Friday, January 31, 2014

Who Is Heronim?

Jig-Saw puzzles help entertain me while I recuperate from my broken ankle. My favorite puzzle size is 550 and sometimes I will do a 750 piece puzzle. Finding a picture I liked, I purchased it even though it was 1000 pieces. It was a colorful picture of Mission Delores. Something about the Spanish red tile roof, the pink bougainvillea and the horses attached to the stage coach appealed to me. It took me over a week to complete the puzzle but I enjoyed struggling to make all the pieces fit.

As I read the information on the box I saw that the art was painted by someone by the name of Heronim. Also, that in all his paintings he will put a black cat somewhere in the picture. Not only was I looking for pieces but I kept my eyes open to find the mysterious cat. I liked the man's art and decided to find another puzzle by him and found Rainforest. I have started Rainforest and am thinking that eventually I will purchase more of Heronim's artsy puzzles. On the side of the box I found more information about the artist."Heronim has been prominent on the American art scene for many years and has been featured on Hometown puzzles since 1997. Heronim  describes his Americana puzzles as nostalgia: a time before computers, hi-tech movies and fax machines, when traveling by horse and buggy were the mode of transportation."

Googling his name I found more information on the artist. His given name in Polish is Heronim but he is also known as Harry Wysocki. He grew up in a Polish-American neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. As I was looking for Heronim, a Charles Wysocki came up also as an artist who does puzzles. Seems like the two brothers have a very similar art form and both enjoy doing nostalgic art.

"So now it is time to
disassemble the parts of the
jig-saw puzzle
or to piece another 
one together, for I find that, 
having come to the end of my story, 
my life is just beginning."
Conrad Veidt

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sun or Snow

A few years ago, my daughter took this photo of her daughters and their friends as they played on the beach. I love the picture because it is such a natural, fun-loving group of girls having fun.  Their expressions are priceless as they frolic on the sand.

"Just play.
Have fun.
Enjoy the game."
Michael Jordan

Yesterday, I put this picture in Facebook with a comment that I would rather be playing by the ocean instead of waiting for a snow storm.  The newscasters have been predicting a cold winter watch and most of the day the warnings are that we may get over a foot of snow in the mountains.  For our area, depending on which station I am watching, is that four to eight inches of snow may fall!

Today I did my errands, just in case I cannot leave the house (again) because of the snow and slippery conditions. I stocked my pantry and placed goodies in the refrigerator and I am ready to weather the storm!

The winter shot is from last year and I like the peacefulness of the snow covered morning. This morning I looked out and was greeted with almost the same identical scene. I don't mind the snow as long as I am indoors and not out in the cold weather!

"There is peace even in the storm."
Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Prisoner in My Home

"The snow was endless,
a heavy blanket on the outdoors;
it had a way about it.  A beauty.
But, I knew that, like many things,
beauty could be deceiving."
Cambria Hebert, Whiteout

Maybe I am not a real, honest to life, full-blown prisoner, but it sure feels like it.  Every time it snows I cannot leave the house for fear of slipping and falling.  When my ankle broke, after a fall down some stairs, I do not venture out doors when the weather is bad. I have had to cancel appointments, outings or meetings because of the snow. Weather reports and traffic conditions of cars slipping and sliding, collisions, or stuck cars will keep me indoors.

Living in Colorado, where the sun shines almost every day, it makes me happy when I look out and the driveway is clear because the snow has melted. Yesterday, even though it had snowed in the morning and I had a white driveway, I noticed that around two in the afternoon, the driveway was clear. Around four I decided to go to the mailbox at  the end of the driveway so I bundled up. Putting on jacket, cap,  gloves and getting my walker for balance, I opened the door. What a shock. The driveway and part of my porch were completely white with snow. I debated if I should risk trudging through the snow for the mail and decided against it. There could be ice underneath the snow and my mail is not worth another fall!

This morning, I looked out and there is still a lot of snow covering my driveway so not only will my mail stay in the mailbox but my trash will not get taken out either. Since the temperature is not getting above freezing today, there will be no melting of snow today. Once again, I am a prisoner in my home!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Wedding In 1955

Looking through boxes of photographs I happened to find pictures of when I was a bridesmaid at my girl friend's wedding. As I look at the pictures, it seems like a dream that we were so young and did not have a clue of what was in store for us. We were seniors in high school when my friend told me that her boyfriend had asked for her hand in marriage. I asked, "Is this what you want?" She nodded and with a big smile said, "Oh yes!"

When I think back to fifty-eight years ago, I remember how beautiful my friend looked and the excitement of being in my friend's wedding.  The day began early in the morning with me putting on my new yellow formal and arriving at the church for Mass. After Mass, the bridal party drove all over Greeley, with car horns blasting, before heading to a small town north of Greeley where the reception would be held. A violin player led us in procession to the hall to enjoy the reception. The Entriega (the giving) included blessings from parents and grandparents and the exchange, in verse and song, brought tears to all parties involved.  I don't remember the cutting of the cake but I do remember the traditional March followed by a dance.

The wedding march was led by the matron of honor and the best man.
The bridal party followed and then came those who chose to participate. It seemed as if everyone in the hall joined the March. The March has many movements of weaving in and out, arches made by couples joining hands above their heads and everyone scooting underneath the arches. As the couples emerge from under the arches, or as some refer to them, the tunnel of love, the couples begin dancing.  I read somewhere that the March is actually spelling out M A T R I M O N I O. The March can take a long time depending on how many persons have joined the March, the creativity of the leaders or the band playing La Marcha.

I am not sure about the tradition of money pinned on the bride by men wishing to dance with her, but I see it at many Hispanic weddings. Not too long ago I attended a wedding where women pinned money on the groom also for a dance with him.

The reception is a blur because I do not remember what we ate, if toasts were made or the cutting of the cake. Maybe all that happened when my escort invited me to go to his home nearby to meet his mother. There was a barking dog in the yard and I would not get out of the car for fear the dog would bite me or at the very least, tear my dress. My partner insisted the dog would not harm me  I also insisted in staying in the car until his mother came to the car to greet me.

The wedding dance was fun and the Corridos (polka-like) were as energetic as my partner decided to make them.  What a special day.  I knew I would miss my friend because our lives were changing.

We both went our separate ways and when we see each other it is as if no time has passed since the last time we saw each other. I try to learn the names of my friend's children but have not quite mastered putting the right name with the correct child. The couple have seven children, six girls and a boy, and they all live in Greeley.
The last time I saw the family, there were grandchildren and lately, great-grandchildren have entered
the picture. I have given up trying to remember everyone's name!

Through the years, I lost track of some of the bridesmaids and flower girl, but Facebook brought us together again!

"So long as the memory of
certain beloved friends
lives in my heart, I shall say
that life is good."
Helen Keller

My friend with her six daughters.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Soul's Sole

"Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies."
"Shoes have two soles dwelling on each foot."
E. Moscoso
At mass this morning I noticed the soles of a woman kneeling in front of me.  The soles were unusual because they had imprints of what looked like flowers and the name Bear Paw on them. Luckily, I had my camera so I photographed the two feet. 

Where else would my attention be drawn to soles but in a place where souls go to pray.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


While I was recuperating from my broken ankle, a friend came over and brought me delicious Taquitos.  Since then, I have craved them and asked her where she bought them. "Near 72nd and Federal. A man has a stand and is not there all the time. He sells them from a cart in the parking lot!" Today I decided to go and see if I could locate the man with the delicious Taquitos. When in Mexico I was warned not to eat anything being sold from a cart so I thought it was ironic that I was looking for a man with a cart . I would hope it is different here in the United States!

When I couldn't locate the man with a cart, I opted for my second craving.  Green chile. Not too long ago, a friend and I went to a place in Old Town Arvada called Santiago's for chile fries. Her son had recommended the dish to her so we thought we would try it. The restaurant is old and did not look super clean but the food was tasty and the cooks were wearing hair nets. In my estimation, that is a good sign. An odd thing about the booths and tables is that they face every which way with no rhyme or reason. The room is large and the adjacent room looked as if it might have been a bar at one time. As my friend and I ate the fries smothered with green chile I realized that the potatoes were a bit much and thought that the next time I went to Santiago's I would just order the green chile.

"Whenever I met someone who
does not consider chile a favorite dish, then
I've usually found someone who has never
tasted good chili."
Jan Butel, Author of "Chili Madness"

After my futile attempts at finding the man with the cart, I drove to Santiago's. I was brought a huge, steamy and spicy bowl of green chile.  I ended up ordering a side of beans to make the spicy chile easier to eat. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch of green chile and beans. I liked the price even better.  $4.00 for the large bowl of chile with two tortillas and $1.75 for the beans. I brought home enough chile and beans for another meal.

Do cooks put something into the food that makes our taste buds crave the food? I know that since my friend and I tasted the chile, I have had an urge to eat it again and today I satisfied my craving for green chile.

"Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili."
Alleged dying words of Kit Carson (1809-1868)

Small Church Community

"A Small Church Community is a small group of adults, at times children, 
who gather to reflect on their lives in the light of the gospel and to share
 their Christian faith through prayer, friendship and service."
 Taken from the Church Bulletin

Forty years ago, at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community, small church groups were formed. On Friday, January 24, 2014, over two hundred persons attended mass, shared in a delicious pot luck, and enjoyed watching a video of people that had come together in 1974 to form the first Small Church Community.
The video continued to the present groups and I was impressed by the friendships that had formed through the years. Some of the groups were beginning a third generation of friendships.

I saw young people, children, older folks and middle age people and couldn't help but think how it seemed as if the whole parish was involved. Last year I was asked to join a group and have attended three meetings
where we have shared learning about Vatican II and sharing life stories with the group. Already I have seen the help and kindness of some of the persons in the group. It surprised me that it was not a lip service but that the people are sincere and want to help. One good thing about breaking my ankle is my knowing how many persons at Spirit of Christ who belong to a Small Church Community have offered to help me.

For me, John 13: 34-35 sums up the Small Church Community: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Now She's A Teen

Another Birthday

This is a story of
a little girl,
as she grows her story will unfurl.
Thirteen years ago
she was late
until she decided to keep the date.
Mom patiently carried
the precious little baby
for over nine months
while Dad and
three brothers
and waited,
and waited.
Little Nicolette arrived
in a spectacular show.
It's been a pleasure to see her grow.
When she decided to join the world,
little did she know
how much joy and happiness
she would bring with her special glow.
Her grandmother was
 sailing on a cruise
waiting for the news
of when the baby would arrive.
She knew a little girl
would soon be in her rightful
place; one girl with three brothers.
Yet, as luck would have it,
when she decided
to appear,
the grandmother could not
go near to see the baby dear.
Grandma broke
out in a big, red hive
and could not see
the little one
for one whole week.
She could not visit the tiny one,
or join in all the new-born fun!
She called every day
to see what the parents
would say
about any new thing and
how the baby would play.
The grandmother sent a
friend to video tape
every little escapade
the baby decided to do.
She watched the tape
with eyes agape.
Saw how they played
peek a boo,
and goochi-goo.
Saw a tiny ribbon
in the neatly combed hair
and watched as the
child ate and slept
or slept and ate.
It just wasn't fair
she couldn't be there!
The baby was queen
and ruled with zest
and even asleep she
ruled the nest.
Finally, after a week,
the grandmother
got to see
her grand baby.
She held the child
and was filled with
 love that only a grandmother
can have for a grandchild.
At last she got to
hug and kiss,
little Nicolette Marie.
And now, that little girl
is a beautiful young lady
polite and nice,
with a smile that does entice.
Every one now awaits
to see how the story will unfold
as she celebrates being thirteen years old.

Something similar was written
when Nicolette was born 
but I have changed
it to fit the times.

E. Moscoso
January 27, 2001

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Makes A Saint?

Today on Facebook someone posted a piece written by Mother Teresa which made me realize that she truly was a saint on earth. The story is how she encounters an old, dirty, sad old man living in squalor conditions, She offered to clean up his home and he said, "Why? No one comes to see me." She convinced him that he would feel better and proceeded to clean up the house.  As she cleaned she found a filthy lamp and asked him if she could clean up the lamp and light it. Again, his answer was, "It's been years since that lamp was lit.  Why bother, no one comes to visit me."  She asked if she could arrange for the nuns to visit him every evening, would he then light his lamp. He agreed and every evening when the nuns would visit him, they found the lamp lit.  Years went by and Sister Teresa had forgotten about the man when she got a note from him: Thank you. Every evening, I am still lighting my lamp.

Her story brought an experience to me of when I visited a mission in Hermosillo, Mexico. A priest from Colorado along with four volunteers lived there and some of their duties were to help in teaching catechism, helping around the church, giving cooking classes and visiting the poor. I joined the volunteers and it was a delight teaching the children outdoors since there weren't any classrooms. Helping the priest prepare for mass was also an easy task.  While visiting a woman's prison I met interesting women, though some were tough and used rough language. I took a photo and some made gang-like signs with their fingers. Going to homes to pray the rosary with the neighborhood people let me see how religious they were and also to see their generosity. Many lived in hovels, dirt floors, no refrigeration, and out-houses. After the rosary, they brought out cookies and coffee and had a social hour discussing what was happening in their lives. Most had a great sense of humor and I marveled at how carefree and happy they seemed to be because I could see they did not have much.

One day, a volunteer asked if I wanted to go with her to visit a man and his wife.  She was going to take some food and give them communion. I went with her and when she knocked on the one room home, I got a huge shock. Out came a filthy man who looked as if had never bathed.  It looked as if someone had taken charcoal and outlined every wrinkle in his face. His white hair was matted.  His teeth were black. His hands and fingernails looked as if he worked in a coal mine. His clothing was dirty. The smell emitting from him was strong.

Looking in through the door, which was the only source of light, I could see a mattress on the floor with a woman in the dark lying on the mattress. The volunteer said to me, "Come on in." I could see there was no room because the mattress took up most of the space in the room. I said, "I'll wait for you out here." The man had a small fire going in the front yard and a small pot over the fire. He offered me some coffee and I told him I did not drink coffee. I did not want to hurt his feelings and I explained that my father never let us drink coffee when we were children and I had never gotten the habit. He poured himself some coffee in a dirty cup. He told me about a son who lived somewhere in Mexico and how the son never came to visit them. He mentioned that he took care of his wife and since the outhouse was on the hill she sometimes couldn't make it.  I asked him why the outhouse was so far away. He smiled and wrinkled his nose as he said, "El olor." (The smell.)

What does this story have to do with Mother Teresa's story? It is my reaction to a similar situation. All I could think of was that the volunteer should hurry up so we could leave. I feel ashamed when I think about my thoughts as I looked at the man squatting on the ground drinking his coffee. Leaning against a wall, I saw a chair and I brought it to him so he could sit down.  I went through the motions of helping but my mind did not want to be there. I was polite, but I did not want to be in such a sad and depressing place. My thoughts were that no one should have to live under those conditions and how unfair some people had it. Even the thought, what if it was Jesus in front of me, did not make me want to get any closer or enter the room to be with the volunteer. I kept thinking, what kind of volunteer am I? My heart knew what to do, but my mind rebelled. I knew that until I could get both my mind and my heart on the same page, I would never be a true volunteer!

I believe that Mother Teresa is a saint!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hallman Garden

Two people I admire and find them to be interesting and fun-loving live in California. Mentally sharp they do a lot of reading and lead an active life. It surprises me to see him driving the California freeways. They are in their eighties and the bottom line is that they love life.
Whenever I visit, I find myself in the middle of interesting discussions and what I have noticed is that they are knowledgeable about current affairs, latest books, art, movies, and gardening. Their patio is full of green plants and flowers and they know each and every name of the many flowers, shrubs, trees in their garden. This year I saw two avocados in the limbs of the avocado tree. Their latest addition to their patio is a Gardenia plant which I gave them for Christmas. He immediately placed the plant in a decorative planter!

They live life to the fullest and whenever I visit they are either traveling or attending some special function. In their home I have seen some of the art work she has created and it is beautiful! With the help of their grandchildren (and children) they are entering into the world of Skyping and Facebook.

They have been married for 60 years and are blessed with five children, ten grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.  I like that the family gets together for birthdays, holidays and special occasions.  A few years ago I wrote this poem for them because I was so impressed with the interactions they have with their children and grandchildren. To me, their family reminded me of a beautiful garden.

The Hallman Garden

To see the garden
it seems as if the
greenery sprouts up
unattended and miraculous
to spread color around.
In the patio, 
flowers and plants just
seem to grow quietly
into blooms,
lush greens,
tantalizing colors,
tall and straight
and full of energy
and love.
A lot of work,
and many prayers
went into cultivating
each plant
with careful thinning,
serious checking,
lots of pruning, discipline,
hours of talking
and hours of planning.
A parental watch
over each growing plant.
A guiding light,
harmony and cheer
meshed to create the
display of color.
Sun and water sprinkled carefully
helped each seedling  grow
each with its own beauty.
The garden is wonderful
but lots of hard work went
into planning, raising,
caring for those tender roots.
They knew, if roots
are strong,
the plant will burst
into beautiful blooms
making a colorful display
in different rooms of
their heart.
The garden does not
show what troubles may
have happened
in the past,
what weeds needed 
to be yanked out
what hardships occurred
because the patio shines 
brightly in colors galore.
Each flower and plant with
its own personality
each bringing joy
in its own special way.
Those unique blossoms
drop their seed into 
fertile ground
creating new faces
filling new vases,
another generation of color and love.
What a pleasant place to be
among the lush greenery
united in love,
 in the Hallman's beautiful garden.

E. Moscoso
July 6, 1999

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Needle and Thread

For Christmas I was given Anne Lamott's book, Stitches, A Handbook of Meaning, Hope and Repair. It is a small book with ninety six pages. I had never heard of the author and I was curious to see what she had to say.  My daughter had taped an interview where Oprah interviewed the author. Lamott's hair was in brownish-blond dreadlocks and I found out she had been an alcoholic and drug user until she was thirty-two years old. Her life changed when she found God and later sobered up.

One of her quotes of "Life holds beauty, magic and anguish," hit the spot. It made me realize I wanted to see what more she had to say.  I found that I agreed with many of her thoughts and ideas.

"One rarely knows where to begin the search for meaning, though by necessity, we can only start where we are."  She is so right because where else would anyone begin but in the present of one's life. I know that if I was to begin my search for meaning it would need to take place beginning right now!

While studying Vatican II, I found out that the two main functions of Catholics (and others) is to know God and to help each other. Her quotes fit into what Christians are taught. "We try to help ourselves and one another."  She mentions Ram Dass, a spiritual leader and author  as saying, "Ultimately we're all just walking each other home." What a beautiful way to say that we need to help each other on our way to God.  Lamott says,  "Life's meaning is to seek union with God and be Jesus' hands and eyes for the people who need help and companionship."
I like that she quotes Mother Teresa: "None of us can do great things, but we can do small things with love. When I was growing up I remember being told that no matter what I did, I should offer it up to God. It did not matter if it was a big or a small action, anything I did should be offered to God. I somehow lost those thoughts as I got older.  Lamott believes that by searching for something bigger than oneself we can overcome what ever life throws at us.

Her idea of sewing a good piece of our life next to a tragic patch will make for an interesting quilt because after all our lives are made up of good and bad moments. I right away began thinking of my own life and instead of wishing all the bad in my life would go away, I could sew the squares together. My ankle breaking could be next to the beautiful people that helped me. Or the sadness when my children left the nest could be next to my travels. Having my position abolished and being without work could go right next to giving me time to work on my genealogy and meeting cousins I never knew I had. Good and bad patches would make a fascinating blanket of my life! Oh, how much fun I could have with my needle and thread as I put all the squares of my life side by side.

It brought to mind a Spanish saying of "No hay mal que por bien no venga."  (There isn't anything bad that good won't come of it.)

The book may be small but it conveys a lot of ideas on how to better one's life. It doesn't matter if one is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, or Hindu, I believe the book speaks to all with Lamott's "be good and kind to one another." 

"Secret of life is patch, patch, patch."
Anne Lamott

The photo of Anne Lamott
was taken by Sam Lamott
and most of the quotations
are either from her book
or from the internet.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Saint or Sinner

Yesterday at my Small Church Group meeting, we talked about religious persons who had made an impression in our lives. My thoughts went to Fr. Dominic Morera, S.F. of Greeley, Colorado.  Growing up in Greeley, I would hear people complain about the priest: "He's a crook."  "He steals money." "Money from the church fund disappeared." I also heard good things: "He's a saint." "He helps the poor." "He's generous with his time."

I was too young to know which side of the fence he was on.  My cousin worked for him as his secretary and I would sometimes go and help her around the office.  What I saw made me lean toward the saint side.

Even though his freezer was full of expensive cuts of meat, I saw him eating baloney sandwiches. I asked my cousin why he only ate baloney sandwiches and she said, "Most of the meat in the freezer goes to people who can't afford to buy meat." Whenever he had visitors, he would have the housekeeper fix the visitors something to eat. Sometimes, my cousin and I would help serve the meals. Once I saw him leave in a horrible snowstorm because someone called asking for help. The snow was swirling and blowing so hard that as he pulled out of the driveway, I only saw two faint red lights as he made his way down the street. On Saturdays he would cut the hair of all the boys who couldn't afford to go to a barber shop. Every Sunday, he asked for donations to build a church for the Hispanic population. The rumor was that St. Peter's Church, the only Catholic church in Greeley at the time, did not care for Hispanics attending the predominately white church. After some delays, because of the war, Our Lady of Peace church was dedicated on July 8, 1948.

When I think back to my childhood, at that time, I didn't know or care about the church finances. I do remember wondering why the priest seemed to always talk about money.  Because I knew Fr. Dominic, I now wonder if maybe when a family was in need, be might have "borrowed" from the church funds.  My gut feeling is that he lived the bible quotation of feeding and helping the poor. Once I saw where a hole had worn through the sole of his shoe. Whenever I heard people talk badly about the priest, I always defended him. Only God knows what was in Fr. Dominic's mind, heart or actions, but I for one, believe he was a saint!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

California Christmas

It seemed so different to see palm trees, flowers blooming, and Christmas decorations on green lawns. I was spending the holidays in California with my daughter's family. On Christmas Eve my daughter pushed my wheelchair to several stores so I could do some quick Christmas shopping. Other than Christmas carols in the background, it seemed like a regular shopping day in any store anywhere in the United States. I secretly sent my son-in-law to buy a gift for my daughter. I wrapped the gifts in my room which had been converted from my daughter's art studio to my bedroom. It was a perfect set up, a place where I could wrap gifts without anyone spying on me!

My granddaughters took me for wheelchair rides through the neighborhood. On our walk I said "man down" after seeing a Nativity scene with one of the three kings on his side. Once we tried to take their dog, Pablo, for a walk, but he kept tangling his leash in the wheels of the chair so we took him home. We were afraid it was an accident waiting to happen....either to him or to me!

After a delicious dinner of salmon and twice baked potatoes, we attended 6 p.m. mass on Christmas Eve at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church. I was surprised that it was not crowded.  Maybe the majority of persons attend mid-night mass or wait until Christmas Day to go to mass in California. My wheelchair ride to the church was exciting because a few times I thought my granddaughter might tip the wheelchair with me in it!

It was fun opening the presents and seeing a look of happiness or surprise on faces as each opened their gifts. My happiness was complete because, instead of seeing gifts opened on Skype, I was fully present in flesh and blood! (And, a swollen ankle!)

Christmas Day we drove to Dana Point to be with my son-in-law's family. His parents live in a beautiful area not too far from the ocean. Celebrating in their neat patio just did not feel like Christmas to me! The house was full with the five adult children, their spouses, grandchildren and friends.  Good food, interesting conversation, discussion of books, fun opening gifts, attending Saving Mr. Banks movie, yummy desserts and then the drive home. A perfect Christmas Day even though it was odd being in a place without snow or at the very least, cold weather!

"The birth of Christ
whether cold or hot
is beautiful
with snow or not!"
E. Moscoso
December 25, 2013

Monday, January 13, 2014

Holding Hands

"Sometimes, reaching out and taking
someone's hand is the beginning of a journey."
Vera Nazarian

 "Nothing in the world compares to the comfort
and security of having someone hold your hand."
Richelle E. Goodrich,
Smile Anyway 

"Life is about spending time together....having the time 
to walk together holding hands, 
talking quietly as the sun goes down."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Plants, Art and Famous Papers

If you are ever in California, near Pasadena, a stop at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Merino is well worth your while.  Of course, more than one day is needed to see all there is to see in the 120 acre park.  If there is an interest for flowers, plants or trees the Botanical garden has many different species of each. Since my visit was in December, there weren't too many flowers blooming though the flowering cabbage made for a colorful display of lavender and white. Dry ivy made a neat pattern on a wall. Giant bamboo towered over my daughter in the gardens.
In front of the library

History buffs will head for the library where copies of original documents are housed, information on American history and the settling of California, manuscripts of books written in the 14th Century along with a science section. The art gallery with its European art collection gives viewers a chance to see how people dressed during those early days plus allowing visitors to see the beautiful paintings. I was interested in a display of Junipero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions.

"Serra, under the auspices of the Catholic Church and the Spanish flag and in keeping with a centuries-old tradition of Spanish missionaries coming to the Americas, believed his life's work was to convert Indians to Christianity."  He built the first mission in San Diego and then moved up to Monterey where another mission was built. Altogether, there are 21 missions, not all came to be while Serra was alive. When Mexico entered the picture they did away with many of the missions and it wasn't until the missions became tourist attractions that their popularity returned.

 The art collections reminded me of the museums in Europe with large paintings in ornate frames. Two well known paintings are The Boy Blue and Pinkie. Boy Blue is from the 1770's and the oil is by Britisher Thomas Gainsborough.

Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton: Pinkie, is an oil by Thomas Lawrence, also from England.  Pinkie, I read, died shortly after the painting was finished in 1794. Even though in many areas of the museum photos are not allowed, I was able to use my camera as long as I did not use a flash.

A white dog in one of the pictures reminded my granddaughters of their dog, Pablo, and asked me to snap a shot. There were so many different forms of art in the museum it would have taken a long time to fully appreciate all there was to see.

I did like the glass and lead stained glass window at the end of a hallway. I read the informational tag and learned it is a David Healey Memorial Window from the Unitarian Chapel in Heywood, Lancashire, 1898.

It was a fun and interesting day at the Huntington even though I was in a wheelchair due to my broken ankle and I did not have the freedom to move where I wanted to go, though my family did a super job of wheeling me to the most interesting spots.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Eating, Talking and Loving

Okay, so I sort of borrowed the title of a book.  Well, not quite the same title, but close.  It just seemed to fit in today's blog. Yesterday, my Colorado granddaughter and I went out for lunch at a restaurant in Old Town Arvada called Breadwinner. As we ate our delicious meals, (she had a green chili omelet and I had a Southwestern burger) we hit on many subjects and enjoyed learning more about what each one of us has been doing. When she said, "Grandma, I like hanging out with you, this is fun." it made my day. I know that with the generation gap, sometimes it is difficult to have conversations with younger folks!

She is taller than the last time I saw her, her hair is longer, and she is turning into a beautiful young lady. She is kind and compassionate and I liked when she would rush to open the car door for me or bring my walker to me. If I coughed, she asked, "Are you all right Grandma?"
I used to sing "jeepers creepers, where did you get those peepers," when she was smaller and she still has large, hazel-grey eyes. A sign on the table mentioned that if we "liked" the Breadwinner in Arvada on Facebook, the drink would be free. On her phone, she typed in Facebook, found Breadwinner, liked it, and got a free Doctor Pepper!

For dessert we went to Starbuck's and she ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I am surprised how young people now a days are drinking coffee. Granted, the coffee is flavored but since I do not drink coffee it surprises me when I see my granddaughters drink coffee. I mentioned to her that my father would never allow us to drink coffee when we were growing up and I never got the taste for coffee.She said, "I like it."
I ate a slice of lemon pound cake with hot green tea and we continued chatting.

Buying clothes for my grandchildren is difficult, now that they are older, because they have their own likes and dislikes. I brought her a hoodie from my recent visit to California and when I gave it to her she put it on right away.  I felt good knowing that she liked her sweater!
The almost three hours we were together went by quickly but we told each other that we would get together again soon.  Happiness and joy fills me up when I spend time with my grandchildren!

"Grandchildren are God's
way of compensating us
for growing old."
Mary H. Waldrip

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Here I am, in the brand new year of 2014. No resolutions made other than hoping my ankle heals and I can walk normally. It seems as if nothing is happening but when I look back, I can see that slowly, very slowly, I am getting better.

The beginning found me in a wheelchair. I wore a heavy boot with my leg extended forward and it was non-weight bearing. I graduated to a walker and I began hopping on my good leg. After about seven weeks, I became weight bearing and went from hopping to trying to walk but it certainly did not look like walking, more like a wobbly hobble.

A few months later I was introduced to a cane. I used it more for balance as I tried
to walk. I continued hobbling because it hurt to walk normally. This year, (yes, it's only been a few days) while in the house, I began walking without a cane. I am able to move but haven't got the knack of walking normally. Tiny stiff steps with jerky movements made me think that I could invent a dance. Maybe call it the Jerky Glide and as I did my steps to music I had to laugh at my new dance!

The ankle continues to be swollen, especially when I am up all day. I guess it is something I have to live with since the doctor said some swelling goes on for over a year.

The movie actor, Walter Brennan in The Real McCoys, had a little skip to his walk and he is constantly in my mind. Will I be walking like him forever?  Patience is what I need.  Going from wheelchair to walking unassisted is a good progression and in a few months I may lose the hobble. I sure hope so!