Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas in California

There is quite a difference between California and Colorado when it comes to weather and Christmas. The decorations are basically the same and the only difference is that there might be roses growing next to an outdoor display in California and the lawns are green. In Colorado in December all plants are dead!
One evening I walked around the neighborhood where my family lives to try to get a feeling of Christmas. Somehow, palm trees do not remind me of the birth of Christ or Santa Claus!  Here are some of the decorations I saw as I strolled through the neighborhood in California.

I am a Colorado native and am used to being in cold weather for Christmas. Being in California, to me, does not quite feel like Christmas, though inside the house with the fresh smelling evergreen tree, the gifts underneath the tree and carols in the background it is very Christmasy. Indoors it does not matter what the weather is outside and especially when my granddaughter hugged the Christmas tree, it could have been anywhere; Colorado or California or Timbuktu! 

Christmas Flu

The day after I arrived in California to spend time with my family, I came down with a crappy illness. I was chilled, coughing, nose running, achy, and listless. This was probably not the best time to get sick, but I had a super family who took care of me while I ailed. The first three days were the worst and then I joined the land of the living to manage to do things with the family. Granted, it was just in spurts because I was not functioning at 100%. My little corner of the world included Vicks, Kleenex, and cough drops.

Christmas Eve a delicious meal was prepared of salmon, twice baked potatoes, and vegetables. For dessert we had chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice-cream. After dinner we attended mass at St.Angela Merici Catholic Church. I could not sit with my family because of my persistent cough and ended up sitting by myself toward the back of the church. After returning home, we opened presents and enjoyed Christmas Eve with lots of laughter and commenting on our gifts. I even got up and danced! Luna, their dog, took the "bone" I gave her and buried it in the back yard!

Christmas Day everyone went to my son-in-law's family to celebrate while I stayed home with Luna. Even though I had been invited, I did not want to go and contaminate anyone with my flu symptoms. I spent most of the day napping, watching television and reading.

I did manage to go shopping with my granddaughters which is one of the fun activities I do with them, we saw a couple of movies, we ate out, we went to the Bower's Museum, listened to a harpist, visited friends and hung out around the house. One evening I walked around the neighborhood and thought how different to see Christmas decorations and palm trees! A few days it was hot enough to sit near the pool in the nice, hot sunshine. Eventually, I felt better and even though we had to change my return flight twice, I finally arrived home yesterday in a snow covered Colorado and -2 degree weather.

Flu or not, I enjoyed my stay in California, loved being with my family, meeting Luna, and visiting my son-in-law's parents. Of course, my bed felt wonderful and even though we have a record breaking cold spell of -19 degrees outside, I am happy to be home!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Luna's Smart Eyes

Brown eyes stare at me. Can those eyes penetrate my thoughts? It sure looks as if the eyes are trying to let me know something.  But, what, I wonder. The eyes belong to Luna, a black and white border collie mix. She is a solid pet that will come when called if she is in the mood. Otherwise, she just looks at me with those smart eyes and does exactly as she pleases.

I do not have a dog but I have been around dogs and what I am finding out is that each dog has its own traits and personalities.  I suppose some habits are bred instincts while other habits are picked up along the way.

Luna was chosen to be in my daughter's family and the one thing I am noticing about the doggie is that she does not play favorites. The last two dogs have been a one person pet. Or they tended to favor one person. Luna does not seem to have a favorite; loves everyone equally!

The first time I saw Luna, I liked her. A mellow, sweet dog. "Look what she can do," I was told. "Shake." She lifts her paw and places it in your hand. "Sit." Down on her haunches she sits and watches your face to see what the next command will be. "Roll over." Down and over and then sits up waiting for her treat. Like any other training, be it beast or baby,  rewards help a lot!

She gets a guilty look when she does something she knows she is not supposed to do. She loves to go on walks and when she returns from her walk, she loves to go outside and play. She tosses toys up in the air, leaps up, runs around the yard and enjoys her time before coming indoors. When I heard that a border collie had joined the family I read about how they are working dogs. Very smart and active. No one knows the other dog mix so it will be interesting to see how this new dog will be doing a few months from now. I found myself talking to Luna and she looks at me as if she understands what I am saying. She cocks her head and one ear goes up when she listens. During my stay, I petted her wavy black and white back and head.  I wondered if by petting her, as I have read, brought down my blood pressure!

I know I fell in love with Luna and she seems to love everyone! I told her that if she had a sister, I would bring her home with me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Creativeness is an Art

People that can come up with new and different ideas are special people. Today, at the Young at Heart of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community, the table decorations were beautiful and clever. Each table had a different theme. Nativity scenes, bears, Santa Claus, angels, churches, and carolers surrounded by evergreen wreaths were beautiful but the two place mats on each table were striking in their cleverness! Each mat had  beautiful individual pictures. I did not pay that much attention to the mats until I heard that the mats matched the display in the middle of the greenery. I took a closer look and and asked how it was done and was I surprised when I heard that the mats were made from old Christmas cards. I took a picture of the three wise men in the center of the wreath and then noticed that the place mat matched. Each table had its own theme. The Santa Claus in the middle of the evergreen was matched in the mat. Every table was different.

How clever was that? Every center piece had a colorful mat on either side which added a creative ambiance to the table.

It was impressive that all it took were old Christmas cards, using a pattern to cut the ovals, and getting all the pictures to match the center piece. The decorating committee out did themselves with their creativeness and it looked very professional.

In the center of the hall hung a picture of the Colorado mountains covered in snow. The words are from a country and western song called Colorado Christmas performed by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and John Denver. I liked the star shining above the mountains to remind us of the birth of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Santa Comes To Spirit of Christ Catholic Community

The Christmas Surprise
Tis ten days before Christmas
as people arrive at Spirit of Christ.
The annual dinner is almost ready
The line of persons coming in is quite steady.
Greeters welcome all as they walk in
All their faces in a pleasant grin.
They have a very long list
and hoped no one has been missed.
A few had gathered to decorate
making the room look absolutely great.
Decorations hung from the ceiling with care.
While evergreen smells drifted through the air.
Everyone waited for Santa to appear
with his bag full of love and good cheer.
Before the jolly fellow would arrive
The spirit of Christmas was so alive.
Remembering that night so long ago
when a baby's birth made every thing glow.
We celebrate Baby Jesus' birth
born to the Virgin Mary upon this earth.
Oh, what a beautiful and glorious sight.
As angels sang, Oh Holy Night
Cooks in the kitchen prepare a special feast
while every one's joy was rising like yeast.
Photos were up for all to enjoy
Santa was coming, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
Colors of red, green and white
made for a festive sight.
A fellow in a red suit might appear
with a ho ho ho for all to hear.
The room sparkled in colors so gay
as we waited for Santa in his red sleigh.
But, wait, what's this we hear?
Maybe we should all give a great big cheer.
Bells are ringing, laughter all around
makes for a happy, happy sound.
Who's coming through the door
with a bag of good wishes galore.
If you are Santa's fans,
Let's all clap our hands
to greet our visitor tonight
who is every one's delight!
E. Moscoso
December 1, 2014

Santa's arrival wasn't quite a surprise because before we could welcome him with the readings, he opened the door and in a booming voice greeted everyone with a "Merry Christmas!"

We decided to read the verses while he sat in a decorated rocking chair and waited for us to greet him with  thunderous applause. The introduction was read by various members of Young At Heart of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community.  Santa began his spiel with another big "Ho" "Ho" "Ho" and entertained the group with the tale of The Night Before Christmas. His interjections were clever and humorous. I marveled at how he could have the whole story memorized! He led the singing of songs like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells. He got people up to do the Hokey Pokey and he graciously took pictures with the many persons wanting a picture with Santa.

Everyone was in a jolly mood, the meal of ham and potatoes was good, and the decorations were   beautiful. Young at Heart is able to function because of all the wonderful people who donate their time to help in the kitchen, with the decorating, a photographer who roams around taking pictures and with greeters at the door welcoming people. The president of the club said to me, "I am so proud of everyone who helps make these meals a success! It is really a united effort and it could not be done without them!"

Most dressed in Christmas attire or at the very least, wore the colors of Christmas! The hugging and the wishes for a Merry Christmas could be heard over and over again. By the look on faces, I would venture to say that every one enjoyed the Christmas luncheon. 

As Santa left with his bag full of toys, his voice boomed out: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Super Glue is Dangerous

In my bathroom I have a towel rack that if I happen to hit it just right, it comes falling down. I thought that maybe I could glue it with a strong glue and maybe that would keep it in place. I poked a hole in the small Elmer's Super Glue tube and squirted some behind the rack. Some dribbled down the wall and I grabbed a tissue to wipe it up. How was I to know the glue would seep through the paper and unto two of my fingers?

When I tried to wipe the glue from one finger, my other hand came into contact with the sticky wet adhesive.  Now I had two fingers on one hand and one finger on the other hand with
the sticky substance and paper sticking to it. I tried washing my hands but I noticed that even though some of the paper came off, the glue hung on tight to smaller patches of paper. I tried peeling the paper off but it felt as if my skin was being pulled off. I put lotion on the spot and rubbed hard but the paper was sticking on my fingers for dear life.

The towel rack was forgotten (don't think the glue would have helped keep it in place) as I continued my battle with my glued fingers. With all my rubbing and pulling, I wondered if my fingerprints would be altered. I had errands to run and every chance I got, while driving, standing in line at the post office, or shopping I continued rubbing my fingers together in hopes that the glue would roll off. Each time, I noticed a tiny piece of paper coming off.

And then, getting ready for bed, fifteen hours after the attack of the sticky mess, I looked at my fingers and they were back to normal. What an ordeal to get glue on fingers and then have paper stick to the glue. Thank goodness my sticky problem did not last forever.  Maybe Super Glue is not so super after all!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

La Morenita

Friday:  The title of my blog is what Our Lady of Guadalupe is sometimes called, La Morenita, which means brown or dark one. Today is her feast day and this morning I attended mass thinking there would be a big celebration for her but she was only mentioned a few times during mass.

Tomorrow, I do know that there will be a mass at 5 her honor and after the mass there will be a fiesta in the Spirit Center. Mexican food, a pinata, and music are planned for tomorrow to celebrate her day.

Today, seven persons showed up to help decorate the hall for tomorrow. It was a fun time as we put different colored tablecloths on the tables, a large bandanna with Our Lady of Guadalupe's image, candles, and prayer cards on each table. It is so true that many hands make a job easier. Another group of volunteers would show up around 5 p.m. to finish decorating.

Saturday: The hall was decorated, we were assigned to our work stations, the pinatas were filled with candy, and after mass the festivities began. Children were given roses and they placed flowers in the vases in front of a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The food was provided by La Fiesta Restaurant at 23rd and Champa Streets in Denver, Colorado. There were chicken or beef burritos, cheese, green or red chile, refried beans, Spanish rice, lettuce, tomatoes, and churros. The volunteers spooned out the food to the many hungry people. There were separate stations for soft drinks, water and beer.

When people finished eating, two large pinatas were lowered and raised for the children to attempt to break the Ninja Turtle or the burro. It was fun watching the dedication of the children as they aimed the stick and suddenly the pinata was raised above their head. When the pinata was broken, children scrambled on the floor getting the different kinds of candy raining from the pinata. I enjoyed watching the man pulling the rope and trying to keep the pinata away from the batters!

I asked Father Bluejacket if he was going to try hitting the pinatas and he said, "No, not me!" I told him I thought it was a wonderful fiesta and he agreed.

The music began and people began marching around the floor in pairs. The couples then separated, each line going around each side until they joined up again. As they met, they made an arch with their arms and the next couple marched under the arch and they also joined hands. This continued until everyone had gone through the arch of arms!

It was a lovely celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and everyone seemed to have a great time. As I was leaving I saw the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe through the window at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community Church and I whispered,

 "Buenas Noches, Virgencita de Tepeyac."