Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Uncle Tony

Some of us, when we are young, never pay attention to the older generation.  Now, I wish I had learned more about my Uncle Tony. Two different sources have told me that he was an excellent accordion player. Lupe Gonzales,(Rocha-Sullivan) a cousin in Colorado, told me she remembers visiting and hearing him play. "He was really good and could play lots of tunes." Carlos, from New Mexico, (now deceased), also told me how Tony could "play up a storm" on the accordion. As many times as I went with my mother to visit Tony, I never saw an accordion and she never mentioned that he could play.

I tried to recall my Uncle Tony by trying to remember what he looked like and what he would do. He had dark, curly hair and deep blue eyes.  He was around 5'9" tall or he seemed that tall because I was a little girl. He had a soft voice and he seemed to be a gentle soul.  Later in his life, he was overweight and walked slowly.  He and his sisters, Lupe and Aurelia, lived in Kersey, Colorado and later in Denver, Colorado.  I remember he laughed in short bursts and he would repeat things over and over again. When one of his sisters would say that my mother was a good cook he would repeat in his soft voice, sort of like a whisper,  "Si la Ramoncita sabe hacer buena comida." He would say this about four times while nodding his head.

My father thought my Uncle Tony was stingy and tight with his money. A story my father told me once was about when my Uncle sold his green model T Ford.  Whatever the purchase price had been, my Uncle added on every oil change he had ever done to the car, any repairs and what he paid for tires to the purchase price. Later, a cousin told me how careful my Uncle was with his money. Sometimes I would hear my mother and father saying that an old trunk in Tony's house was probably filled with money.  They always laughed so my guess is that it was a secret joke between them!

When my mother would visit her siblings she would take my brother and me with her. On the kitchen table there would be a crystal bowl with butter.  The butter would be soft and easy to spread.  My brother and I would slab on the butter on a saltine cracker and suddenly, the bowl with butter would disappear. My Uncle had quietly put the butter dish away.  I remember my mother getting angry and telling him, "They are just kids, put the butter back on the table and I will buy you some more butter."

I remember being given a large bucket filled with buttons.  My brother and I would play with the different colored and odd shaped buttons while my mother talked with her siblings.  They talked about farms they had worked and about when they moved to Colorado from New Mexico. My Uncle would contract a farm and all four would work in the fields.  I liked to hear the story of when my father, according to tradition, had to ask Uncle Tony's permission to marry my mother.  I guess my Uncle made some remark that he would have one less mouth to feed! Evidently, my father also had to ask permission to marry my mother from my Uncle Ben who was the oldest sibling.  This was told to me by Josie Lewis, my cousin, and daughter of Uncle Ben.

Uncle Tony, and my two aunts, Lupe and Aurelia, sold their land in Kersey and moved to Denver, Colorado. I do not know if my Uncle ever worked in Denver though I did hear him comment something about "old age pension checks." I did not see him often after they moved to Denver, but once when I had taken my mother to visit them, he showed my mother purple bruises on his legs and told her that sometimes they bled.

When he passed away I was not notified and I never found out his cause of death. His sister, Lupe, took care of all the arrangements. On a memory card his death is noted as being on October 7, 1978 but his tombstone shows the date as November 7, 1978, making him around seventy-two years old. He is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge,Colorado.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Black Bananas

"I'm getting so old, I don't
even buy green bananas 
Chi Chi Rodriguez

 "Never put bananas in the refrigerator because they will turn black." I had always heard this so I never put bananas in the refrigerator. Bananas are one of my favorite foods and from what I hear, a great source of potassium. Many times I have thrown away 2 or 3 bananas because the skin had turned black. One day, I happened to read that when bananas are turning black to put them in an air tight baggie and freeze them. When ready to use the banana, it would be good to eat. This went against everything I had heard in the past but I decided to try it. I had my doubts that the process would work but since I am a curious being, I took a couple of black, spotty bananas and froze them.

Was I surprised with the results! A banana that I would have used for banana bread or tossed, I could now eat as a regular banana!  Amazing that the older I get the more I learn.

 Man is like a banana: 
When he leaves the bunch, 
he gets skinned. Proverb

Friday, July 26, 2013

Extraordinary Brain

We gathered at the Roslyn Bar where attorneys, writers, judges, and drunks met to hang-out. There was always interesting conversation and one afternoon some one said, "Have you seen the new movie called What's Up, Tiger Lily?" No one had seen it other than the speaker so he told us all about it.  "It is hilarious, clever, and some fellow by the name of Woody Allen wrote it." I believe everyone in that bar went to see the movie and later we would laugh and quote lines from the movie.

Life went on and I happened to see other Woody Allen films.  He was such a pathetic, little man and the large, dark rimmed glasses did nothing to improve his looks.  He seemed to be a nervous type and had a weird, whiny voice. Yet, his movies were witty and clever.  I could not help but be impressed with his brain. I believe I have seen every one of his movies and each time I am in awe at how he manipulates the actors,  plot, characters and the story line. In the sixties he became my favorite writer, director and actor.

"I've never been an intellectual
but I have this look."
Woody Allen

Now there is a new movie by Woody Allen called Blue Jasmine and I will go see it as soon as it opens near me.  I Googled Woody Allen and found out he began writing sometime in the mid-sixties and by my calculations he was around twenty-five years old. I found out he was a stand-up comic and a screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, and musician. Many of my friends do not like him because of his leaving Mia Farrow in 1992 and marrying Mia's adopted daughter. His private life never mattered to me, I was impressed by his cleverness.

How he can take every day common happenings and make them sad, tragic, funny, or caring that one actually feels for his characters is amazing to me. When he was young, he was never a good-looking man and now that he is in his late 70's with wispy, thin hair, he is even less good-looking than he used to be! His trade mark is large, black rimmed glasses. All I know is that I love his movies and his writing so what he looks like does not matter to me. I am not the only one who is impressed with his writing because he has won four Academy Awards and two Golden Globes plus many other awards.

"My one regret in life is that 
I'm not someone else."  
Woody Allen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do I or Don't I?

For the past few years I have been looking for a sign that God wants me to receive holy communion. About four years ago, I decided I was not worthy to receive Christ. I had many doubts and moments when I scoffed at the Catholic religion. Lately, I have wanted to return to the fold. Shouldn't God know, since I am feeling so ambivalent about my faith, to give me some sort of sign to let me know he wants me to return to His flock? About a month ago I read these words: ...To receive communion participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. One should make an act of contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible. When I read the guideline I wondered if this was my sign.

I am not aware of committing grave sins, but I have a sense that I am not worthy to receive Christ. I do not want to sound like the Pharisee praying in the temple (Luke 18:11) and I am sorry for sins I have committed, yet, I suppose my sins of omission need some work!  Friends, who have noticed I do not receive communion, have encouraged me by telling me that God is all forgiving.  No matter what you have done,  they say, He forgives if you are sorry. He loves you and really wants you to be with Him.

 When my granddaughter was visiting, I, after saying a prayer in hopes that I wasn't going to be condemned to eternal damnation by receiving communion before going to confession, went up to receive the body of Christ. She was here for two weekends and I received both times.  After she was gone, I decided that since I was sorry for my sins and I wanted to be in the fold, I would receive communion again.

With respect to Holy Communion,
it is up to the communicant to decide 
whether they are in the state of grace 
and worthy to receive the Eucharist. 
Each one of us makes that decision.
Roger Mahony*

As I stepped up to the Eucharistic Minister, another Eucharistic Minister hastily took the gold bowl with hosts away from the one I was in front of waiting to receive communion. The man started toward the altar leaving me and the empty handed Eucharistic Minister staring at each other. Was this a sign from God? Was this a hint that He did he not want me to receive His body? The person who had taken the hosts realized his error and returned the bowl immediately to the Eucharist Minister and I was given communion. The whole incident took seconds but I was left wondering if God was letting me know I shouldn't be receiving communion. Maybe I really needed to go to confession.

I mentioned the whole scenario to my friends and they told me I was looking for excuses. "When the Eucharist Minister realized his error, he came right back so you were able to receive. Don't look for signs where there aren't any. This is between you and God. It was just an error made by an over zealous Eucharist Minister."

All love craves unity.
As the highest peak of love in the human order is the
unity of husband and wife in the flesh,
 so the highest unity in the Divine order 
is the unity of the soul and Christ in Communion.
Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

This past Sunday, I was trying to decide whether I was going to receive communion or not. In my mind I debated the pros and cons when a thought entered my mind.  If Christ died for our sins, then any sins I might commit are already covered under His death.  What? Was this a revelation? No matter how I analyzed the thought, it made sense to me. My sins were forgiven when Christ died on the cross for us.

Naturally, I would like to be a better person, but I am human and transgressions will happen. My plan is to go to confession soon and explain my thoughts and feelings to my confessor. I received Our Lord and for once, I did not feel guilty! I am filled with happiness that I seem to be moving in the right direction to get  closer to God.

Accept the risen Jesus into your life.
Even if you have been far away,
take a small step towards him:
He awaits you with open arms"
Pope Francis

*Even though Cardinal Roger Mahony, and at one time the Archbishop of Los Angeles, was stripped of his duties by current Archbishop Jose Gomez for the way Mahony handled sex abuse cases, I liked his quotation and am leaving it in my blog.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dog in the Sky

My brother and sister-in-law have a beautiful poodle and the other day while driving down I-70 I saw him in the sky.  Fluffy, white clouds were scattered all over the sky and as I looked at the amazing clouds I saw a figure of a dog that reminded me of their dog, Chewbacca.

 I hope you can see the him also!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The House on the Hill

The House on the Hill

Driving to Ouray
in some small town
I spotted this house
sitting all alone
on top of a hill
on a pile of dirt
shaped like a cone.

Why is that house
built on a hill?
Not to be covered in mud,
in case of a flood?
A view like no other,
not wanting to bother,
alone up high
closer to the sky?

What ever the reason
what ever the season
the house on the hill
grabbed my attention,
and just for fun
I snap a shot
and this is what I got!

E. Moscoso
July 19, 2013

Colorado History

A photo of a large, colorful dragon art form prompted me to drive into downtown Denver to see different kind of art work. To my dismay, I was told the "dragon" was advertising something that is coming to Denver at a later date, the volunteer was not sure what, but she informed me, "there are many things about Colorado in the many rooms here at the Colorado History Center."

I paid the $8.00 senior price and entered a brightly, natural lighted atrium with a huge map of the state of Colorado on the floor. Machines, (reminded me of Jules Vernes equipment, with levers, wheels, screens) can be moved around on the map and stories about that certain section will come on the screen explaining what happened on that spot in Colorado. I listened to sugar beet farming and Kuner pickles in the Brighton area.
The old country store brought back memories for me with the galvanized tubs, jars of bluing, scrub wash boards, and spice cans. The old model T looked interesting and the children "driving" it, through the country side, seemed to enjoy it. Their counselor could not get them out of the car!

Denver A to Z was an area with the Barrel Man, the Blue Bear, a wall of beer bottles, log seats to sit and watch videos and many other Denver trade marks. 

A large area I found interesting was how people lived during pioneer days.  Antonio Jose Chaves, a trader who traveled from Mexico to New Mexico, is a distant relative I found while doing research on my genealogy. Other facts about Indian women and how they lived, a woman spy by the name of Tafoya, fur hunters, traders, forts, soldiers, mountain men and cowboys all were involved in Colorado's history.

Of interest was Camp Amache, a place where Japanese were placed during World War II. It is sad to see how Japanese Americans were up-rooted and sent to live in camps. I did not know Colorado had one of these camps. Camp Amache is in Southeastern Colorado and was the smallest of ten camps in the United States. It held over 7000 persons. All they could take were their clothing and small items that would fit in a suitcase. The camp is named after John Wesley Prowers' wife who was the daughter of a Cheyenne Indian chief. Prowers County is named after him.

Mining for gold and silver in Colorado had many exhibits and entering a dark, small cage I got the impression of going down deep into the cave. Miners were searched when they came out of the mine to make sure they were not stealing any ore.
The photographs of soldiers from the Civil War to now gave me a lump in my throat.  So many men killed in all the wars.  I was amazed at all the wonderful photographs taken during the wars and saddened to see bodies, body bags, coffins wrapped in our flag, and wounded soldiers. Other photos made me smile like the friendship of foreign people welcoming the troops, camaraderie among the soldiers, girlfriends greeting soldiers coming home and soldiers saluting the flag.  It is an amazing display of war time! I remember seeing small banners with stars when I was a little girl and learned that each star represented a son fighting in the war.

As I was leaving a group of Aztec dancers were performing in the Atrium.


 One thing for sure, there was something for everyone at this Colorado museum.

A Long List

 As a well spent day brings happy sleep,
so life well used brings happy death.
Leonardo DaVinci

Yesterday I attended a funeral. I did not know the woman well, had met her once, but she happened to be the mother of my nephew's wife and I was there to support the family.  It was a beautiful ceremony with very few tears shed and the feeling that the deceased was in a better place.  When the priest said, "After reaching what we are all are searching for, you couldn't drag her back, no matter how hard you tried," I got a glimpse of death as just another path we take to get to God.

Death is nothing else but going
home to God, the band of love
will be unbroken for all eternity.
Mother Teresa

When I arrived home I put away the memorial card and noticed all the other ones in the folder.  Had I really attended so many funerals? Did I really know, what seemed, more persons who had died than I knew living?
I looked at all the memorial cards and had a feeling of happiness that those persons mentioned on each card had crossed over to that "better place." My father liked to say: "Live your life as if there is a heaven, be good, be kind, follow the commandments, and when you die you will go to heaven.  If there is no heaven or a better place, you have lived a good life here on earth."

Friend or Friend of Family
Eleanor L. Atencio 1925-2013
Lalo Delgado          1930-2004
Rev. Arthur O. Verdieck, S.J.  1918 - 1980
Consuela (Connie) Mirelez (Carbajal) 1938-2001
Josie Romero 1935-2002
Rachel C. Wilde (Lucero) 1938-1999
Senor Soto (Luis' Dad)
Joe Macias Gomez 1928-2005
Charles Espinoza 1930-2005
Clifford Terry Mayfield 1936-2006
Edna Conner 1915-2001
Esther Campbell 1916-1992
Jerome Paul Abeyta 1935-2006
Christine Andasola 1932-2007
Paul (Tony) Harris 1937-1992
Edna L. Lujan (Montoya) 1920-2003
Jean DiGiacomo Died 2012
Judy Anselmo (Neighbor)
Ray McHugh 1929-1998
Sister Magdelena 

Ramona Rodriguez 1915-1974
David Rodriguez 1946-2009
Mary Antonia Aragon 1882-1951
Silvio B. Rodriguez 1904 - 2001
Julio Aragon 1936-2003
Anastasia (Anna) Aragon 1899-2002
Anastacio Avina Baca  1895 -1985
Don R. Gonzales 1904- 1962
Benino Aragon 1895-1974
Aurelia Aragon 1899 - 1981
Francis B. Rodriguez 1892-1967
Maria R. Montoya 1894-1979
Antonio O. Aragon 1906 -1978
Monserate B.Rodriguez 1869-1963
Nicolas Charles Moscoso 1976-1999
Rosenell Perry Moscoso
Brian Moscoso
Guadalupe (Lupe) Rios
Cipriano (John) Aragon
Rosenda Moscoso

I am sure that there are more that I do not have a memorial card to remind me or I do not remember attending a funeral. A few names come to mind: Dottie Baird (2012), Alice Aragon Johnson (2011), Tom DiGiacomo (2012), Bob Tallmadge, Bill Shannon, Ellie McNulty, and so on.

Death is one of two things....
Either it is annihilation 
and the dead have no consciousness of anything; 
or, as we are told, it is really
a change, a migration of the soul 
from one place to another.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tenere Bikes

At the KOA campground in Ouray, Colorado, where my family was staying, a banner advertised a Super Tenere Rally. The restaurant on site would be closed to the public because the Tenere riders would meet at the restaurant and enjoy a barbecue. Since I had never heard of Tenere, I listened as my son-in-law explained that he had spoken to some of the riders and that the bikes were both street bikes as well as off road bikes. The evening of the rally, all the blue bikes were lined up. The gathering included men and women but mostly men.

In the morning, at the motel where I was staying, a woman in riding gear was having breakfast and told me that Tenere bikes can go anywhere and that they run from $6000 to $14,000 or more. She had been riding for three years and loved it. She liked the Tenere bike because it can be a touring bike which is built for comfort and can travel main highways as well as being able to handle dirt trails.

Seeing all the blue bikes lined up almost made me want to join the group of Tenere riders!

"Four wheels move the body.
Two wheels move the soul."
Author Unknown

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fun at Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, & Cave of the Winds

July 5, 2013

We had a list of what we would do in Colorado Springs and our first stop was Garden of the Gods.  The weather was very hot, and after smearing sun screen on, we were ready to walk through the giant formations.

Our next stop would be Manitou Springs where I wanted to show her the Penny Arcade (the last time I visited the arcade it was a quarter to play the games and not pennies, nickels and dimes.) She did not want to go, "Really, grandma, I'm not very good at games."  I replied, "But it's lots of fun." "No, I'm hungry, let's find a place to eat." We walked along the side walk and when she saw a restaurant she thought looked interesting, she read the menu posted at the entrance. She liked a place called Good Karma and once we entered and were confronted with a plush sofa and chairs, a spicy smell, an old fashioned table and chairs, and art on the walls, we knew we had found the place we would eat lunch.

She ordered a peanut butter and banana sandwich and I had a Ruben.

 Right next door was a candy shop and a friendly salesman.  He let us taste the sugar roasted almonds and we bought a cone of the warm, delicious almonds.

A music store appealed to Brenna and she picked up a guitar and begun strumming it. She told me she liked the nylon string better than the steel strings as she played a tune!

The drive to Cave of the Winds was steep with lots of curves. After parking, we had to walk up a slope that left me breathless and my heart pounding. When we purchased tickets the lady selling the tickets said, "Listen for your number, 32, and it should be called in about an hour." We checked out the store, the outside balcony, the Zip line, the many tourists and waited.  It was a long wait and just when I had to go to the bathroom and was standing in a line, I heard "32" being called.  What a I leave the line or miss the cave? Luckily, I was able to do both!  The cave tour is about an hour long and the guide gave us information about when and how the cave was found, where there were low over crops, where to watch our step and so on. In an area that was about four feet high, I stood up too soon and banged my head! I straggled along at the end of the line and hoped that Brenna was getting all the information.

It began to rain as we drove down the mountain and by the time I reached the highway, it was pouring  buckets! My windshield wipers could barely keep the window clean and they were going full blast.  Brenna, leaned her seat back and fell asleep while I struggled with trying to see where we were going.  The heavy rain lasted until we reached Larkspur and then it eased up.  (A day later I saw on the news where Highway 24 was flooded and cars were being washed down the streets in mud slides.) I was thankful none of that happened when we were coming down the mountain!

Fun at Imax, Museum and Greeley

July 3-4, 2013

I fixed vegan pancakes for Brenna and me, and they were pretty tasty. Instead of eggs, I used a powdered egg replacer. Somehow, I find myself eating what she eats. Today we will visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. I told her about when I was little and my father would bring us from Greeley to the Museum and we would spend the whole day looking at all the displays. Little did I know that the museum now is about three times larger, or more, than when I came to see it as a child.  Brenna saw a sign for a 3D movie about sharks at the Imax theater and wanted to see it.  We both enjoyed learning about sharks.  I was surprised at the many teeth great white sharks have and when one tooth is broken or lost another grows in its place. A Great White may have thousands of teeth in its lifetime.

We chose a few of the displays in the museum we would visit and wandered around looking at the many dioramas. My favorite, same as it was when I was a child, was the sunset/sunrise polar bear display.  The Eagle was majestic, the Indian village interesting, totem poles colorful and the amethyst beautiful. A photographic spot in front of the statue of a bear used to sit in front of the museum. Even though it has not moved, it now sits south of the expanded museum! 

Shopping was on our agenda for the following day.  We visited J.C. Penny's, the only store left at Westminster Mall, where Brenna found outfits she liked and they were on sale.  We drove to Flat Iron's Mall and she purchased a couple of items at Macy's. We ended our shopping at Kohl's.  I had forgotten how tiring shopping can be and I looked for a chair near the dressing room but not one store had a chair for "grandmother's" to sit!

On Independence Day, July 4th, we picked up Nicolette, my Colorado granddaughter, and drove to my home town of Greeley, Colorado to watch the parade.  The parade, when I was growing up was a big highlight and I wanted my granddaughters to experience the excitement of the parade!  I took a cooler with water and snacks and watched the parade as we ate and drank!  We saw cattle with long, dangerously pointed horns, pass before us along with marching bands, clowns, horses, politicians, radio stations with music blaring, old cars, and soldiers.  I was disappointed that there were no decorated floats and a man sitting next to me told me that the city government had voted not to have them anymore. The end of the parade came sooner than I expected with four beautiful dancing horses! I commented I was a bit disappointed until one of my granddaughter's said, "I liked it!" Then, I felt better.

I showed my granddaughers my elementary school,the home where I used to live, my high school and churches I had attended. They both thought Lincoln Elementary was small.          

Standing in front of the building I recalled walking down the long hallway that would lead me to the Principal's office. The kindergarten classrooms that used to be at the end of the block, were no longer there. The whole building has been converted into some sort of business.  Even the small house I lived in at 515 has been redone and our garage at the rear is gone. I drove through the alley and found it very difficult to recognize anything. I could not tell if the grocery store owned by the Rossman's is still a store.  I do remember buying lots of penny candy in that store! It looked deserted and in much need of paint. It also looked much smaller than I remembered. My grandmother's house is gone the blocks seemed so much shorter. The only thing that different at Greeley High School was its name to Greeley West High School.  The slope in front of the school is where I would sit and eat my lunch! 
Old boarded up buildings with faded letters are all that is left of the skating rink and Warnoko swimming pool where I would have fun on on summer vacations.

I enjoyed the tour of what used to be and I hope my granddaughters did too!

We returned to Denver for lunch at Tapatio Restaurant. After lunch, Nicolette did not want to go see the Lone Ranger, so I drove her home and Brenna and I went to the movie.  What a surprise that Tonto becomes the leader of the two and the Lone Ranger plays his side kick!  We both enjoyed the movie and as further proof that we liked it, we both said we would see it again!

How does one end the 4th of July celebrations? Yes, fireworks ended our day even though I had to drive around and around trying to find a good place to watch, heard the bottom of Jazzy (my car) scrape the ground, drove through mud, and squeezed through a small space between a truck and a car!