Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Color Red

Every time I see the color red in cloth, paint, books, art, or thread I remember my trip to the Bower's Museum in California. I wanted to see Diego Rivera's water colors but was more fascinated by the exhibit of The Red That Colored The World.

The exhibit had many objects on display and before they could be shown the red had to be tested to make sure it came from a cochineal bug.

The bug was found in the 1500's at an Aztec market by Spanish explorers. When crushed it looks like a pile of raisins. The bug when ground up produces a red juice that can be used in many ways. When used it is permanent and a pure red. Some of the uses were for the British soldiers' uniforms, a chair belonging to Napoleon, evening gowns, furniture paint, woven blankets and ponchos. The red from El Greco's painting, The Savior, came for the cochineal bug. Mexico exported the bug to Europe and it was rated as a second export after silver. It has been used in yogurt, candy, nail polish, and lipstick but the bug does need to be listed as an ingredient.

When I saw the artifacts from New Mexico and realized that they had been made during the time of my ancestors, I was fascinated. I wondered if they knew about this bug who gave out a red color. At the end of the exhibit there were some red robes with white fur collars and my daughter said, "Hey, let's make you a queen. With all that red it almost looks like an oil painting." She draped the robe around me and I held some red gloves. What fun goofing around with my daughter!

Queen E

Thumbs and Eyes

Every where I go, what I notice the most are thumbs moving over phone keys. Eyes stare at the screen on a cell phone. A few days ago, while at the airport, there were seventeen persons standing around and sixteen of those persons were on their cell phones. I know because I counted them! I glanced around the airport and it seemed as if everyone was communicating on a cell phone. I would venture to guess that 90% of the people waiting for flights, on any given day, are using their cell phones!

I noticed a young woman dressed in knee high leather boots, tights, short skirt, a sweater that showed her exaggerated bosom, long, flowing hair and a face with well placed make up. To me, she looked like pictures I have seen of hookers. She was attractive and I am sure if any men had seen her, they would have used the word "sexy" to describe her. She walked past me, then returned, then walked by again and I believed she was trying to show off her attributes as she swung her rear left to right and back again! The sad thing was that no body saw her. I may have been the only one watching her. Everybody was texting and no one was looking up as she paraded back and forth. I felt bad for the young woman who was all gussied up and no one noticed her.

It appears that as long as the phone users have thumbs and eyes to look at the screen, they don't need anything else! One man tripped over a suitcase while on his cell phone and two persons bumped into each other. At this point, I got my phone out and began texting so I have no idea what else happened at the airport to all the texters!

A Lift Me Up Place

When I am feeling down and my face is one big frown, I have found a place to go that instantly lifts my spirits. It's a place no one would ever guess. I love going through the security line at DIA (Denver International Airport). There I am made to feel young and the thought makes me happy. "Take off your shoes," I am told by a young TSA (Transportation Security Administration) officer. "You need to take off your shoes," he repeats. I look at him and say, "I thought that if a person was over 75 they did not need to remove their shoes." With a look of surprise, he asks, "Are you over 75?" I say, "I'm 77." He laughs and says "You could have fooled me because you sure don't look it."

It doesn't matter to me that I am held back and a wand moved up and down my body. It doesn't matter that I am asked to remove my baseball cap. It doesn't matter if they go through my bag. All I know is that my 
ego blows up like a balloon. My depression lifts. I leave the security area with my head held high. How nice to know that someone believes I am younger than I am. That makes me feel good.  Not only do the agents check to keep fliers safe, but they have a way of cheering me up!

"You can't help getting older,
but you don't have to get old."
George Burns

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blue Corn Cheese Enchiladas

One of my favorite foods when I travel to New Mexico are the Blue Corn Enchiladas. By error, I have been calling them Blue Cheese Enchiladas because I was so sure that is what they are called in New Mexico. Looking for a place that serves the Blue Cheese Enchilada, a friend and I went to Jack & Grill in Westminster. They advertise as a New Mexican type restaurant. When I asked the server if they carried the "blue cheese" enchiladas, she wrinkled her forehead and opened her eyes wide. "Blue cheese?" she asked.

My friend said, "You mean blue corn cheese enchiladas, don't you?" I nodded. The waitress said they did not and she had never heard of them. I told her that it is a specialty in New Mexico and that I always order them when I am in that state.  It might be that when I say blue cheese the servers automatically know I mean blue corn enchiladas.

We both ordered the cheese enchiladas with red chili and they tasted great; a New Mexico flavor! We enjoyed our late lunch and the festive Christmas decorations. My craving for the blue corn enchiladas has diminished but now I know where to go for some good enchiladas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Little Black Box

One of the sayings my granddaughter and I tell each other as we say good-bye is, "I love you." The other one will then respond with, "I love you more." There was a time when we would continue the litany. "I love you more."  "No, I love you more." "Well, I love you more than chocolate." "And I love you more than life." "I love you more than my dog." "I love you more than the mountains."  Get the picture? We love each other!

This Christmas season, my granddaughter gave me a present in a red and white bag. "It's not much," she said. I assured her that it is not the gift that mattered, but the thought." Later when I began to open the gift she said, "It's not a gift you can use and you can't do anything with it, but I thought about you when I saw it.  "My curiosity was peaked, what could my granddaughter be giving me?

A small black box, about 3 1/2 by 5 inches made me think of a picture frame. My gut feeling told me I was right, because she knows how I am always with my camera and taking pictures. As I turned the black box around, I burst into tears. The gift touched my heart. What a special gift. A gift that I would treasure forever. On the black box was printed, LOVE YOU MORE.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Closet Sweater

Would the sweater ever come out? Could it wait another year before showing its true self to the public? I had seen other sweaters on Facebook but my sweater had not come out. Maybe I should back up a bit so that you would understand why my sweater is hanging in my closet.

A Christmas luncheon was planned for December 15, 2015, complete with a ham and potato dish, lots of desserts, Carolers from a local high school, Santa Claus and an ugly sweater contest. Before the luncheon, I would hear people talking about how they were decorating their sweaters. Some had sweaters they could wear, others went to thrift stores, some borrowed sweaters and I worked on my sweater. It was not easy but when I looked at the finished sweater I was pleased. I knew no one would have a sweater like mine!

A snow storm came in on Monday night and by morning the reports were horrendous. Up to eight inches of snow and it was still snowing; the lunch was cancelled. I sadly looked at my sweater knowing no one would ever see my creative efforts.

A couple of my friends posted their sweaters on Facebook and I could tell that Santa Claus, who would be the judge, would have a difficult time choosing a winner. Wish I could have seen all of the sweaters that would have shown up at the luncheon!


With my sweater, I wanted to include some of the Young at Heart members and to let them know that Christmas to me was celebrating with them.

And now, out of the closet comes my photo ugly sweater!

Adding to my horde
this sweater will be stored
one more year
for Christmas cheer.
Let us  hope
we can cope
with weather next year
so friends can be near
to celebrate and have fun
under a winter sun!

E. Moscoso
December 19, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paw Prints in the Snow*

Yesterday when I opened the front door leading to the whiteness of the outdoors, I saw small holes in the snow. The white driveway and the snow covered porch had animal prints. Or what I thought were animal prints. The prints in the driveway looked as if they were made by a drunken cat. Back and forth and then around, the cat seemed to have wandered crookedly in my driveway. My thought was that maybe it was a cat but any small animal could have made the paw prints in the snow. Each print hole seemed to be about an inch big.

This morning I took a picture of some of the prints that had not been scraped away when a snow-blower cleared my driveway. I had questions wondering, if it was a cat, whose was it? Who would have let their cat out on a cold and snowy day? If it was a wild animal, what was it doing so close to my house? Was it looking for warmth? Why did it seem to stagger around on my driveway?  Was it enjoying playing in the snow? I know none of my questions can be answered and I will never know what kind of animal made those prints in my yard.

I realize that inside the house it is comfortable and warm while outside wild life wanders in the cold, tip-toeing through the snow. Maybe those prints belong to a fox or a dog but my first guess is that it was a cat.  Yet, who knows?

Today, the critter returned to leave me more paw prints. Makes me wonder if the beast visits other homes or if it's just my driveway it uses for romping? Maybe it is more than one "cat" leaving paw prints behind. It is becoming a mystery that may never be solved!

On December 17, 2015 I received some comments on my Facebook page. Three persons think they are rabbit prints. Rabbits never entered my mind because I have never seen them in my neighborhood.

*Do not mistake my blog with Sally Grindley's Paw Prints In the Snow, a story of parents traveling the world with their two children helping animals on the verge of extinction.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Snow Spoils The Day

One of the highlights of the Young At Heart group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community is the Christmas get together for the group. This year promised to be a joyful and fun luncheon with Pomona Carolers, an Ugly Sweater Contest, and Santa Claus. The food prepared by volunteers would have been exceptional  and everyone would have enjoyed the creative decorations. It would have been a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season by the 55+ group.

But it wasn't to be. Snow began falling late last night and continued this morning. Weather reports were bad. Accidents all over the metro area. And the snow continued to fall. A call between a couple of members of the executive committee and a decision was made. The lunch would be cancelled. How do you let 200+ members know? One way is a call to the church to find out if an activity has been canceled. On my smart phone I had a list of about thirty-six persons and I called them to let them know. Most responded with, "I wasn't planning on getting out in this weather." Feeling quite modern and up to date, I used Facebook to let people know that the lunch had been canceled. Spirit of Christ Facebook would also put it on their web site and Flocknote.

Some questions I was asked were: "Will the luncheon be rescheduled?" There would be no way to get another slot on the church calendar. "Gee, I have my sweater all decorated and ready to go." Save it for next year!  "I am glad it was canceled because I do not like to be out in the snow." God's will be done! 

As I wrote my blog I remembered photos of other past Christmases celebrated by Young at Heart. I will share a few of  the pictures of past celebrations since we cannot be together today!

 Merry Christmas to all and a 
Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year.

Luna's Christmas Card

Last year I received a red Christmas card with a picture of Luna on the front. I am hoping that I get another one this year so I can see how she is growing. Now that my grandchildren are practically adults, I have a grand-dog that sends me greetings. Just as I enjoyed seeing pictures of my grandchildren every year I am enjoying pictures of the black and white shepherd-mix. I am hoping I will find another card from her this year! She wasn't very old but already she knew how to write with good penmanship to sign the inside of the Christmas card!

Monday, December 14, 2015

White Christmas

On Sunday, December 13, 2015, a group from Young At Heart of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community attended the performance of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. I have seen other shows in different venues but the acting, singing and dancing at the Arvada Center beat them all! I am always amazed at the props that can slide on and off the stage, yet the way it is done lets the audience know exactly what is happening.

The play is timely and mixed with humor and emotional aspects. The dramatic flair plus the singing and dancing were impressive. The wardrobe and the wardrobe changes amazed me at how fast those actors could change costumes. Special acting came from two giddy and sort of nasty women, a little girl who could sing and dance, the slow-talking-overall wearer Ezekiel, and the housekeeper who Ethel Merman once told her she was loud! The leads in the musical were exceptional in their singing, acting, and dancing.

The story is about two soldiers who are also entertainers. 
After the war ends they become famous while their commander 
buys an Inn in Vermont. Two sisters are contracted to perform
on Christmas Eve at the Inn. While in New York, one sister 
connives to have the famous ex-soldiers come see their act. 
One couple falls in love while the other couple struggles with 
their relationship. When it is found out that the Captain is 
losing the Inn for lack of funds the two ex-soldiers decide 
to have a show at the Inn and invite all the 151st Division to
come to the Inn on Christmas Eve to help the Captain.

The Captain gives an emotional speech about his men 
who are supposedly sitting in the audience and calls many by name. 
(I noticed some of the people in the audience wiping an
eye or blowing a nose.) Confusion is apparent when
a message is misinterpreted but at the end the correct message 
is given and everyone lives happily ever after!

The songs that I recognized were: White Christmas, Happy Holidays, Count Your Blessings, Blue Skies, and How Deep Is the Ocean. This was truly a musical that was enjoyed by all! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Door of Mercy

Last evening while attending the party for Our Lady of Guadalupe I wandered out to take some pictures of
different areas of the church. The altar with over 628 pairs of socks to be given to the homeless. The Door of Mercy; coming in we are accepted in mercy while going out we will do acts of mercy. Our Lady's shrine. A large
banner with Year of Mercy on it. And then I glanced outside and the courtyard was all lit up with blue Christmas lights. It was a beautiful sight.

Even though I did not have a coat, I stepped outside to photograph the area outside. I got a few pictures and because I was freezing I tried the first door. It was locked. So were the second and third doors I tried to open. I could see two women walking down the hall and I pounded on the glass and door. They turned around once but evidently they did not see me as they continued walking toward the party.

My only thought was that maybe the side door was open and if it wasn't, surely someone inside the warm and joyful room would either see me or hear me. I trudged through the snow, walked on icy areas, and had to maneuver around a truck to get to the side door. What a relief when I found the door open. If I had something to write with, I would have labeled the door, Door of Mercy!

Our Lady's Party

On December 12, on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a party was given at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community to honor her. The hall was decorated in bright colors and two pinatas waited their turn to join the festivities. Our pastor
said grace, the numbered tables were called in an orderly fashion, our large blue tickets were handed to a man collecting them, and servers put a burrito, rice, beans, green or red chili on a plate. At another station, chopped tomatoes, lettuce and cheese were plopped on top of the burrito. A few drink stations were scattered around the room, some with alcoholic drinks and others with soft drinks. A wicked bowl with Sangria for Adults was a popular place! For dessert, the traditional Biscochito cookies were handed out. It was a well organized party.

A woman read the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the children sitting on the floor and before long the room was quiet so that everyone could also hear the story. Later, the fun began when children lined up to try and break the Micky Mouse and Superman pinatas. When the pinatas were finally cracked open lots of candy dropped to the floor, sending the children rushing in to get the candy.

As I was leaving I could hear Mexican music and I saw many persons snaking around the tables and encouraging others to join the line! They ended up in the center of the room to perform "La Marcha," a traditional march done at Hispanic weddings. As usual, my favorite part was going around and taking pictures of some of my friends.

A beautiful party for Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Jazz and Christmas

Slowly, making my way through the slush and snow, (and praying I would not slip and fall), I entered the off white colored gym and wondered what kind of a performance would be featured. Above me, in a helter-skelter arrangement were pipes, tubes, and a basketball hoop. How odd, I thought, that the concert would be in a gym. An attempt had been made to make the gym more presentable with Christmas wreaths, candle banners, decorated trees, poinsettia plants and small twinkling lights. In one corner there were cookies for sale and in another corner a collection of Nativity Scenes. Finding a place to sit was difficult because the gym was crowded with many persons in their holiday sweaters.

My friends arrived and the music began. It did not take long to be immersed in the jazziest Christmas program I had ever attended!  The program began with five members of the Park Hill Brass who played Christmas music and made me feel like tapping my toes! Two trumpets, a French horn, a trombone and a tuba began the program with Joy to the World, I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In and Carol of the Bells.
Later they played Sleigh Ride and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with their loud horns!

Once the jazz group got us into the mood, in walked the Music Director who was jolly, dressed in black with short spiked hair and ready quips. The Chorale began singing and what a surprise awaited us. It was not the usual Christmas songs -- well maybe it was the usual songs but with a different twist. A more jazzy and peppy version. The soloists had clear, strong voices and the evening turned into a happy and cheerful event.
The Music Director, even though she had her back to us, communicated much of her rhythm and fun-loving attitude with her moves as she directed the chorale. I noticed a mild twerking when they sang Calypso Christmas!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Confusion was hilarious with props, dates on sheets of paper flying around, word changes to the original song, decorated palm trees, funny hats, lights and absolute craziness on the stage! On the other hand, Mary Did You Know was a touching and beautiful arrangement.  Some of the music made me blink a little faster to keep tears from falling, some arrangements were energetic, and others sweet and lulling. I found myself singing along with the group; well, in my head I sang along! The final song was Silent Night and the audience was asked to join in singing the traditional Christmas carol with the "professionals."

What a wonderful way to enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season. My thanks go out to a member of the chorale who is a member of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community and belongs to our book club. When he, and two other singers, sang It's A Wonderful Christmas, my friends and I had tears in our eyes. I give my thanks to him that I was able jump-start getting into the Christmas spirit!