Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Luncheon Fun


Today I planned a lunch for the persons that traveled to Southern Colorado and to New Mexico in September. I thought it would be fun to get everyone together so that I could enjoy their company since I was unable to travel with them. We met at the Country Buffet in Arvada and on a small t.v. I played a DVD of their journey. The disc was prepared by one of the travelers and I made a display board with some of the pictures.  As far as I could tell, everyone was having a great time and I imagined that it was probably pretty much as they had enjoyed each others company on the trip.


I awarded a few gift cards from Starbucks for those who had helped make the trip a success. The tour leader who graciously accepted leading the group after I fell and broke my ankle. Two photographers who took pictures and then one made a CD of the trip. I explained to them that it takes three things to make a trip a success.

1.    The travelers must be congenial, willing to help, generous, and kind.

2.     They need a strong leader who will guide them and make sure schedules are met.

3.     A safe bus driver.

They had all three ingredients on the three day trip and I believe that is why it ran as smoothly as it did.  Out of the 36 persons I invited, 34 showed up to the lunch.  We prayed, we ate, we talked, we laughed, and I certainly enjoyed seeing all those persons I could not be with in September.


Dark and Light


 "How far that little
candle throws his beams! 
So shines a good deed 
on a weary world."
William Shakespeare

At mass this morning, our priest gave a moving sermon on how darkness (evil) is overcoming light (good). He said he believes that the light will win out at the end but that we should be doing what we can to spread the light. He mentioned that darkness is all around us and we should try to be a light in the world. I thought about who had brought light into my life and came up with a few names. After falling and breaking my ankle, a light shone brightly in the people that offered to help me while I was recuperating. I remember being surprised at how many wonderful people were around to help me.

One person, who to me is a very holy person, is someone I met on a tour to the Marian Shrines in Europe. I would notice her praying, quietly and humbly everywhere we went. One morning when I got up at five in the morning, thinking I would be the only one at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, I was surprised to find her already there, on her knees on the cold stone, praying the rosary. That woman impressed me and made me wish I could be more like her. Just by her presence, she was spreading light over the darkness.

On the other hand, there is another woman who when she sees me, her conversations are about the Holy Spirit, Our Blessed Mother, signs from God or about kindness to others. It is strange that she tries to have light shine in a place of darkness but she is not always taken seriously.  How do we know who is actually spreading light and not just pretending? Today at mass, she had her eyes closed and seemed to be in deep prayer. I got the feeling that if God were to send a vision she would certainly be the first to see the vision!

Then I asked myself, who am I to question whether someone is shining light on the world? What I need to do is try and shed some light myself and that is by becoming more helpful to those in need. When I visited Mexico and helped orphans, neglected children and the many poor persons, I hope I was shedding some light over a dark world. Being a volunteer at a food bank makes me hope I shed some rays of light.

The priest mentioned that God's love is constant. He said how he fears that evil (darkness) is taking over our world but that we have to try and shine our goodness (light) on all we meet. He mentioned that he believes  good will win over bad. I know that many times I have leaned toward the darkness but I also know that by trying to set a good example, maybe, by chance, someone will see a light as I strive to be a better person.

"Darkness cannot drive
out darkness: only light
can do that. Hate cannot
drive out hate: only love
can do that."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where Have I Gone?

An Overnight Change

Today is the youngest you will ever be.
The body refuses to react as it once did.
Emotions you had at twenty are still the same,
because emotions do not age.
Fellow co-workers go from being peers
to remarking, "You could be my Mother!"

Rising from a chair, your legs stiffen up
and seem to belong to somebody else.
Hips seem to freeze and have to be coaxed to move again.
A monitor at a bank or store
reflects a short, fat, older woman
waddling toward the camera
and you realize it's you.
As you gaze into store front windows,
half the time you don't recognize yourself.
Lying on a huge boulder near a stream,
feeling full of life,
arms outstretched, breasts uplifted
and feeling sexy,
a truck load of young men
yell, "Hey, abuelita!"
You are still asked for your ID
but only to determine whether you get a senior discount.

You find that you can only dance two tunes out of a set
when yesterday you could dance every song.
Old men are the only ones asking you to dance.
You go from drinking wine to decaffeinated tea.
You can't remember what it's like to close a bar.
Dim candle light is not enough to read a menu.
White roots poke out of your dark colored hair.
After shampooing you wish you could gather
the hair in the tub and glue it back on your head.

Your doctor or lawyer look like twelve year olds.
Bifocals seem to need more strength.
You keep asking, "What did he say?"
Your waist spreads to your hips.
Your firm handwriting changes to a shaky scrawl.
Your grandchildren are taller than you.
There's a constant shadow on your upper lip.
The hair in your nose grows faster than the hair on your head.
In the pool, you walk across instead of swimming a lap.
You appreciate bedtime.
Reading the obituaries, you are glad your name isn't listed.
Every day, as you wake up, you give thanks for another morning.

How could one day make such a difference,
I wonder, as I look in the mirror.
Who is that old person looking back at me?


E. Moscoso
December 3, 2003

Hot Tub Fun


Cannibal Feast

The gurgling pot
beckons the bodies.
A warm layer
of bubbling heat
wraps around
a leg,
an arm,
a breast.
Caressing,
probing,
covering all
with a sensuous
warmth.
Mouths open,
eyes closed,
delicacies floating,
simmering,
culinary at its best,
cooked to perfection.

E. Moscoso
December 23, 1986

The Season of a Flower

 











A Flower


The season of
color and brightness
slowly took its ebb
as the spring of life faded.
The juices of the
healthy flower
drained from its core.
Her cycle of life complete,
the slender stem
bent to kiss the ground 
as her petals fluttered away.
A dry shaft was all 
that remained;
the flower had blossomed
for such a short time.
Yet,
during her life,
vibrant in color
she brought joy,
happiness,
and smiles
to all who looked upon her.
 

E. Moscoso
Edited on April 29, 2014.
Written on April 11, 1985 for  a 
close friend of mine who lost his 
beloved wife to cancer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Substitutes

Sometimes, substitutes can be as good or better than the original.  I found this out when my plan of taking thirty-eight persons to Southern Colorado and New Mexico did not pan out because I fell and broke my ankle. Luckily, I called a friend that was going on the trip and asked if she would take the group.  I reassured her I had everything all planned, everything written out step by step, and all supplies purchased. She agreed and from what I have heard, she did an excellent job of leading the group.

As they traveled, we stayed in touch by cell phones so I got to feel as if I was also on the trip with them. Another stroke of luck was that two photographers were also on the journey, and upon returning I was given a CD of the trip. When I look at the CD I almost have the sensation that I was with the group!

In San Luis, Colorado, the ladies of the Sangre de Cristo Parish had a Mexican lunch prepared for the travelers. After eating they went across the street to the hill with the Stations of the Cross and the Capilla de Todos Los Santos.

In Taos, New Mexico they visited St. Francis of Assisi church (most photographed) and the mysterious painting. In the painting, when the lights are turned off,  different objects can be seen that cannot be seen when the lights are on. They ate dinner and stayed at the Kachina Lodge in Taos and watched Native Americans dance. In one of the picture, I see some of the people joined the dancers!

The next morning the pilgrims headed to Chimayo. From the different pictures, I can tell that the area has changed quite a bit. The last time I visited the area was in 2010 and the Santo Nino de Atocha chapel is completely different and fancier than what I remembered. The outdoor area where mass can be held has also been modernized. It appears that what used to be the room with crutches, canes, and prayer cards has been converted into one wall with many pictures.
One constant, is Fr. Casimiro Roca, S.F. who is 96 years old  and still greets visitors to Chimayo.



Lunch at Rancho de Chimayo was a big hit with everyone because almost everyone I spoke to told me about the beautiful place and the delicious meal.
In Santa Fe the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi and the Madonna's wardrobe were found to be interesting and many were surprised to see the many outfits in her closets. The statue is supposedly the oldest statue of Our Blessed Mother in the United States.

The Loretto Chapel with the Spiral Staircase and a trolley car ride through Santa Fe were highlights of the trip.



As I look at the pictures I picture myself seeing and doing what the Spirit of Christ people were seeing and doing while on their pilgrimage. I am forever grateful for the kind lady who took the group over and for the photographers who have given me an idea of what the group was doing.

On Wednesday we will get together for lunch, to share experiences and to watch the DVD of the trip.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

An Invitation

Yesterday I received a text from my friend from Guadalajara. She and her sister are at the Paradise Village in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They will be there for a few days and asked me to join them for a fun time at one of my favorite places. Her text informed me that all it would cost me would be my airfare, everything else would be paid. What a tempting proposition! In the past, I may have arrived to surprise them but now that I am older, I am not that spontaneous.

The first time I stayed at the Paradise Club was when I took my eleven member family to spend time at the sea side resort. I have stayed at the Paradise two other times and each time I find it a comfortable, fun, and a beautiful place to visit.

As I look at the pictures my daughter and I took, the one thing I notice is my big smile. Happiness of having my family all together came shining through in my smile!


We ate together, we swam, we spent time under the palapas, we danced, the kids played in the sand, we partied, I painted a  picture frame and we visited downtown Puerto Vallarta. Every day was fun. The saddest day was when we had to pack to come home!



"Family is not an important
thing. It's everything."
Michael J. Fox 
 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Same Incident, Two Memories


My brother and I are the only two left of my family now that our parents and brother have passed away.  We live far apart and even though distance separates us, we still enjoy telephone conversations, especially on holidays and birthdays. Today I called him to wish him a Happy Birthday. "Hey viejo," I began our conversation which means "Hey, old man" in Spanish.

There is only one year difference between my brother and me and when we were little we must have spent a lot of time together though what I remember is fighting and arguing. It all began with the first story I heard about what he did when I was a few months old. My parents laughed when they told the story and they thought it was funny but when I think about what he did, I wonder what I felt!

For one whole year he was the only baby in the house. When I arrived he must not have liked sharing the spotlight with me and this is the story as my parents told it: When Ricardito was just learning to walk, he must have waddled over to the the kitchen and picked up a knife. When we saw him he was leaning on the bed where you were sleeping.  He raised himself on one short, fat leg, and when we saw his intent we rushed over to take the knife away, as he brought the knife down on your head. Luckily, he was holding the metal (sharp) end, as he struck you. When I think about this story I think, what if he had been holding the wooden handle and the sharp edge would have come down on my head, would I even be around today? Or, what if he had sliced off his fingers, would he be the artist he is now? Luckily none of those things happened which proves that our guardian angels were busy that day!

Happy moments were when he gave me rides on the back of a tricycle. I would hang on to his shoulders as he pedaled around the yard.  Walking to the movies on Saturday since we only lived a few blocks away.
Playing board games. Running around in my Father's garden and playing hide-and-seek. Visiting my girl friend who lived a few houses from us and playing in her garage. Her grandparents had made a playroom for her in the garage with a carpet on the floor, toy table, chairs, and small dishes. The neighborhood children would gather in the playroom and we told spooky stories and when my brother and I would walk home, we would be scared as we walked down the dark alley. Riding a large horse with four kids on its back. Going to the parade and rodeo. Throwing magazines up into the trees and watching bats go after the the fluttering pages. Making tin shoes out of cans and clomping around. Playing tag or riding our bikes.

His taking my teddy bear and burying it in the back yard is something I have never forgotten. As adults, when I brought up the incident, he did not remember it. I find it strange that things that made an impression on me as we grew up, didn't phase him. What he remembers, I don't! Same incidents, different stories. He played baseball and his nickname was Porky.

As we got older and attended high school, we went our separate ways. Even though he was driving and we were in the same school, my Mother had to force him to take me to school. I recall a snowy day when he made me run after the car through snow and slush, striking the rear of the car, until he stopped to let me in. If we saw each other in the halls of the school we never spoke. I was secretly proud of my brother....he was handsome, he had talent, and girls became my friends to get to him.

The last fight I remember having with my brother was when he had returned from the Army. We were arguing about a spot on the couch where we both liked to sit. He had it first, but when he got up I took it over. If I got up he would move over. At one point I remember kicking him to make him move and he got up, picked up a magazine, rolled it up, and came at me as if to strike me. He gently tapped me three three times on the head.  I always believed he was the the favorite child in our household. Yet, he told me once, "You were the only girl and they did everything for you.  I always felt they liked you more!"

Now that we are in our seventies I feel closer to my brother. I love to visit him and we can sit and talk for hours. When my children see their uncle they enjoy spending time with him and both have visited him in New York and Boston. My brother's passion is his boat and both my children and I have taken trips on Sea Bear with him. I admire my brother because he knows what he likes and wants and goes after it. We find there are similarities between us, yet also big differences. I love my brother though I do not recall either of us ever saying those words to each other.
Today as you celebrate your birthday, I want you to know I wish you a  
Very Happy Birthday, my big bro!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Know Thyself

Today I went to Crafts for a Cause gathering to take some photographs of the group. They get together every month to work and make beautiful crafts. The lady in charge had all the materials needed and she instructed everyone on what and how to begin the project.

When I was asked to stay and work on the project of making little, colorful birds sitting on a twig, even though I know I am not handy with working with my hands, I decided to stay. After all the birds were cute and would make a nice spring decoration!
I have never been a crafts person, unless it relates to doing something with photographs and today, once I began, I knew I would have trouble. I did not know the button-hole stitch which is needed to put the pieces of felt together. The instructor and some of the ladies, patiently, showed me how to manage the stitch. Though when I compared my stitches to theirs, I could see a big difference!  It seemed as if my thumbs and fingers were too clumsy to put the tiny eyes into place. Even threading a needle seemed a chore. Everyone moved right along preparing the little bird to sit on a twig.

 The women worked at their own pace.The lady sitting next to me told me she had learned sewing from her mother who had been a seamstress.
While working, there was a lot of chatter about their lives and their plans. I realized this was not only a crafts class but also a social hour. This was proven when someone brought in pizzelles and biscotti to share!

When I saw a lady place her unfinished bird in a bag, it gave me courage to put my unfinished pieces in my purse. Who was I kidding? I know why I never attend the monthly crafts meetings!

Even though I did not finish my birdie, the finished ones were beautiful and will find their way to a someone who loves them! I also realized that God gives each of us our own talents!