Friday, April 29, 2016

Mexico Pilgrimage

A flyer caught my eye and a quiver of excitement tickled my heart.

Fr. Jacob Thomas
Mexico Pilgrimage
August 8-13, 2016 - 6 Days
$1679 from Denver

This information was followed with the different places they would visit in and around Mexico City. As I glanced through the flyer I realized that the only place I had not visited in Mexico was Coyoacan. This is where Frida Kahlo had been born and a place I wanted to see. The flyer did not mention the artist and I wondered if they would even go to the house where she was born, which was the only place that interested me.

I remembered the second time I went to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Archdiocese of Denver in a large group. I remember that to accommodate every one on the tour, over 200 persons, there were  many buses used. To distinguish each bus, each bus was given a color and that was how we determined which bus would take us around town. My bus was red. Since no hotel could house the whole group, we were separated and put in two different hotels.

I have written about my pilgrimages to Mexico City in my blog of  December 11, 2012 A Fairy Tale That Wasn't and My Friend David written on February 25, 2014. In total, I have been to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe four times so even though I felt a tiny tickle of excitement for this current Mexico Pilgrimage led by our parish priest, I decided to wait for a tour where I have not been!

The groups that I took were right around December 12 on Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day and we had to deal with the millions of other people from all over the world. Maybe August, when this group will be going, will not be as crowded, but I have a feeling that it will be very hot!

The pictures below are from my 1999 Pilgrimage with Archbishop Chaput. To show how life changes a person, in one of the pictures I am squatting, and that is something I can no longer do!

"With great passion,
observe every detail
of the sacred journey."
Lailah Gifty Akita

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Crossword Puzzle Phenomenon

Working on crossword puzzles can be lots of fun, it keeps the brain working trying to recall different meanings, and some puzzles are harder than others! I enjoy the booklets of crossword puzzles that are supposed to be easy though I wonder sometimes what easy means. A friend of mine, who worked puzzles and was much better than I am, said, "When you do the puzzle with ink, instead of pencil, you have joined the big leagues of crossword puzzling."

I work on my crossword puzzles with ink and when I make a mistake, the page can become a big mess because of the many wrong answers. Sometimes, I cannot understand the connection until I look up the meaning of the word and find that the creator of the puzzle is absolutely right! I have two ways to try and figure out the puzzle. One is to go through all the Across and fill in what I know and then do the same for Down. Sometimes there are enough letters to complete the puzzle. Other times, I begin at the beginning and work my way down the page filling Down and Across at the same time.

The strange thing about crosswords is that I may rack my brain trying to recall an answer and no matter how hard I think, nothing comes to mind to make me fill in the small square. I just do not know the meaning.  But, if I set the puzzle down, and pick it up at a later date, the answers come readily to mind. Why, I ask, last night I had no clue and this morning the answers are quite clear. Makes me wonder how that is possible. Either I know the answer or not, yet, when working crossword puzzles a rest can do wonders to open up the brain with a correct answer.

Material I have read implies that working puzzles is good for the brain and may help in not getting dementia or Alzheimer's. I hope this is true and I will continue searching my brain for answers until I finish a puzzle. Sometimes, when I get frustrated because I cannot come up with an answer,  I cheat and look up the answer. I hate cheating but sometimes that is the only way to complete the puzzle!

"People who work crossword
puzzles know that if they stop
making progress, they should
put the puzzle down for awhile."
Marilyn vos Savant

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Legal Mysteries By A Famous Author

One of my favorite authors is John Grisham and his topics of crime and the legal field. Some of the reviews of his books are "powerful,"  "edge of seat drama,"  "best he has ever written," etc.  I marvel at his well written stories and how his characters seems to come alive. Yesterday, I purchased a book by him:  The Tumor, A Non-Legal thriller!

It is a short story about ultrasound technology. The copyright is in 2015. The Table of Contents begins with Chapter 1 The Patient and continues with The Tumor, The Treatment, The End, The Alternative, The End-Revised Version, and the Present.

He writes about ultrasound therapy. The use of ultrasound energy to do away with brain surgery or other tumors. A non-intrusive way to handle cancer! The sad thing is that this method of focused ultrasound is not yet available for everyone.

The story begins with Paul who is a thirty-five years old banker, married with three children and has a tumor in the right frontal lobe of his brain the size of an egg. There are pictures of the tumor and I could barely look at them because I do not like to see anything that is not normal!

I learned about gliomas, one through two are considered benign while three and four are malignant and that the Number 4 is called a glioblastoma. Life for a patient with #4 is about a year to live regardless of any treatments. I was surprised to learn that George Gershwin, Ted Kennedy, Beau Biden, and Susan Hayward all died of glioblastoma. These are the ones he mentions in the book but I am sure there are many others who have succumbed to a cancerous tumor!

I skimmed over the pictures of how an incision is made and a flap, like a shoe tongue, is shown resting on the side of the head showing a hole where doctors can enter and remove the tumor. It is mentioned that once removed, the tumor will return. After radiation, chemotherapy, steroids, and pain pills and huge medical bill, the patient dies.

Grishman says that if this man had been born in 1990 the outcome might have been different. The focused ultrasound could have been used and given the patient a longer life span without all the medication. The ultrasound is being studied and much more research is being done. A picture shows a ray zeroing into the tumor and killing it.

In the story, there are three patients who were treated with focused ultrasound. One had Parkinson's, one had a bone tumor and one saved her uterus after having uterine fibroids.

Grisham himself says, "The Tumor is the most important book I have ever written."

The book is only 67 pages and I read it in about an hour. What an interesting and informative story and not at all like his other books! After reading the book it does give one hope that in the future, there might be a simpler way to treat tumors!

"Focused ultrasound therapy is still in the early stages,
still experimental,
but there is enough research to date
to be very optimistic."
John Grisham

Monday, April 25, 2016

When Will It All End?

I do not know when Jeffrey Archer began writing about the Clifton family. I do know that the next book comes out in November, 2016. I have dutifully read every book, six books in all, and followed the Clifton/Barrington family through good and bad. About a year ago I finished Mightier Than The Sword and felt disappointed knowing that the next book would not come out until January, 2016.

How could I wait that long to find out what happens to the characters in the Clifton Chronicles? Well, I did wait and have just finished Cometh The Hour. Once again I was transformed to England, read about their politics, visited Russia, learned about spying, flew to the United States and back to England. Another great story but the ending left me wanting more and once again I will have to wait for This Was A Man coming out in November of this year. I wonder if that will be the last book about the family.

A short video shows Archer responding to the question of "What will happen next?" His answer is, "That's the fun of it. No one knows what is going to happen, not even me." Cometh The Hour leaves many questions and I hope he answers them in his next book. When I found out he is over seventy years old, I thought that if he dies we may never know what happens to the Clifton/Barrington families! The stories have me rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys.  I like that good wins over evil.

Only Time Will Tell,
The Sins of the Father,
Best Kept Secret,
Be Careful What You Wish For,
Mightier Than the Sword,
Cometh The Hour
and in November, This Was a Man are Jeffrey Archer's books about the Clifton Chronicles.

The only thing I can do is read something else and be patient until his next book comes out!

"Patience is not simply
the ability to wait -- it's
how we behave while
we're waiting."
Joyce Meyer

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I Love To Take Tests

Whenever a test featuring English, Books, History, Religion, Art, Words, Math or Animals pops up on my computer, I take the tests. Usually I rank higher than I think I should have which makes me think I am a good guesser. Because that is what I do, half of my responses are guesses.

Today a 75 Question Test came up with the title of: Can We Guess Your Highest Education Level?
The first 30 questions I knew or guessed right. After that, I began to miss some of the answers and at the end I ended up with 66% and in the category of PhD with a statement of "Congratulations, you got your Doctorate!"  This made me feel good and smart, but I know what I know and a lot of my answers are purely guesses.

Eeny, mini, midey, mo, works for me in most cases! I love the challenge when taking a test and some day I hope to know all the answers. But, that day had better hurry up and come along because my memory is not what it used to be at one time.

On some of the tests many of my friends end up with the same score that I have and it makes me wonder if the tests are geared to give everyone the same answer! Whatever, I will bask in my results for today because who knows what tomorrow's score could be if I take another test!

"That awkward moment when the
only thing you know on the test
is your name!"
Internet Wisdom

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mama, Feed Me

A few years ago while spending some time in Estes Park, Colorado, we were getting ready to take the fun tourist train. The attraction, at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, was popular with people visiting the park.

The small train would take us through a scenic trip lasting about ten minutes. This was a favorite thing to do when we visited Estes Park. We also liked climbing up a big wooden tower for a great view. A fire destroyed most of the building and the last time I was at Rocky Mountain National Park the tourist attraction of train and tower were gone. 

As we waited for the train to make its loop so we could board, I happened to look up. There, in the eave of the building were two tiny birds peeking through a small hole. Pulling out my telephoto lens I was able to capture the tiny birds as they waited for Mama Bird to come feed them.

"I think we consider too much the good
luck of the early bird, and not enough the
bad luck of the early worm."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Friday, April 22, 2016

Where Was I?

When Michael Jackson died, I knew who he was, what songs he sang, his family, and he felt almost as a member of my family. Yesterday, when Prince died, I knew nothing about him. I do recall seeing him in pictures in magazines but I never read the articles pertaining to him. On music shows I'd see him with big hair, dressed in purple, higher than normal men heels and that was about the extent of what I remember about him. He reminded me of a little boy playing grownup. I thought he was a recluse. I did not think he was as popular as I am hearing today.

My question is where was I that he slipped through my life without ever making an impression. It is surprising to me that he was in a movie, his music won awards, he was a composer, and many people are talking about how many great things he did in his life. On the Internet I read: Prince Rogers Nelson was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor, who was flamboyant with a wide vocal range. He played rock, R&B, soul, hip-hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz and pop.

From what I can gather he had two outstanding albums, 1999 and Purple Rain, among many he made.  Purple Rain won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. In pictures I am seeing he looks like he is a small man with lots of talent he inherited from his parents; his father was a songwriter and his mother a jazz singer.

On the Internet, on television and in newspapers there are many tributes for Prince. I liked Will Smith's comment, "A true inspiration and one of the most magnificent artist to ever grace this earth!"

I realize that no matter what I think I know, there is so much I know nothing about!

 "Everyday I feel is a blessing from God
and I consider it a new beginning.
Yeah, everything is beautiful."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I Love A Bargain

When I saw that Jimmy John's was having a customer appreciation sandwich for $1.00 I decided I would try the Subway type sandwich. I had never tasted a Jimmy John's sandwich and thought this would be a good time because for a buck, how could I go wrong?

I drove to the restaurant on 52nd and Wadsworth and there was a twenty-five person line. I then drove to the one on 84th and Wadsworth and there was also a line so I had a debate -- do I park and wait in line or do I forget the cheap sandwich? I decided to park and join the rest of the bargain hunters. As we waited, we chatted and I found out there have been other appreciation lunches and that the line moves along at  good pace. Those that had already received their sandwich drove by waving their sandwich at the hungry people in line!

It did not take long before I received my sandwich and I was on my way home. One dollar and eight cents was a cheap lunch! My bill showed that the sandwich is normally $5.25 minus $4.25 making the total I needed to pay $1.08 which included tax

 When I got home I added some potato chips, a jalapeno pepper and a drink to my Jimmy John's sandwich. While I ate I read Jeffrey Archer's book about the Clifton Family and I'd have to say it was a good lunch!

"There are days only
Jimmy Johns can fix."
Found on Pinterest


A Taste of Spain

While at the grocery store I came upon a display of Spanish food. There were beautifully embroidered kitchen towels, jars and boxes I did not recognize, and large pans for making paella. (mixture of chicken, chorizo, mussels( rice, tomatoes, capers, wine, peas, red pepper, cilantro plus seasonings). I stopped to look at the display and ended up buying two boxes of Natillas and Flan.
A friend of mine from Spain came to mind and I thought, she probably did not need the Carmencita dessert mixes because I remember she made delicious Flan from scratch.

The Natillas dessert, a sort of custard, is eaten with cinnamon sprinkled on top and the only place I have eaten it is at Los Ranchos de Chimayo Restaurant in New Mexico. Both boxes are products of Spain and since I have never seen them before at my local store, I spent a few minutes looking at the display.

"Food is our common ground,
a universal experience."
James Beard

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

May This Never Happen To You

On April 19, 2016, the Young at Heart Group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community had their spring luncheon of spaghetti and meat balls. The tables had small pots filled with colorful flowers and from the ceiling hung twigs wrapped with flowers and felt birds. To put on an affair for almost 200 persons takes a lot of dedicated volunteers and the governing body of the YAH Board members were introduced.

An officer from the police department spoke about the latest frauds, scams, and robberies that can happen to anybody, but mostly to seniors. It seems that seniors are easy targets because they come from an era of trust. Some are lonely and are glad to speak to anyone calling. Seniors are believed to have money and they are vulnerable targets.

It was surprising to hear how many persons have received calls or have been scammed. The officer spoke about Identity Theft (stealing your personal information to file false tax returns or your financial information), IRS Impersonation (call and intimidate you to get your personal information and may threaten to have you arrested. We were told that the IRS will never call on the phone), tax preparation phishing (scammer may impersonate tax preparers to get information), bogus charitable organizations (asking for money by using names that sound legitimate), and caller ID spoofing (showing an ID that looks legitimate from banks, IRS, police department or a government agency).  He mentioned that carrying  purse can be dangerous because crooks in a car can grab your purse and you can be dragged and possibly hurt. He did not say what kind of purse we should carry!

The officer mentioned that free cell phones with 911 can be obtained from him. He asked if anyone has old cell phones to turn them in to him and he will refurbish them to give out. He suggested that the Lockbox provides a house key for emergency medical responders in the event the senior cannot get to the door.

It was an interesting and informative talk and he answered many questions from the audience.

"Rather fail with honor
than succeed with fraud."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Into the Jungles of Peru

When someone is leaving to travel on a small cruise boat on the Amazon River in Peru, what can her three friends do to see her off? Lunch at Jack and Grill seemed perfect to bid her bon voyage! It was interesting to hear that she had sprayed all her clothing with insect, and most importantly, mosquito repellent. She had packed a hat, her camera and good walking shoes though she was not sure how much walking would be involved. Her hope was to see different types of fish, mammals, reptiles and birds indigenous to the area. She did mention that there are a lot of caiman (alligator type but smaller) in the river. She also said she wanted to take pictures of the many different types of birds she would be seeing. She has been practicing in her back yard with her new camera. On Facebook I did see two pictures she took of birds perched on an electrical wire and a robin wondering what happened to spring!

I asked her if the boat was like the African Queen and her reply was, "No, it is more modern than that!" One of my questions was, "Are you taking toilet paper?" I asked that question because in some of my travels, it was a necessity to carry your own t.p. because some places do not have it.

Lunch was an enjoyable two hours and we all wished her fun on her trip. I am hoping she is able to find Wi-Fi connections so she can send some of her exciting pictures that she will be taking on her adventures on the Amazon River!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

One Day At A Time

This past week we were having spring like weather, right around seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Trees had tiny buds popping up all over and fruit trees blossomed in pink and white. Spring was certainly here! Wrong.

On April 15, 2016, it began to snow and continued to snow until Sunday morning. The snow was wet and heavy and some places had eight to fourteen inches of snow. Trees seemed to fold over with the weight of the snow.

Spirit of Christ Catholic Community courtyard looked beautiful with all the pink and white blossoms  on Friday when I visited the church and I remember thinking that I should take a picture of the area that seemed to be bursting into spring. Sunday, when I went to mass, I felt sad because the blossoms were on the ground mixed with slushy snow. One tree had a large branch that had broken and the splintered limb drooped to the ground.

My thought was that even trees have to go by the motto, one day at a time because even trees don't know what fate awaits them!

"Life without love
is like a tree
without blossoms."
Khalil Gibran

Smothered In Snow

An evergreen tree was planted four years ago
with the hope that it would grow
big, full, wide and tall,
all year long from spring to fall.

But, every April in comes a raging storm
and with snow, the branches do transform.
Heavy, white, beautiful snow
makes limbs bend way down low.

The branches are smothered in white
looking like a winter delight.
Those limbs are bowing down
In a white and heavy gown.

When snow does melt away
branches spring up without delay,
stretching arms so green
to the sun as the tree begins to preen.

Amazing how the limbs don't break,
for that snow is heavy, for goodness sake.
Yet, the warmth will help the tree
spread its branches, oh so free.

In a few more years
if snow doesn't cause woe and fears,
this same tree covered with snow
will continue to grow and grow!

E Moscoso
April 16, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Amazing Birthday

Even though it is officially spring, a snowstorm decided to pay a visit to Colorado. I had been invited to a birthday party and as I looked outside and saw the snow, I wondered if I should skip going to the party. The roads were clean but wet and they did not look slippery. I got myself ready and I am glad I decided to go help a lovely lady celebrate her birthday and see her off on her journey to North Carolina.

The party was for a woman who was celebrating her 94th birthday plus a going away party to say good bye to her friends. She was moving to North Carolina to a beautiful home and she showed us a picture on her phone. "It's in a wooded area," she said. I looked at her and thought, how can someone in her nineties look and act so young. Her face does not have wrinkles, she is on Facebook, and acts like a much younger woman.

Around seventy persons had been invited, but I am sure the weather kept many persons away. The catered lunch was canceled because the number of persons who would show up was uncertain. The thirty, or so, persons at the party ate cheese, veggies, dips, pizza and topped it off with the best cupcakes I have ever eaten. I learned that a daughter had a catering business and worked on many functions like weddings, graduations, and parties.
Fulva Pass's Profile Photo
All I could think of was that this beautiful woman who celebrated her ninety-four years must have great genes. She could pass for a young sixty!

It was fun chatting with those that were at the party, meeting her family, and hearing about where she will be living once she moves.

Wishing you well on your new adventures in North Carolina
and thank you for letting me share your lovely birthday with you!
I will miss you on our casino trips.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Wine, Friends and Food

April 15, 2016, about twenty-five Young At Heart women met at Spero's Winery in Arvada. Large round tables with blue-checkered tablecloths were set up in the tasting room. The bar had twenty different bottles of wine that we would be tasting. Everyone "bellied up to the bar" to taste the different wines.  On one long table, different kinds of cheese were set out so we could enjoy the wine while snacking on cheese, grapes, and crackers. It seemed to me that the more wine was tasted, voices and laughter seemed to get louder. But, of course, that could have been my imagination!

There were many funny signs on the walls but my favorite was "Wine Drinkers Gather Here!"

I tried the Viognier (Dry), Pomegranate (Sweet) and Colombard (Dry). Other wines were Albarino, Riesling, Cayuga White, Dry Muscat, Barbera, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot. We had a lot of choices and most of the women had two glasses in front of them. I noticed that one lady had three glasses in front of her and she said, "I love them all!"

 Lunch was served buffet style and it offered many Italian choices of stuffed mushrooms, peppers in oil, Italian bread, veggies marinated in oil and spices, bruschetta, shredded beef, meatballs, garbanzo beans, and other Italian foods. Dessert was strawberries with chocolate, whipped cream and Pizzelles.

What a fun afternoon tasting, eating and talking. As the ladies began to leave, I knew that no one went away hungry and some carried bottles of wine they had purchased!

"Wine can be considered
with good reason as the
most healthful and
hygienic of all beverages."
Louis Pasteur