Monday, September 29, 2014

Mother Nature's Art

Today there was a thunderstorm like what used to be called a "cloudburst." Water poured from the heavens making it difficult to see across the street. Luckily it lasted for about twenty minutes and then it subsided. Because it still looked cloudy and I thought another storm might be rolling in, I went out to get my mail. I could tell it was fall because leaves were all over my driveway. I grabbed my damp mail out of the mailbox and as I walked toward the house I noticed the leaves scattered on my  driveway had rain drops on the leaves. Perfect round bubbles. How beautiful, I thought, the drops clinging to the different colored leaves.

I came inside, got my camera and took photos of the lovely, delicate leaves with the raindrops gently resting on the them. How Mother Nature could design such graceful bubbles on each leaf made me appreciate God's wonders even more.

"A thing of beauty
is a joy forever."
John Keats

The Case of the Missing Hair

Checking the ten boxes of wigs in the drawer, the woman who wore them frowned. I have not worn some of these in years, she thought, maybe I should get rid of some of them. She put each wig on, paraded in front of the mirror and made a decision to keep or throw. By the time she had finished she kept two and placed them both in the wig drawer.

She knew that a week past she had received a brand new wig she had ordered. It was similar to the one she wore. She always got compliments on the style. One time, thinking she could change her look she had ordered a different style except that it was 50% gray. When it arrived and she put it on, it did nothing to enhance her looks. It was returned to the company and a wig ordered that was light brown with some highlights .

When the box arrived she did not open it but set it aside for when she decided she would need it. She continued wearing her old wig because it still looked good. During the summer her out-of-state family came to visit and she never gave the packaged wig another thought. After a few weeks when they left she decided to open the box with her new wig.

The box was no where to be found. She looked in drawers, in closets, under beds, in cabinets, anywhere she thought she might have put the unopened box. She called her family to ask if they had seen the box. No one had seen it. It was a mystery. She wondered if there were poltergeists in the home playing tricks on her. Even St. Anthony could not help her find the package with the wig. She concluded that it had fallen into a trash can and the package with her wig had been thrown away.

She gave up on the lost wig and after a few months she decided to go on vacation. She looked in  the wig drawer and grabbed one of the old wigs to pack in her suitcase. She figured that in Mexico no one would know the difference because no one knew her and no one would know it was an old wig.

At a beautiful resort, getting ready for dinner, she pulled out the wig. It had a shine to it, just like a new wig. She smelled the wig and it smelled new. She shook it out and put it on and it felt like a new wig. Could the mystery of the missing wig be about to be solved? Pulling off the wig, she reexamined the wig and found it surely was a brand new wig. She could not recall opening the box and putting the new wig in the drawer.

She knew at that instant that the title, The Case of the Missing Hair would not work. The title should have been The Case of the Missing Mind!

"Perfect head for a wig
is a bad hair day
or a  head with no hair.
But, if a wig should disappear
where could it be, far or near?
Then when you find the hair
you know it's not fair.
It's not the wig you can't find,
but your memory that has you in a bind!"
E. Moscoso
September 29, 2014

Ministry Fair at Spirit of Christ Community

The weekend of September 27/28, 2014 had the Spirit Center of Spirit of Christ lined with tables and each table had a different ministry. My table, touted the Young At Heart group. YAH is for anyone 55+ and that is the only requirement to belong to the active and fun group! I know that SOC has many ministries but to see them lined up in one room, surprised me to see so many of them in one place!

Christian Formation: religious education, bible study, RCIA, Marriage and Baptism Prep, Confession, First Communion, and adult confirmation.

Liturgy: music, arts and environment, ushers, children's liturgy, audio visual, sewing baptismal bibs, Eucharistic minister, altar server, greeter, lector/reader, plant ministry.

Fellowship: Grief support, AA, Young at Heart, food co-op, Widows Group, Support for sexual abuse victims, Great Adventure Bible Study, MS support group, Stephen Ministry, Knights of Columbus, Alanon, Boy Scouts, Health Screening, centering prayer, exercise/yoga.

Book Store and Resource: library

Maintenance:  variety of duties pertaining to upkeep of church

Outreach: Blankets for babies, birthright, just faith, fair trade coffee, growing home, HOPE, coats for kids, migrant ministry, rosary makers, respect for life,

Youth Ministry: Seasonal help for outdoor work, reverse collection, The Edge, Confirmation, Prison Ministry

Small Church Communities:  Groups of 8-10 adults meet to share faith and life.

Each table had volunteers ready to give information and explain their work to newcomers who were interested in their ministry. Aside from manning the YAH booth along with other volunteers, I spent a lot of time looking over the wonderful chocolate at the Fair Trade table!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Quiz

What has a glossy shine, consistent color and a smooth surface?
When broken in two what produces a loud, clean snap?
What smells fruity, floral, roasty or smoky?
What  tastes sweet, sour, salty or bitter?
What leaves a delicious taste in your mouth and makes you want more?

Give up? Those are the signs of a high-quality chocolate bar. The Fair Trade candy bars meet the criteria. In  a brochure about chocolate I read: Chocolate is a complex food that can have many aromas and flavors.

"The Fair Trade movement is growing 
as people realize that they can help 
alleviate poverty and protect the 
environment by choosing Fair Trade products."
Robert Alan Silverstein

Somehow, I found myself checking out the Fair Trade booth at Spirit of Christ Ministry Fair and liking everything I saw. Different coffees, cocoa, honey, olive oil, nuts, tea and chocolate bars were displayed and guaranteed to have been made by pure ingredients and worked by organic farmers around the world.

I liked what I saw in the brochure and reading about the worker-owned co-op.  

 Each of our nearly 100 worker-owners has an equal stake and 
an equal vote in our business. Likewise, we partner with co-ops 
of small-scale farmers, owned and run by the farmers themselves. 
The farmers care about growing good, real food in ways that 
actually give back to the earth.  We think this dedication
 comes through in the quality of our coffees, teas,
 chocolates and snacks.

After seeing the products, looking through a magazine For A Better World, and seeing some of the brochures, I had a good feeling of buying Fair Trade products. Well, maybe not all the products, but certainly the chocolate bars. Knowing that small farm co-ops raised the organic ingredients for the bars gave me a good feeling that I was helping the economy and the farmers. Plus, I would get to eat some delicious chocolates!

"It is very important for you to know
that Fair Trade leads to better roads, 
better health and better lives for farmers, 
not just for Nicaragua, but around the world."
Rosario Castellon

Finally I Get It

Whenever I hear the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20) it upsets me. Paraphrasing the parable:  A landowner hires workers in the morning for an agreed amount. While they are working, the landowner hires other workers at nine, then more workers at noon, some at three and the last workers at four. When it is time to pay them  he tells the steward to pay them all the same, the amount agreed upon by the first hired. When the first workers, who worked all day complain that they have worked all day under the hot sun and why should those that worked one hour be paid the same? The landowner asks why are they complaining. He paid them what they agreed upon and if he chooses to be generous with his money it should not matter to them. "Can I not do with my money what I want?" he asks.

I suppose it upsets me because it just does not seem fair that all the workers got paid the same. For years I have heard the parable and have felt that the actions of the landowner were unfair. On Sunday, September 21, 2014, our pastor finally explained the parable in such a way that I got it! He said, and again I am paraphrasing: Now let us look at the parable in another way. You have died and you are in a line to see whether or not you will enter heaven. Mother Theresa is in front of you and she has a large box with lots of documents stating all she did while she was on earth. God is impressed and asks her to enter heaven. You are next and you have a tiny box with one small sheet of paper but God so loves you, he lets you enter also. Behind you is a criminal, a bad person, evil in all he did but as he was dying he made a sincere act of contrition and God lets him in also.

"But many who are
first will be last and
the last first."

I do not believe that anyone would be questioning who did more or who did less so the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard finally made sense to me!

"We may be surprised at the
people we find in heaven.
God has a soft spot for sinners."
Desmond Tutu

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chef E

Some one gave me a squash. It was round, green and about the size of a large Christmas globe. Someone asked me if it was a spaghetti squash and I said it did not look like one. "How would you prepare it?" I was asked and my answer was "Just like you fix zucchini."

Getting home and hungry I decided to fix my squash. First I washed it. Then I cut it in half. The inside did not look like zucchini but more like the texture of pumpkin, only white. I got on the Internet and the images of squash were many. After looking at all the pictures I decided I had a Gem squash. I also saw pictures of stuffed squash which looked easy to prepare. Now I had to find something for stuffing.

I had cooked rice and I had a can of Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies and cheese. Surely this would make a good stuffing, I thought. I cleared out all the seeds from the squash leaving a hollow to be stuffed. I sprinkled salt, pepper, dry onion, on the bottom, placed the rice next, drizzled some olive oil over the rice and poured the Ro-Tel on top. I wrapped the whole thing with with foil and baked at 400 degrees for one hour.

As usual, when I cook I seem to forget something and this time was no different. I had forgotten to top my concoction with cheese. I carefully undid the foil, placed some cheese slices on top and hoped the heat would melt the cheese. Letting it cool for about  fifteen minutes I unwrapped the squash and stuck a fork in to see if I would like my inspiration. What a surprise when I pulled out strips of spaghetti. I figured it must have been a spaghetti squash after all! The mixture of onion,squash, rice, tomato and cheese was tasty. I enjoyed my dinner and ate the squash all the way down to the skin!  Just call me Chef E!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Art In A Field

As I drive up and down Wadsworth and I pass the Arvada Center, I  see some sort of art in the large field. One day I decided to check the pieces in the field. I drove into the parking lot and parked my car. I began walking around the well trodden path leading from one art work to another. Sculpture in the Field is the title of the display.

I don't have much to say about the pieces of steel, wire, and stone because it is not the type of art I like but I did find it interesting how the pieces are considered art! My favorite was a layered bronze-looking piece that looked like some sort of alien animal. It is titled Cocoon.

  Another interesting piece has its own smooth stainless steel beauty.

The rest of the art work is very much "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" type.

 Big Love by Vanessa Clarke

Tactile Visual Continuum by Bil Vielehr

Whimsical Dances and Chopsticks by Kevin Robb

Rubic #4 by Emmett Culligan

 Serrated Crest by Patrick Marold
Fractal Echo by Nancy Lovendahl

Braced Ring with Outlier and Kindred Spirtys by Carl Reed

This was by Joe Kiche -- the lumpy art reminded me of molecules or something scientific or medical.

Spiral Dance - dead aspens trees painted blue but I did not get the artist's name.

Second Wind by John Ferguson

As I walked through the field I also saw natural art. I am glad I stopped to have a look at all the art!

"Creativity Takes Courage."
Henri Matisse

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friendly Strangers

I know I finished with my Cabo San Lucas information but I keep thinking about a couple I met. We would meet to eat together or to sit in the shade and chat. They had taken a water-taxi to see the arches and had driven to La Paz. They were from Mexico City and were celebrating her birthday. Her birthday was on September 16. She told me she wanted to visit her two sisters who lived in Cabo. "Have you been able to talk to them? Do they know you are here?" I asked.

"We talked on the phone when we arrived but now there is no way of communicating with them. With all the phone lines down and no way to get out of the resort or for them to come into the resort, we are in limbo." He said that somehow they would find a way to go look for her family.  They needed to find out if the family was okay.

That was the last time I spoke to them. I never saw them again. My suspicions are that they may have gone to town by wading through water and maybe found a cab. I hope she found her sisters but I do not think they returned to the hotel. If they were not at the hotel, I do not know how they could be evacuated unless they somehow found their way to the airport.

Strange how strangers become friends. I pray that they made it to safety and are home.

Final Thoughts on My Vacation in Cabo San Lucas

When my friends cancelled their trip to Cabo, I gambled that
there would be no hurricane and headed to Cabo San Lucas!  

     I gave the wheel chair pusher a $5.00 tip for pushing me around DIA 
and because he thought I was in my sixties!

        The young man pushing another woman and me got our two wheel chair wheels tangled 
causing us to crash into each other. He left me at a gate going to Hawaii  and he also got a $5.00 tip but
only because I did not have change.

  I did not know that there were mountains in Baja California. 
The sight of mountains from the plane was a big surprise.

 In Cabo there seems to be more cacti than palm trees.

The RIU Palace is a large hotel with many brick domes. The hurricane
peeled all the bricks off of the domes leaving the domes looking naked.

Everything was complimentary and all I had to do was wear a black bracelet.
Even the mini-bar in my room was complimentary.

Downtown Cabo San Lucas was very hot. 
I felt drenched, as if someone had tossed a bucket of water on me.
 During mass I could feel sweat running down my back and legs. 
Every part of my body felt wet and my clothes stuck to me.

Standing watching the loud and rough waves, 
the wind came up suddenly and everyone ran for cover.

Windows at the RIU Santa Fe were taped 
either to keep them from breaking or to keep glass from flying if the wind did break them.

The day after the hurricane hit, someone said that the coast guard, using jet skis, was looking for a body.
Never found out if it was a rumor or true.
    After the storm, when the sun came out, people came out of their rooms. It reminded me
    of ants as people tried to continue their vacations.

    A common sight was people carrying plastic waste paper cans and headed
    to the swimming pool. The water they got out of the pool would be used for flushing the toilet.

    In one of the swimming pools some women got in and took a bath
    and shampooed their hair. "Don't know how sanitary
    it was, but I needed a bath!"

    From my balcony I watched people crawl over a wall
    from the Santa Fe to the Palace.
    A steady stream of people, young and old,
     going back and forth over the cement wall.
    Some had luggage and they reminded me of immigrants crossing a border!
    Seeing some of the tourists helping the Mexican workers 
    clean up fallen branches, sweep sand off sidewalks, clean the pool and 
    bail water out of a flooded area brought tears to my eyes. 
    There are good people on this earth! 

    There was no celebrating on September 16 for
    Mexican Independence Day.

    Even after Odile, I managed to enjoy my vacation!


    Beach chairs were set up in a large room for people 
    who had their rooms flooded at the Santa Fe. 
    On Wednesday night even the hallways had makeshift beds.
     Four days without a shower! Three days with no water to flush the toilet. 
    Luckily, the maids brought me a bucket of water to be used for flushing. 
    No electricity meant no elevator, no television, no charging of batteries
    or cell phones and no lights!

    Feeling my way in the dark gave me a deeper understanding of how the world is to the blind.
    When I waved my hand in front of my face I could not see my hand.

    On the way to the airport there must have been a mile of cars lined up waiting for gasoline.

    Walking in the long, hot lines everyone seemed to help each other
    and there was much bantering and laughter. If I hadn't known better
    I would have thought we were in line to see a movie!

    I know God put angels in my path. The angel who let me carry her umbrella to protect me from the sun, the young girl who helped carry my suitcase over rough spots, the couple who let me use their sunscreen, the young man who found a bandage wrap for my ankle, the EMT worker who wrapped my ankle, the lady who insisted I go sit in the shade and she would take care of my bag, the kind men who helped me up every time I sat down on a curb, how when water was handed out someone always got one for me, and those that shared fruit found in discarded lunch boxes.
    I wonder if I could have made it without those angels!

    The news I saw today on the Internet was that there were four fatalities and three missing persons.
    Nineteen had been arrested for robberies and home theft.
    100 persons treated with minor injuries.
    That the hurricane had 125 mile winds.
    It had been sixty years since the last destruction by a hurricane.
    From U.S.A Today
    "Residents in Los Cabos lit large bonfires to try to protect
    their neighborhoods as they faced a fourth day without
    power or running water following the blow from
    Hurricane Odile."

    The End of My Adventure in Cabo San Lucas