Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lady on the Bus

 
Yesterday is but today's memory
Tomorrow is today's dream.
Kahlil Gibran
 
 
 
My previous blog reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago
when I would ride the bus to work. Are things really as they seem?
 
  

The lady on the bus
sits quietly,
hands folded,
eyes closed.
Anyone seeing her
would guess
she was
praying,
meditating,
sleeping.
How shocked
they would be
if they could see
the hot blood pounding,
images abounding,
silent fantasies resounding.

A sweet, soft, silky ear,
gently held by her lips.
A roving finger
in her moist mouth.
A hot tongue making her
feel young.
A strong hand at her back
softly stroking,
teasing,
caressing.
Lips toying with her lips,
lightly,
before becoming
more demanding.

Two hearts beating together.
Poetry in motion.
A quiver of emotion,
a tremble of desire,
an insatiable fire.
Firm arms
hold her near,
releasing any fear.

The lady on the bus,
lets out a silent moan,
she sighs,
dizzy with her own
thoughts of love.
Anyone seeing her
would guess
she was praying,
meditating
or sleeping
never seeing the 
tumultuous fire
within.

E. Moscoso
June, 1988


RTD Experience

My car began a bit of stuttering when I pushed on the brake so I took my 2000 Subaru Outback to the "doctor" for a "physical." Not having a ride, I decided to ride the Regional Transportation District bus service after leaving my car at the "hospital."

I walked a block and a half and thought about how strange it is being on foot and not in a car.  The cars look so much bigger, they make more noise and I had to depend on a small button on a metal post to change the light so I could walk across a street. At the bus stop I saw an overflowing trashcan, six grocery store carts, and some wooden benches.  As I sat and waited, the cars seemed to all be speeding as they almost seemed to want to blow my baseball cap off my head with the breeze they caused.  The noise of tires on the pavement was extremely loud and constant. I had to push my Shuffle to the highest level to hear the music. I kept thinking that if one car veered from the road and headed for the bus stop, that would be the end of any waiting bus rider.

Finding a good bus driver can be as
important as finding a good musician.
Reba McEntire

The bus arrived and I found out that the fare for Seniors was $1.10. Digging in my purse, I found enough change to drop into the glass box by the driver.  Before I could find a seat, the bus lurched and was off to the next stop.  Luckily I was holding on to the silver pole and managed to sit down. From the back of the bus I heard a woman's voice yell:  "You are going too fast."

Bus driver:  We are running late.

Woman:  That is no reason to drive like a maniac. You almost knocked the lady down. (I guess I was the lady she was referring to.)

Bus driver:  We are already supposed to be at our next stop!"

Woman:  We may never get there because the way you are driving we could all be killed.

The bus driver slowed down to what felt like ten miles an hour.  As we creeped along the woman yelled again, "Now you are acting like a child."

Bus driver: It doesn't matter what I do, there are always complaints. If I go fast you complain and now I slowed down and you are still complaining.

Woman: Grow up!

The bus driver resumed what I would guess was a normal speed and we arrived at our stop where he proceeded to wash the windshield,  inside and out.  We must have had some time to spare if he had time to clean his windshield.

Riding RTD is an experience because one never knows what will be seen or heard on a bus but it does get one from point A to point B.

A bus is a vehicle that runs
twice as fast when you are
after it as when you are in it.
Author Unknown


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Friendly Skies



Frequent Flyer Miles on Frontier
Summer is coming to an end even though our temperature is still in the 90's. I decided to take one more trip this year and began searching for an economical airfare to the east coast. I would visit my brother and sister-in-law and their menagerie of animals, plus travel to Niagara Falls, which has been on my "bucket list"for a few years. I have enough frequent flyer miles to travel on Frontier for free but when I checked I found out that Frontier does not travel to Boston or Buffalo.  For two whole days I typed in airlines, search engines, travel companies and just as I thought I was finding something I liked I found something better, cheaper, or faster. If I left a site with the information I thought might possibly work, I would check one more site and then never find the first one I liked or the prices would change.

Finally, I found a flight to Toronto, Canada in Ontario which is not too far from Niagara Falls and I thought it might work.  I put in Toronto, Canada and Ontario, Canada came up.  It was only $200.  That certainly was the cheapest I had ever seen so I purchased a ticket to Ontario, CA and began planning a trip to Canada.  A blurb came up asking if I needed a hotel in Ontario.  As I looked at the hotels I noticed they were near Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and places in California.  What had I done? I called the airline and after a few attempts I was able to cancel without any additional fees. Okay, Ontario CA does not stand for Ontario, Canada.

My search began again. I could fly free to New York City and land in LaGuardia Airport. To visit my brother in Boston I would take a flight from LaGuardia which cost about the same as if I had flown from Denver to Boston. It didn't make sense because one is 1770 miles away and the other is 182 miles. Go figure! Yet, if I could fly from JFK to Boston,the fare was about $160 less. My brother suggested taking a shuttle from LaGuardia to JFK and fly out of JFK. Looking for a train, shuttle or taxi to get me to JFK seemed too complicated for a one hour drive just to save some money. It was back to the drawing board to find a fare from Denver to Boston.  Or Denver to Buffalo. Or NYC to Buffalo. Or Denver to Toronto. Boston to Niagara Falls. Denver to Niagara Falls. The combinations were endless as I looked on Trip Advisor, Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Hotwire, Cheapair, and Kayak. At the same time I was looking for airfare, I was checking tours at Niagara Falls, ground transportation and hotels. If one part of the trip seemed to work, another part did not quite fit into my plans.

My eyes, fingers and mind were exhausted with all the data so I decided to have AAA help me out. After about the third combination of how and where I wanted to go, the travel agent suggested I come in for a map and book. He also told me that if they planned a trip for me they could not redeem my Frequent Flier Miles and I would need to pay full price for where ever I was going!  I hung up more dejected than ever.

By now, I decided to prioritize exactly what I wanted to do.  1.)  Save Money  2.) See my family
 3.) See Niagara Falls.  Instead of using my free miles, I would fly to Boston for the same amount as flying from LaGuardia to Boston (hard to understand those fees) see my family, and take a bus tour from Boston to Niagara Falls.  At last, everything seems to have fallen into place and I am happy!! I still have my free miles....anyone want a visitor? Of course, you have to live somewhere near the Friendly Skies of  Frontier!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dinner at Costco

I made a terrible mistake to go shopping at Costco at 4:30 p.m.  It wasn't quite dinner time and lunch had been four hours earlier.  I had gone to order some prints in the photo section and while I waited for the photos,  I wandered around the store.  I spotted a lady with her hair up in a net, clear disposable gloves, and a small table in front of her. She told me that I had to taste the cheese spread. It was Gouda with jalapenos and tomatoes on a cracker. How could I resist?  It was tasty and not spicy at all.  A few aisles down, another lady pushed some health drink in different flavors.  I took the orange flavor as she told me it had Vitamin C and no artificial preservatives.

A man and I spotted one-inch twists that looked like Twizzlers only fatter in a dark brown, almost black color. It was licorice and as we eyed the goody, the lady put another one out and said, "Here we go, let's not fight over it, though it is good enough to fight over!" The man and I grinned at each other as we ate our yummy licorice.

Near the chips, a small paper cup was filled with pencil like crunchy tubes.  I was told it was some kind of vegetable chip.  A flavored green drink went along with the different colored, crunchy vegetable tubes. I continued looking around and found a woman cutting up chunks of different kinds of cheese.  I took a cheddar chunk. I smelled something frying and went to investigate.  "Try this delicious Jimmy Dean sausage....it is good now and better for breakfast," she said and the sausage was full of flavor. My next stop was at a quesadilla spot....melted cheese between two toasted tortillas.

The pizza sampling place was popular and a customer had three children she was feeding.  When I got to the display, the sample lady said, "Just a moment and I will have more....just need to cut some up." Before long she had six small cups filled with one inch diamonds of pizza. I grabbed mine and moved on. The toasted bread tasted like homemade and I wished I had the chunk of cheese to eat with it. And maybe a little wine....but I noticed that no wine was being offered as a sample!

A Hummus mix on a cracker,  a cupful of nuts, a small Almond joy, a piece of a high fibre bar with chocolate on the bottom and nuts on top, and a carbonated drink completed my sampling. My eating frenzy ended with a piece of hard candy that I was told would "be perfect for Halloween!" I was full and knew I would not be eating dinner.  Costco knows how to entice the hunger customers and even though I did not buy any of the products, I did see many that did. 

I picked up my photos and recalled a saying my mother used to say, "Pansita llena, corazon contento!" (Full stomach, happy heart!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mama Tito

My Grandmother Monserate's light blue satin comforter was so soft I felt as if I was on a cloud. It seemed to cuddle me when I spent the night with her. She would gently rub my head and tell me stories until I fell asleep. She was my father's mother and we called her Mama Tito. She and I were very close until she made a comment that frightened me.  One day, as she hugged me, she said, "Hijita, I love you so much, that when I die I am going to take you with me."

From then on I stopped going to visit her.  I stayed away hoping that "out of sight, out of mind" would hold true and she would forget me and what she had told me. When I was forced to visit her,  I tried to stay away from her and left as soon as I could.  She mentioned this to my Dad and he told her it was just my age.  "Kids are funny," he told her.

I never told a soul about my fear and when she had a stroke and lay paralyzed for almost twenty years, I prayed that she would never die. When she did die, I was married, pregnant with my son, and living in Denver. I did not attend her funeral in Greeley. One time, my father asked me why I had stopped visiting his mother.  I told him because I was afraid that when she died she would take me with her, just like she said she would.  He laughed and said, "How silly you are. Imagine if everyone was able to come and take their loved ones, there would be nobody left on this earth! Everyone has someone that loves them or that they love!"

Many years later, as I traveled through Europe, I happened to be in Barcelona, Spain.  I found a brochure on a monastery named Montserrat and thought I would visit my grandma's namesake.
There were many curves on the way to the monastery and I kept thinking, how strange if the bus should crash and I would die.  Her prophecy would come true.  I knew how ridiculous the thought was but I couldn't keep the idea out of my head.

Monk's dorms
I visit the Monastery of Montserrat.
The monastery is nestled among huge boulders in a mountainous area.  It is run by a Benedictine  Order. A short walk from the main buildings takes one uphill to where spectacular views can be seen.  The basilica houses a black Madonna holding a gold ball and Jesus as a boy. She is referred to as La Moreneta or the Black Virgin. Many make a pilgrimage to Montserrat to pray to the Black Virgin. Arches surround the square and statues of Saints are placed near each arch. If one stands in the arch, an outstanding panoramic view of the mountains can be seen.


The Basilica





The Black Madonna


 
I spent the afternoon wandering the grounds, enjoying the views, praying in the chapel, enjoying the art in the museum, and most of all, giving thanks that my grandmother had loved me so much.  I felt bad I had not spent more time with her but I do have wonderful memories of the time I did spend with her. Down deep in my thoughts, I was also happy that I returned home safe and sound!


Summer Palace of the Popes

I could see my reflection in the window as the train moved at a fast clip. A family of father, mother and two children were in the same compartment. Since they spoke French and I spoke English, all we could do was smile at each other. When they got off at their stop I was left alone in the small room. I was on my way to Spain and now I had the small compartment to myself.  I stretched out on one of the benches, placed by back pack under my head and decided to try and sleep.

The door opened with a loud swoosh and through semi-closed eyes I watched a young man talking to himself. He sat across from me. His conversation seemed to be in Spanish and he appeared to be agitated.  He had tangled dreadlocks, his shoe strings were untied, and he did not look clean.  I could stay and travel with the stranger, who might be a murderer or a rapist, or I could get off the train.  I looked out the window and saw a large M O T E L sign flashing in the distance.  I grabbed my back pack and got off the train. (In Europe with a rail pass you can get on and off trains at your will!)

It was one-twenty in the morning as I entered the motel and asked for a room.  The French clerk could not understand or pretended not to understand what I was saying.  I tried Spanish and sign language and when he answered I could not understand him either. Just then, a man and a woman entered.  The man had a small monkey on his shoulder. They seemed to also be asking for a room.  After several exchanges between the clerk and the couple, I spoke in English. "I need a room for the night and the clerk does not speak English.  Do you?"

With a heavy accent he said he did. He moved closer to me and said, "There is no room here but if we walk about six blocks there is a hotel that does have rooms available." At this point the monkey decided to jump on my shoulder and his tiny hands grabbed my hair. I screamed and the man, the woman and the clerk all began talking at once, reaching toward me to try and get the monkey off my back while the monkey jumped up and down! "He likes you," the man said as he placed the monkey back on his shoulder.

We walked down a cobbled stone street called the Ruede la Republique until we came to the Hotel Regina. The interior was dark with just a few lights. I was charged $100 and was told my room was 418. The clerk pointed me in the right direction with an apologetic, "No elevator."  I climbed  the steps to the fourth floor and saw room 415, 416, 417, 419, and 420. Twice I looked and could not find 418. I walked back down all the steps and back to the registration desk.  "There is no Room 418."

He said, "Go up stairs....more stairs....go up." I returned to the fourth floor and found a narrow stairway.  It was so narrow I had to go up sideways.  I kept wondering if I had done the right thing.
Maybe I should have stayed on the train. On what appeared to be an attic I saw a lone door marked 418.  I opened the door to find myself in a plain room with a small dresser and a full-size bed. The sparkling crystal chandelier over the bed seemed out of place in the ordinary room. The bathroom surprised me with its beautiful blue, green, yellow and red paisley tile.
My room is on top floor!


Not knowing how safe the hotel was,  I shoved the bed in front of the door.  If anyone tried getting in they would have to shove me and the bed out of the way. I crawled into bed and heard musical cooing. I got up and opened the grey wooden shutter and watched hundreds of grey and white pigeons flutter way. The scene before me amazed me as I looked at a stone
Gigantic Statue
castle-like fort. I could see thick walls, spires, towers, and gigantic statues. I felt as if I had been transformed to a magic land in some fairy tale! At that moment I  knew why I love to travel.  It is the excitement of seeing something different, beautiful, amazing and new. I decided to stay a few days to tour the place I had found by accident!

Avignon, I found out, used to be the summer home of the Popes. For a time there was fighting as to where the Papacy would be....Rome or Avignon. Rome won. The striking town is surrounded by massive defensive walls, 17 inches thick, called ramparts. There is a golden statue on top of the Notre Dame des Doms Cathedral. Outside the walls is the Rhone river and to get to Paris it is about 350 miles. I fell in love with the quaint town. I purchased water in a bottle, roamed through museums, looked at wares being sold in street kiosks, and enjoyed one whole day of sight seeing. Outside the walls I walked along the river after crossing a busy street. Cars do not respect pedestrians!  I picked up tips about Avignon by listening to a tour guide explaining the city to a group of American tourists.


Papal Palace
                                 
                                           Defensive wall goes all the
                                         way around Avignon
Theater and Museum
The Invisible Man





Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Friend That Will Never Be Forgotten

My Friend

The beginning
was
purely
two-stepping
graduating to
cheek to cheek
with
laughter and
understanding
woven
into
cha-cha-cha's,
waltzes
and spins.
A band
connected
us
like an
invisible chord
never to
be broken
or
ended.
United
forever
in
everlasting
friendship.
E. Moscoso
February 14, 1986

He had been a widower for nine years when I met him in 1981 at a church social. When he asked me to dance I was pleased that he was an excellent dancer. Before long, we were going to many big band dances. He became my ballroom dance partner and could gracefully lead me through steps I did not know. Compliments from other dancers made me feel good. He was tall and lanky and reminded me of Fred Astaire.

My Friend, Ray
We spoke on the phone two or three times a day, he was the last person I said good-night to, and he was there for me if I ever needed him. Kind, understanding, great sense of humor, generous with his time, an interesting conversationalist, and a patient listener were adjectives that fit  him well.  He was a gentleman who liked opening doors, who grasped my arm as we crossed a street, and never used foul language even though he had been in the Navy.

During the time I knew him, I had three other dance partners and I was dancing about five nights a week.  He would meet my other male friends and critique them by letting me know if they were suitable to be my friends.  During my menopausal years, I could not have made it without him.  No matter what time I called him with my travails, he listened and comforted me.  Told me what I was going through was normal and would give me examples of when his wife had gone through the same thing. If I told him I thought I was losing my mind he calmly assured me I wasn't.  If I was crying and sobbing into the phone, he gently told me what a wonderful person I was and listed all the good things about me which always made me feel better!

Now that I think back on our friendship, I believe he wanted to make me happy. Once we were going to a dance and as he closed my car door and walked around to his side, he disappeared. I looked around but could not see him so I got out of the car and found him on the sidewalk. He had tripped  on a rock.  I helped him up and we continued to the dance.  We spun, whirled, dipped, and flew around the dance floor. I enjoyed myself until I thought I saw him wince.  I asked him why he had made a grimace and he said, "Oh, nothing, my ankle gave me a pang." We sat down and I saw why....his ankle was three times its normal size. I felt terrible that he had been dancing on his hurt ankle to please me. I could only imagine the pain he must have felt as we danced!

I knew he was not well when I met him.  He told me he had pancreatitis but it never seemed to slow him down.  In 1998 I did notice he no longer seemed as enthusiastic about life.  He told me he was in pain with fibromyalgia, his pancreas bothered him and he began staying home.  I would stop and pick up food for him after I got off of work. I ran errands for him.  He would give me a grocery list and I shopped for him.  When he went into St. John's Hospice I visited daily and even then he had a sense of humor, teasing me as if nothing was wrong.


My Silly Friend
He passed away August 11, 1998 and I lost my good friend.  I had a sense of security and a feeling of comfort with him in my life. I often think of him in heaven leading angels through difficult dance moves!

Life Without Ray

What will I do when he leaves on his long trip away from me?
Every time I want to chat, every time I need to talk, every time I need a hug or
every time I need a friend.
What will I do?
A welding of friendship molded into companionship structured into a unity
known only to good friends.

A phone line away and he was there. A short drive and he was there.
A short step and he was there.
Now he was leaving. Going away.
He would live in my heart, in my mind, or in my thoughts.
I can't quite grasp what it will be like once he is gone
to play with the angels
to tease the angels
to be rid of all his pain
to join his wife
to  leave me alone to miss him and to be unable to call him and tell him I miss him.

For seventeen years
he has been my listener,
my confidant,
my advisor,
the person that kept me walking in a straight line.
The person that gave stability to my life.
Once he is gone there will be a void in my life,
an emptiness, a hole in my heart, an aloneness, once he is gone.
Where will a friendship like this ever be found again?
Friends like this are few,
and I know that no one can replace my friend,
Raymond Joseph McHugh.

E. Moscoso
August 11, 1998



Monday, August 13, 2012

My Favorite Time of Year

The month of August I can count on good green chili, ripe Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford Cantaloupe and fresh tomatoes from a local garden. For years I have shopped at Heinie's Market on 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. As I step out of my car I smell the roasting chilies as they roll around a large metal drum. Sometimes, the homey smell of kettle corn popping is also wafting in the air.
I usually buy three bags (roasted and ready to freeze) of hot Anaheim Big Jim chilies, peaches, tomatoes, and Rocky Ford cantaloupes.

When I arrive home the first thing I do is to peel six chilies, slice some cheddar cheese and place them on a tortilla and turn on the microwave.  The cheese melts into the chili and my first bite is so delicious it brings back memories of me arriving home from school.  I would hear a thump-thump as my Mother would be rolling out tortillas . The kitchen would be steamy with the smell of roasted green chili and I would wash my hands, slice some cheese, get a freshly made warm tortilla and a chili pepper and make me a tasty sandwich (taco).  That combination is still one of my favorites. One is never enough so I end up eating about three of those mouth watering cheese, chili and tortilla goodies.


Green chili with melted cheese on a warm tortilla!







Finished product and so yummy!


Some Spanish priests during the 19th Century were said to be wary of the passion inspired by chili peppers, assuming they were aphrodisiacs.  A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as "hot as hell's brimstone." "Soup of the devil," one called it.  The priests' warnings contributed to the dish's popularity! From Chili Quotes and Trivia

Whether the above is true or not, it does not diminish my love for my taquito!

For dessert I eat a juicy Colorado peach.  I eat it slowly and savor the sweetness.  I hang over the sink because sometimes, the juice dribbles down my chin but I don't care. When the peach is finished, I suck on the pit because even that tastes good! What I have eaten and enjoyed should hold me until my next meal but somehow I find myself thinking of another green chili taquito and another sweet peach! Even though I have frozen green chili in my freezer I know it will not taste the same as just roasted.  The peaches will be around for a few more weeks and then the season will  be over and I will have to wait until next year for those wonderful peaches!

Just another note I find interesting.  We find ourselves complaining that everything seems to be made in China, in the Olympics we battled with China for more gold metals and I just found out that the peach originated in China!





Colorado Peaches


 

Santuario de Chimayo

The first time I visited the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico with a group was in September of 1991. Sister Irene Munoz was the tour director and we stopped in San Luis to pray the Stations of the Cross, visited Taos Pueblo, Chimayo and Santa Fe. At that time, little did I know that in about ten years, I would be leading groups to exactly those same places.


Visiting Chimayo









Chimayo is known as the Lourdes of the Americas and people travel from all over the United States to get some of the healing dirt.The small adobe chapel houses many beautiful ratalbos (wooden wall paintings) and bultos (statues of saints carved by santeros).  Canes, crutches, prayer cards and silver icons hang in a special room as proof of the many miracles attributed to Chimayo.
I began working for the Archdiocese of Denver at the Hispanic Office in 1998 and one of my duties was to plan and take pilgrims on a yearly pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico. I did this for ten consecutive years and many of the pilgrims traveled with me every year.  When my position was abolished in 2008 I know that the trips were missed because I continued getting phone calls from my loyal travelers asking me if I would do another pilgrimage. I really thought those days were over for me until about three weeks ago, I received a call from a past pilgrim wanting to know if I would help plan a trip to the Santuaro for their Holy Name Society group. Could God, once again, be nudging me?

I have spoken with the President of the Holy Name Society and he is to let me know whether there will be a pilgrimage to Chimayo. I get excited thinking about taking a group to San Luis, Taos, Chimayo and Santa Fe because I remember those fun and inspirational trips.

I returned to the Santuario de Chimayo in 2009 with a group from Holy Ghost Church and found that there had been some changes.  There was a museum next door to the Santuaro, the small chapel of El Nino de Atocha had been updated and there were marked parking areas for the many visitors.

In one of the booklets I prepared for the pilgrims, I wrote: "Chimayo is a place where one can be spiritually renewed.  A place to be physically and spiritually healed.  Where problems can be lifted.  Where answers can enter your mind. Where you heart is filled with happiness.  Where one is filled with peace. Where miracles happen."

                 
Cristo de Esquipulas in
the chapel.


Side altar at Chimayo
Santo Nino de Atocha Chapel



All of the photos are from 1991.  In later photos
the colors are more vibrant
after a massive cleanup
of the altar screens by local artists.
The Chapel of Santo Nino de Atocha is now different.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

You Can Do It!

Success comes from knowing you did your best
to become the best that you are
capable of becoming. John Wooden

As I watch the Olympic athletes compete, a theme seems to run through all of their comments.  "You can do it" is told to them by parents, coaches and friends. I know that no matter how many times one is told "you can do it," unless you really want to do it, it won't happen! When I think about my endeavors in whatever I tried to do, my theme seemed to be, "I can't" and I would give up. 

One of my dreams has always been to play the piano and I have given it a try, yet, I still cannot play. My mother even bought a large upright piano that overwhelmed our small living room so I could take lessons.  When I saw my father sit at the piano, and by ear, play different tunes, I decided I did not want to play the piano and quit my instructions after three lessons. Neither by ear or lessons have  I learned to strike the black and white keys to produce music! A fantasy of mine has been to see a piano as I enter a room, a gym, a store or an auditorium and I sit at the piano and begin to play fantastic tunes! After my father passed away, I could no longer use him as an excuse and I took piano lessons for about a year.  It was frustrating to see young children play beautifully as I struggled with beginning notes.  My granddaughters took lessons and seemed to pick up playing the piano after a few lessons. I admired and marveled at their talent. I mentioned this to my daughter and she said, "It has been almost six years of lessons!" I have been told "If you really want to play, you can do it." I wonder if I will some day buckle down and take enough lessons to learn to play the piano!

Many of my family members, friends or people who read what I write, encourage me to write a book, or at the very least, send some of my work to get published. When I attended Regis College (now University) I took second in a short story contest and will never forget my professor's comment, "You should have gotten first prize!"  I enjoyed having a by-line in the Denver Catholic Register and having my articles published a few times each month but when their format changed from feature stories to only news, I stopped sending my musings. I have heard "you can do it," from teachers, friends and family yet I continue to write for my own pleasure.

A friend took me on a hike at Roxborough Park in South Denver.  The hike was not a hard climb but
about half way up I said I had gone far enough.  "Come on, you can do it," he encouraged as he gently pulled on my arm.  "No, I've done enough walking.  I am tired and thirsty. I'm heading back down." He shook his head and I know he wanted to roll his eyes, but instead he pulled out a water bottle to erase one of my excuses. He said, "If you don't give it your all, you never know what you will miss. The view from the top is absolutely breath taking, but if you don't want to go on, I'll see you when I return. But, I know you can do it!" I didn't want him to think of me as a wimp so we hiked a bit further and every time I wanted to give up he gave me a pep talk.  Hikers on the way down would make remarks that it was worth the climb. We walked, rested and enjoyed the scenery of plants, trees and huge rock formations. Even saw small wild life!


Suddenly, I was standing at the top.  Beautiful green hills, red and white rock formations, a blue sky with puffy white clouds, and the feeling of being close to what heaven must look like stretched out before me. Everything seemed sharper and clearer at the top. The feeling of accomplishment gave me a very satisfactory emotion of perfection, a job well done for something I had conquered and a feeling of pride. My friend took this picture at the top of our long climb and I believe my happiness and satisfaction is evident on my face!
Reaching the top of the mountain!

When I went to visit a friend in Germany with plans that we would travel Europe together, I arrived to be told she had job interviews and would not be able to travel with me.  I had two choices: Stay in Germany and go with her to interviews or hit the road by myself. I opted to see Europe.  She said, "You don't know the language, how will you manage to read all the train schedules, how will you know what to do in a foreign country ,what if you get lost?" I said, "I know I can do it."  And I did.  I traveled within Germany to several places, on to Switzerland, France, Spain and then back to Germany.  While traveling by train I met many wonderful people, saw outstanding scenery and admired spectacular and beautiful historical monuments.

The first time I took dance lessons I thought I would never learn. Everybody else seemed to pick up the steps so easily and yet I struggled.  Something inside me told me I could do it and though many times I wanted to quit I continued. With a good partner, we could burn the floor! I realize that when I really want to do something, I know I can!

 Even though I have let some dreams (which may still happen) slide by, I know that I can do it if I really set my mind to do whatever it is I want to do. As the saying goes, it is not just the destination but the journey that completes the exciting picture!

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. 
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. 
Being willing is not enough, we must do.
Leonardo de Vinci

Friday, August 3, 2012

Attacked by a Dresser and a Wall

Rearranging the furniture in my bedroom gave me a feeling of accomplishment and I felt as if I had a brand new room.  I switched the pictures of three grandchildren to the opposite wall except I was missing one nail to hang the fourth child's picture.

My Grandchildren,
L-R  Nicolette, Zachary, Ariana and Brenna


 I found a nail and got the hammer and as I struck the nail into the wall, two of the pictures bounced off the wall and fell behind the large, wooden dresser.  I now had two pictures hanging and two pictures behind the dresser.

My arm slid easily between the dresser and the wall and as I grabbed one picture frame I realized that my arm was stuck.  My upper body was stretched out over the top of the dresser so I had no way of moving the dresser or the wall.  No matter how I twisted my arm, the dresser and the wall would not release my arm. It felt as if a vice had grabbed my arm and tightened its grip! I pulled and thought my skin was going to peel right off  my arm.  I turned my arm left, then right, then pushed against the wall, but could not get my arm out.

Soap or grease would help release my arm but there was no way to move away from the dresser to go find soap. The phone was on the other side of the room so I could not call for help. All I could do was rest my body on top of the dresser and feel fear enter my mind.  What if I could never release my arm? Would anyone think to look for me? I had a vision of my skeleton being found and the puzzlement of those who found me trying to figure out what I had been doing to end up in such a position.

Panic began to set in.  I said a quick prayer to St. Anthony and began to squeeze my arm with my free hand.  Amazing how the fatty part of my arm moved around but not enough to free my arm.
If something goes in isn't it logical that it has to come out?  I had now been struggling for over 20 minutes but it felt like hours.  There was nothing to do but yank and rip my arm out.  Even if my skin stayed on the back of the dresser, I would pull as hard as I could. The movie 127 Hours came to mind and I wondered if I might have to cut off my own arm!

I pulled as optical illusions played tricks on me.  Did my arm move?  Was it higher than when I realized it was stuck? Twisting, turning, pulling, shoving, and tugging I was determined to pull my arm out. In a painful yank my arm was free, skin intact! 
Bruises after the dresser/wall attack!

I finished hanging the pictures.  A red blotch appeared on my upper arm.  By ten at night I had a motley array of  tiny bruises.  Tomorrow I will probably have one big purple bruise. Now that the ordeal was over, I found it odd that it had happened! I do know that no matter what I drop behind that dresser, it can stay there forever because I will never, ever reach behind the dresser again!