Friday, July 31, 2015

Tangled Branches

An amazing display of art is at the Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado. The artist is Deborah Butterfield and she takes pieces of driftwood, sticks, mud, metal and tree branches to make sculptures of  horses. Through out the gardens there are thirteen horses on display. At first glance, it looks like wood nestled together to form the horse, but in
watching a video about how she got started in working with the branches I found out that after the horse is formed, it is taken apart piece by piece and each piece is numbered. Casts  are made of each piece, dipped in a metal solution, and finally painted to look like wood. Each piece is numbered so that it can be replaced in its original spot after the pieces go through the process. The painting to look like wood is the final step before it becomes a sculpture.

Many different flowers were blooming and bees were having a field day.  I was with friends who knew the correct names of the flowers and there are many varieties. I call them all "flowers."

 All the sculptures have names like Charlo & Alulani, Hawaii, Willy, Crane, Red Forest, Many Glacier, Silver Bow & Cascade, Tracery, Lucky, Whitebark, Luna, Storm Castle and Argus. My favorite was Silver Bow because it seemed to glow with a florescent light.

Even though the day was hot, there were plenty of shady spots to stand in and cool off. We met for lunch at the Hive Garden Bistro and enjoyed Wild Mushroom pizza.

The ponds with the lily pads were attractive as the flowering pads rested above the dark water.
What a fun and interesting day for five women who ventured from Arvada to the Botanic Gardens!

Thursday, July 30, 2015


The first time I traveled to New Mexico was when I was in the ninth grade. I went with my friend's family and we visited people in Las Vegas. The second time was when I took my parents to visit places where they grew up. We traveled to my mother's birth place in Villa Nueva and my dad's in Garfield. This was my first vacation from my first job and I remember feeling excited because this was also my parents first vacation. When I was growing up my father got his two week vacation from his regular job and found work for the two weeks he would be on vacation.

Since then, I have traveled to the Land of Enchantment many, many time; to enjoy the balloon fiestas in Albuquerque, the caves in Carlsbad, white sands and doing research for my genealogy. In driving to New Mexico there are many towns that are passed and if I were to write something about those places this would become a very long blog. I decided to do snippets of what there is to see along the way between Colorado and New Mexico.


Colorado Springs: Home of Air Force Academy...... 18,000 acres....established in 1954 for male cadets.....1975 co-ed......2004 designated as a National Historical Landmark....Chapel has 17 spires of glass, seats 1300 in Protestant section, 500 in Catholic....500 in Jewish....and a new addition of a Buddhist Chapel. Creed: We will not lie, steal, cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does; furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honestly, so help me God.......NORAD......Ft. Carson

Tourist attractions: Garden of the Gods....Seven Falls reaching 181' high and 224 steps....Pikes Peak....Cheyenne Mountain Zoo..... North Pole.... and Cave of the Winds.

Pueblo: Settled in 1840 on the Arkansas River and called Ft. Pueblo.... Rockefellers developed steel mills which closed in 1980.....Federal Government distribution center for publications.....known for its green chili ....home of the State Fair.....Zoo.....Sangre de Cristo Arts Center......museums....home of Colorado Mental Health Institute.....river bank painted by graffiti artists.

Walsenburg: Settled in 1852 under name of Plaza de Los Leones (Plaza of Lions) and had largest coal mines in the county of Huerfano..... 2 museums......swimming pool..... golf course..... Lathrop State Park for swimming, boating, picnicking, windsurfing and fishing.

Ft. Garland: Established in 1858.....currently may have 432 persons living there...known as the Gateway to San Luis Valley....home of artists, painters, musicians, and crafts......information center for Great Sand Dunes.....Colorado Gator Farm....UFO Watchtower.

San Luis: Oldest town in Colorado.....Shrine of the Stations of the Cross.....local artist Huberto Maestas designed the stations.....Sangre de Cristo Church built in 1886.....Todo Los Santos Chapel (All Saints Chapel) sits on top of the hill....Our Lady of Guadalupe in grotto down a slight incline......Memorial to Spanish priests who died as predominately Hispanic.

Taos, New Mexcio: Native Americans, Anglos and Hispanics live in adobe and pottery art passed down in families........home of Santeros who carve and paint crude saints......home to Georgia O'Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence an Ansel Adams......exceptional biking,.....rafting.... beautiful views.....known as Land of Enchantment......many galleries.......unique shops.

Taos Pueblo: Over 1000 years old.......oldest inhabited community in the U.S......a World Heritage site and a National Historical Landmark.......buildings made of adobe (water and straw)........7, 200 elevation (Denver is 5,278)........Tiwa, Spanish, English spoken........economy is from tourism....arts......crafts......and food.......elementary school taught by Indian teachers......older students attend school in Taos.......tradition dictates no electricity or running water in Pueblo........river is their source of drinking water.......San Geronimo (St. Jerome) church rebuilt in 1850 after being destroyed in war with Mexico and U.S. in 1847......90% Catholic plus Indian religious given by students.

Santuario de Chimayo: In 1810 crucifix found near river.....taken to chapel but crucifix kept returning to river.....built Santuario near river where crucifix found.......visited by pilgrims daily......many art works in chapel......Lord of Esquipulas hangs in middle of altar.......dirt in hole to the left of the altar....shops....chapel of Santo Nino de Atocha.....miracles have been reported......spiritual emotional and physical healing has taken not drink or eat the dirt......

Santa Fe, New Mexico: Chapel began in 1873 and completed in 1878......error made and there was no way to get to the choir loft......a carpenter came along and he built the staircase....33 steps, 2 complete turns, without a center support.....wooden pegs used instead of nails........wood used not from New Mexico.......architects who examine stairs are amazed.....many believe it was St. Joseph who built the staircase.......

Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi: First church built in 1610......present church built in 1886.....houses chapel of Our Lady, La Conquistadora.....she came to Santa Fe in 1626 and the chapel where she is kept s part of the old church.....San Damiano Crucifix hangs above sanctuary....Reredos of the saints is on the back wall......stained glass windows from France........pipe organ installed in 1895 and rebuilt in 1963.....St. Francis statue....outside is statue of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.......Bronze doors installed in 1986 with 16 panels depicting history of Santa Fe

St. Michael's Chapel: Chapel of San Miguel Mission Church.......oldest church in Santa Fe.......built in 1626 but none of the original church stands....continuous rebuilding of the chapel......wooden carved statue of St. Michael......oldest reredos on wood in New Mexico. (2 blocks from Chapel of Loretto)

Plaza: Shops.....museums......Native American wares on blankets on the of St. Francis of Assisi.......restaurants.....La Fonda Hotel with interesting artifacts.....

Hope this gives a traveler an idea of what will be seen on the way to the Land of Enchantment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reading A Book I Would Never Have Picked

About a month ago, I was given a book by the name of Blood, Bones & Butter written by Gabrielle Hamilton. The title did not grab me at all but since I was between books I thought I would give it a try. Usually, if a story hooks me, it takes me two or three days to finish it. I find myself reading at the table while eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, in between television shows during the commercials, in the bathroom, and in the car before and after running into the post office, market, bank, or a meeting. I have even stayed up until four a.m. to finish a book. This was not that kind of a book. I finally finished today because I did not care what was going to happen next.

The first part was a lot of drug use, drinking and on the road to perdition. When I got to chapter 8 around page 112 of the 291 page book, I found the story more interesting. The reason I could not get into the book is that it is about a chef and cooking is not something I like to do. It seems that this book took forever to finish. You may ask why I continue reading when I am not that interested in the subject or what Gabrielle is doing. The reason is that I have a rule that if I start a book, I will finish it. In all the books I have read in my seventy some years, there is only one book I did not finish.  I broke my rule with Sotomayor's biography.

Almost half way through the book, the author of Blood, Bones & Butter got me interested and I found myself enjoying the rest of her story. I liked her descriptions of  her husband, her children, her family, and his Italian family written with humor and sadness. The revelation when she sees her mother after forty years touched me, not because it was so wonderful, but because she could see herself becoming her mother! Emotions and food seem to be the theme and I found myself identifying with many of the emotions she felt  though not of the food she prepared.

I am glad I read the book but I know I would never have picked it off a shelf or ordered it for my Kindle. The story about a reluctant chef and the picture of an upside down chicken would have been the first things to turn me off!

"Even bad books
are books and 
therefore sacred."
Gunter Grass

Monday, July 27, 2015

What Do You Do When.....

What do you do when you see I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes, at the Book Cranny in Arvada? It happens to be the book that will be discussed at the next book club meeting. I don't know what you would do, but I entered the store and found out that the used book cost $8.00. I will e-mail the information for anyone who may want to buy the book.

What do you do when you visit the outdoor market in Arvada? The one unusual thing in the different booths was the Volcanic Garlic. I asked how it was different and was told the garlic is grown in volcanic earth and it gives the garlic head a purple hue. The demonstrator told me it has a distinct flavor, stronger than regular garlic. She had samples but I refrained from tasting a clove of the garlic.

What do you do when the bread booth has two small children holding down the fort. One child was touching all the pieces of bread which were samples. It was as if she was playing a game by picking each piece up and putting it down. I did not take a sample and I hope no one else did either!

What do you do when something odd and possibly frightening happens? When you realize that in this day and age there are crazy people ready to do harm.? I was waiting at the side entrance at the Shrine of St. Anne so that I could take a picture the relic displayed inside. The 12:30 mass was in session. A scruffy man with a backpack was also waiting. This is the conversation that followed between me and the man.

He: I am waiting to receive communion.
Me: Maybe you should go inside to the mass.
He:  I already went to mass but the polish priest did not give me communion.
Me: Did he give you a reason?
He: No I put out my hand and he did not put the host into my hand. Do you think that is right?
Me: I always thought that if you were free of mortal sin you could receive communion.
He: Yes, and how would he know if I had a mortal sin? Is he God? Does he think he is God?
Me: Uhmmm.
He: When you hold your hands out and the priest doesn't put the host in your hand, there is something wrong. I intend to talk to that priest! I am going to report him to someone higher than he is. It is not right.

I could tell the man, the more he talked, was becoming agitated. I wondered what he had in his backpack. Too many bad things seem to happen when someone is upset with anything! Could he have something planned like maybe shooting the priest? I did not want to over react but with the way shootings are happening in the United States, I felt I should warn the priest. Heck, I thought, if  his intentions were to shoot someone, I might be the first one he would take out!

He got up and went to the door of the church and looked in. Maybe he was going to see if a different priest would give him communion. I did not wait to find out because the minute he opened the door to the church, I left and hurried to the church office. A CLOSED sign was on the door. I rang the bell two or three times but no one answered though I could hear movement inside. I got on my phone to get the number of the church but couldn't get into Google for the number. I waited for mass to be over and hoped that my imagination was greater than reality. As mass ended I entered the church and looked for the man. He was no where in sight. I did see the priest and explained the conversation I had with the man.

Me: Father, I don't want to alarm you but I just had a conversation with someone who appeared to be angry or hurt. His anger seemed to be directed at you. He said you denied him communion.
Priest: I know exactly who you are talking about. I refused to give him communion because the man smelled of alcohol and he stumbled and almost fell as he entered the church. I told him I would not give him Communion until he sobered up. I never make judgements but since I had already spoken with him I thought he understood I would not give him Communion. I appreciate your telling me and thank you for your concern.

I had a feeling that I had done something good!

I came home and watched the movie Mr. Turner, (aka Joseph  Mallard William Turner) an artist from England. (1775-1851) I had never heard about him but I do like some of his work. He painted many pictures of the sea but one of my favorites is The Pass of St. Gotthard, Switzerland.

So what do I do when things happen to me on a Sunday afternoon? I get ideas for my blog!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Fun Fundraiser

Shrine of St. Anne is holding their annual bazaar or festival this weekend. I went last night and even though I played Pickles and the Country Store, I won absolutely nothing! I stood in a line to buy tickets since the food booths do not accept money. Eight tickets let me buy a Italian sausage sandwich, a frittata (fried flat bread like a bunuelo covered in sugar and cinnamon) and a ice cream Dilly Bar.

At the bazaar one can run into many friends who also enjoy spending the evening having fun. The first person I happened to see was a soccer Mom from my past. She and I both had daughters who played soccer when they were around nine years old. Her daughters were also with her and I got to see a young lady I had not seen for about forty some years.

Looking for a place to sit down I asked a young man if the seat next to him was taken. "No, he said, "please take the seat."  I sat down and struck up a conversation with a man and a woman across from me. They
happened to be the owners of The Beauty Bar in Arvada. As we talked she mentioned the name of two friends of mine that she also knew. Our thought was what a small world!

I played a few games but did not win anything. It was as if fate was against me. When I had small numbers, large numbers would win. I changed my tactic and purchased large numbers (three numbers for $2.00) and number 4 won! I went to the pickle jars but no luck there either. The one place I am lucky is at the food booths so I went to get me a frittata and ran into a couple of friends. As we stood chatting another couple showed up. It seems to me that some of us see each other at different church bazaars!

From what I heard, there were a few other persons I knew wandering around the crowded grounds. They may have been playing Bingo or in the gym at the garage sale because I never saw them.

The big attraction will be this evening around nine when the big raffle of $5000 is won. A few years back I won $2000 but it sure would be nice to win something again and I would even be satisfied to win the $1000 or even the $500 this year! But if I don't win, there is always another bazaar some where around the corner!

Jesus' Grandmother

Today, July 26, is the feast day of St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The priest at the Shrine of St.  Anne in Arvada, Colorado mentioned that not much was known about the Mother of Mary. He did say that St. Anne raised Mary in a loving and holy home.

Wikipedia had information about St. Anne being the patroness of housewives, women in labor, grandmothers, horseback riders, cabinet makers, miners, sailors, protector of storms and of the unborn.

She is mentioned in the Qur'an, the Islamic holy text received by Mohammad from Allah about revelation. St. Anne, named Hannah in Arabic, was expecting a son but was blessed with a girl instead and she realized it was truly a special gift from God.

The Shrine of St. Anne in d'Auray, France is the main shrine dedicated to St. Anne. It is located in Brittany, France. In the 6th century a chapel to St. Anne was built but by the 1600 it was gone. Around 1624, St. Anne appeared to Yves Nicolazic and she asked that the chapel be rebuilt. It was rebuilt but soon outgrew the many pilgrims coming to visit and a larger church was finished in 1872.

At Arvada's Shrine there is a relic of St. Anne next to a beautiful statue of St. Anne with Mary. Parishioners kiss the relic after kneeling in front of it. If there was little background about St. Anne, there is even less about St. Joachim, the father of Mary, Mother of Jesus. Feast day for both St. Anne and St. Joachim is on July 26.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Totus Tuu Comes to Spirit of Christ Catholic Community

I have seen the words Totus Tuu on some church signs but never thought anything about it. I figured it was some church program and then I was asked to photograph Totus Tuu at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community.

What I found out is that Totus Tuu means "totally yours." It is a catechetical week long program for elementary school children. I was told that the program promotes the Catholic faith by skits, songs, games and Eucharist worship. One main reason is to show children that one can be a faithful, practicing Catholics and still have fun. I was lucky to sit in at the beginning and loved the way the instructors, all young men and women, made learning fun. The children brought their sack lunches, the program cost fifty dollars per child with discounts for more than two children in the same family.

On the Internet I found that "the goal is to help young people develop a relationship with Jesus Christ." In speaking with one of the instructors, he told me that the  teachers travel within the Denver metro area to different churches plus giving classes out of state. It is a summer program already set up and the young man told me had had been doing it for a couple of years.

Today was the last day and I had to laugh at the antics of the instructors. I noticed that the children are fascinated by the teachers and there seems to be a good rapport between student and teacher. A humorous skit with a young women showing the class the many ways to use a hanky made me laugh. She showed them they could wear the hanky around the neck, clean ears out, wipe feet, blow nose, and cover their head. The room filled with laughter as she acted out the different things that could be done with a hanky.

Instructions were given to the children on how they were to make a human sundae. When the instructors were pretty sure the children understood that there would be no squirting in the face they moved on with rules about a water fight. I followed everyone outside and the three instructors, who had been picked by the children, sat on the ground ready to be decorated . First the chocolate brigade began squirting and putting goopy chocolate on the three on the ground. Next came the whipped cream followed by the cherries and sprinkles. I tried to stay out of the way but somehow, my arm got a big glob of chocolate. I noticed many children were licking the chocolate smeared on their hands. When the sundaes were finished the water fight commenced.  I went and stood in the "dry/safe area" where no one could shoot water at me or any one else.

Some parents arrived with towels, one lady was video taping, and it was fun watching the kids with buckets, large cups, water guns, spray bottles, super soakers, and blasters shooting water at each other. By what I saw, the alpha and the omega of Totus Tuu, the children had a great week!

A few things bothered me and I wondered if I was being an old fuddy duddy. I couldn't help but think that maybe saving water, not throwing food away and not pointing guns at each other would also be important lessons to learn.

Art Work

Thursday, July 23, 2015

When Will We Learn?

Fifty people board a bus
not a one makes a fuss.
Even though we know, that early in the morn
all our money from our hands will be torn.
Blackhawk is where we will go
hoping our money will stretch and grow.
We are hoping for a win
no matter what might have been.
Bandits are lined up in a row
ready to take bills with their soft glow.
Some will win and some will not
machines will take all we've got.
Never could so much fun be had
while at the same time making us feel so bad.
In the end what is said and done
gamblers say that it's lots of fun.
We know we are a special lot
to give machines all we've got.
It is fun for all
and we all seem to have a ball.
Here we are, another trip
as into wallets we all dip.
I ask, is there something wrong
when we are here ever so long?
Feeding machines with money galore
and hoping that maybe we will get more?
It's only money,” is what I hear
and it is told to me without a fear.
I am also told, “I guarantee I am not insane,
just put me on the list again.
Next month I'll start anew
Even if today I am feeling blue."

Well, here is my advice to you,
and what I say is nothing new.
Have fun and enjoy the day,
and play, play, play, play!

E. Moscoso
July 22, 2015
Between the two of us we set up the Mardi Gras Casino dates!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Farewell Luncheon

Today I took my granddaughter to lunch before she goes on a week long vacation to California. This is her first time traveling by herself and I wanted to see her before she flies away! My granddaughter has traveled with me a few times to California and to Mexico so she is aware of the in and outs of traveling. I found it interesting that she and my California granddaughter made plans to see each other. When they had their plans all made, they told their parents. What could the parents do but continue with the plans.

"I do not have a fear of flying, but I do have a fear of someone vomiting on me," she told me. I told her that those were two things that would probably not happen. Kids are so funny because I could think of many other things that would scare me! Of course, I did not tell her what would frighten me. Kidnapping, plane being hijacked, plane being diverted or getting lost at the airport were some of the things that ran through my mind. 

We ate pizza at Amici's and then went to Sonic Drive-in for dessert. She had a blue coconut slush and I had a hot fudge sundae. I showed her my selfie stick and when I saw how excited she got playing with it I gave it to her to take on her vacation. I gave her $20 so she could take her cousin out for lunch at one of their favorite hamburger places called Brea's Best. We said good-bye with a big hug, I told her to have fun, and we told each other, "I love you." She promised to keep me up dated by texting. "I want to know everything you guys are doing," I told her.