Thursday, May 26, 2016

Am I Becoming a Movie Critic?

It is not my fault that when I see a movie I enjoy, I want the world to know! Well, maybe not the world, but certainly my blog readers. Yesterday, through Netflix, I received the movie Letters -- a movie about Mother Teresa. I had read the book a few years ago, yet, watching the movie moved me to tears. She went to India as a cloistered nun with the Sisters of Loretto. When she felt God moving her to work outside of the convent, against her Mother Superior's wishes, she left the order of Loretto to work among the poorest of the poor. It was not an easy task because the Hindu people did not want her there and did not accept her. She never took credit for anything she was doing, but said, "I am only the pencil that God uses to write."

She had many obstacles to overcome but luckily, with the help of a few priests she was able to start the Missionaries of the Poor that later became the Missionaries of Charity.

The Internet had a few points I found interesting and will share with my readers: Compassion gave her purpose, faith gave her inspiration, and courage gave her strength. She was born in 1910 as Agnes Goxha Bojaxhiu in Albania and died in September, 1997 at eighty-seven. Her life was devoted to the poor, she spread a message of love, and no matter what was going on in her life, she trusted in God. 

The movie ends with her receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 and when she recited my favorite prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in her acceptance speech, I became emotional. It was the way she prayed, in a humble and soft manner that touched me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
 Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury; pardon.
Where there is doubt; faith.
Where there is despair; hope.
Where there is darkness; light.
And where there is sadness; joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Mother Teresa will be canonized on September 4, 2016.

"If you can't feed a hundred people,
then just feed one."
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

After Affects of War

The blurb that made me want to watch Noble, began with: The extraordinary true story of the fearless and feisty heroine, Christina Noble, who overcame harsh difficulties of her childhood in the slums of Ireland to realize her destiny on the streets of Vietnam.

I know it must be horrible for a country to be devastated by war and we have been fortunate that it has not happened in the United States recently. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War were fought on the ground without bombs being dropped. This movie showed a moving story of poverty, orphans and predators.

The movie begins in Ireland in a slum area where a family has five children, the husband cannot feed them, the mother dies, and the six or seven year old Christina sings in a bar. She loves Doris Day and hopes to one day be like her. She is a precocious little girl and when she and her siblings are put into a home, she gets into all sorts of trouble.  While a teen-ager she is raped by five young men, becomes pregnant, and the baby is adopted and taken away from her. She talks to God and is having problems understanding why her life is so difficult. One night, after praying about what God wants her to do, she dreams about Vietnam. She also sees a television show about the bombs being dropped by the United States in Vietnam and knows that this is her purpose in life. To go help the children that are left homeless.

She arrives in Vietnam and works in a orphanage but wants to do more. She begins asking for money from the large companies and wealthy people. She fights to save young girls from being used for sex. Her dream is to have a building to house the children and to provide medical services for them, as well as to keep them off the street.  A wealthy Irishman, the owner of a large business, finally helps her raise the money she needs to complete her dream.

It was an interesting movie and before the credits rolled, I found out that she has helped over 700,000 children and families by providing health care and education for them. She has started 100 projects in Vietnam and Mongolia. She continues working and her grown children also help her. (While in Ireland she met a young Italian man who at the beginning was her prince charming but later, after three children and a few beatings, she left him.) Her grown children help her in Vietnam. And she still talks to God!

Stories like this one make me realize how little I know!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another Birthday Celebration

Yes, I attended another birthday celebration but this one was not for me. Yesterday, a friend of mine celebrated her birthday at Spice China in Louisville, Colorado. Fourteen persons enjoyed spending time with the birthday girl! There was a lot of laughter and picture taking while two large Mylar balloons gently swayed above our heads.  I lucked out because someone mentioned my birthday had been on Friday so I was treated to lunch also. We got two crunchy ice-cream balls in honor of our birthdays. Makes me think that birthdays can become habit forming!

The restaurant is large with lots of dark wood and a mural along a long wall is impressive. We were in a round raised area, two steps up, and surrounded by windows. It was a bright and cheerful place and just right for celebrating! Well drinks were two for the price of one so some enjoyed a double refresher! The most important feature was the camaraderie in the room plus the addition of tasty food.


 Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday  God bless you,
Happy Birthday to you! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Art Scams

I watched 60 Minutes last evening and remembered going to the Denver Art Museum and seeing some of the art work that had been found to be fake. Makes me wonder if  I saw the real thing or the fake paintings? The minute I saw them on television I knew I had seen them because the same thought ran through my mind at the museum.. I don't understand or like that kind of art; black blobs or paint scribbles. It is called Abstract Expressionist work. Robert Motherwell did many paintings (black on white blobs) about the Spanish Civil War.   (See my blog of April 5, 2014, titled Modern Masters).

The television show explained that the paintings were purchased for thousands of dollars by a museum and then an art collector purchased them for even more money. Once an art detective began looking at the paintings he could see that they were not original Robert Motherwell paintings. The museum is being sued and some settlements have made. Ann Freeman, the museum curator,  maintains she purchased them believing they were originals. But the detectives said that she should have known because there was no paperwork with the paintings. It was found that the forged painting were done in a garage by Pei-shen Qian. "He is a talented man, because he was quite a forger. He  got away with it for quite a while and fooled many people," said an art critic.

Another artist who paints in the abstract expressionist style is Jackson Pollock and all I can say is that he at least uses color to do his paint splatters! "Different strokes for different folks," comes to mind!

"Most painting in the European
tradition was painting the mask.
Modern art rejected all that.
Our subject matter was
the person behind the mask."
Robert Motherwell

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hats Galore

Run for the Roses was the theme on May 19, 2016, when the Young At Heart Group of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community met for their monthly dinner. The table decorations were clever with the horse racing theme. The highlight of the affair were the many decorated hats. Every one of the ladies who sported a fancy hat could have attended the Belmont, Preakness or the Kentucky Derby.

After a delicious meal the group was entertained by TNT (Talent and Tunes). The talented seniors performed a variety of songs, comedy and a presentation by "Molly Brown."  Others were Ms. Senior Colorado 2016, Elvis, a former Las Vegas entertainer, a rhythm and blues singer, and an opera singer making the evening complete.   YAH birthdays were celebrated and each birthday person received a Hershey candy bar!

May Birthdays

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How Do Friendships Start

Looking back on my life and thinking of some of my friends I began to wonder how the friendships began. In my youth;  neighbors, school and church played a big part on who my friends would be. Usually, there was something I liked about a person and that would draw me toward being more friendly with that person. Maybe it was the way they treated me or how they also seemed drawn to me.

Later in life, I remember people who had a great sense of humor and eventually I would become friends with that person. I picked my friends for their honesty, their kindness, and if they laughed at my jokes! The friendships that have lasted have been for over fifty years and even though we do not see each other that often, when we do see each other it is as if no time has passed. Some of my friends have passed away and to this day, I still think about them.

In Mexico they say people of a certain age are called "personas de la tercera edad" which means people of the third age. These are people like me, considered to be in the social security bracket!  Since entering that age group, new friends have entered my life. I feel honored and happy to have them in my life and enjoy spending time with them. These friends seem to have my same qualities and we laugh a lot while discussing our pains, experiences, and families.

Yesterday, I met three friends for a birthday celebration. Two of us have May birthdays and we met at Mimi's Restaurant to celebrate our one year of getting older! The restaurant presented us individual cakes with a candle on top and sang Happy Birthday to us.
After opening our gifts we hugged and parted to our respective lives. I felt loved and I value our friendship.

I enjoyed cards I received and reading all the Facebook wishes. This was a very special birthday thanks to my friends!

"I cannot even imagine
where I would be today
were it not for that handful
of friends who have given
me a heart full of joy.
Let's face it, friends
make life a lot more fun!"
Charles R. Swindoll


Another Lunch With a Dear Friend

Ernie's Bar on 44th and Federal was our meeting place. Ernie's has been around for a long time because when I attended Regis College (Now University) the Loretto Heights girls and the Regis boys would meet at Ernie's Supper Club. Same place but with a different name. I spent many a night with students from Regis. Most of them were Thespians and I got to be around Dennis Gallagher and Mary Jo Caplett; two who made it big!

Ernie's then became My Three Sons and for Christmas the place became a sparkling winter wonderland. For years I would meet two friends for Christmas at the restaurant and exchange gifts and eat delicious meals. Today the place has been remodeled with large open windows that gives the impression of sitting outdoors. 

After three hours of talking, we parted ways with big hugs. An enjoyable lunch with a friend who is thoughtful, kind, helpful, cheerful and fun. Her daughters are the same age as my granddaughters so we have a lot to share and compare while eating a delicious pizza and salad.


One Week Later and Enjoying a Birthday Lunch

Attending a book club, I remember thinking that I would love to be friends with one of the members. I liked how she thought and expressed herself at the meetings. When I made a comment, I remember she agreed with me and that made me like her more. Little by little, we became friends and we try to see each other at least once a week. It seems that we never run out of things to talk about and today was no different. We chatted while enjoying lunch at Santiago's Mexican food in Arvada.

One thing that impressed me about my friend was that she helped me while I was recuperating from my broken ankle. She would pick up my mail and when she brought it home to me, we would sit and talk. Since we both are book lovers, we discussed many a story! I admired her when she would not leave another friend who was in hospice care. Even now, she will drive to the cemetery to take flowers to our friend.

Today I enjoyed a birthday lunch with my dear and thoughtful friend.

"I value the friend who for me
finds time on his calendar,
but I cherish the friend who for me
does not consult his calendar."
Robert Brault.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Year Older

Another birthday
I celebrate today.
So long ago
I entered this world
and my life slowly unfurled.
God is the one I thank
and if I am very frank
I know I could not
have lived my life,
with lots of happiness and some strife,
without Him in my life!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Math Problem

Looking through a large box of papers I have saved through the years, I decided to get rid of many of the papers. Looking and reading through past trips, letters hand-written to my daughter while she was in the Peace Corps, and other "important" stuff I found myself reminiscing about the past. This is ridiculous, I thought, I have got to get rid of the papers in this box.

An hour and a half later, I decided I had a math problem. Here is the equation:

After looking through 500 or more papers saved through the years,
I was able to shred two. How long will it take, if every three, or so years,
I  shred two more pieces? How long will it take before the box is 
completely empty? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Puckering Up

Growing up in Greeley, Colorado, my brother and I would pull one red stalk out of the bunch of stalks growing at the edge of my father's garden. The sweet-sour taste would make us pucker up as we took a bite. It would be stringy and sometimes we would add salt for a different taste. Sugar was also good but I preferred just a plain rhubarb stalk to suck and chew.

Facts from the Internet: The large leaves are poisonous. The stalks are edible. It is a vegetable but used as a fruit to make pies and desserts. It's a laxative. The plant came to the United States in 1820. Acid taste like lemon or vinegar.

Today, at a friend's home, we were given some rhubarb from their garden, and as I tasted the sour-jawing-tightening rhubarb I was transported to my Greeley home and my youth. As I tasted the end of the large stalk, my memory was flooded by those memories of long ago.

Rhubarb: Essence of stomach ache.
Ambrose Bierce

A Creative Book Club Meeting

At our last book club meeting, one of the members decided to have the following meeting at her home because she had something she wanted to do. We were curious and some of us called her to find out her plans. All she said was, "You will see."

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at her home this morning to discuss The Accidental Book Club by Jennifer Scott and were greeted by a table set for sixteen persons. The table looked beautiful with a yellow and white tablecloth, crystal glasses sparkling under a chandelier, tulips for decoration and a deep red Sangria. Nachos loaded with meat, beans and melted cheese were passed around. I decided to make some cinnamon and sugar popcorn because in the book, the popcorn is prepared by the mean granddaughter and the wimpy grandmother. I had never eaten popcorn with cinnamon and sugar and decided to try making it. Every one seemed to like the sweet cinnamon popcorn.

The novel is about women who are in a book club and at every meeting they prepare food for all to enjoy.  Following the theme of food, our member prepared a delicious chicken salad on lettuce and for dessert a raspberry cheese cake. It may not have been what was prepared in the book, but it was close enough!

Between courses we discussed the book. Some good comments, some bad comments and a toss up on whether the book had been a good choice for our club. It was fun sitting around the large table and chatting with other book club members. What I notice is that not only is the book we all read discussed, but other subjects are also discussed.  Our one male member said that he had read that, "The story is popular among women book clubs."  I would venture to guess it was not his favorite book!

The ingenuity of our member who took the time and effort to make us happy, and happier after drinking the Sangria and pink wine, had paid off!

Talking and eating
at our book club meeting.
Thanks to the clever gal
for being such a gracious pal
and thinking up a meal this day,
on the seventeenth of May.
Thanks to her crew of one
for cleanup after we were done!
The surprise had ended
and I am so glad to have attended!
E. Moscoso
May 17, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dreary Weekend That Perked Up

The Fort

Saturday was a grey, cloudy, cold and dreary day. I did not go out except to mail some letters and thought it was too cold to be running around doing errands!  Sunday perked up a little bit and I followed the itsy-bitsy
piece of sun to The Fort Restaurant. The annual Indian Market once again had Native American items for sale. There was modeling of Indian clothing, jewelry, leather goods, cloth dolls, story-telling, dancing and decorative pieces made from stone plus many other interesting artifacts. Some of the artists worked on projects as people wandered about looking at the many displays.

One thing I noticed is that the clothing is brighter and more colorful, and I am sure back in the early days, those colors were not available.

The giant bison of wire and copper was an outstanding and impressive artwork. I watched an artist work on a painting of women of different tribes. Instead of a palette he used tape on his wrist to put the various colors he needed.

At the entrance was a man in costume and he told me he was Ceran St. Vrain and that he along with William and Charles Bent had built Bent's Fort in 1833. "It was the first shopping mall in the United States, because anything could be purchased there, even a piano!"

When I left the The Fort it was warm and the sun seemed to have settled in the sky for awhile

By the time I arrived home, it was cold and cloudy again. Colorado weather does vary!

Tap Dancing

I drove to 80th and Alkire to where a friend of mine would be tap dancing at Let's 2016 Tap, a National Tap Dance Day of Celebration sponsored by Celebrate Aging Colorado and held at Ralston Valley High School. A big surprise, and possibly shock, to see the dancers fifty and older tap dancing to great music;  Stray Cat Strut, Opus, I've Got Rhythm, Give My Regards to Broadway, Shake it Off, Rocky Mountain High, Ease on Down the Road, Dancing Fool, Count on Me, It's my Soul, and Glow Worm.

Costumes were creative with sequins, flowers or color coordinated in black and white.  Of course, some dancers were better than others but they all gave it good try. I marveled at how well some of the "older" women could move. As usual, not enough men but the few men I saw really seemed to enjoy tap dancing.

My friend is in a group called Soft Shoe Shufflers and hers was the largest group with eighteen dancers while the smallest group had five dancers. The groups came from Arvada, Lakewood, Louisville, Wheat Ridge, Centennial, Southwest Denver, Evans, Greeley, Windsor, and Berthoud.

Even though it might have been cold and raining outside, inside it was happy, warm and toe  tapping fun! 

The Grand Finale

Thursday, May 12, 2016

An Unfavorable Review

Not too long ago a friend of mine self-published a book and sold it through Amazon. When I read it I found fifty-three errors. I let her know what I had found and the last conversation I had with her, she told me all the errors had been corrected. To me, self-publishing did not seem like a good idea.

I just finished reading The Book by Andy J. McGowan and must have seen over thirty errors. On his Internet page he is listed as a song-writer and calls his book, "my eBook best seller, The Book."  I seldom review books I have read but felt I needed to comment on this one. Other than the errors both in grammar and spelling I found too many superfluous sentences.  I could see no reason for the sex scenes between husband and wife because it did not add anything to the story. When I am reading a mystery, or so it was classified, I do not care to read about how many orgasms the characters can have every time they go to bed! Most of the characters, especially the police, were shallow. Some characters came and went without any reason other than to be mentioned.

The archaeology parts, if true, were interesting but led no where. Reading the story I kept thinking that the book was written by an amateur writer and found it interesting that Amazon was promoting it. I gave it one star out of five.

People I know, who have read my blog encourage me to write a book. In fact, all through my life, I have been told I should write a book and sometimes I am tempted. Yet, I tell them I am not disciplined enough to write a book. Blogging is as close as I can come to calling myself a "writer."  After reading these two book, I know I will never write a novel because I have a feeling my writing might look like the two self-published books I just read full of glaring mistakes!
Taken from the Internet

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Is Love Stronger Than Death?

I met a couple of friends for dinner at El Tapatio Restaurant in Arvada yesterday evening. After eating we went to the Arvada Center to see Death Takes A Holiday. I had never heard of the story, play or movie so the story intrigued me. The plot involved the Grim Reaper falling in love and decides to take a holiday from performing his gruesome duties.  Tremendous voices, wonderful costumes, great acting, humorous lines and fantastic music kept the audience enthralled in the play.

Even though I had never heard of the play, in the program I read where it is based on an Italian play, La Morte In Vacanza that became a movie in 1934 with Fredric March. The play begins with a family driving down a mountain and having an accident. A young girl is thrown out of the car and by rights should have been killed, but Death sees her beauty and spares her. The scene shifts to the Villa Felicita, the home of Duke Vittorio Lamberti and the father of the young girl who did not die after being thrown from the car.

Death decides to take a well needed vacation and shows up at the Villa as a Russian prince.  He spends the weekend with the family and the story continues with his doing human things for the first time. The lines spoken by the actors are clever and humorous. The two main actors fall in love and the question becomes will true love overcome death?

The costumes of the 20's were beautiful ankle length dresses. Shoes and dresses matched in different colors that shimmered with sequins. I was reminded of outfits I had seen on Downton Abbey. There is a clever Charleston Dance, an old woman who comes to her senses, a hilarious butler, a concerned mother, a flyer pilot, two Americans, a sexy maid, the young woman and the tall, handsome prince. It was not hard picturing the actor as a prince in the way he carried himself and spoke!

One thing that has fascinated me about stage plays is how sets can be moved with a few movements. This play had the props moved by the actual actors, especially the servants. They did not lose the part they were playing as they moved a chair, brought out a garden, or had a grotto moved on to the stage.  The Roman columns moved forward, backwards, or sideways as the scenes changed.

We were in the third row and I could see the hand of the music director below the stage as he led the musicians in performing the wonderful music. I know that persons sitting further back could not see the ghostly hand moving as he directed the musicians and may not have known there was a live orchestra underneath the stage!

The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoyed the feel-good play and left the theater in awe at the talent I had just seen on that stage!

The Final Bow

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lost In Boulder

Boulder is a difficult city to navigate when you enter from a spot you have never used. I was in the Lafayette area and decided to take the South Boulder Road and visit Trader Joe's. The road has tremendous vistas of the Flat Irons and I stopped to take some pictures. When I saw a sign of  Sacred  Heart of Mary Catholic Church I was curious because I had heard of this church but had no idea where the Boulder church was located. I know where Sacred Heart of Jesus is located in downtown Boulder because I went to that church when my friend got married. Here was my chance to check out Sacred Heart of Mary!  I had heard about the Sacred Heart of Mary and was surprised to see the large campus that I had accidentally come across by driving on South Boulder Road.

The church looks very modern from the outside, yet the inside seemed dated and a bit old-fashioned. It reminded me of churches from my past. There is a statue of St. Benedict at the entrance because the Benedictines were the first ones to serve the parish, though they no longer responsible for the parish. There is also a cemetery on the church grounds.

I continued driving west on South Boulder Road and got completely lost. I drove around looking for one familiar sign or building but could see none. The street names I thought I knew were Flatirons, University, Broadway, Canyon, Crossroads, and Pearl but nothing familiar. I do know I was on those streets more than once! I  asked Siri on my phone and she told me Trader Joe's was located on 28th but when I inquired further she gave me some address in South Africa!

Traveling, who knows which direction, I ended up headed home on Broadway. The only clue I had was an arrow pointing to where Arvada could be found. As I passed Standley Lake, I knew I was no longer lost.