Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jig Saw Puzzle Mania

When I finished Sunset Visit painted by
Heronim*, I thought it was the hardest puzzle I had
tried to put together since I began working jig saw puzzles.  I've always enjoyed putting puzzles together but since I have been recuperating from
a broken ankle, the working of puzzles has almost become an obsession with me.

At first I thought it would be impossible to
finish the 1000 piece puzzle where every piece
seemed to look alike. Persistence paid off and I finally could see the completed sunset picture.
It took me about two weeks to complete.


I took a few days off and before long I started
looking for another puzzle.  I found another 1000
piece puzzle named Dragon Dance. The
colors were brilliant and it was harder than
Sunset Visit. I struggled and wanted to give
up when I could not match any of the pieces either by color or shape. I would walk away and whenever I
returned, somehow I would find a few more pieces.
I continued plodding along
until I placed the last piece in the puzzle.
The last few pieces are the easiest to place
to complete the puzzle!
It had taken twenty days to finish but what
a feeling of satisfaction when I could see the finished picture.


I think about life and how it is like a puzzle.
Sometimes it feels as if the many pieces of my
life will never fit together. When the pieces of my
spiritual, physical and emotional
mesh I find myself filled with happiness or contentment
which gives me a feeling of satisfaction.



Already, I have the next puzzle, Elephant Festival,
which I will begin soon. It looks difficult, but
I love the picture and the colors so I know that
no matter how hard it is, I eventually will complete
the 1000 piece picture. All I need is patience and perseverance, and isn't that just like life?.


*Heronim is the artist on all three puzzles.
He places a black cat in all his paintings
and it is fun trying to find the cat!


The Case of the Missing Sweat Pants

It had become a tradition to spend Easter at Estes Park, Colorado. Every year we would drive to Estes and spend three days of
fun.  Dying eggs, playing board games, jumping into the hot tub (sometimes when it was snowing!), skating, popping popcorn, wandering through shops and baking cookies kept us busy the whole weekend. One morning my son asked, "Has anybody seen my sweat pants?" No body had.

Both children were questioned and both told us they had not seen the missing sweats.


"When did you have them last?" He remembered going to the hot tub but he was sure he had brought them back. The whole group went out to look in, and around, the hot tub. Nothing.

"Could you have left them in the truck?" He didn't think so, but he went out to look.  I watched from the window as everybody trekked out to the truck and I could see them searching in, out and underneath seats. My grandson got on his hands and knees and looked under the truck. They returned to the room empty handed.

"Are you sure you checked your room thoroughly?" He said he had checked it twice. He even took everything out of the suitcase, looked in the closet and under the bed.

"Could you have dropped those sweats on the way to the hot tub?" He decided to go to the office to check, because maybe, just maybe, they fell along the way and someone picked them up and took them to the office. No sweats had been turned in.

All evening he kept saying, "Where could those sweats have gone?"
I said, "It sure is a mystery, things don't just disappear."



On Monday, as we packed to return home, my grandson exclaimed, "Look what I found!" He handed the sweats over to his father with a grin,  "Got you! This is pay back for all the tricks you play on me!" How he managed to keep a straight face as he helped search for the sweats surprised me. It also amazed me that he could keep the secret for two whole days. My son thought it was a great joke but he did give his son a warning, "Be on the look out, it's my turn to get you next!"

The missing sweats spurred my imagination and I wrote a short story about an elk who did not like the cold  but when he found some sweats near a hot tub he put them on and they worked great in keeping his legs warm!

"I may have fur,
but I'm still cold,
Brrr, Brrr,"
said the elk.
wearing sweat pants!
E. Moscoso

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Disney On Ice



Today twenty-eight persons from Young at Heart of Spirit of Christ parish reverted to being kids again. How exciting to see all of the Disney character on skates, wearing gorgeous costumes, and following a theme from those stories we know so well.  Growing up we knew some of the tales, added a few more with our children and the newer characters we have learned from watching videos with our grandchildren.

The coliseum was crowded with adults and children. The little tots from different day care centers were dressed in same colored t-shirts,holding hands and following their leaders in a train-like fashion. Some of the little girls competed with the skaters dressed as  Belle, Snow White or Cinderella. The vendors were hawking their Disney paraphernalia and the parents were buying!
 The talented skaters looked like Olympian champions as they moved on the ice with their lifts, spins, dancing, and flips. It was exciting to see Nemo and Dorie, Pinocchio, characters from the Lion King, the story of Mulan; Woody, Jessie and Buzz Light Year, Donald Duck, Goofy, Ariel, the Incredibles, and the never aging Minnie and Micky Mouse. It was fascinating to see the sparkling skaters and the realistic props. I especially enjoyed It's a Small World with all the skaters in blue and white costumes and seeing the many countries represented.  Almost two hours of wonderful make believe!

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Colorful Cast

My son's leg was broken when he was struck by a car while on the East coast. Much of his recuperating took place at my brother's home in Long Island, New York. When my sister-in-law would leave for work, uncle and nephew got into different levels of mischief. When they get together, the majority of time is remembering all the silly/ridiculous/dumb things they did. One of the things they decided to do was to decorate my son's cast and make it into a work of art. After I saw the paintings on the cast, I called it the "Porno Cast."


 The fancy cast introduced them to strangers, they received a lot of comments, and had long conversations with people wanting to know the story behind the colorful cast. One perk of the cast was getting free drinks at local bars and restaurants. At one bar, the cast of  Chorus Line was unwinding and entertaining the patrons. Not sure what my son and brother were doing but I believe they were 86'd from the bar! When the cast was removed, the art work went into the trash bin.  Now, all I have are pictures of the crazy cast. Luckily, after about a year, my son's leg healed and before long he began playing soccer again.


"I told the Doctor I broke 
my leg in two places.
He told me to quit going to
those two places."
Henny Youngman

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sweet Seventeen

Ariana's Song

I look at you
everything is so brand new
sweet child of this world
you bring us so much joy

Now I understand
what I could not comprehend,
now I think I see
what my parents saw in me

Soft eyes, gentle soul
more than you know
you are loved
you are loved

You make us smile
you make us laugh,
you keep us aware of the simple things in life
you turned our lives inside out
and we couldn't be happier

Bright eyes, gentle soul
more than you know
you are loved
you are loved.

Lyrics and music written by 
Barbara Hallman
for their new baby daughter.

**********


Today, my granddaughter will celebrate her seventeenth birthday. The time seems to have flown by and now, instead of a cute baby, she has blossomed into a beautiful young lady. She is sweet and quiet and my love for her continues to grow. I am very proud of her and how well she has done in school. I know that whatever she decides to do, she will succeed! I enjoy visiting her and spending time with her because now we can communicate like two adults!

Happy Birthday to my dear granddaughter. I love you very much and look forward to seeing you whenever I go to California or when you come spend time with me here in Colorado.
Enjoy your special day!

Huitzilopochtli

Huitzilopochtli  is an Aztec God depicted as an Eagle or a Humming Bird. He is known for being a god of war and sun.  Legend has it that warriors killed in battle returned as humming birds. If a good luck charm of a humming bird was worn,  it gave the person wearing the talisman sexual potency, energy, vigor and skill in fighting a war. I have found it strange that such a little bird can represent so much.

My daughter and I were talking on the phone the other day and she mentioned that a humming bird had made a nest in her back yard. Amazing that she saw it because humming bird nests are about the size of a ping-pong ball. She told me she would try to get a picture of it.

I looked on the Internet and found that the wings of a humming bird can be flapped eighty times per second. It has a long bill to get the nectar from the flowers. It will lay one to three eggs and the young begin flying in 18-30 days. They have the highest metabolism of any animal. It is also the only bird than can fly backwards plus up, down, or sideways.

The birds are so small and move so fast that it is difficult to keep your eye on the bird. I have seen them in backyards, mountains and in tropical areas. Their name comes from the speed of their wings flapping which causes a humming noise. I love this photo my daughter took of a humming bird at rest!

 

Papyrus is a company selling paper products and gifts. Their logo is of a humming bird. and this is their legend of the humming bird.

"Legends say that humming birds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Humming birds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a humming bird, we aspire to hover, savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that love has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The humming bird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation."    Papyrus

The tiny bird is given credit for many things. My thought, when I see a humming bird, is how amazingly fast it can move and its darting around reminds me to slow down and smell the flowers!

Where Has It Gone?

Lately, I find myself looking for something I seem to have lost. I find myself moving slower, not hearing as well, relying on glasses to see, losing my hair, memory not as good as it once was and sometimes I wonder who I am. I look at photographs and wonder if that fresh young face is really mine. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is middle age, when eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday." Yes, when I ask the question where has it gone?  I am referring to my youth!

It seems to have happened overnight but I know that each day, added another layer of age and continues adding. The strange thing is that I still feel the same because as my father told me once, "Your body may get old, but your emotions do not get old, they stay exactly the same as when you were young." I suppose my heart and soul will forever be young but I sure wish my body could keep up with them!

"Real age has its pleasures, 
which, though different 
are not less than the 
pleasures of youth." 
W. Somerset Maugham



"In youth the days are short and the years long.
In old age, the years are short and the days long."
Pope Paul VI

What I picture is the old-fashioned calendar in movies to show the passing of time. As the pages of the calendar flip by on the screen to show time rushing by is very much how I feel as I get older! My lament, as well as many of my same-aged friends, is "where has it gone?"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Death of a Friend

Linda Downs Madeline GomezOn Monday, the 17th of March, 2014, I received a phone call from a friend letting me know that a mutual friend had passed away. It was a sudden death that no one expected. In fact, I was planning on seeing her on April 10 for dinner and a play. Now, I was being told she was gone. The shock of hearing the news made it difficult to believe.

Linda Downs Madeline Gomez was born on March 20, 1948 and died on March 17, 2014. She died at home three days before her birthday. I wonder if she had plans to celebrate her birthday? The saying that we should always be prepared because we do not know when our time to meet our maker will arrive, is so true.

I knew Linda from the time we both worked for the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver as paralegals in the 90's. She was a social person and always fun to be around. When she left Legal Aid, she started her own business of fiduciary services advocating for the elderly and the disabled. For years I did not see or hear anything about Linda.  About two years ago, I received a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to join a group of women every other month for dinner and a play or movie. Linda was in that group and I was very happy to see her again. It surprised me that even though many years had passed she looked the same. It was fun catching up after all the years that had passed. One of the things I remember about Linda is that when she hugged you, you knew she meant it. Her sense of humor, her kindness, her interest in other persons made her a special friend. And now she is gone.

I am so glad that I got to spend time with Linda and to share a bit of our lives with each other. Now, I will say my good-byes to Linda on Monday, March 24, 2014, at the Rosary and Mass at St. Jude Catholic Church. My heart will be heavy but I will cherish those special memories.


Monday, March 24, 2014.  Linda's ashes were in a silver container in front of the altar along with her photograph and flowers. Mass began after the Rosary and after Mass I got to see Gina Weitzenkorn, Linda Olson, Kathleen Mullen, Linda Lopez, Pat Richmond, Bernie Poskus, Mary Catherine Rabbit, Randy Smith, and John Holland.  What a pleasant surprise to see them after thirty some years! I also saw friends who are in the photos above. Fr. J. Darrell Schaffer, the celebrant of the Mass, spoke about how it does not matter what we look like on the outside, but what is in our heart that matters. I thought the words explained  Linda. Her body may not have been a model's body, but her heart was full of compassion and love for her family, friends, workers and clients.

Rest In Peace, Linda.  You will be missed.

A Mystery

As I get older, my memory sometimes seems to fade. Does it frighten me? Sometimes.  The thought of forgetting, having dementia or Alzheimer's is a scary thought. Yesterday something happened that I have not been able to figure out. Looking in a large folder, I found a photograph of my son that my brother had taken. It is an artistic photo playing with light and dark.  I remember everything about the picture and why my brother wanted to take the photo in the first place. My son had attempted to put on a tie and had it all tangled around his neck. I wonder if my brother or my son even remember the photo.

The puzzle comes with two other pictures in the folder. There are two beautiful pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Sacred Heart of Mary.  I have never seen, or I don't remember seeing, the two pictures. If they had been prayer card size, I probably would not have thought anything about where I got them. These pictures are 12x9 inches. I know I would never have purchased the pictures. Did they belong to my parents? Now I know they might have bought two religious pictures. Did I inherit them when they passed away? I do not remember my parents having them in their home. I have no recollection of ever having seen the two pictures. Wouldn't I remember if someone had given them to me? Did God put them in the folder for some special reason? It certainly is a mystery!



I have never been a devotee of the Immaculate Heart of Mary/Sacred Heart of Mary/Heart of Mary though I have seen pictures of the Blessed Mother with a heart of flames, a dagger inserted into the heart and the heart encircled with flowers. Jesus has thorns encircling his heart along with the flames. His heart shows his Divine love for mankind.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is known to me because my Father belong to the Holy Name Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; I try to attend mass for the Sacred Heart of Jesus every first Friday of the month; I have a small statue of the Sacred Heart and a large picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hangs on a wall in my house. (This large picture I did inherit from my Father. He got it from St. Peter's Church in Greeley, Colorado when they were refurbishing the church in the 1940's .)


Finding the pictures in the folder while clearing out a box makes me wonder what other treasures, that I don't remember, can be hidden in the many storage boxes in my basement?

"The advantage of a bad
memory is that one enjoys
several times the same good
things for the first time."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Beware of Scams

Want to feel helpless, frightened, afraid, fearful, scared, unsure, or insecure? Have someone come talk to you about scams and identity theft.

On March 20, 2014, the Young at Heart of Spirit of Christ had a retired detective, Rudy Casias, speak to us about how people can protect themselves from those trying to take our hard earned money. Crooks target older persons because the elderly are more trusting, are believed to have money, may have memory problems or are lonely and appreciate talking with a caller. It seems that there are so many different ways to scam persons that it is difficult to find ways to protect the consumer. Mr. Casias mentioned Medicare, Credit or Debit card fraud, work at home schemes and lottery winner scams are popular in the Arvada area.

When a bill is paid at a restaurant, and you are paying with a credit card, do not let the card out of your sight. It was suggested to go with the waiter and watch him at the register but, "do not let the card be taken where you cannot see what is being done to your card." Personal information can be taken off the card by sliding it through a "skimmer." A skimmer is a device that looks like the real thing but is used to steal information from cards. Once the information is taken the information can be sold or used fraudulently.

It was mentioned we should always check our credit or debit card statements to make sure they are authentic and that we made the purchases listed. Never give personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Never send money when it is requested, especially if the request comes from a bank or the IRS. Banks and government agencies do not ask for money over the phone. If you are being told you won a lottery but need to send "up front" money you can be sure it is a scam. When you contract roofers, construction workers or have home improvement projects done be sure the companies are legitimate. The Medicare fraud, is not stealing money directly from you, but persons can use your insurance for their own medical needs.

What I got out of the talk was,
don't believe anything that sounds too good to be true,
don't give out any information,
don't use cellular phone or computer,
don't believe anyone,
don't trust anyone,
and maybe you won't be scammed!

An exciting part of the presentation was the giving away of  12x15 orange tote bags. I couldn't help but think that now, with our orange bag, we can go to the grocery store and be green. Well, that is if we remember to take the bag out of the trunk of the car so the clerks can put our groceries in it!

We were warned about frauds and scams and we received great advice from Mr. Casias, but it is frightening to know how many crooks are out there trying to scam innocent people.

"Using a brilliant brain,
such as crooks must have,
imagine what they could do
and what they could gain,
if they put their brain to good use
to save a victim's pain!" 
E. Moscoso





The Mooing Cow

A gift that keeps on giving I received from a friend of mine, Rocio, the Nun. She has a terrific sense of humor and when I used to hang out with her, all we did was laugh. It seems that since we are similar in our actions, we encouraged each other. I have sneaked into a movie with her, gotten lost in Kansas, took her gambling where she won a small jackpot, and convinced other nuns to have their picture taken in old-fashioned dresses. All our antics added up to good memories.

What I like about her is that she is game for anything. In the few years I knew her, we ended up going to plays, movies, parties, swimming, shopping, riding a train, eating different foods, taking outrageous photos, dieting (ha-ha) and visiting her family in Mexico. Her large family made me feel like part of the family. Her parents and I are closer in age but I identify more with Rocio. She is someone who is fun to hang around with even though she is young enough to be my daughter, after all, she is the same age as my daughter!

The first time she came to the office, I could not see her, but I could hear her captivating laughter. For ten minutes I heard loud laughter and then she entered the room.  Her happy face and her friendly attitude made me like her immediately.

Her gifts to me I treasure. The gift of friendship is number one and then a pot she brought back from Mexico, a corn husk doll, a watermelon candle and especially the mooing cow.  The cow sits in my kitchen and when I least expect it, the cow moos. It bellows a loud moo and I am immediately reminded of my friend. The cow has scared me when the house is silent and suddenly the cow gives out a loud moo. I haven't figured out what triggers the cow to moo, but I like to think that my friend is thinking of me! After my heart settles down from the initial scare, I have to smile because I am reminded of my friend.
She has now returned to Mexico and every once in a while I get an e-mail or I'll see a comment on Facebook letting me know she is alive and well!

"Those that pass
through my life
leave me a small
piece of themselves!"
E. Moscoso


El Padre Tomas

My father attended mass at St. Cajetan's Catholic Church and became friends with the two priests from Spain. There was the pastor, Fr. James Prohens who wrote poetry, and Fr. Tomas Fraile, the younger priest. He admired their knowledge of the Catholic faith and enjoyed getting into debates about religion with them.

When Fr. Tomas arrived in Denver in July of 1963, I remember my Father saying, "He has a way of speaking that is sometimes difficult to understand.  He uses words not used around here. If that priest is going to make it, he is going to have learn to talk more like we do here in Colorado." Since St. Cajetan's was not my parish, I have no way of knowing whether Fr. Tomas spoke differently or if he learned to use common local words, but I do know that eventually he became a favorite and was loved by the Hispanic community.

I see comments on Facebook, read about his life, and what I remember of him, and it proves that Fr. Tomas was not only a leader, but a devout, caring and blessed man loved by those who knew him. He celebrated fifty years of being a priest in 2013 and was seventy-six when he passed away. In 2007, Fr. Tomas became pastor of St. Cajetan's after Fr. James Prohens at the age of ninety-six, passed away.

Working for Centro San Juan Diego, the Hispanic office of the Archdiocese of Denver, I would see Fr. Tomas at different functions. Somehow, our conversations always ended up being about my Dad. I remember Fr. Tomas saying, "Your Dad asks lots of questions and I, with my knowledge of theology, have to stop and think!" I often wondered if Father knew my name because he always seemed to refer to me as "Silvio's daughter."

The last rites for my father were done by a priest who worked in the same office I did. When Fr. Tomas
heard that he had not been called I could tell he was hurt. "Why did you not call me, your father was my friend. I would have loved to have one last conversation with him." Fr. Tomas did celebrate the mass and gave a wonderful eulogy about their friendship.

Even though I had not seen Fr. Tomas for at least ten years, I feel an emptiness in my heart. What gives me consolation is knowing that he and my Dad are together and they can now discuss religion to their heart's content!

 "If you do your best,
The Lord will do the rest."
unknown
A favorite saying of Fr. Tomas



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Was This A Rip-Off?

Many years ago, I read Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor (born May 11, 1940 in Carlsbad, California) and it became one of my favorite books. Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw where another one of his stories, Dolphin Miracle was free through Amazon. I jumped at the chance to get my favorite author for free! How often does that happen?

I began reading Dolphin Miracle and within 9% the story ended. I do not know how many pages because Kindle readers only shows a percentage of how much you have read. The story is basically a miracle that happened to Mr. Villasenor when he was eight years old. In the very short story he talks about angels, miracles, love, Indigenous concepts, and life. His main objective is to advertise his latest book, Revenge of a Catholic Schoolboy. Was this a rip-off? No, because I did not pay for it. Was I fooled into believing it would be a regular novel?  Possibly, but at my age I should know that nothing is free or at the very least I should understand the saying, "You get what you pay for!"