Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Today Halloween fell on a Saturday, it isn't snowing or cold, and homes are decorated for the scary holiday. I saw three homes ready to greet the children in anticipation of when the little goblins, fairys, monsters, princesses, movie characters and fun costumes would come trick and treating.

My Spooky Neighbor

There is a scary doll on a tricycle, a hanging freakish ghoul, a tall man with long grey hair wearing black and a top hat. There are tombstones scattered throughout the yard and weird music will begin to play once it gets dark. In one photo, I can also see a floating ghost!



The Skeleton Yard

The entire front yard was full of skeletons. I could see dogs, a beer drinker, mourners at grave sites, worker with a wheelbarrow, looking over a fence for children who will come to ask for candy, cats, mice, a freshly dug grave, tombstones, and a cat on a pumpkin completed the Halloween yard.





Ghouls Who Move

Seven figures who turn, move up and down, let out horrible screeches and grunts, and spin their heads are truly scary. A tall witch-like figure with an ugly white face looks as if it is ready to grab somebody. This display, to me, was the scariest and I would think would frighten the children coming to ask for their trick or treat. But then, maybe not.

I remember Halloween of my past. We would dress up in a costume but we never went out asking for candy. When my children were small I would take them around  6:00 and we would be home before 7 p.m. They took a small bag and were happy with a few pieces of candy. Now I notice that many children carry pillow cases to gather their loot! 

This Halloween had a beautiful sunset and the strips of pinkish-orange seemed to be all over the sky. Behind the skeleton, the colored sky can be seen.  Happy Halloween to all and may you bring joy to dentist who will be working on your teeth!



Friday, October 30, 2015

A Gathering of Pretend Witches

Today, a friend decided to entertain a few friends by having a Tea and Cookie party. The one condition to attend the gathering was that we all had to wear a witches hat. The entrance to the house set the theme with pumpkins, cob webs and legs of a witch coming out from underneath a bale of hay. Inside, the home was decorated with many items pertaining to Halloween. Flames in the fireplace gave the room a cozy feeling and the smell of cinnamon wafted throughout the house. The "witches" brought their favorite cookies, pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, sugar cookies with orange frosting, mixed nuts, and a variety of other small cookies. A coffee pot brewed coffee, a crock pot held the hot apple cider with cloves and cinnamon sticks, while a tea pot held the flavored tea.


After we filled a plate with goodies from the counter, we sat in the cleverly decorated family room and chatted about travels, books, and life. And from his perch, Ralph looked at what was going on and had an expression on his face as if he wondered why everyone was wearing pointed hats!
 

 "When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and
whispers, tis near Halloween!"
Anonymous

La Mano Seca

A four year old child lived with her parents along with her five year old brother in a basement apartment. Their mother would leave for work, after packing a lunch for the two children, and she would take them upstairs to stay with the family that would baby sit while she was away. The upstairs family had four children ranging from ages around eight to twelve. I do not remember their real ages, yet I do know they were all older than my brother and me.

What I do remember is that as my mother turned the corner about a block away, my brother and I would eat our lunch. By lunch time we were hungry again! We began to hear rumors about La Mano Seca (The Dry Hand) that roamed the upstairs home and I remember that we were afraid. We would hear the older children tell stories about how there was no body, just a yellow, shriveled hand that if it ever got you, it would make you disappear or who knew what it could do to you! Every day, one of the other older children would come running, yelling that they had seen the yellow hand and for us to hide. Just the thought of a yellow hand floating through the rooms scared us and we spent a lot of time huddled behind a couch, a bed, or a kitchen table.

One day as my brother and I were walking into a room we heard an eerie sound behind us and when we turned, in the doorway we saw the yellow hand. It moved up and down along the frame of the door and we heard awful sounding screeching noises. I began screaming and crying. I don't remember what my brother did but I went into a hysterical mode that had their mother rushing in to try and console me.

"No, no, it is just my oldest son. He likes to scare people. He is hiding behind the door." She wiped my tears as she called, "Nash, come out and show these children it is you and you are just trying to scare them." My crying had dwindled to sobbing and shuddering deep breaths. Nash came from around the door and he was holding a rubber glove filled with water. When he moved the glove, the glove seemed to come alive. "See,  it is just Nash. Nothing to be afraid of," she said as she rubbed my back and patted my head.

Before long, we were all laughing and begging Nash to scare us again. This year I was given a popcorn hand for Halloween and the memories of La Mano Seca instantly entered my mind. Some things are never forgotten!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marigolds


Marigolds are called Flowers of the Dead in some countries. On All Soul's day, the Marigold is the flower most used to honor the dead. The Internet had these facts:  In Aztec times the flower was used as a healing plant and was a remedy for hiccups, anyone struck by lighting, diarrhea, liver problems, vomiting, or toothaches. The flower was made into a tea, eaten or worn.

I have heard that the Marigold is planted around gardens to keep pests away because of its unpleasant smell. Marigolds are easy to grow and can grow from 8" to 18" depending on what kind it is and in what country. In Africa the plant may grow to 36" tall.

While in Mexico, I would see Marigolds in the cemetery. It was thought that the smell of the flower would guide the dead, and for one day, the dead would visit the living. It's a nice thought and altars are set up for those who have gone ahead. Items liked by the deceased are placed on the altar. Last year I had an altar for my parents and placed a Tequila bottle for my Dad and movie magazines for my Mom. There were other items that I recalled my parents liked plus I added my brother and placed a McDonald's Big Mac box on the altar in his honor. See my blogs of October 28, 2012, Dia de los Muertos; November 1, 2014, Working on an Altar for Day of the Dead; and November 7, 2014, Hot Apple Cider and Day of the Dead Bread. This year I did not do an altar and if spirits do come to visit, I hope they understand that I did not have time to prepare an altar this year!

"Open afresh your round
of starry folds,
ye ardent marigolds."
John Keats

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Trash Day

Every Tuesday I get my trash out to be picked up. I gather waste paper baskets, clean out my refrigerator, and toss in all my shredded paper. Magazines I save to read at a later date may also get tossed because if I haven't read the article I have been saving in three months, I probably will never read it!

This morning I got up early, gathered all my trash, looked at the clock and saw that the trash people would come by in about an hour. I wandered through the rooms to see what other trash I might have. I had two bags to be put near my curb. On my way to the garage to pick up the other bag of trash, a thought occurred to me. Isn't today Wednesday?

Yesterday was my trash day and I had spaced it out. When something like this happens, it makes me wonder two things. 1) Why did I not remember yesterday? 2) Why was I so sure today was my trash day?  The brain works in mysterious ways and I did get up early yesterday to work on my homework. (Bible Timeline) There is a lot of reading and maybe I got caught up in Moses, Aaron, Israel, Golden Ark, temples, punishments, etc. I also worked on a future trip to New Mexico and spent lots of time on the phone contacting hotels and restaurants. I wanted to finish everything before going to have lunch with some friends and maybe because I had other things on my mind, other than my trash, caused me to forget it was Tuesday.

I can understand why Tuesday trash day may have escaped my thoughts. What I find difficult to understand is beginning last evening I knew the next day was trash day. It never entered my mind that it had already passed! It did not enter my mind that the next day would be Wednesday. This morning I got up, still thinking it was trash day, and gathered bits and pieces I wanted to throw out. It wasn't until I had the bag in hand and I was headed out the door that I realized it was Wednesday and I had missed my Tuesday trash day pick up.

I may never know how the mix up happened. I do wonder what other things I may have forgotten. What I do know is that I will now have to wait until next Tuesday to put out my trash!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Day In Italy

It wasn't really a day in Italy but it was a wonderful lunch prepared by an Italian lady. Her table setting, the good food, the red wine, the delicious dessert and the company made for a nice lunch. First she served  us a half of a toasted bun to be adorned with fried red peppers and a soft white cheese topped with parsley and a tomato slice.

I couldn't help but think that the bread, peppers, tomato and cheese was a sufficient meal until she placed a large casserole dish with perfect formed ravioli on the table along with a dish with meatballs and pork slices in a delicious sauce. The vegetable dish of green beans, celery and garbanzo beans I thought completed the meal. I was wrong. An important part of our lunch was a bottle of red wine. We raised our glasses and gently tapped them with each other as "cheers" rang out. We said grace and began to eat our noon day feast!
The lunch was not only tasty, but the camaraderie of everyone present brought to mind the saying of Maria  Sharapova: "It's easy to impress me. I don't need a fancy party to be happy. Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I'm happy. I'm satisfied. I'm content."

Thanks to the dear, sweet lady who took the time to prepare the meal for us. Molte grazie (many thanks),
Mille grazie (thanks a thousand times) or grazie di cuore (sincerest thanks). No matter how it is said, the group just wants her to know we appreciated her time and effort and we enjoyed eating the great meal and spending time with her.



"I love everything that is old;
old friends, old times, old manners,
old books, old wines." 
Oliver Goldsmith


Monday, October 26, 2015

Throwing Money Away

On Friday, October 23, 2015, I took a busload of gamblers to the Mardi Gras casino to try their luck at gambling. Spirit of Christ Catholic Community sponsors a trip to Blackhawk once a month. Usually about fifty some people make the trip. Some people came back with more money than they went up with, some came back with what they had taken up, others had $1.00 left to tip the bus driver, while others just had fun whether they won or lost. I feel lucky when I return home with about $25 dollars more than I took up.


Yesterday, on Sunday, October 25, 2015, I returned to the casino with Visitation Parish Fundraiser Bus. While on the bus, I participated in a couple of raffles and won a bottle of wine. Some lady I did not know won fifty-seven dollars. I liked traveling on the fund raising bus! It was fun being with another group and not being the leader of the group. I thought it strange that I had never noticed the three dark tunnels we go through on Highway 119. Evidently, by sitting in the front and making announcements, I had never noticed or paid attention to the tunnels!

As I wandered through the casino I looked for familiar faces, but since I knew only three people from the different parish, I did not recognize anyone. Is it luck or do some people have a magic touch? Even though I played some of the machines that I knew had paid out on Friday, for me those same machines did absolutely nothing! Even playing at The Lodge Casino where friends I know have won in the past, I did not do anything but feed my dollars into the hungry machines! It was a relaxing visit to the casino with no responsibilities. One thing I know for sure is that going to Blackhawk within two days is a very bad idea!


Understanding God

 The Old Testament God

I was raised to be humble,
if not, I might fall and tumble.
Don't show off, be kind, be nice
don't brag, get angry or have a vice.

And then I read some Bible pages
where the Lord throws fits of rages.
He is jealous; must not have any God's before him
or life can become extremely sad and very grim.

On clouds or fire he does appear
making people quake with fear.
Violet, red and purple He will insist
trimmed in gold to help Him exist.
If His wishes are not kept,
be careful where you've stepped.
He threatens to have everyone killed
for not doing what he asked and willed.

It seems as if it is His way or no way,
by not obeying you will have to pay.
If on my soul there could be a blight
who knows how He'll make it right.
In the Old Testament God seems to think
anger and punishment is the link
to make the world be all right.
His anger could not give him much delight.

Okay, I know he is God and can do as he pleases
But maybe with kindness, fears of punishment ceases
If maybe I could see he was a kind and gentle being
reading the Bible would help understand what I am seeing.
Some say that in the New Testament He is changing
and His love and kindness is rearranging.
He becomes a kind God full of love,
a strong and beautiful gentle dove.

E. Moscoso
October 25, 2015





Saturday, October 24, 2015

Laudato Si

The title is Greek to me but some people thought it was Latin, which is how most papers by the Holy See are written, but today we found out it was written in Italian. This happens to be the second encyclical written by Pope Francis. Laudato Si means Praised Be and today I attended a meeting where a speaker, Jim Broderick King, would explain Pope Francis' 128 page encyclical.

Talk about being a fish out of water. I had no idea what was being discussed and jotted down words in hope that later I could try and decipher what I had written or what was said.

One of the things that had nothing to do with the encyclical was that Pope Frances, when he visited the United States, had wanted to enter from Mexico but it could not be arranged. That would have been interesting. We were shown a picture with three recent Popes. Each Pope had a caption beneath his picture: John Paul II, this is what we believe; Pope Benedict XVI, this is why we believe; an Pope Francis, now go do it.


Evidently, the encyclical is about our earth and how everyone is responsible to do their best to preserve it. 
The speaker mentioned Fr. James Martin who has tried to explain the encyclical and what it means in ten main points of the book.

1)  There is now a spiritual perspective to our environment with a religious point of view. In the past it has been political, scientific and economics, but now we will have religion also.
2)  Climate change has an impact and is felt mostly in developing countries, i.e. the poor.
3)  The technological mindset is the key to human existence yet not much thought has been given to how it will effect our world. We need to live in moderation and be happy with what we have.
4)  Authoritative teaching is how we grew up but modern day problems will now be needed to be looked at in a different way. Environment has not had a place in religion, but now will.
5)  We have Christian Biblical roots and Pope Francis brings in the Gospel of Creation. "keep the earth" is letting us know we should take care of the earth.
6)  Everything is linked to creation and every one  is connected. Our decisions has an effect and we are part of it. Money interest and ruination of the planet are connected.
7)  Embrace science yet accept the Bible's teaching, i.e. evolution.
8)  Our world has become one of selfishness and indifference.
9)  There has to be global dialogue and solidarity among all nations.
10) Everyone is responsible for our planet and new ways must be found of looking at things. As Pope Francis commented, "the earth  is an immense pile of filth."

Jim Broderick King mentioned that food, water, and land are not commodities. He said that it is not so much what Pope Frances says that is remembered but his actions. The meeting ended with the idea that mercy is needed for those doing things we do not understand. He gave the example of the woman in the Bible with five husbands. Even though it was wrong, he treated the woman with mercy.

I still felt as if I did not understand everything and will probably have to do some research on the encyclical
writings of Pope Francis, but then I saw something I did understand. I got up to throw away my trash and saw the trash can filled to the top with paper plates and plastic. Of any meetings, this one speaking of taking care of our earth, should have had dishes and silverware that were not disposable. I realize that we, me included, take the easy way out and we don't think of the environment! I wonder what the earth will look like in fifty years if we do not take responsibility to take care of our earth now.

"Climate change is a terrible
problem and it absolutely needs
to be solved. It deserves to be
a huge priority."
Bill Gates


Thursday, October 22, 2015

What Do Dreams Mean?

I am a dreamer. My dreams, if I could remember them, would make interesting novels. Yet, through the years the symbolism in my dreams have changed. Once, I went to classes in Interpretation of Dreams where many ideas were thrown out and it made me wonder if those ideas could be true. Some of what was suggested made sense and those are the ones I remember. Recurring dreams are listed below.

First one cat would jump on me and cling, with sharp little claws, to me. Then another cat and and another cat would jump on me. All I could do was grab a cat by the scruff of the neck and toss it away from me. My arm would tire but I could never get those cats off me. I had a feeling as if I was suffocating. (Once I got a divorce I never had the dream again.)

I would dream that someone behind me grabbed me and held me tight. I could never see who had his arms around me but I knew it was the devil. I struggled to release myself but could not do it. "I know you are the devil and you will not win," I told the figure behind me as I struggled. (I believe the serape I used to cover myself had a spell put on it and once I got rid of the colorful Mexican blanket, I never had the dream again.)

Any drawer, closet, chair, in the aisle of a plane, in school, or in a garden I would find myself going to the bathroom. It was strange that I would leave my poop in so many different places. (In class, the dream was interpreted that I had a lot of creativity inside of me and I was trying to let it out.)

Taking showers where ever I could is another recurring dream. I have been in school showers, on top of a bed,  or under a tree with the water spilling over and out while getting everything wet. (Never figured this one out.)

Lately, in my dreams, I lose my camera and spend, what seems half the night, looking for it. (My interpretation is that since I love my camera, I may be connecting it to my life and feel that by aging I am losing my youth.)

A dream I was able to interpret:

I kept losing my children. 1. Once I lost my son in India and I could see myself pushing aside all the white robes as I tried to find him. 2.  I lost my daughter in a crowded mall. She was on the up escalator and I was on the down, making me feel frantic because there was no way I could reach her. 3. I was going to a parade and my son did not want to go with me so I took him to my Mother's house and dropped him off  at the corner and I went on to the parade. I was picking up goodies being thrown from the floats and had my hands full of lipstick tubes. Suddenly, I remembered that my Mother was dead and the fear of my son being lost gripped me. As fast as I could I drove to my Mother's house, praying all the way, that he would be okay and that he would be sitting on the front stoop waiting for me. I turned the corner and he was not there. What could have happened to my son? Kidnapped, lost, hurt, etc. That scary, helpless feeling overwhelmed me.

I woke up sweating, crying and my heart pounding. The fearful sadness that he was gone stayed with me until while at work I was interpreting someone else's dream. At that point my dream became clear to me and made sense.  I had been going to Weight Watchers and was slowly taking off the pounds. Subconsciously, I was probably afraid who I would become once I was thinner. Love of myself and who I was transferred to  the two I loved best, my children. They represented the fat I was losing. It made sense to me!

A feeling of contentment and peace felt so good when I dreamed about an angel with large wings enfolding me and holding me close. I told my daughter about my dream and she drew a picture and sent it to me.

This morning I am trying to ponder my way through the dream I had last night. At a party for my brother and me and everyone at the party gathered around my brother to wish him a happy birthday. There was much laughter and commotion around my brother while around me stood my grandchildren and my daughter.  I remember feeling a bit envious until I realized that I had the most important persons in my life around me. I had those I love with me and I really didn't care that all the party was gathered around my brother.  I wanted to get my camera to take pictures at the party. I searched the house and was looking in the refrigerator for my camera when I woke up. Who knows what all that meant!

In doing research about dreams I found a few ideas by dream analysts.

Sigmund Freud: Dream content is related to wish fulfillment or unconscious desires.

Carl Jung: Traits in dreams are same as our waking moments.

Alvin Springer Hall:  Try not to understand dreams but to understand the dreamer.

G. William Domhoff:  "Unless you find your dreams fun, intellectually interesting or artistically inspiring, then feel free to forget your dreams."



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clouds

When I was young, I remember lying on the grass and watching the clouds move slowly across the sky. They seemed to sail across the deep blue sky, and their movement was barely detectable. Usually I see forms in the clouds and usually no one else can see what I see! On my recent trip to Cancun, early in the morning, I opened the drapes to my room and saw huge billowing clouds. They were puffy, yet ominous. I had never seen such giant clouds and I was fascinated as well as a little scared. Could a hurricane be brewing?

I stood on the balcony and watched the cloud show! For it truly was as if the balls of puffy clouds were performing an extremely slow dance! These clouds were the biggest clouds I had ever seen!

 


Later, when I asked one of the waiters about the large clouds, he said, "Every morning the clouds gather over the ocean and because the water is warm it causes clouds to form. Usually, the clouds are gone by the time the tourists get up. The best time to see the large clouds is around six in the morning."



One of the many things I will remember about my visit to Cancun on the Caribbean Sea is the breath- taking clouds that form over the beaches.





















"Aren't the clouds beautiful?
They look like big balls of cotton....
I could lie here all day and watch
them drift by....if you use your
imagination you can see lots
of things in the cloud formations...
What do you think you see, Linus?"
Charles M. Schulz

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Where Does Time Go?

 My Life Lately

Being retired
I would think
there would
be lots of
time.
Lately, there
does not seem
to be enough
time 
to do everything I
want to do.
Multi-tasking
was easy for
me, yet the
older I get the
more difficult
it becomes to
do many things
at the same time.
My list lately
seems to
overwhelm me.
Order prints of
last dinner.
Arrange them
on a display
board.
Type out titles.
Get birthday candy
for  luncheon.
Take photo books
 to be given to those
who ordered them.
Load car.
Bible Study
homework
with lots of
reading awaits me. 
Make a vacation
photo book of
my trip to Cancun.
Grocery shop.
Buy dessert for it's
my turn to take.
Make list of
gamblers and
answer their calls.
E-mail list to casino.
Meet friends for
lunch. Read a book
for my book club.
And so on.
"Better to be busy
than not" I was told.
Maybe true.
Then I remember
I'm preparing a trip
to Chimayo,
must call different
places to get quotes
and advertise trip.
Makes me wonder
if maybe I should
slow down. 
Then
I think, who knows
when my time will
come to an end
and I am thankful
I can still do what I do! 
Thank God I can still
do it and hope
that for a long
time I stay fit
and do everything
on my plate! 
There's laundry
to do and I have
to eat,
then I look
at my house
that needs to
be cleaned,
that needs to
be straightened up
and I do the next
best thing. 
I go to bed, 
for tomorrow
is another day! 

E. Moscoso
October 20, 2015





Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Haunted House

The mansion sits on the corner of 37th and Bryant Streets in North Denver. It is huge and in its largeness it is an attractive building. The home was built by John Mouat who made his fortune in lumber in the late 1800's. The home is 8,500 square feet, the third floor ballroom has a pyramid ceiling and maple floors. There are many areas with beautifully carved wood. In the 70's when the mansion was a cheap place to rent rooms, two teen age girls were murdered. Those murders were never solved.

 In 1991, Walter Keller purchased the condemned and abandoned house and has tried to restore the home to its original beauty. Today it is a Bed & Breakfast plus having mystery shows and dinners. Last night, there were around 100 persons milling around!

The doors opened at six in the evening and a young woman tried her hardest to make everyone hear her but only those standing near her would know what she said. As we entered the house, we were handed a tray with chips to be used in gambling. There were blackjack and roulette tables and shouting was the best way to be heard. The workers were in odd costumes, wigs, and spoke with accents. Whenever they began a story it was always, "it was a dark and stormy night." Few people, who happened to be near the person speaking, could hear the story. The characters were a real
estate woman, a fortune teller, a policeman, a magician, a hypnotist, and a few others who I haven't figured out!

A small bar kept the bartender busy because it seemed that everyone wanted to buy an alcoholic drink. Someone said, "Hey, the more you drink, the better the show." After gambling or wandering around we began our trek to the third floor. On the second floor we waited for about twenty minutes while the "actors" yelled stories at us. I was with a group that could not hear or understand what was being shouted. Finally, we were on the move again. Up a tall flight of stairs and into the ball room where our group had two round tables, Numbers 7 & 8.

There was a murder and we were supposed to gather clues and figure out who smothered the young man. A lot of noise, couldn't hear the actors, and if we could hear them we couldn't understand some of them. I wondered if it was really that difficult to know what was going on or if our age might have had something to do with it! Those in the audience were called to participate.

We went through the buffet line and I enjoyed the food, especially the small piece of salmon. For dessert we got a caramel apple. When it was over and the actors took their bows, someone asked me, "What did you think?" I thought about it and said, "I liked sitting in the big chair!"

Remarks I heard as we carefully made our way down all the steps were:
 "Well, that was better than sitting at home on a Friday."
"It's the type of place that you do once and never have to do it again."
"It might have been okay if I had been able to hear what was going on."
"I liked the candy apple but had to cut it into small pieces or my teeth might have fallen out."
"The gambling was fun."

 





I am glad I got to see the Lumber Baron mansion and learn some of its history. It surprised me that the city, at one time, had condemned the building and happy that it had been restored close to its original beauty.  In front of the mansion was a lone rose and I thought it was appropriate. The flower was blooming just as the mansion was blooming again!