as they once had been.  Dancing had been my passion and in those days, I danced four or five times a week.  I enjoyed meeting other dancers and having dance partners who enjoyed dancing as much as I did.

To keep up with the better dancers, I began taking lessons to learn new steps.  Learning new moves gave me sweet satisfaction and paired with a good dancer, made me feel connected to my spiritual, mental and physical being.  I could not have asked for more as my partner and I moved in sync to the music.  Somehow, you and your partner become one on the dance floor, moving with fluidity and grace.  That may be why Andre Rieu exclaimed in the interview, "dancing can be better than sex!"

Separating the dances into different evenings gave me a variety of fun.  Ballroom dancing included foxtrot, jitterbug, or waltz in fancy dresses and high heels.  My ballroom partner made sure we attended dances featuring the Tommy Dorsey Band, Harry James, Ray Anthony, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Les Brown.  These bands played in hotels with large ballrooms which were always packed with other lovers of the big band sound.

Latin dancing included the cha-cha-cha, rumba, meringue, and samba and all required lots of hip action. The Corrido, a popular dance at Mexican fiestas has always been one of my favorites. German Polkas and accordions go hand in hand and the bouncy tunes are extremely energetic.  One step that looked easy but I could never conquer was the Dutch Hop. I fell in love with Country and Western music after seeing the movie Urban Cowboy with John Travolta.  That movie made me a fan of the triple and double step as I twirled around the dance floor in my cowboy boots and denim skirt.  The Pretzel was a complicated move but once learned, it was fun to do.  The country waltz (different and easier than the ballroom waltz) also became a favorite.

I began to notice that every year dancing became more sophisticated, new steps were being introduced and the good dancers were becoming younger. When a young Salsa dancer asked me to dance, he spun me, took me through rapid turns, and slid me around to the fast beat.  I was shocked that when the music ended I
could barely breathe. As I gasped for air, my hot face (I was told) was bright red, and my heart battled to beat its way out of my chest.  My concerned partner with a worried look on his young face, asked, "Should  I call 911?"  That's when I knew my dancing days were coming to an end.

Back to Sunday Morning.  Watching Andre Rieu and his orchestra playing those fast Strauss waltzes filled me with wonderful, warm, pleasant and happy memories.  I remembered an article I had read on how dancing is good exercise plus the camaraderie with other dancers will extend your life.  The way I figure is that all the steps I accumulated in my years of dancing, I just may live to be over a hundred years old!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Bronco Sunset

Before the disastrous game for the Broncos against New England, Denver was graced with this beautiful sunset.  We hoped it might be a sign that the Broncos would play wasn't!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Stalker

Most of my life I was not aware
that I was being stalked.
He followed me around,
though never showed his face.
The stalker creeped into my life.
Even though we never met,
he loved to look at me
as I lay in the sun,
sipped on a drink
or smoked a cigarette.
I could feel his leering eyes on me
but I managed to keep him at bay.
One day, he appeared.
I called law enforcement and
Sheriff Beau showed up...he
would do all he could to keep
the stalker away from me.
A restraining order worked for awhile
until one day the stalker became
bold and attacked.  I was helpless,
and felt just like a quarterback getting sacked.
He pounced on me, wrapped his tentacles
around my neck and face.
Threw me to the ground,
pulled tufts of hair from my head,
and left me in a whimpering daze.
Tears ran down my creased face.
The stalker had won.
Sheriff Beau Tocks could help me
no more, as the stalker
merged into my face to be with me
forever more, transforming me
into a wrinkled old lady!

E. Moscoso
December 16, 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Son, the Chef

Finding out that your adult child has a hidden talent comes as a huge surprise, especially when it is something I never suspected.  I knew he had talent for creating pottery because my house has many of his beautiful pots. But, cooking is a talent I never saw coming!  Being a gregarious fellow, I knew he liked to entertain and I thought his specialty was grilling hot dogs and hamburgers.

On my birthday, he told me he was preparing a dinner for me and said, "I know you like chicken and I think you will like this dish."  Imagine my surprise when he served a colorful, delicious stuffed chicken breast on a bed of rice.  "How did you do this?" I asked. "This is the best chicken I have ever tasted!"

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Butterfly the chicken breast,(slice it lengthwise and open it up so it looks like a butterfly), place Prosciutto ham and fresh mozzarella cheese on bottom half and bring the top half to cover the filling. Grill the stuffed breast and when chicken is almost done, place garlic goat cheese and sun-dried tomatos on top of the stuffed breast.  Giill it until the cheese begins to melt and serve over rice.

I found out that the Prosciutto ham is an Italian tupe of dry-cured ham sliced thin and the Mozzarella cheese is an Italian specialty cheese.

Drunken Chicken

He told me about his Drunken Chicken recipe that is easy to prepare.  A whole chicken is dry rubbed with cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and fresh ground pepper.  He lifts the skin and pats areas with butter.  Emptying a half a can of beer (or as he puts it, drink half a can of beer) and place the cavity of the chicken on the beer can and place the standing chicken on the grill.  He said that the beer steams into the chicken giving it a delicious flavor.  This was a way of cooking chicken that was foreign to me!

Prime Rib

Roll prime rib in course salt, fresh ground pepper, and Rosemary.  In a cast iron skillet, brown the seasoned meat in olive oil. After browning, place the prime rib in an oven set at about 300 degrees. Before he had a meat thermomater, he would allow about 45 minutes per bone after deciding if the meat was to be rare, medium or well done. He told me that timing is very important when doing a prime rib. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

I found out he watches cooking shows on television and he mentioned that he gets ideas from the chefs.  He tries to invent his own dishes but, "Sometimes," he said, "I get a flop."

When I had company visiting me and at the last minute I decided to fix dinner, I panicked.  I did not now what to serve.  I checked the pantry and found I had spaghetti fixings.  My son said, "I will doctor up that jar of sauce. I need green pepper, onion and garlic."  He sauteed the ingredients and added it to the jar of sauce and simmered the sauce until the spaghetti was ready.  I prepared a salad and garlic bread and we had a nice dinner with delicious "homemade sauce."

What I notice when my son is in the kitchen chopping, mixing, or fixing something for guests, he enjoys it.  He loves to prepare different dishes and when he eats out and likes something, he tries to imitate it.  I suppose that is what makes a good chef...loving to prepare a dish that looks good, tastes good, and having people enjoy it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Bronco Fan

I am not an avid sports person and watching professional basketball, hockey, soccer or football doesn't interest me. All I need to know is the winning touchdown, the safe call, the puck in the net, a scoring spike, a good dunk and the final score. Recaps work for me.

Last year I began hearing about a Bronco quarterback named Tim Tebow and how he would kneel on one knee, put his fist on his forehead and pray. Soon, this act of praying became a verb...Tebowing. When I'd hear him speak he came across as a nice guy....never saying anything mean  or nasty about anybody. I happened to catch the ending of a couple of games and in the last few minutes Tebow ran the ball in for a touchdown. He impressed me.Then, for three weeks the Broncos lost and I lost interest.

When I heard the Broncos were in the playoffs and they would play the Pittsburgh Steelers, I felt sorry for the Broncos.  I believed they had won past games as a fluke and they were not real football players.

On January 8, 2012, I went shopping and the stores were deserted.  I commented to a clerk about the lack of customers and he told me it was because of the football game.  He also mentioned that the Broncos were winning.  When I got home I turned the television on and the score, Broncos 20/ Steelers 6, both surprised and shocked me.

I began watching the game. My skimpy knowledge of a football game is that each team has to get four downs to keep possession of the ball.  Interceptions are good.  Sacking the quarterback is important.  Receivers have to catch the football after the quarterback throws it.  Referees throw down yellow hankies (flags) when there is a penalty.  The referee's word is final, no matter how much a team argues or complains.  A touchdown is followed by a kicker who makes an extra point but if the team decides to run the ball across the goal line it counts for two points. When the referee holds his two arms straight above his head, it is a touch down. It is exciting when our team seems to be headed for a touchdown, disappointing when he is tackled, and sickening when the ball bounces out of our player's arms and we can't recover it.

The Steelers tied the game and I felt bad for the Broncos.  How could the Broncos be ahead and then end up losing? So be it, I thought, the better team will win. Somehow, the game went into overtime.  I listened to the referee explain the rules of overtime play, a coin was tossed and we got the ball first.  I watched as Tebow threw the ball, it sailed through the air landing in the hands of #88, D. Thomas.  He began racing down the sideline as I yelled, "Go, go!" I watched as he shoved a black and yellow player who got too close and then #88 crossed the goal line. The Broncos won the game!

Everyone in orange and blue seemed to be smiling, hugging, slapping each other and Tebow was congratulated over and over again.  I wondered why #88 didn't get the attention Tebow was getting, after all, he caught the ball and ran it in for the touchdown.

There is something about Tebow that makes non-believers and non-sports fans want to see the Broncos play.  Next week I will watch the Broncos play the New England Patriots because Tebow has made a fan out of me!  This will be a first for me because the last time I watched a whole football game was when Floyd Little played for Denver and Willie Brown played for the Raiders. Even though football seems to be a violent game and quite dangerous, I can see from the full stadium,  the fervor of fans and my friends who are glued to their television sets as they watch a game that football is loved by many!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vicious Cycle

Usually I like to write about happy things, but this morning on t.v. I saw on Channel 9 where a lady was receiving an award for helping persons who were in abusive situations.  Yesterday, I spoke with a friend about a friend of hers who was being abused by her husband. I recalled in the late 1980's, when I was employed at a legal aid office and my clients were battered women.  Women came to see me with black eyes, bruises, broken limbs,or completely beaten down by life.  As a paralegal, I would interview the women, and sometimes men, and try to convince them to leave the abusive situation.  Some did leave, yet others repeatedly returned to their batterers.  Statistics show that before a person can leave a horrible relationship, it takes about seven attempts. I learned the progression of a batterer:  verbal abuse by nasty name calling; shoving or pushing; striking; and finally killing. The following is a poem I wrote showing what can happen in those abusive situations.

Vicious Cycle

Anger erupts,
into loud voices,
and frowns.

A tap,
a shove,
a slap
and then,
"I don't know what got into me.
It will never happen again.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
I'm so sorry."

A stormy night,
another fight,
a loud shout,
a fist swings out.
Red rashes,
blood splashes,
police arrive
and she will survive.
"I don't know what got into me.
It will never happen again.
Please, forgive me.
I love you.
I am so sorry."

words of love,
until the next shove.
there's no retreating.
Smack after smack,
a kick at her back.
Pointing a finger at her head
he yells, "Bitch, you're dead!"

purple, yellow, green.
Will she now believe he is mean?
A kiss,
a hug and
"I don't know what got into me.
I'm so sorry.
It will never happen again.
Please forgive me.
I love you."

A week
or two
possibly three
She begins to feel free.
There's no abuse.
Lots of happiness,
and then he strikes again.

Phone disconnected so she can't call.
He bashes her head against a wall.
He rips off her coat,
places his hands on her throat.
Across the room she flies
realizing he's been telling her lies.
She crashes through a window of glass
landing eight stories down
on a patch of grass.

"I am so sorry," he sobs. 
I don't know what got into me.
I never meant to hurt you.
Please forgive me."
As the casket is lowered
so very slowly.

E. Moscoso
September 6, 1991

The advice I would give clients was to have a safety plan.  In a safe location, they should hide an extra set of home/car keys, extra money, important documents like bank accounts, insurance policies, driver's license, birth certificate, social security number, shelter phone numbers and a small bag with extra clothing.  If a quick get away would be needed all the important items would be in a handy place. 

I thought that domestic violence would have been eradicated from when I worked with battered women to now, but from what I read in the newspapers or see on television, nothing seems to have changed. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Collector or Hoarder?

I do not believe I am a hoarder, but I do like to collect various items.  My collections are not for monetary value or fame...just for my own pleasure.  Something catches my eye and I begin to buy more of the same thing.  When I get tired of my collection, I move on until another item appeals to me.

Remembering places I had visited, places where I had a good dinner, where I had danced or hung out with friends began my collection of matchbook covers.  Some of the covers are from the late 1960's and the majority of the places are no longer around.  When smoking was outlawed and free matches were no longer available, I gave up the match book collection.

Collecting troll dolls became my next hobby.  The funny faced, hard rubber dolls, with their bulging eyes and different colored spiked hair appealed to me. Their costumes represented sport teams, soldiers, skateboarders, brides, grooms, renaissance era, jeweled royalty, holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, etc.), photographers, dancers, skaters and naked trolls with a gem in their belly button! I displayed them in a bookshelf and when my grandchildren visited, I would bring them down so they could look at my many different trolls. One day, I decided they could play with them and I found my trolls undressed or the clothing mismatched. My fifty some trolls now rest in a large box in a closet.

When I traveled, the least expensive souvenir was a key chair and I began collecting key chains from different places. I have many key chains and as many memories of twenty states in the United States as well as Canada., Mexico, Central America, South America and Europe.  I draped the connected key chains on  my bedroom walls and enjoyed lying in bed and recalling the many places I had visited.  When it was time to paint my bedroom, the key chains came down, placed in a couple of boxes and stored in my basement.

Once, when I visited a friend, I noticed she had a wall of many beautiful and ornate crosses. This began my fascination of unusual crosses made of wood, glass or beads.For my birthday I was given a beaded cross made in Mexico. I have fifteen crosses on my living room wall and the newest cross is one that my artist daughter sent me for Christmas this year.  It is made of gourd material with a Joshua tree painted across it.
Years ago I began collecting Nativity scenes.  I love the story of the birth of Christ and it gives me great pleasure setting up the little figures as I picture the scene so many years ago. My sets are bears, American Indian, traditional sets, music box sets, and made from a variety of materials like gourds, metal, wood, or ceramic.  Even though I had made up my mind to stop buying Nativity sets, I purchased one more this year. A beautiful three piece set made in Ecuador.  One year I put them all out and enjoyed setting each one up.  After Christmas, it was so much work wrapping each individual figure, boxing them so they wouldn't break, and putting them away that I now put out three or four mangers at a time.

My collections, once I tire of them or they go out of season, end up getting stored in a box so I may be a collector, but I am sure I am also a hoarder!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Tournament of Roses

Parades are fun to watch and ever since I was a little girl I have enjoyed standing on the sidelines cheering and clapping. Seeing the variety of floats, people, cars, horses, soldiers, dogs, clowns, bands and dancers as they march to the beat of the drums gives me a feeling of happiness. When the American flag comes by and everyone stands up I feel a tightening of my throat and tears prepare to spring out of my eyes. I can feel the beat of the large drum deep inside me as different bands, in their colorful uniforms, march past me.  Excitement  spreads throughout my body as I enjoy each group either marching or riding. I like the well groomed horses as they prance along gracefully. Politicians trying to get votes turn me off and ruin the parade for me.

When I was around three years old I saw my first parade in Greeley, Colorado.  The 4th of July celebrations were big then, and still are, with a parade, a rodeo, a carnival and fireworks. My brother and I would get new western clothing....cowboy shirt, a red hanky around the neck, boots, jeans and a holster with a toy gun.  My father held me in his arms so I could see the parade and then took us to Island Grove Park for the Spud Rodeo. I remember a lot of dust and sunburn. In 1971 the name of the celebration changed to Greeley Independence Stampede and the parade has become one of the largest in the area.

Later in my life, parades for St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day were fun and festive.  For Thanksgiving I watched the Macy Parade on television. But, when my California family invited me to the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena in 2008 I found out what a real parade was all about.  Seats are sold in bleachers to enjoy the parade sitting down or people can stand along the side of the street. There is happy excitement all around as vendors sell souvenirs and food.

When I saw the first float I was surprised to see how huge it was and that the whole float was made with flowers and organic materials.  Each float was more beautiful than the next.  Every kind of flower was used. There were so many band members that I wondered why I had thought that 30 to 50 band members were a lot. Celebrities rode on floats and the one that impressed me was George Lucas of Star War fame. Hundreds of Star War soldiers marched in formation. The beauty of the whole parade amazed me.

I still like parades but none will ever compare to the spectacular Rose Bowl parade. This morning I watched the parade on television and it was beautiful with all the gorgeous flowers and the clever themes, but in order to appreciate a parade to its full extent I need to stand, or sit, on the sidelines!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

New Year Eves

How many "Happy New Years" have I heard?
How many times has Auld Lang Syne been sung?
How many times has a globe slid down a pole?
How many black-eyed peas were eaten for luck?
How many fireworks exploded above my head?
How many midnight kisses have been given?
How many sequined hats topped my head?
How many crepe streamers covered the floor?
How many balloons floated down?
How did so much confetti land in my hair?
How many noise makers were blown or cranked?
How many glasses of champagne have I raised?
How many good wishes have I sent?
How many times have I partied with friends?
How many times have I been alone?
How many resolutions have been broken?
How many prayers of thanks have I whispered?
If I add all the years I arrive at seventy-three.
And wonder how many more years will I see?

2012 is a brand new year
and my wish is that it will be
filled with health, happiness and cheer!

E. Moscoso
December 31, 2011