Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A British Pub

I have never been to England. I have eaten Mexican, Greek, Nigerian, Irish, Spanish, Italian, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and German food but I had never eaten English food. When a friend of mine suggested going to an English restaurant in our area I thought it was a great idea. The restaurant is near the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Jefferson County. The first sign before turning into the driveway was an ad for Authentic British Meals.

We parked the car and since she had been at the restaurant before she
pointed out the Inn Rooms where travelers can spend the night and led the way to the entrance of Wild Flowers dining room. "There is also a Pub on the other side of the dining room," she said. I took one look into the Pub and liked its coziness. We settled  ourselves on the high chairs at the tall tables and the friendly waiter handed us a menu and explained some of the food offered. I was disappointed that the staff did not have British accents.

Items on the menu had odd sounding names but I was told, both by my friend and the waiter, how everything was tasty and delicious! Bubble & Squeak (corn beef and cabbage); Bangers & Mash (sausage and pureed potatoes) were two of the odd names for certain dishes. I ordered a Reuben sandwich but got confused and ordered "chips" and got french fries instead of the "crisps" which would have been more like a potato chip. When I reached for the Ketchup bottle the waiter said, "Oh, no, no, put this malt vinegar on the potatoes, much better than ketchup!" I did and thoroughly enjoyed the jaw tightening taste of potatoes with malt vinegar. My friend ordered the Shepherd's Pie of ground lamb, onions and mashed potatoes.

The Pub had a lone Great Britain flag, bar offerings on a blackboard, and many bottles of booze lined up in a row. The water "carafe" was a bottle with The Burns Pub etched on its side. There is a patio where people can dine outside. We were told that the dining room would soon become an event center and no longer be a regular restaurant.

I keep getting surprised at all that Arvada and its surrounding areas have to offer. After eating we drove to the airport and looked at all the small planes, which I thought looked too fragile to be flying. There is a Mediterranean restaurant at the airport and my friend and I will need to go see what that restaurant is all about!

Since I could only eat half of my sandwich, I brought the other half home and now my car smells like malt vinegar! Finding different places to eat is fun and filling though not good for the waistline!

"Food has replaced sex in my life,
now I can't even get into my own pants."
Lynda Montgomery

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Are Older People Targeted?

A few days ago, my bathroom tub developed a faucet drip. I let it go because I hate to deal with plumbers or any repair type businesses. Somehow, I feel that they will take advantage of a woman and especially if she is up in age. The drip became a continuous stream of water and I was forced to call a plumber. I remembered that not too far from where I live, there was a plumber who I've used before and he always did a good job and charged me what I thought was fair. He was an older man and had been doing plumbing for most of his life. We would chat as he worked and I trusted him. He was listed under an Arvada business.

Today I called, or so I thought I was calling the same plumber, but the person answering the phone had an accent. He told me he would contact his man out on the road doing repairs and that man would call me. I felt a bit uncomfortable when I was called by another man and he also had an accent. I do not consider myself to be a prejudiced type person but I would have liked to have someone without an accent because if it was a foreigner working on plumbing problems, maybe they did not have the knowledge that someone who was born here knew about plumbing.

The man arrived and he was young, dark and spoke with an accent that sounded mid-eastern. He knew what he was doing and he fixed the leak. I felt better about him working on my plumbing. I had read on the Internet on how to fix a leak and it sounded quite simple: shut off water, take off handle, replace washers or maybe the metal ring, and the price for those two parts would be around $7.00 tops. The whole replacement to repair a leaking faucet was less than $20.00.

I felt confident that the bill would probably run around $100 to include his less than one hour labor. Imagine my surprise when he handed me a bill for $180.00. I questioned him but he said that was their usual  charge. When I made out the check he said to make it out to Turbo Rooter. I told him that was not who I had called. I had called a place on Marshall Street in Arvada and how did he get involved with my repair. I told him about the plumber I had called and that in the past for any small repair I had only paid from $70 to $110. He said that small plumbing companies were being purchased by franchises and his company had offices all over metro Denver. I told him I thought the prices they charged were outrageous and he said, "The parts were $20 and labor was $160.00. What was I to do, I paid the amount. After he left I looked on the Internet and could see that plumbing prices had a wide variety of charges; how far they had to travel, a set fee for just coming out, etc. A small blurb that I will follow in the future: Get three estimates before work is done.

Maybe that is what plumbers charge but down deep inside of me, my gut feeling is that he saw an older woman and thought he would charge me what he wanted. I sincerely hope that is not the case but it is just seemed too much for repairs that, from what I have read, would have cost me less than $20.00 if I had been able to do it myself. The good news is that the drip is gone!

Addendum: Today I called the company to complain about the charge and was told that their company is below what other plumbers charge. He said I paid less than their minimum charge. I then called two well-known plumbing companies and I expected to hear that I was right in my belief of getting charged too much. Instead, I found out that for a simple drip charge there would be an $80 charge just to say "hello", add whatever repairs would cost after repair man investigated what was wrong, and my bill could have run from $150 to $350. Even though I feel better that I wasn't targeted because I am old, I am surprised at how much plumbers earn!

Monday, September 28, 2015

God Is Good

Every time I see something that moves me, like making me take a quick breath or feeling my heart flutter, I thank God. Not because I believe there is something wrong with me health wise, but because I see something so beautiful it takes my breath away! Yesterday was one of those days. Driving home around six-thirty in the evening I could see the sky to the west beginning to change color. I know sun sets do not last long, so I stepped on the gas and made it to Majestic Park in Arvada just in time to photograph the colorful sky.


I left the park and was driving east on 72nd Avenue and I gasped. A large moon seemed to hang over the street. The moon was huge and bright and I realized it must be the red moon that I had heard would happen tonight and then not again until 2033.  I thanked God for putting me in a place where I could enjoy the spectacular sight. At that moment, my intention was to catch the moon eclipse later in the night. I never got outside to see the great phenomenon. I knew the pictures I had taken were going to have to do for this year and I also knew I probably wouldn't be around when it appeared again. Or maybe, at ninety-five I would see it again!

I Make Plans But God Decides

How many times have I made plans and somehow they get waylaid and I don't end up doing what I thought I was going to do? Today was one of those days. In our church bulletin I had seen where there would be a migrant mass on September 27, 2015. I have attended migrant masses in the past and decided today would be a good day to visit with the migrants, take needed items, and attend mass. I did not have the address of
where the mass would be and even though in the past I have googled Spirit of Christ Catholic Community and found the bulletin, today it would not come up. I struggled looking for the address and after many failed attempts to find the church bulletin on the Internet, I decided to drive to the church and pick up a bulletin. At the church I got the bulletin and found out that the migrant mass had been cancelled. So much for my plan for the day.

Instead, I decided to find the Ralston Cemetery that someone had mentioned at a cemetery tour I recently took. I looked it up on the Internet and read that it was in poor condition and that sometimes vandals would damage the tombstones. I followed the directions I had found on the Internet:    64th to Gardenia, turn left to Holman Street and follow it to 62nd Street, turn left and curve until you see a hill.
I took a few bad turns but managed to find a small parking lot. Homes surround the area and red gravel and large blocks go up to a fairly new sign of Ralston Cemetery.  On the other side of the sign there are tall, dry, yellow weeds. It looked like if anyone dropped a match the whole hill would go up in flames. A narrow dirt path lead me to the top of the hill as I was bombarded by an army of grasshoppers. Those grasshoppers seemed to be in a frenzy as they jumped left, up and right while some struck me on my legs. I continued up the hill and I did not let those jumping insects deter me. I was determined to see the cemetery!

Tombstones were old and names could not be read. Some had toppled, some were cracked, and some were buried in the tall weeds. I found a Buddha in one area. I could see the Denver Skyline from the top of the hill. The dirt path reminded me of a skull that had been operated on, leaving jagged scars and the grass reminded me of hair. There are two plaques letting visitors know that the cemetery is a Historical Landmark.

On the south side of the cemetery, I saw a young woman with three small boys walking along a sidewalk. Each child carried a fishing pole.  "Is there a lake around here?" I asked. She told me Hyatt Lake was private and only open to people who live in the area. I wanted to see the lake and I asked, "Could I walk in with you? All I want is to take some pictures." She agreed and they continued on their way to fish and I took a few pictures.

The migrant mass wasn't to be but I found an area that was interesting and beautiful instead. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Arvada Cemetery

Every time I drive down Independence in Arvada, I see the sign to the Arvada Cemetery and I am filled with a sadness. I feel bad for people that have to be buried at the poor looking cemetery. I wonder if the families had no money to bury their loved ones in a "real" cemetery.

Today, I received the shock of my life when I took a tour of the cemetery. The tour was sponsored by the Arvada Historical Society and my shock came when I crested the hill into the cemetery and saw that it was beautiful, surrounded by homes, and in the distance I could see the mountains. It was not at all as I envisioned it. It's a nice cemetery and I would not feel bad if this would be my last resting place! Which goes to show you can not judge a cemetery by its entrance!

I have lived in Arvada since 1965 and had never taken the tours put on by the Historical Society. This year it was a reenactment of Civil War veterans and the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I purchased a ticket for $8.00 and followed about twenty-five persons to the first soldier. He told us about the life of the Union soldiers and explained why the tents were called Pup-Tents. Evidently at the beginning the tents were larger and made like a tepee and men slept inside like spokes on a wheel. When the soldiers realized
that the large tents were heavy and needed more men and horses to move the tents, a smaller tent  was devised for the soldiers to use for sleeping. "It's as big as if a dog makes a couple of circles before laying down," we were told, " and that is why it is called a pup or dog tent!" The soldier showed us the bottom of his shoe with a small horseshoe to save the heel from wearing down.

The story of Arvada, told by volunteers in clothes of the time, told us about how life used to be in Arvada. We heard from A.F. Swadley, one of the first settlers in the area; Hiram S. Burton, the first undertaker; a

war widow and the three year mourning period; Eber Porter Smith, a farmer; Edward H. Coss, carpenter; and others who each told a bit of their lives. There are twenty-one soldiers buried at the Arvada Cemetery. In all the information, I found out the Shrine of St. Anne was built in 1920.

After the tour there was a tent with many types of cookies and water for the visitors. As I walked to my car, my mind was fascinated with all the facts of Arvada's early days. One fact that stuck in my mind was that the Civil War had more casualties than any war we have been involved in combined!

Gold was discovered in Arvada by Lewis Ralston on his way to the Caifornia gold rush  in 1850. He stopped near Clear Creek and panned for gold. He found $5.00 worth of gold and his companions named Ralston Creek after him.

What a fun, interesting and informative time learning about Arvada and its soldiers. Next year, if there is another tour, I plan to attend and learn more facts. I was told that each year there is a different theme so the tours are all completely different but still about Arvada.

I saw a tombstone with a horse, a rattle snake and a cowboy. The cowboy looked real and I took a picture of the small figurine.

"There is no honorable way to kill,
no gentle way to destroy.
There is nothing good in war,
except its ending."
Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another Day With Pope Francis

There he was, all in white, standing in front of  two Catholics, Vice President Biden and Speaker of the House, John Boehner.  The Pope's speech was delivered in a slow, well pronounced English with an accent. I had to admire the Pope because I had read he was learning English and was not comfortable speaking the language. And here he was addressing both houses of Congress in English.  "Your work is similar to Moses," he said as he looked around the room. He mentioned that the elderly were a storehouse of wisdom and through history, Americans have built a better future. It seemed that Boehner kept blowing his nose and wiping his eyes but I did not think he was crying until an announcer mentioned how emotional Boehner had been through the speech. I noticed Marco Rubio brushed a tear away also.

Following are some of the points the Pope made:

No religion is immune from extremism.
Balance required to combat religious violence.
Response to violence must be hope and healing.
Support our difference with respect and with our conscience. Fraternity and love.
Must call on everyone's best.
America land of dreams. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
It is important that voice of faith be heard.
Do not be fearful of foreigners.  Most of us are descendants of foreigners.
Do not repeat errors of the past.

Many search for a better life for themselves and their families. Is this not what we also want for our own children? Don't listen to numbers but listen to their stories.
Remember the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Refugee crisis falls under the Golden Rule.
Use yardstick that time used for us.
Do our best.
Abolish death penalty, strive for rehabilitation of those convicted of crime.
Dorothy Day - socialist activist to raise people from extreme poverty. All need to be given hope.
Distribution of wealth. Redirect ourselves and we can make a difference.
Congress has a role to play in climate change. Protect nature.
Thomas Merton challenged his time. A man of dialogue.
Lincoln = liberty; Martin Luther King = peaceful resolutions; Dorothy Day = social justice
Importance of family.
Vulnerability of Youth with violence, abuse and despair.
Seek efficient solutions.
Stressed common good.

There is something about Pope Francis that seems to stir something within me, making me want to do better. He is humble and enjoys being around people, especially the poor and homeless. His visiting a homeless shelter and eating lunch with over two hundred homeless persons, proved to me he is not in the United States just to meet the elite, but to make himself known to those who have nothing. I admire how he treats all with the same gentle respect and love.

Thank you God
for my television to watch,
for my eyes to see,
for my digital camera
 to take pictures
right off the screen,
for my ears to hear,
and for my understanding
to listen with my heart!

This and That About The Pope's Visit

While listening and watching television as the Pope's visit was broadcast, I learned a few things.

An area in Washington, D.C. is referred to as Little Rome because of the many churches in a small area.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is where the Pope would have the canonization mass for Juniper Serra. He was born in 1713 and ordained a priest in 1787. He was a professor of Philosophy and a great teacher. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1988. It would be the first canonization mass of a saint in the United States. Serra founded nine out of twenty-one missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco.

When a blessing is given to the multitudes, any religious articles people may have purchased are also blessed.

Pope Francis suffers from sciatica pain and I noticed he walks as if in pain.

The mass was in Spanish. I could imagine the grumblers saying that since he was in the United States he should speak English!

Gospel was sung by a man. Psalm sung by a woman. Prayer of the Faithful spoken by different people: Asian, Spanish, sign language, and asked to pray for those not yet born, that euthanasia ends, for those that are sick, and those who have died.

The chanting of the Litany of the Saints lasted over ten minutes and it seemed as every saint was mentioned.

Man in a feathered shawl brought up Serra's relics.

The Gloria may have been in Latin because I could not understand any of the words. There was a full orchestra and over 100 choir members.

 I wondered how all those persons would receive communion and it appeared as if everyone received.

Host was dipped in the wine for the religious receiving from the Pope.

The Pope said: Be united in faith, grow in joy of the gospel, love God and love of neighbor, live in service and love, face challenge of our day, have concern for one another, and take care of our good earth.

Pope presented the Archbishop of Washington D.C. with a gift of a gold chalice.

In the back ground, some of the people could be heard shouting "Viva." The Pope mentioned to the clergy to not be afraid to welcome immigrants.

In ending the mass the Pope said, "May Almighty God bless you, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The choir sang Holy God We Praise Thy Name.

Announcers could be heard saying: "Today is a great day to be Catholic." "The Pope is a People's pope."

I liked when the Pope said, "Embrace life as it is and not as you want it to be."

There were 275 bishops, 950 priests, 25,000 tickets (15,000 seated and 10,000 standing.) Huge Jumbotrons were set up for people to watch.

The first day was over for viewers and I do not know if there were celebrations in the evening. I feel as if I know much more about the Pope after watching him most of the day! Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Welcome Pope Francis

This morning I woke up around four and I turned on the television and before I knew it I was fast asleep. A few hours later I heard the name of Pope Francis or maybe I was dreaming about him. I opened my eyes and on the screen was a picture of Pope Francis and President Obama. I propped some pillows to better see what was happening, grabbed my camera and without even planning it, I got to see the President welcome the Pope to the United States.

There stood our first black president and the first Pope from South America. That was a first, and as the announcer said, "Ten years ago, a black President and a first Pope from the Americas would never have happened!"  The President, I thought, gave a beautiful welcome to the Pope. I do not know if there are seventy-million Catholics but if the President said it, it must be true!

Paraphrasing of some of what President Obama said in his welcome speech: The Catholic church plays its part in the struggling Americas by calling people to feed the hungry, protect the lowly, shelter the homeless, teach our children, minister in prisons, while other countries operate orphanages and try to break free of oppression. He praised the Pope for his unique qualities and not only in works but in deeds. In the eyes of God we are not measured by power, money or what we have. You stand up for injustices, welcome strangers, and show compassion and love to all. We are all made in the image of God and you remind us to be better people. You have passionate words for when nations can be free to practice their faith and have religious freedom. You are an example of Jesus.

When it was time for the Pope to speak, I couldn't help think that he truly seemed to be a humble man. Quietly, in an English language he had just learned, (when he pronounced the word honor he actually sounded the H. I found that strange because in Spanish the H is silent.) he spoke with an Italian accent and using his hands to emphasize a point, his first sentence was, "I am a son of immigrants."  He mentioned supporting institution of marriage, rejects unjust discrimination, wants religious liberty, social justice and climate control. "It cannot be left to future generations, it must be now.  Humanity must work together but we must commit ourselves to take care of our home." Help support the international community as they struggle and we must protect the vulnerable. All nations should know peace and prosperity. He mentioned he looked forward to being in the United States and ended with God bless America.

There I was, propped up on pillows, in my pajamas and feeling like there must be something I could do to help those that need help. I heard that 11,000 tickets had been given to the diverse crowd just so they could get a glimpse of the Pope. An announcer said, "People are lined up as far as the eye can see." Some would  be in the crowd, yet never get close enough to see him. What an exciting time in our day to see Pope Francis in the United States. There was going to be a parade with the Pope and I hope to watch it because that is as close as I will ever get to Pope Francis!

"A little bit of mercy makes the 
world less cold and more just."
Pope Francis

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Golden Beauties

Today I was up at 6 a.m. to work on my Timeline Bible homework. After two hours of reading about Adam and Eve, their descendants, Noah and the flood, I decided to take a break. Turning on the television I could see pictures of the Aspens that someone had sent to Channel 7. Many years had passed since I had gone to see the Aspens turn yellow. I recalled going up, year after year, to different areas and my favorites were Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant; also Boreas Pass outside of Breckenridge.

This morning I had two choices. I could do some house cleaning or I could go see some yellow leaves! It didn't take me long to decide what I would do. I drove to Idaho Springs and was surprised to see the new  Veterans' Memorial Tunnels. I don't remember how they looked before, but now they are wide and with lots of light. As far as I can figure out, the Twin Tunnels were completed toward the end of 2014 and at that time the name was changed to Veterans' Memorial Tunnels.

I took the road to Echo Lake and found many areas blotched with yellow and gold leaves. It was cool and cloudy and I thought I would be caught in a thunderstorm but luckily it did not rain. Below are some of the photos I took on my journey to our beautiful mountains!

After seeing all of God's wonders and enjoying the majestic, colorful mountains, I came across a statue without feet or hands guarding a mail box. I wondered who he was representing, why was he in such need of repair, and even as raggedy as he looked, I liked him and took his picture.