Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Results Are In

This past week I received via e-mail the results of my DNA testing. After reading through the information, and not understanding most of it, I went to the percentages of my ethnic background. I already know that 98% of Hispanic people from the United States have Native American blood, something I learned at a Genealogy conference. I was now ready to see what percentage of Native American I would have within me. I had hoped that the DNA test would give the tribe or tribes that were part of me. It didn't.  The test does not break down DNA, either because it is not possible or another type of DNA test needs to be done. Here are the results:

Native American..................................30%
Iberian Peninsula..................................59%.

This are the two main ethnic groups for me. The Iberian Peninsula includes Italy/Greece 16% and Great Britain 10%.

The traces, which I may be part of or not, are:

European Jewish              4%
Ireland                             2%
Scandinavian                    2%
Finland/North Russia        1%
Africa                               2%

I found the test to be interesting but not specific enough for me. I have always said that I thought I was Greek in another life, and I was surprised to see that some part of me does have Greek DNA. My grandmother had an Italian name and my father's first name also seems to be Italian.

Amazing how much can be found in saliva. Saliva contains a biological material that can can determine genetic blueprint. In Wikipedia I learned that saliva is 98.5 water and I wonder if DNA is found in the small percentage left over. I repeat -- amazing!

"DNA is like a computer program
but far, far more advanced than
any software ever created."
Bill Gates


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Soccer In My Life

The man destined to be my husband for a short time, was a soccer

player. He came from Peru, South America and after being in the United States for a short time, joined his brothers on a soccer team. Every Sunday I watched him play against other teams. The teams were made up of European and Latin countries.  The games were truly international teams and as I recall, some were friendly and some were down right hostile. It was fun listening to all the different languages being spoken on the field.

When our son was around six, soccer was not a popular sport in the United States even though in foreign countries it was the sport that reigned. At the time my son began playing the sport was just beginning to be popular in the U.S.  Many of the children playing had foreign parents encouraging their children. Because the U.S. is known for football and not soccer, it was interesting to see the children and some coaches learning the sport. Parents liked soccer because it did not seem as dangerous as football and uniforms were not expensive, that in those early days, consisted of a t-shirt and shorts. Later, fancy uniforms were more expensive but not as expensive as all the gear needed for football. Also, the size of the player did not seem to matter for soccer, as it does for other sports. Many boys and girls joined the soccer frenzy and  today the United States is ranked 13th out of twenty international teams.

My son and daughter both played soccer though I do not have any photos of them (or if I do they are slides). In high school my son was approached by Denver University to see if he would be interested in playing for them after he graduated. My son was not interested even though he continued to play in Arvada leagues and on other teams.

I remember sitting in fields watching, first my husband, then my son and daughter, and before long, my grandchildren were playing soccer. For me, it was more sitting on the sidelines and more cheering for our team!

The last time I sat on a soccer field was in 2009 but am lucky I have some photos I took while all "my" soccer players were on the field.






A Sermon That Spoke to My Heart

Every Sunday I listen to the homily and sometimes I think they are excellent and sometimes not so good. I guess that when something is said that speaks to me, that is when I enjoy the sermon the most. For a few years I have not gone to confession or to communion and every once in a while I think I should return to receiving communion. Yet, I find myself questioning so much about my faith that I feel that God probably does not want to come to me.

This morning at mass, Deacon spoke about a well-known surgeon who volunteered somewhere in Central America and operated on a young boy's heart. In the middle of the operation, more blood was needed but the hospital did not have any more blood. The young boy had a blood type that only 2% of the people have, and without blood, the boy was sure to die. The surgeon also had that type of blood so he pulled himself out of the operation, rolled up his sleeves and gave the young boy his blood. After the blood transfer, the surgeon returned to finish the operation. The boy lived. The Deacon brought the homily back to Christ and how he gives us his body and blood so that we might live. John 6:54 "Who ever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise them up at the last day."

I had a deep desire to receive communion, now that I knew why. I had heard the quotation before yet it had never touched me as it did this morning. Then, I began wondering if it was enough to think with my heart. Should I receive without going to confession? Somehow, what I had learned in Catechism so many years ago, still directs my life even though many have told me God loves me and wants me to receive. I just can't or I don't feel right about receiving communion without going to confession. So I did not partake of the body and blood of Jesus. I did make a mental note to get to confession as soon as possible.

"I  would like to rid you of a false notion quite common....
that you have to be a saint to receive often.  
This is a lie, a fraud. 
Communion is not primarily for saints,
but for those who want to become saints.
It's the sick and the weak who 
need medicine and food." 
St John Bosco

Rest In Peace, Sweet Lady

Friday I received a call from a Lisa asking if I had any photographs of a lady named Josie. I knew I had some but did not have time to look for them and I told the person calling I would need to get back to her. My thought was that a surprise birthday, an anniversary, some festive occasion was being planned and the photographs were needed.

I found three pictures and e-mailed them to Lisa and she told me she was able to use them on a board she was preparing for Josie. I wondered if it was a party, why wasn't I invited? I told myself that there was no reason for me to be invited because I did not know Josie well. I saw her a few times at the Young at Heart gatherings and I probably spoke to her three or four times as I took her picture. She had an accent that made me listen twice as
hard as I tried to grasp what she was telling me. The get together was probably for her close and dear friends.

This morning, after mass, I picked up the church bulletin, and saw under the Please Pray for Those Who Have Died that Josie VanMoorsel's name was listed. It became clear why the pictures were needed and I was surprised and shocked I had not heard about her death. When I returned home from mass I called Lisa and her husband informed me that Josie had passed away a week ago Saturday and a rosary would be this Sunday evening at Mt. Olivet and the funeral was planned for 2 p.m. on Monday, June 23, 2014.

I called someone who knew her better than I did and she told me Josie belonged to several groups at the church; decorating committee, small church group community, rosary making, and Young at Heart. I was told that there may have been other groups she belonged to because Josie was quite active. She would have been ninety years old on June 19 and flowers that had been ordered for her birthday had to be changed for a funeral wreath. I had to smile at the story her friend told me about what Josie had told her.  "I was talking to Fr. Jacob and I told him, I don't understand why people say they don't understand me."  He smiled and said, "That's okay, Josie, they tell me the same thing." It sounds to me as if she had a sense of humor.





Rest in Peace, sweet lady,
I am glad I knew you, if only, briefly.






Monday, June 23, 2014 at 2 p.m the funeral mass was celebrated by Fr. Jacob. A very uplifting mass with wonderful memories and funny incidents. She was born in the Netherlands, lived in Holland, became a mid-wife, got married, had three children, divorced in 1977, became a cook, and loved to knit. She was an active member of Young At Heart. At mass the music was beautiful along with the prayers. After mass, lunch was served and flowers and pictures were displayed for everyone to enjoy.








Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Longest Chapter of My Life - 3 & 4

III.

Never in a thousand years would I have thought I would get a tattoo, but here I am, lying on my back while a needle is pricking me and black ink is marking me in four tiny spots on my breast. Yes, I am being marked for a tanning session, in fact, thirty-four zaps of radiation to rid myself of that insidious disease called cancer. This is another phase of what I have to do and I feel helpless, angry, afraid, and hopeful. The nurse explains: "You will come in every morning during the week, Monday through Friday, at 7:15. Here in the dressing room, you take the top part of your clothes off and put on a gown." I then join the rest of  the cancer patients patiently waiting for their treatment of radiation rays to penetrate different parts of their body to zap that disgusting disease.

How strange. I enter one door, leaving the whole, the healthy, and walk through another door to join the ill, the sick, the survivors in a war, fighting to win a battle. The nurse continues her informative syllabus but I do not want to be listening to her dissertation relayed to me in an unemotional tone, as if she has spoken these words millions of times before. She answers questions that have been asked before and tries to sound professional, interested and caring. The doctor enters to reaffirm what I have just heard, makes it sound scary. "Many things can go wrong, not that they will," he reassures, "but there is always that possibility, and would I sign that I understood that my lungs could get scarred, that sometimes the breast gets a burn, may change color and it may be painful." Serious thing this radiation treatment.

I was at their mercy. They would do what had to be done and I would accept it because I am not a gambler when it comes to dealing with my life. I should consider myself lucky. It could have been worse. It could have spread. It could have been somewhere else. It could have been much, much worse. But, somehow, I don't consider myself lucky because I have the capital "C" word, the word that brings fear and desperation to all that hear that they have it. The puzzlement is that I feel so healthy, so full of life, so alive, and yet, I have to have something done to make me feel ill, or burned, or tired, to try and get rid of something that may or may not be hiding in my breast.

I find that hard to accept. I find that hard to believe. I just find it hard. So, every morning, I look at the beautiful sunrises, the orangepinklavender skies and I thank God for giving me another day to enjoy. I am getting used to driving to the treatment center, the quick, seven minute treatment that will destroy any cancer cells lurking in my breast but I also know it is destroying my good cells and that makes me sad.

The nurse and I chat. She tells me about her life. I tell her about mine. I see other patients faithful in attending to their needs but some have no hair, some are on crutches, one is in a wheel chair and I feel lucky. Strange, all things are relative and the old saying about hanging on to your own sack of problems because you know what they are, is so true. At this point, all I want is to finish the zapping and go on with my life. Mondays I talk with the doctor, Wednesdays I am weighed and every day, except weekends I am stretched out on a bed that quietly rises, my arm at an awkward position, hanging on to a rolled cloth, so only the tattooed breast is exposed. I am shot with invisible rays. I am slowly raised to the machine, like an Aztec maiden being sacrificed to the Radiation God. Same routine for thirty-four days. Then what? Will my life return to normal?

The only time I have any control, is my choice of picking out a robe to wear into the radiation room. Blue and white stripe. Blue, white, coral and green stripe. Or blue, white, coral, green sperm figures with tiny white dots. Yes, it's pretty exciting deciding which robe I will put on to cover my nakedness from the waist up. Soon, my shoulder and boob are exposed and it is time for the machine to roll over me and to hear the buzz for one whole minute that seems like an eternity, while rays are shot into me once again. In ten minutes I am back in the dressing room, taking off the robe, tossing it into a soiled-linen basket already filling up with someone else's used choices.

I look in the mirror and see my breast, larger, hotter, redder than its mate and I know I have nineteen more sessions to go. My breast has a life all its own for everything revolves around it and no matter how hard I try to forget there is always a peculiar pain, a burning, a needle like pain, a soreness to remind me that it is not well and it it still needs a lot of attention.

Sometimes, I get sad, on the verge of depression, knowing I am tainted.  But, other times, I feel lucky, and I know I can handle the inconveniences because I will soon be complete, a whole woman again, or will I?

IV.

Seventeen years have passed since my ordeal  and I feel fortunate the cancer has not returned. Maybe I never had it, maybe it was all dug out of me, and maybe I will never have to worry again. Yet, some where stuck in a wrinkle of my brain, there lurks a shadow of apprehension. Anyone who has been told they had cancer is never completely at peace that it is all gone. Lately, three persons I know were told they had cancer. One died. Makes the fear return and makes me think about my bout with the disease. What can one do? Think positive, repeat affirmations, pray, believe, really believe, that all cancer is gone and try to live a healthy life.

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some from behind.
But I've bought a big bat, I'm ready you see,
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"
Dr. Seuss

The Longest Chapter of My Life -2

II.

The day of the lumpectomy arrived. Checked in. Light banter. Everyone trying to make it seem as if I was having an ingrown nail taken out. Something easy.  Playing it cool. Trying to think of other things and not what was actually happening. Gray socks on my feet, blue cap on my head, a gown ready to fly open, and all my belongings placed in a large bag.  I-V's started, eye drops, blood pressure taken as I listened to conversations and laughter. How could anyone laugh? Nurses accustomed to lumps in breasts. My situation did not bother them. This was every day stuff for them. Temperature taken, oxygen level checked with a little mitt on my finger, pulse 60. Is that good? Blood pressure 122/88. That is good. A needle placed in the vein of my right hand, taped down and I'm placed in a wheel chair to be rolled away to another x-ray room and more explanations.

Needle localization. All explained in lay-person's language. Do I want to know? Half of me does the other half doesn't. Just get it over with. Such concern about me fainting. Others have fainted, will I? Doctor on hands and knees below me sticking a long, thin needle into area he has determined the fuzzy spot of cancer is located. I wish I were somebody else. I wish I would wake up from this horrible dream. I wish I didn't have cancer. Poster on wall, "We press because we care." Yeah, sure. Back to room near where surgery will happen. More dates fed into my brain as I walk into the surgery room. Lie down. Green sheets. Arms outstretched, just like Christ on the cross. Doctors in green or blue, covered from head to toe. All I see are eyes. I ask. "Is that you?" He pulls off his mask so I can see his face. I ask, "Did you wash your hands?" and the next thing I know someone is putting ice chips in my mouth. They repeat my name. I hear talking. Can't figure it out. Laughing. Everything fades away. Bright light. It goes away. Don't know how long I lay there. In and out of consciousness. Very comfortable. Glad it's over. Very sleepy. Tired. Feel nauseous. Ice chips help. Sit me in a chair. Saltines. Reminds me of early in my pregnancy. Sick to my stomach. Tube running out of side as it slowly fills with reddish-pink fluid. I'm draining. I picture cancer being drained straight out of me. Good, drain you sucker, drain.

They determine I can go home. Twice sick. Can't keep saltines or water down. Gagging. Crawling into bed. Sleep on back. Can't turn. Pillows surround me; under my knees, under my arms, under my neck as I try to sleep. Sore. The cut breast is catered to, cradled and placed on a special pillow and babied. For one whole week I drain, milk the tube, empty cup, count ounces, watch color go from red to pink. Tape backing sticks to skin. My breast looks like a map of a foreign country. Swollen. Large, Was there a mistake?  Did I get an implant? Ha ha. 

Days go by and I feel depressed, cheerful, sad, angry, happy and so on. My upper arm tingles, burns, then feels as if it is asleep with a baseball tucked between my dead arm and side. Some days, because lymph nodes were removed, it feels as if a large rubber band tightens around my arm giving me a Novocain numbness and I am told it can last a life time, or not. I read, take vitamin E, Beta Carotene, vitamin C, St. John's Wort, read some more and try to think positive thoughts. The spot is gone. I have nothing to worry about. I will diet and exercise. I will be healthy. Yes, I allow comfort to come to me from family, friends, strangers, and soon I feel as if there is nothing wrong with me. In fact, there is nothing wrong with me. Seven weeks later I have a slight tenderness but I feel great!

And then, I am told "radiation," as a precaution. "You won't feel a thing other than just like a bit of sunburn, but it guarantees that the Cancer will not come back in eight-five percent of the cases." Well, maybe it won't come back and maybe it will. I hate the thought of being a statistic with cancer. But, I am not alone. Many, maybe one out of seven are in my shoes. I will learn to live with the disease that many have, that many hate, and struggle daily to win the battle of the horrible parasite called Cancer. Many have won, yet, many have not.

Continued....

The Longest Chapter of My Life - 1

Lately, it seems as if my senses have been bombarded with people who are suffering with cancer, who have died of cancer and friends who are in remission. In my book club a lady mentioned she had stomach cancer and a few months later I attended her funeral. This week another friend, we were going to meet at Starbucks, went to the doctor, she was put in the hospital, returned home, sold her home, had to be get rid of her beloved dog, and moved to a Senior apartment because she also had cancer. I let another person who was diagnosed with cancer read something I had written about cancer. I just read John Green's story The Fault in the Stars which is about cancer. Lately, two friends mentioned, that in the past, they had mastectomies to remove cancerous lumps. My Mother died of lung cancer and her father died of stomach cancer. Then, this morning I sliced an orange that reminded me of how cancer might look in a healthy body. I tossed the orange, and thought, wish it could be that simple to be rid of cancer! I decided to blog about my episode with cancer written in 1997.



 I.
Cancer is a horrible word, a horrible disease, a disgusting illness that scares the hell out of most people who have it. I was the dutiful person going in for my mammogram year after year. It was on a Monday when they took a picture and three days later called me back. What could be wrong? "Nothing," they said, "just want to redo the x-ray." Once again, I was pulled, stretched, pressed, and smashed while they took picture after picture. "Can't really tell, but something looks different.  You will need an ultrasound."

Like buttering a slice of toast, goo was smeared on my breast as I lay on my side and a kind nurse rolled, spread, moved a flat small plate around but she couldn't see anything other than gray blobs and white spots. I joked, "Is my boob pregnant?" She looked at me with serious eyes and said, "You need to return to the x-ray room." A sliver of fear pricked my insides but I felt confident that nothing had been seen.  More x-rays and then I was told, "The doctor will need to talk to you." I sat in a small closet big enough for me with a gown that kept opening up and a hamper for discarded gowns of other women who had gone through what I was going through. A nagging fear somewhere deep inside. Could it be? No, I felt great and the ultrasound was clean. A false alarm, a mistake is what I thought.

Walking through a hall of charts I reached a wall with large black and white negatives, hanging like clothes on a line. A bright light emphasized the fuzzy, gray lines and then the doctor said, "See this area? It looks suspicious. You will need a biopsy." How I wanted to deny. No, I could not see anything. No there was nothing there. No, it didn't look different from the last one. No. No. No. But I said, "Okay." An appointment was set.

A week to worry, seven days of hoping, praying, wishing that somebody made a mistake. How could it be? Me with cancer? Oh, please dear God, let me wake up from this nightmare. When they do the biopsy, let it be benign. Please don't let me have cancer. Then, it was time. I entered a room while a young nurse explained and explained and told me much more than I wanted to know. On my stomach, my breast hanging down through a hole in the wooden gurney contraption; swinging, alone, waiting for the intrusion of the long, ugly needle. All the while, my heart pounding. Every bit of my being wanting to be some where other than lying on the table, face down, waiting for the piercing of my flesh, the drawing out of cells to be tested, to deem a verdict. Would it be good or bad? Would it make me happy or sad? Think positive thoughts. It will be all right. It will be a few days before I hear. A few days of reprieve of not knowing, of basking in ignorance, of innocent, wishful, hopeful thinking.

The next day, cheerfully I picked up the ringing phone. A friend, a family member, even a salesman would have been a welcome voice but it was the doctor. "I have the test results back." Silence. My heart trying to jump out of my throat, blood rushing through my veins, an eternity passed before I heard, "They  found cancer."  An invisible hand grabbed my throat. It squeezed, hard, so I couldn't breathe. "Hello," he said, "are you there?" My face burned with an unusual heat and tears burst out, smearing my hand as I held the phone, the bearer of bad news. "I can't talk," I mumbled in an unrecognizable voice as I handed the phone to my daughter so she could hear the announcer of the awful news. A sob wrenched out of me. "Why? I'm too young to have cancer. Why? Would death follow soon? I don't want to die. I don't want to die." I had just been handed a life sentence but how long would my sentence be? I could not stop crying or asking why.

I couldn't find enough things to read. Some made me sad. Some gave me hope. Some gave advice. Others just told me facts. I had a few good things on my side. The invader was small, too small to feel or see except with a magnifying glass on a testing plate. Strange how overnight I became a statistic. Overnight I was different. Overnight I had cancer. Overnight I learned about support groups, recovery groups, the odds on fighting cancer and it began to sound acceptable to me.

Okay. I have the damned disease. What to do? Fight. Don't let it take over. Cut the disgusting thing out. Get rid of it. The sooner the better. Blood tests, heart monitors, nurses telling me what to expect, where to go, what would happen, how long it would take  and more pamphlets to read. Explanations went in one ear and out the other. Concentration was difficult. I heard one thing and forgot ten things I was being told. Everybody so nice. Looking at me with pity. I knew they felt sorry for me. I sensed they were all glad it was me and not them.

Continued.....

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18 is a Special Day

 Forty-nine years ago today, a tiny baby entered this world after being safe in my tummy for nine months. She arrived slow and easy, never giving me any pain. (See my blog of June 17, 2012, The Calm After The Storm.)

Little did I know, that the beautiful bundle would bring me so much joy. I have watched her grow into a kind, thoughtful,  loving, caring and healthy young woman. Somehow, she seemed to have a good sense of who she was, and is, and how she wanted her life to develop. I remember her telling me that "one day I want to live in a place where I can play tennis all year round." That should have given me a clue she would someday move away from Colorado with its cold, snowy winters.

She was an excellent student, she was athletic, she was artistic, she had a mind of her own and I remember telling her, "When I grow up I want to be just like you!" In many ways, I am glad she did not follow my well-intentioned advice because she was able to succeed without it. Along the way, she became my friend and made me realize how much more important the Mother-Daughter relationship can be when enhanced by friendship.

Seeing her raise her two daughters gave me a feeling of pride that my "baby" was now a Mom and doing a tremendous job of bringing up her girls. I loved to see her interact with them and she seemed to have a lot of patience. When I look at my daughter now, I see a Mother, a wife, an artist, a musician, a singer, a health nut, a person who knows that exercising is important, a teacher, a lover of life, a reader, a generous person, a woman who has a lot of empathy for problems of others, a recycler who thinks green, a photographer, a loyal friend and a beautiful daughter.

I sent her a blanket with pictures of her girls, her husband, their dog who recently had to be put down, and me.  I wrote, "Stay warm with those that love you." In 1983 I wrote this about my daughter and my ideas about her have not changed.

A Friend
A friend who makes me laugh,
and laughs at my jokes.
A friend who gives me good advice,
and listens when I speak.
A friend who seems to understand
my every mood.
A friend who is kind, gentle and 
full of fun.
A friend who fuses the relationship
as a welder using sodder.
A wonderful friend and she's also
my daughter.
E. Moscoso
September 1, 1983


For those who do not believe that she ever played with dolls, I have a picture to prove, that for a time, she did have a doll!  To my talented, beautiful daughter, Happy Birthday to you today, June 18, 2014.

 

   
                                
 




Monday, June 16, 2014

Poets, Writers, Grave Diggers, and Galvanization

The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece, by Roseanne Montello, happened to be the selection of our Book Club for June. I began reading and instantly, I could tell it was not the kind of book I would have chosen to read. I steer away from anything bloody and will not watch any movies showing operations on television.

The first thing that upset me in the book was the section of frogs being dissected. In science class, when we had to dissect a frog, I faked an illness and did not go to school that day. The story continues with galvanization, which I learned is giving movement to dead frogs by inserting electrical currents. The story proceeds with schools and hospitals needing dead human bodies to see if life can be restored with electrical shocks. Evidently, the frogs and bodies jerk around when the electrical current touches the dead body. 

I was ready to put the book down except that I found out that the woman who wrote Dr. Frankenstein was married to the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, known as the finest lyric poet in the English language. Another poet, Lord Byron also gets into the story. Now I was curious, because I did not realize Frankenstein was written by a woman, that the poet Shelley was interested in galvanization, and the interactions between the characters seemed like a modern day romance, intrigue, death, adultery and murder. The section on resurrectionists also held my interest because of the way bodies were dug up and what was done to keep men from digging up the bodies. How the doctors and students kept quiet about where or how the bodies to use as experiments were obtained. Much of the shocking pieces I was reading I had seen or heard before, but not in the magnitude of the whole story.

As I read it brought to mind my father and his experiments. He had a small battery, maybe a tad smaller than a lawn mower motor and he would hook up some wires to it and then he would line us up as we held hands. The electrical shock was like a lightning tickle going through each body as the electricity traveled from hand to hand. My Mother would say, "Estas loco." (You're crazy.) and leave the room. My brother and I thought it was fun. Now, I wonder where my Father got the idea. Did he know about galvanization or was it an experiment he read in his collection of Popular Mechanics?

In the book, hangings were like holidays for the masses, body snatchers had their own special bar where they hung out; two men, or more, murdered unsuspecting people; poets gathered to discuss their works; scandalous love affairs, and wonderful descriptions of areas where the characters in the story lived. After Percy Shelley's drowning, Mary, his wife, who had written Dr. Frankenstein is revealed as the author. My idea of Frankenstein was an old black and white movie I had seen as a child and Mel Brooks' comedy that came out in the 70's. Evidently, her version is more humane to the monster.

I hate to admit it, but I did enjoy reading about what was happening in the 1700 and 1800's and how even today, body parts are rumored to be sold to hospitals. I recall on my return from Guatemala that I heard about a young woman who always carried a backpack. Someone started the rumor that in the backpack she had body parts of children that she would send to the United States. She nearly lost her life from a beating from upset people who believed she was a "body part snatcher" and were surprised to find papers and books in her backpack.

A fear I have heard expressed is that when someone with money is awaiting a body part, someone who is poor and in the hospital can be helped to die to get the body part for the rich person. Sounds far fetched? Impossible? All I know it is scary to think what people will do in the name of science.





Sunday, June 15, 2014

Another Mystery Forever

The photograph is black and white. On the back is written: Pablo y Paula in my Dad's handwriting. Yet, I do not have a clue as to who they are. I sent a copy of the photograph to an 82 year old cousin in California to see if she would know the couple's origin. She wrote and said she remembered a brother and sister named Pablo and Paula, but did not know how the couple was related to us. To me, it does not look like siblings, but more like friends. I find the picture very interesting and wonder about it.  He looks as if he is trying to convince her about something, she looks guilty because she sees the person with the camera. They are well dressed and it could be a Sunday, after church. She is wearing glasses which gives me the impression they are not poor. My Dad would tell me stories about how when he was growing up, glasses were only worn by  rich people. I love the picture because it shows the mode of dress of the times.

At first I thought he was leaning on a water pump but as I studied the picture, I dismissed the water pump because it looks more like some sort of a hand-crank piece of machinery. There appears to be a lake in the background so maybe it is some sort of water control pump.

This picture will be a mystery forever because anyone who might have shed light on the two people, are gone. Pablo y Paula will remain unknown, though I would have liked to have known all about them. I bet there is an interesting story that could have made it into my blog!

It's not much to ask,
a very small task. 
Info on the back
of a photo to
help with who,what, 
where and when
scribbled in 
pencil or pen.
E. Moscoso

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Guatemalan Tourist

While my daughter was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, I visited her for a couple of weeks. See my blog titled: Guatemala Memories, September 14, 2012.

After my return from the trip, I worked on a poster to send to her about being a tourist in Guatemala and things necessary to travel in the country. Yesterday, while looking for something else, I came across the poster and had to laugh at my silliness and admire how great I looked! Years have a way of creeping up on me and playing havoc with my body!



The list I came up with that would be needed in Guatemala: walking shoes, Spanish Dictionary, post card, black beans, belt, camera, t-shirt, toilet paper, Kro-Cant cookies, Forbes Travel Guide, sunglasses, Tipica material, sense of humor, friendship bracelet, hot sauce, passport, Quetsales (money), airline ticket, baggy with straw, string bag to carry groceries, pineapples and bananas, and sturdy legs.






 

 





Friday, June 13, 2014

A Poster of Elvis

When my chances of going to his concert fell through, I was given a poster. Elvis Presley, in the 50's was my favorite singer and in the early 70's when he came to Denver I was invited to attend the concert with the wife of a policeman. He had obtained a couple of free tickets and she had invited me. The night before the concert, she informed me that her sister wanted to go and she felt obligated to take her sister instead of me. I was terribly disappointed.

To make up for not taking me, she brought me a poster of Elvis. The poster traveled with me and hung at work, at home, or where ever I could see it. A few years ago, I took the poster down and forgot where I put it. In an earlier blog, I wrote about Elvis but could not find my poster. I wondered if maybe I had tossed it. Today, as I was looking for something else, I came across my poster.


To think, those that attended the concert have only a faint memory of Elvis, while I have a large poster, with a few creases, of my favorite singer!

"Hold me close,
Hold me tight,
make me thrill
with delight,
Let me know where I stand
from the start.
I want you
I need you,
I love you,
With all my heart...."
My favorite of Elvis' Songs

Supernatural Happenings



 
Picture taken of a picture at the Stanley Hotel. It is rumored that supernatural happenings are going on in the hotel and there is a tour for tourists to explain the stories. A piano that plays when there is no one around, children laughing in the hallways, seeing shadows wandering around, and bags getting unpacked or packed, depending on whether the visitor is liked or not!

Closer to home, a friend of mine passed away and his wife called me up a few days after the funeral. In an excited voice she said, "You will never guess what happened this morning. I heard a noise coming from my prayer room, something like bells, and when I walked in, a small music box that has been silent for years, was playing a tune." She told me she believed her dead husband had something to do with the music box playing. It seems that the music box will begin to play every morning about the same time which is usually around eight. She is convinced it is her deceased husband letting her know he is still with her. Sometimes, she tells me, when she is especially missing him, the music box will play at other times. It gives her peace and makes her feel better.  "I know there is some connection between the music box and my husband!"

Every evening my Aunt and her family prayed the rosary. Mother, Father, and four children would kneel  in the front room to pray. My Uncle passed away and the evening after the funeral as the rosary was being said, there was a knock on the door. My Aunt asked one of the daughters to answer the door as the rest of the family continued with the prayers. My Aunt felt someone come in, heard a noise as someone knelt beside her (where her husband used to kneel) and felt a shoulder brush hers. When the rosary was finished, she looked to see who had come in and knelt beside her, but there was no one there. She asked her daughter, "Who was at the door?" The daughter said, "When I opened the door, no one was there." My Aunt believes it was the spirit of her deceased husband coming to pray one last rosary with his family.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a couple of friends and one had lost her husband about six months ago. She told us that one night she felt miserable, sad and lonely. She went to bed and was lying on her side trying to go to sleep. She was having problems falling asleep, when she felt somebody behind her. An arm slid over her and she felt a body spooning her. She knew it was her husband. He held her and then he kissed her cheek and she felt the bed move as he got up to leave. "It was as if he was telling me a final goodbye that left me feeling peaceful and content, even though I still miss him a lot."

My other lunch friend relayed how she knew her husband, who had passed away, was letting her know he was still around. He had been working remodeling the bathroom, yet it was never finished. When she and her daughter were in front of the bathroom mirror they heard a loud "pop." One of the light bulbs had exploded. "We could have been injured," she said, "but all the glass went directly into the sink. Every bit of the bulb landed in the basin and we did not have to clean up anything."  She and her daughter looked at each other and exclaimed, "He is still around, isn't he?"

A good friend of mine passed away after being in a Hospice for about a month. For years, he and I would chat on the phone every night before we fell asleep. I missed him, and our evening talks, very much. That painful longing of wanting him near and an ache knowing I would never see him again kept me upset and agitated. One night, soon after he passed away, I had a dream. In the dream I had an empty feeling of losing something I loved, when I felt two large wings enfold me from behind. His head was near my neck and I felt a peacefulness come over me. I knew it was my friend, now an angel, who was letting me know he was around and would always protect me with his wings.  I mentioned my dream to my daughter and received a gift from her in the mail.

Some believe in the supernatural and some don't, but each of us, if it ever happens to us,  know how to interpret the visit by a loved one.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Doggie Heaven

To always feel loved, never to be hungry, to romp and play to their heart's content, to have sweet memories of their time on earth, and to meet other members of their family. That to me is where pets go for the rest of their lives after leaving ours. A complete life of contentment without a care in the world and no aches or pain.

I do not have a pet, but my family does, so when they need to put a pet down or the pet decides it is time to go, I suffer along with the family.  This week,  California Pablo joined Chico, the Colorado pet in Doggie Heaven. While they were getting acquainted in their Heaven a big, reddish-brown, furry chow-mix joined them and said, "I'm Vanessa, but everyone calls me Nessa; can I play too?"



Before long Skippy, Mike, Sleepy, Duke, Brownie, Black Sabbath, Poker and Skipper joined them. Oh, how happy they were to meet each other and to be able to reminisce about their masters. Circling each other, sniffing and licking, they had one  thought: Wish our people on earth could see how happy we are and how wonderful we feel, so they wouldn't feel so bad that we are gone.  With their doggie rituals complete, they began chasing dandelion fluffs that sparkled in the bright sunshine.

"God turns clouds inside out to make
fluffy beds for dogs in Dog Heaven, 
and when they are tired from running 
and barking and eating ham-sandwich biscuits,
the dogs find a cloud for sleeping. God
watches over each of them. And there
are no bad dreams."
Cynthia Rylant

Treasure or Junk?

One of my projects this summer is getting rid of clothing, shoes, items I no longer use. Some of the items I have never worn still have tags on them. I realize they are just taking up space in my closets and makes me ask,  why do I hang on to things?  At an earlier date, I wrote a blog about whether I am a collector or a hoarder and I still don't know. I have a broken ankle (recuperating) and a toe that may be broken (recuperating) and I know there are certain things I will never wear again. Shoes are the first thing to go into the bag. I do have a pair of beautiful, black dressy shoes that I just can't bear to get rid of, though I have had them for over fifteen years and never worn them. In my mind I picture myself dressed up and wearing those black shoes though in my heart I know I probably never will wear heels again!


My suits, winter and summer, are also going for someone else to wear because some no longer fit me (must have shrunk while hanging in the closet!) and because I can't think of a reason to ever dress up
again. My life has become a casual one and most of what I wear is not dressy!

The accumulation of camera batteries and of tangled wires found in a  drawer can also be used by someone else who can figure out the original purpose for those wires. I am sure they were not meant to be in a drawer for years! Along with the large sack of wires, I am taking some of the toys that my grandchildren enjoyed. Now that they are grown, the toys are just taking up space so off they go to maybe bring pleasure to some other child! 

Let's hope that the old saying of "one man's junk is another man's treasure," is true.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pain At Three In The Morning

"Toe: A part of the foot
to find furniture in the dark."
Unknown


I woke up because I felt as if my toe was on fire or maybe not on fire, but a bone deep ache. Today the doctor looked at it, shook his head and said, "It doesn't matter if it is broken or not, there is nothing I can do for it other than to tape it up; that is all we do for toes."  The toe did not get x-rayed but he did suggest I wear a shoe with a stiff sole that would not bend when I walked. I was wearing my brand new Ecco sandals and he looked at them and tried bending the sole and when he couldn't, he said, "These will work just fine." He taped the small toe, the "broken toe"  and the middle toe with a tan material that looked like tiny waffle or fish net material. "This works great," he said as he wrapped the three toes, "because it is not sticky yet sticks to itself." I took his word for it.

All afternoon the toe felt as it had since last Tuesday when I stubbed it. Felt fine when I was off of it, but pained me when I walked. I went to bed and when the pain woke me, I got up and fixed myself a baggie of ice. Walking around it does not seem to hurt as much but in bed it hurts me which seems to be like a reversal of what I had felt before. I am going to try the baggie of ice and see if that helps, but if it doesn't relieve the pain I will have to get into my stash of pain pills.

Four to six weeks, I was told, is how long toes take to get back to normal. He then said something I did not want to hear, "Sometimes, arthritis sets in on a broken bone and it may ache sometimes." All I could think about was my ankle ached at times, my toe seemed to ache all the time, and if arthritis was rearing its ugly head I could look forward to more future pain.

I did manage to sleep, off and on, until nine in the morning. Nodding off, I would be awakened between trying to keep the ice pack on my toes or the burning sensation in and around my toes. The pain is different than any other I have ever felt but I do remember being asked when I broke my ankle, "Is the pain sharp, dull, roving or burning?" Since I did not have a burning sensation with my ankle I did not know what they were talking about. Now, I do.

Once up, the pain subsides and I am able to hobble around. I find it strange that when I went into the Doctor's office I seemed to be better and when I left the Doctor's office, the toe seems to hurt more. Go figure!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Super Great Treat, If True

Vegetables are something I sometimes forget to eat. I am trying to eat healthier but still cannot stay away from some of my unhealthy snack foods like chips, chocolate, and cookies. While shopping the other day, the prayers to my dreams were answered. Chips made out of vegetables. I took the free sample that was being handed out, and found the chips to be very tasty. How could this be, I asked myself, how can vegetables be made into chips so that by eating the chips I get my daily recommendation of vegetables. Not possible my brain said. I purchased a bag of eat your vegetables and read the ingredients. "Bean (Navy, Red and Black) blend, dried potatoes, rice blend (white and brown), sunflower oil, non-gmo canola oil, vegetable blend (carrot, sweet potato, kale, konjac, spinach, broccoli, tomato, beet, shitake mushroom) seasoning (sea salt, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, citric acid, natural flavor), potato starch. Konjac is a Japanese plant.

The package claims to be a full serving of vegetables in every ounce which is about 13 chips. When I got into the chips I must have eaten 40 chips which means I got three servings of veggies! Veggie Heart. Chip Soul is a trademark slogan on the package. Total fat in 1.0 oz (about 13 chips) is 7 g.  Calories 130 and calories from fat 60. Dietary fiber is 3 g. I will substitute these chips for my Classic Lays because if what is written all over the package is true, these should be better for me. Some of the other positives are: non-gmo ingredients, gluten free, 3g protein and fiber, no cholesterol, vegan, no msg, no nuts. Was this too good to be true? My best bet is not to eat any chips at all, but that is something I probably cannot do cold turkey! Maybe these "healthier" chips will help me wean off the regular chips and again, maybe not.