Sunday, August 31, 2014

Garlic Pancakes

Got the griddle out.  I had company from out of state and I know they love pancakes. I was going to be prepared and have their pancakes ready when they got up. Began mixing the batter for the Whole Wheat Buttermilk Mix: Three fourths cup mix, one half cup milk, one egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Simple enough but I detected a strong garlic smell. I looked around to see where the garlic smell could be coming from but could not find the source of the odor. I opened some windows, yet, the smell persisted to linger in the kitchen.

As I flipped the pancakes over, the smell seemed to be stronger. I thought the smell might be coming from the griddle. Maybe I had fixed a garlic dish in the past. I looked at the bottle of oil and saw that it was organic, extra virgin, GARLIC flavored olive oil. Now that I had figured out where the strong odor was coming from,  I dumped the pancake mix, washed the griddle and began all over again. As more company arrived their first remark was: "What are you fixing? We could smell garlic all the way down the driveway!"

By the time we sat down to eat, and I used corn oil in the pancake mix, the garlic smell has dissipated and the pancakes were light, fluffy and good.

I know that whenever I buy another bottle of olive oil I am going to make sure it is not garlic flavored. I do know one thing for sure. No evil spirits or vampires would have entered my house that morning!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Celebration of Life

On Friday I attended a Celebration of Life party thrown by some friends of mine. A long table with colorful tablecloths was set with chips, green chile salsa, a corn and vegetable dip and whole calabacitas (squash) for decorations. The decorations were all from their garden. A round table had wines and a fruit platter. The first serving was a delicious tostada; crisp corn tortilla with pork, potatoes, shredded lettuce and a cream sauce. That would have been an acceptable dinner and plenty for me, but then out came a plate with Chicken Mole and rice. The mole was authentic from Puebla, Mexico. While we ate, there was conversation and laughter all around the table.

When the meal was completed and the dishes cleared away, the two daughters came out with their violin and guitar. They are accomplished musicians and entertained everyone. Soon, their friends from Holy Family High School joined in the singing and most of them pulled out their phones and googled the words to some of the songs. The young voices harmonizing was beautiful and I heard that the group belongs to the choir at Holy Family. Three persons were celebrating birthdays and Happy Birthday was sung in English and then the traditional Spanish song, Estas Son Las Mananitas was sung while all three blew joined to blow out the candles stuck in a pan of chocolate brownies.

As some of the people got up to leave, we were told to hang around because a Mariachi group was scheduled to arrive.  Before long, a young group in the traditional outfits of black and silver arrived. There is something about Mariachi music that touches the soul and when the two daughters joined the group it was extra special.

The Celebration of Life became a Birthday and an End to the Summer Party. I had a very enjoyable time and my thanks to my friend, her husband, her daughters, and her lovely friends for making the evening so beautiful.

I had fun photo bombing my friend and her friend. I wonder if they even knew I was behind them!

There are two ways
to live your life.
One is as if nothing
is a miracle.
The other is as if though 
everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How To Feel Happy

Yesterday I figured out how to feel good and stay happy. Surround yourself with happy, cheerful, pleasant, agreeable, sunny, friendly, smiling, jolly, joyful, bubbly and gleeful people. Yesterday was my first day of taking a group of 50 persons to Blackhawk to gamble. I did not know what to expect and was surprised to
see how everyone seemed so happy.  Two persons were on walkers, some had canes, and some limped but it did not stop them from being ready for a fun day.

I was impressed at how everyone seemed to be friends. It was seeing a group of good Christian people behaving much like our religion wants us to -- by loving thy neighbor. A lady baked apple bars for the people on the bus. Somehow, it reminded me of a party bus!  I saw many smiles and helpful people. Those that could assisted those that couldn't. Being with the fun-loving people made me feel good.

Even when people were losing their money at the slot machines, they had a good attitude. I heard:

 "It's only money."
"Don't play to win, just have fun."
"It's fun when you can win enough to play with their money."
"Hey, I love coming to Blackhawk."
"I've won some money."
"This machine is so much fun."
"Here, let me show you how this train machine works."
"I enjoy the Wizard of Oz machine."
"This machine has lots of bells and whistles."
"I only bring up so much and when that is gone, I quit."
"Where is the ATM?"

As I wandered from player to player to see how they were doing, I never heard one negative remark. People gathered in groups for a free lunch and when we left the casino, we were given 100 not money but a delicious candy bar. The Mardi Gras Casino treated us to a wonderful day. In fact, the whole day from 8:30 in the morning until three in the afternoon was enjoyable. As far as I could see, that happy and joyful feeling I felt, seemed to also be shared by all the persons on the bus.

What is the difference between praying in a casino and praying in church?
You really mean it in the casino!


Every month, except July and August, the Young At Heart group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community, celebrates birthdays at either a dinner or luncheon by giving each celebrant a Hershey Bar. I was asked to pick up two large boxes of Hershey Bars at Costco. I purchased the candy bars, 36 in each box, and brought them home. Little did I know how those two boxes would torment me. I placed the boxes in my pantry where they would stay until the next meeting.

For a day, every thing was fine. Suddenly, a desire for chocolate became unbearable. I felt as if my life would not be complete without some chocolate. I entered the pantry and looked at the only chocolate available in two large boxes. A conversation began in my head.

You want chocolate? There it is.
No, I will not open a box.
Why not? You can always replace what you eat.
Those chocolates do not belong to me.
But just think how wonderful a piece of chocolate melting in your mouth will taste.
Do not open a box because I know you.  You will not stop eating until you have finished all of the bars. 
Should I or shouldn't I?

Know thyself is a smart thing to know. I can remember when I worked and I would pick up donuts for the office, that while driving to the office I would eat two or three of them. So I know if something I want is near me, I may not be able to control my urge to eat whatever is tempting me.

I forced myself out of the pantry and ate a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in sugar to squelch my desire for something sweet. I had won a battle over temptation.

A few days later, I was again staring at the two boxes.

Get out of this pantry.
It won't hurt to take one.
Yes, but if I open a box, I may not be able to stop eating the chocolate bars.
Who cares, you are the only one that will know. 
No, it is not right.  Those candies are not for me.
Hey, eat one and go buy another bar to replace it, whose to know?
I will not open the box. It would be dangerous for me and for my health.

I looked around my pantry to see what else I could substitute for the chocolate. A handful of sweet cereal
helped a bit, but in a jar of trail mix I found tiny chocolate morsels. I picked all the tiny pieces out of the nuts and after eating them, my craving went away.

Once again I had beaten temptation! I may be winning battles, but I wonder if I will ever win the war! Thank you God, for letting me have enough will power to not open one of those boxes of the Hershey candy bars.  It has been three weeks and the boxes are still sealed.  I know I have found a way to overcome my desire for those candy bars and another bite out of this Snicker's Bar works great to ease my chocolate craving!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

SOC Celebrates Forty Years

Forty years ago, on September 29, 1974, a ground breaking took place to begin a new parish. In the history of Spirit of Christ I read where Fr. John Martens knew there was a "need for people to find comfort and security in their deepest beliefs." He, with some parishioners, looked into having a church built north of the Shrine of St. Anne at Vance and 80th Avenue. The building had no stained glass windows or statues so that people would be able to see Christ in each other. It  resembled a large gym and served as the church plus other functions until the present church was built. The dedication of the new award-winning building was in October 6, 2001.

Today, August 24, 2014, a picnic for the parishioners of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community was celebrated on the parish grounds. It was to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. There was face painting, music, Inflatable Bouncers, water dunking, popcorn, snow cones, food and drink for everyone to enjoy. The hot dog and hamburger line seemed to stretch forever but it moved fairly fast considering how many persons were in line. Booths with water, lemonade, beer, and condiments were placed in the area for easy access. Large tents were set up to offer shade to the persons enjoying their meals. Inside, in the large John Paul XII room, were tables loaded with side dishes (beans, macaroni, salads,vegetables, potatoes, etc.), a table with chips (classic, barbeque, tortilla, Cheetos, snack mix, etc.), and two dessert tables, (pies, cakes, brownies, cookies, etc.).  When a dish emptied, another full dish took its place.Every where I looked, children and adults were having fun. People sat at tables, on the grass, on the floor, leaned against walls and at two pianos to enjoy the food.


Movie Mirror and Modern Screen Magazines

The date on the magazine titled Movie Mirror is Oct. 1965.

The date on Modern Screen is Nov. 1965. 

These magazines were probably purchased by my Mother. She was an avid follower of the lives of movie stars. At work when someone asked me a question about a movie star, and I did not know the answer, I would call my mother because she usually knew most of the answers. The magazines were in an envelope and when she died the envelope became part of my father's belongings. When my father passed away my brother ended up with them and when he passed away I got the envelope with the movie magazines. I find it interesting to see what was happening in 1965. I had been married for three years, I had two children, and my life revolved around my family. I did not pay too much attention about what was going on in the movies. As I look through the yellowed pages of the mostly black and white magazines the actors I know were very young.

An article is about Leslie Caron and Warren Beatty's affair, professing their love and how they were going to
get married, yet they never did. Clint Eastwood dating Reiko Okada in Rome and wishing the relationship would be more than casual. Dean Martin's daughter and Doris Day's son dating and bets are that they may marry. Bill Cosby, Jackie Kennedy, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Yvonne de Carlo, Sean Connery, and Dick Van Dyke, all got into the magazine. Some of the articles are not too flattering.

Modern Screen seems to be a better quality magazine with some color. The Louella Parsons column is full of gossip. Articles cover Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Bette Davis, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Bixby, Claudette Colbert, James Cagney, Marlon Brando ("Marlon Brando has always been a ladies' man. Although he's over forty now, nothing has changed."), Sandra Dee, Sybil Burton (Richard Burton's first wife), Vince Edwards, Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, Geraldine Chaplain (Charlie Chaplain's daughter), Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rhonda Fleming, Ann Miller, Cary Grant (talks about his 4th marriage);  and Elvis Presley.

Movies that were popular that  year were The Great Race with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis; The Glory
 Guys (only name I recognized was James Caan); The Hallelujah Trail with Burt Lancaster and Lee Remick; Morituri with Marlon Brando, Yul Brenner, Trevor Howard and Wally Cox; The Sandpiper with Liz and Richard Burton.

Interesting to see who was in the headlines, which actors were married and those who divorced. Some of the stars I do not recognize and have never heard their names. I enjoyed reading the tid-bits about what was happening in 1965 in the movie world. I'm glad the magazines were saved because it makes for interesting reading though the photos make it difficult to recognize some of the actors.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Rape of Lorenzo Sanchez

Following my last blog entitled Do We All Have a Bit of Racism In Us, I remembered my prose poem written in 1979 and thought it would be appropriate for my blog today. I wonder if Lorenzo Sanchez could have been himself, without the outside world trying to change him, who would he have been? If he had been allowed to grow with no inhibitions and more confidence, where would he be now?

The Rape of Lorenzo Sanchez

A young boy in the 1940's
dark and slender,
was wooed by a cruel lover.

"Follow me," she whispered,
but, don't speak Spanish,
don't eat tortillas,
don't let those dark eyes sparkle,
don't hold your head up.
You are Mexican.
You are inferior.
You can't eat here.
You are dirty.
You talk funny.
You can't work here.
You don't belong.
You are Mexican.

You know,
you'd be better off
if you went back to the
fields where you belong.
You won't finish high school.
You're not smart.
You're no good.
You are nothing.
You are Mexican."

Lorenzo did not believe all
that was being told to him
but wondered if maybe
some of the things he
heard were true.

Lorenzo quit school,
quit eating tortillas,
tried to say chair instead of share,
changed his name to Larry,
didn't teach his children Spanish,
forgot his heritage,
could not understand his parents,
tried to belong.


Lorenzo thought,
I am what you want me to be.
I now fit the stereotype of what
you want me to be.
I've assimilated, become something
I am not so you can love me.


Somewhere along the way
the lover could not get her fill of tortillas,
or the culture, the music, the country
of what Mexico was all about.
She taught her children Spanish
and shook her head, "What is the matter
with the Mexican?
His children can't speak Spanish,
His people drop out of school.
He pretends not to be Mexican
What is the matter with him?"

Lorenzo was raped.
His soul torn
and his mutilated ideals
were left by the roadside,
but he did not die.

Instead he learned,
I am a Mexican
born in the United States.
Some call me Chicano,
others call me Latino,
or Hispanic.
I can learn,
I will learn,
I can be anything I want.
I am as good as anyone else
or as bad as anyone else.
There is no need to be ashamed
of what I am.
My heritage is warm,
colorful and beautiful
and sometimes tragic.
My music moves my heart.
I may have an accent,
but I can make myself understood.
We were here first,
My words are used by all.
I am what I am,
I will hold my head high,
I am proud.
I am proud to be Lorenzo Sanchez!

E. Moscoso
November 11, 1979

Do We All Have A Bit of Racism in Us?

Racism: Belief that members of each race posses characteristics specific to that race, 
especially to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race.

Discrimination: Distinguishing differences between things or treating someone as inferior based 
on race, sex, national origin, age or other characteristics.

Bias: Prejudice in favor or against one thing, person or group compared to another
in a way considered to be unfair. Tendency to  believe some people are better than 
others usually results in treating people unfairly.

Prejudice: Preconceived opinion that is not 
based on reason or actual experience.

Today I was at a meeting where we were discussing racism, biases, discrimination and all present seemed to profess love for all people, acceptance of different religious beliefs, no judging by race or color, and not being prejudice against someone different. I looked around the group and thought that everyone seemed so generous with their thoughts and feelings. I had never experienced being treated differently because of who I am,  and thought, this is how the world should think.

Then one nice lady made a comment. "I walk the mall for exercise and have done it for awhile, and what bothers me is when Mexicans walk abreast, laughing and talking, and I can't get through." I wondered why she hadn't said, when five or more people walk side by side I can't get through. I got the impression that it was only Mexicans that bothered her by blocking her way. In her comment, I believe, lurked a bit of racism.

Being of Mexican descent, I try not to have a chip on my shoulder. Yet, sometimes, a remark will bring the unfairness of how other races are treated to light. I remember knowing a fellow from Peru who said he could not understand why blacks were treated the way they were in the United States. "Back home, they are accepted as Hispanics with no discrimination what so ever." When I visited Peru I could see how true his comment was when I saw blacks mingling with Hispanics and no obvious discrimination. Yet, when we happened to go into the mountains of Peru where the indigenous lived I overheard a comment, "They don't count, they are Indians and at the bottom of the human scale."

At the meeting it was brought up that one group always wants to be superior to another. India with the caste
system, Nazis against the Jewish people, aborigines in Australia, whites against the black slaves, English vs. Irish, dark vs. white and so on. I try to accept people as they are but I know that I have made racist remarks. I suppose we are taught to be unfair because in a video of two young children, one light and the other dark, they accepted each other and played happily together without noticing color.
Image result for laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color
I believe we all have a bit of racism in us, but as long as we control it and do not act with an evil intent against another, we can live in harmony.

"In this country, American 
means white. 
Everybody else 
has to hyphenate."
Toni Morrison

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Valentine's Day Dance

The year was 1954. I was sixteen years old. Our Lady of Peace Church sponsored a Valentine's Day Dance at the State Armory in Greeley,Colorado. I had been nominated along with a few of my friends from the Sodality of Our Blessed Mother, to run for Queen of the Valentine Day Dance. My partner, who happened to be a wonderful dancer, may have helped me win. I still remember waltzing across the dance floor and how I felt like a fairy tale princess. The white dress I wore was not my favorite, but my Mother had purchased it for me. "Mom, I look like a bride." She solved the problem by pinning little red roses through out the dress. Maybe those red roses on the white dress appealed to the judges because as we paraded in front of them my partner and I were chosen to be King and Queen of the Valentine's Day Dance.

As I look at the pictures, I do not remember who took them. I do know it was a fun evening and feeling excited and happy after we were crowned. I also remember that before the dance we had to go to the convent so the nuns could give their okay on our dresses. We had to be dressed in modest attire. The fellows took us to LaSalle, Colorado, to eat. I do not remember what I ate. I also don't recall who drove but I do know there were six of us in the car.

I do remember that I had a crush on my partner and I see, in one of the photos, that he is holding one of my fingers. After that dance we spoke to each other when we would see each other, but nothing romantically ever developed between us.

The thought that runs through my mind is if only I knew then what I know now......!

Now I Know

Now I know what is wrong with me! My Feng Shui is out of whack. Recently I found out that my home may not be arranged so that good Feng Shui can flow through it. Periodically, I receive information in the ReMax Home Journal with interesting facts about cooking, gardening or what to do if I want to sell my home. When I received one with Better Your Life With Feng Shui I began to look into the Chinese system of philosophy where one is in harmony with one's surrounding.

The article mentioned that my space is a mirror of myself and if I want to improve my quality of life, all I have to do is improve the quality of my space. The article continues with  "...basic theory behind Feng Shui is that everything is energy and everything is connected. So if you change the energy in your home, you also will be changing the energy in your life." The hints to give my space a lift, as New Yorker Laura Benko, of Benko Feng Shui, lets me know, are six simple steps that could change my life!

1. Eliminate clutter - clutter stagnates your energy and promotes disorder. An uncluttered bedroom will lead to an uncluttered and fulfilling life. (I just had a garage sale and got rid of things that were cluttering my life.)

2. Keep bathroom door closed - your good energy could drain out of your home through pipes and drains.

3. Have two night stands - creates a more supported and balanced bed. A head board is important.

4. Place furniture so it faces the door - by placing yourself in a position of power you are facing the door and then nothing can "sneak up" on you.

5. Add plants - you will feel the difference

6. Fix what is broken - you aren't broken on the inside so don't be broken on the outside.

Since this idea comes from the Chinese from 2000 to 5000 years ago, I have got to believe there has to be some truth to the thought of Feng Shui. Oranges, crystals, color, lucky bamboo, good lighting and scents
contribute to good Feng Shui.

Who knew that so many things can and are affecting my life! I learned, not from the brochure but from the Internet, that architects and interior designers take classes in Feng Shui so they can create a peaceful atmosphere in decorating or building a home.  Mirrors should never face a main door or a bed because a mirror that faces a door pushes away any good Feng Shui energy that is going to enter into the house. Feng Shui balances energies in a space for health and good fortune. One reason looking at an aquarium is peaceful is because the elements that we are made of; wood, fire, earth, metal and water are also present in the aquarium. Feng Shui tries to create that peacefulness in all other things in our lives. It appears that everything is connected to Feng Shui. My skeptical brain wonders how much retail stores play into this to make people buy things to help their inner peace and yet, my "want to believe" brain thinks how simple to rearrange my life with Feng Shui.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Friend From My Past

Friendship is important. Yet, I am not a person who makes friends at a drop of a hat. Some of my friends, even though we may not see each other often, are from thirty years ago. When I see those friends, it is as if I am seeing a family member that I haven't seen for a long time. We are eager to hear our good or bad news. Friends are interested in each other's life.  I read something that Aristotle wrote about friendship being extremely important and healthy in our life. I know that seeing a friend makes my endorphins dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin do a happy dance!

Today I had lunch with a friend from the late seventies.When I first met him, way back when, one of the things that impressed me was his kindness toward all. He worked in the Mental Health field and when I saw how he treated patients with mental problems, I was impressed. He treated them as if there was nothing wrong with them. Somehow, our friendship solidified and through the years I have seen him every few months. This time it had been about three to four years and yet, our conversation picked up as if no time had passed! We both have memories of our children as pre-teens and it was interesting to hear what they were doing as adults. He was excited that in December he will become a grandfather.

We had lunch at Julia Blackbird's, a restaurant advertising New Mexican cuisine,
located on 32nd Street in Highlands. A quaint place with Mexican artifacts on walls or in old wooden cupboards.  I had never been to the restaurant and as I looked for the place, I passed many interesting houses and shops. Between Lowell and Julian Street I saw a Medical Marijuana store, a German (Proust), Mexican (Bang!), Italian (Pizza), and a Matador restaurant. The Matador has huge, open windows and the street made me feel as if I was a tourist in a foreign city!   

A very interesting street but the highlight was seeing my friend and catching up on all that has been going on since we last saw each other.

"A strong friendship doesn't
need daily conversation and 
doesn't need togetherness,
as long as the relationship
lives in the heart, a true friend
will never part."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

To Market, To Market

One reason I love summer is because I can go to Heinie's Market in Wheatridge to buy packages of green chile. If I arrive early enough, the smell of roasting green chile permeates the air. Sometimes, it mixes with the aroma of popping popcorn. The Hot Big Jim's are my favorite because they have a bite but not enough to cause death to my mouth as some hot chile I have eaten in the past. The Palisade peaches are juicy and sweet. Rocky Ford cantaloupe and watermelon are sweet and ripe. Cucumbers, zuchhini, and fresh, ripe tomatoes from Grand Junction help fill my grocery bag and it's as close as picking my own vegetables out of a garden. I also like that I am eating Colorado grown food.

The first thing I do when I get home is to wash everything I have purchased. I get the griddle heated up to cook a tortilla, slice cheddar cheese, and peel the already roasted chile. While waiting for the griddle to get hot, I eat a peach. Usually I eat the peach over the sink because it is so juicy. When I finish the peach it is time to place the cheese on the tortilla, add a green pepper, a slice of  fresh tomato, sprinkle a bit of salt over the whole thing and roll the tortilla up. Delicioso! How I love the taste of that combination. Maybe because it reminds me of when I was growing up in Greeley, Colorado and my Mom would make fresh tortillas, melt some cheese, and roll it up for me. Yummy!

Even though there are many semi-trailers with huge signs advertising that their chile is Hatch's Chile, I find I like Heinie's the best. I do not know where they farm the chile and have often wondered it comes from around here, Pueblo or New Mexico. Where ever it comes from it is my favorite and I continue to buy it year after year. A few months out of the year, I believe I eat healthier with all the fresh produce sold at Heinie's.