Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Lively and Happy Evening

When a friend of mine told me about the Summer Concert Series beginning on June 30, 2016, at McIlvoy Park in Arvada I thought it would be fun to go and listen to the Golden Eagle Concert Band.
All day I kept hearing the weather report and it looked as if it might rain. To be on the safe side, the concert was moved to the Community Recreation Center on Wadsworth Blvd. I arrived late but I could hear the peppy music that made me feel like marching, especially the John Philip Sousa numbers.

Since the concert was advertised as an outdoor affair people were asked to bring lawn chairs and picnic lunches.  I saw two persons on the stage sitting on a blanket eating their picnic lunch. Children who thought they would be playing on the grass now had a hard stage to run around inventing their own games. Their noisy little voices could not be heard over the peppy music.
The fifty piece band is located in Edgewater, Colorado and members are men and women volunteers
of all ages. Not all members were present but they did have two conductors; Tucker Ewer and his assistant, Bob Tucker. They played marches, big band, Disney tunes, and rock. Some of the Disney tunes were from Song of the South with Zip A Dee Doo Dah, plus tunes from Jungle Book, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Mary Poppins.

They were all lively tunes yet, my favorites were the marches. Stars and Stripes Forever brought everyone to their feet with loud applause. A wonderful and happy evening had the audience leaving with smiles on their faces. I saw four Young At Heart members and they said, "Wasn't the music great?" Of course, I agreed.

I suppose what I enjoyed also, was having a good evening, listening to wonderful music and leaving while it was still day light. I do not like driving at night so this to me was a perfect evening!

"From childhood I was
passionately fond of music
and wanted to be a musician.
I have no recollection of any
real desire to be anything else."
John Philip Sousa

Writer's Block

My blog has suffered this week because I have had writer's block. "Writer's block is a condition, previously associated with writing in which the author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown."

I don't know why but no ideas came to mind, and if an idea presented itself, I just did not feel like writing about it. This morning I woke up and thought I should explain why I have not been blogging.

One of the things I could have written about was the hail storm that hit Arvada a few days ago. It came down fast and furious. A bit larger than a pea but smaller than quarter; it pounded my roof for about fifteen minutes. When I looked out, my driveway was white, just as if snow had fallen.

While in my back yard I was surprised to see the orange Tiger Lilys in full bloom. The flowers come out every year and seem to be spreading. I did not plant them so I have no idea how they began but the corner of my garage looks wonderful with the orange blooms!

Yesterday my daughter and son-in-law celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. It has taken me by surprise because I had no idea it was already twenty-five years that they were married. It seems like such a short while ago that the special day arrived and they were married at the Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada. The carriage ride from the church to the reception was exciting for me but I don't think they were too happy about traveling by horse and carriage!

That's all folks. Maybe I have come out of my slump but I won't know until tomorrow when I get on the computer again!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Package in my Mailbox

Who could have sent me a package wrapped in plain brown paper? I still think of Anthrax and wondered if I should even open it. The return address was from New York. It wasn't a neatly wrapped package with scotch tape zig-zagging and ends not meeting. I'd call it a sloppily wrapped package! Since I do not know anyone in New York the package made me curious.

I got scissors and opened the package and to my surprise, I saw that it was a book and a cassette. I never would have guessed that it was the cassette I had ordered.  I did not expect it until later this week and I expected it to come in an Amazon box and not from a private sender.
My next move is to listen to the music that I remember loving and hoping I still do!  It's a good thing I still have a boom-box that plays cassettes plus one DVD at a time! Sometimes it pays not to jump into the future too fast!

June 24, 2016, I decided to play my wonderful cassette. The first three songs were fun but before I could get to my favorite one, the tape began to warble. Sounded as if the voice was underwater and the words could not be understood. I do not know if it is my machine or if it is the cassette that is damaged. My next project is to find a cassette player to see whether my music can be heard correctly.
If not, it's $13.00 down the drain!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sing This Song At My Funeral

I do not plan on leaving the land of the living soon but I do have a song from a Disney movie
I would love to have sung at my funeral. I know the Catholic church has rules and regulations about what is appropriate for a funeral service. This song has nothing to do with religion but I just happen to like it!

It all began when I took my grandchildren to see it's A Bug's Life; a Disney-Pixar movie. The movie was cute and I purchased the book and sing along cassette. The tunes are lively, clever and cute. Somehow, the cassette was lost but yesterday I found the book with the words to the songs. I got on Amazon and there was a cassette for sale for $13.00 and I ordered it. An e-mail has informed me that it has been shipped and should arrive toward the end of the week.  I must have patience!

When my grand kids were growing up, I had a playroom for them at my house. After seeing Disney movies, I would try to get the stuffed doll or animal pertaining to each movie.  Woody and Jessie from Toy Story were played with a lot and Boo from Monsters, Inc. was another favorite. The blue, stiff figure of an insect was not a favorite because you couldn't cuddle with it. Yet, he was cute sitting on a shelf!

The songs on the cassette are High Hopes, Grasshopper, I.N.S.E.C.T., He's a Kick! That Walking Stick, Star of the Show, Ladybug, Flea-Ring Circus, Roly-Poly Rock 'n' Rolly Pill Bugs, I Just Wanna Fly, and The Ugly Bug Ball. I like all the clever songs with lots of rhythm but my favorite is I Just Wanna Fly. It is sung by a tiny ant. I remember thinking back when I first heard it that it must be like when someone dies and gets their angel wings.  Some facts in the book about the ant are: A queen ant is that only ant that grows wings. Ants can move things much bigger and heavier than themselves. If ants were the same size as human beings, they could lift 240,000 pounds!

Music and lyrics by Will Robinson @ 1998 Will Robinsongs  (BMI) Seven Summits Music for I Just Wanna Fly.

Look up there
at all that blue sky
and open air
I hear it calling me
to leave the ground,
take a breath and aim
for the clouds.
I think I'm ready
as soon as I knew I'd have
long pretty wings
I started dreaming
on only one thing.


I just wanna fly
I really wanna fly
and feel the wind
rushing all around me.

For somebody so small
for somebody who
once could only crawl
it's funny how I feel
the sudden need to
to take off and go
soaring peacefully
through the sky
I just wanna fly.

It sounds absurd
But I wonder if I'll miss
the grass and dirt
as I rise above
I know I can't
forget the fact
I'll always be an ant
No matter what

But soon I knew
I'd have long
pretty wings
I started dreaming
of only one thing.


I just wanna fly
 I really wanna fly
and feel the wind
rushing all around me.

To think that in a book about bugs, I found a song that made be realize that when we die we probably feel the same way as the ant with her new wings.

Traveling Down the Amazon

Yesterday, at our Book Club meeting, our discussions placed us in the middle of the Amazon River. The book we discussed was Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness written by Peter Matthiessen. Pictures showing some of the birds he encountered on his travels (and there were many) had been copied for the group to see. A clever prop was a world globe showing the path the author took on his travels. One of the members had just returned from traveling on the Amazon and gave us interesting tid-bits about what she saw and did while on the river. She also had a digital frame with moving pictures and a computer with pictures of her travels in Peru.

What surprised many of us was the size of the Amazon. It was mentioned that when on the river, land could not be seen on either side. I commented on how the beginning of the book was slow moving and boring with his tedious descriptions of the jungle, birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and trees. "But," I said, "when I got to the part where they are taking a trip to an imaginary (or maybe true) place the story picked up and became interesting." His descriptions of the perils they encountered, the indigenous people he met, and trying to stay afloat on the dangerous river made the last half of the story full of suspense and excitement.  By reading the book one got a taste of dangerous whirlpools in the river, wild animals, savages, vampire bats, colorful butterflies and giant ants.  I found that the author had a sense of humor and some parts made me laugh.

Our hostess had ice tea and lemonade, hot tea in white pots, poppy seed cake and cookies. Not only did we enjoy the discussion but we were in a green paradise. Her huge back yard reminds me of being in a park and not in someone's back yard!

An article on Facebook about the author made me realize that he was well traveled, was an author of both fiction and non-fiction, had won literary awards, had been married three times, and he was born in 1927 and died in 2014. One of his well known books is The Snow Leopard and I am putting it on my list to read.

"The river is everywhere."
Hermann Hesse

Monday, June 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye and Hello

A few weeks ago we said good-bye to a priest that we loved and everyone was sad. Today, June 19, 2016, we welcomed our new priest with tremendous applause to say hello! The church was decorated with beautiful arrangements of flowers.

Father Chris Renner told us he comes from Boulder, Colorado (Sacred Heart Parish) and spoke at all masses by introducing himself.  Instantly, I liked his sense of humor.  Before mass began, he asked for any visitors or people that were new to the parish. When no one responded he said, "Well, I am new and I am happy to be here."

Before the homily, he gave a brief introduction of who he was and where he had served as a priest. He mentioned Denver, Julesburg, Evergreen, Boulder, and maybe others but my memory cannot retain too much at one sitting. I thought he looked too young to have been at all those places because he does have a youthful appearance. I learned that he was born in Kansas but has lived in Boulder most of his life. His parents still live in Boulder in the home where he grew up.

Paraphrasing what he said, "People are striving to be holy and a priest is here to help people reach that goal and I hope I can do that." It was interesting that when he was in Evergreen, he had his very own groupies and they followed him to Spirit of Christ. When I was going to take his picture with some of the people from Spirit of Christ, I asked a couple if they would stand by Father. The couple smiled and informed me they had driven in from Evergreen because they love Fr. Chris. I eventually found two SOC persons and was able to take their picture with Fr. Chris. It seemed as if everyone who attended mass greeted Father and some went into the Spirit Center for coffee and donuts.
It was a beautiful mass with our new pastor and I am looking forward to hearing his homilies and getting to know him.

Welcome to Spirit of Christ, Fr. Chris!

The Greek Festival

The 51st Annual Greek Festival at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral was being celebrated once again. Even though the day exuded ninety-five degree heat there were many persons wandering around the blue and white decorated booths. Many sought refuge from the heat underneath large tents. Entertainment included Greek dancing, a performance by the choir, Greek cooking classes and musicians with bouzoukis.

The food booths were crowded with visitors wanting to taste the Greek dishes. Some of the dihes were Saganaki (cheese flavored in brandy), Souvlakia (pork in Pita Bread with tomatoes and onions), Gyros, Kalamari (deep fried squid), Pastitsio (pasta and ground beef), Greek salad and desserts of Baklava, Galaktobouriko(custard), Koulourakia (Cookies), Paximadia (Greek biscotti,) Thiples (pastry dipped in syrup), and Greek Ice cream. I ate the meatballs in a tomato sauce and it tasted very much like Italian meatballs! My friends ordered Dolmathes (grape leaves filled with seasoned ground beef and rice in an egg-lemon sauce) and a Greek Salad. We joined other people sitting at tables underneath a large tent and listened to persons have conversations in Greek! Yes, it was all Greek to us!

There were many booths selling jewelry, clothing, paintings, small rugs, hats, scarves, olive oil, note cards and books. It was fun looking at everything and since I am trying to down-size I did not by a thing!

I entered the Cathedral and just missed the thirty-minute performance by the red and gold robed choir. The cathedral is a magnificent structure from the outside and the inside. It is probably the most flamboyant church I have ever seen! Full of color and depicting the history of the Orthodox religion on ceiling and wall.

A fun afternoon in a blazing sun kept us drinking water for fear of getting dehydrated. Before leaving the festival, we turned in our coins and I got seven dollars back. I figured the enjoyable afternoon had cost me eight dollars to see many different things and to be entertained!

"The only true wisdom
is in knowing we
know nothing."

Fooled By A Mermaid

On Sunday, in the middle of a heat wave, I decided to attend the 51st Greek Festival. The last time I had gone to the Festival was about  twenty-five years ago, and it was nothing like the well-organized and expanded Festival of today. Blue and white dominated the booths and there were many more than I remembered from the past. Entering the air-conditioned building the first thing that caught my eye was a large statue of Neptune and a mermaid. The greenish, scaly and life size statues were amazing. I wondered how the monument of the sea had been brought in for the people to see.

I took some pictures and as I was having my picture taken I saw the mermaid blink. "Oh my," I exclaimed, "it's a real live person posing as a mermaid." The motionless mermaid never moved again and it certainly looked like a stone statue. I took a dollar and slipped it under the statue's hand and she blinked, bowed her head, nodded and reverted to her original position.

My picture behind Neptune's body was taken while he was on break! Two friends stand behind the display of make-believe statues!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Boogie Woogie JUMP!


The name of the Arvada Chorale presentation today was Boogie Woogie JUMP with the Queen City Jazz Band as special guests. Marla Wasson is the Music Director and she has fun conducting the singers. Her body language is one of a fun loving person! The singing and the music made everyone, well, almost everyone, want to get up and dance. Familiar classics, as well as some not so well known, filled the auditorium with lively music. Combining the Chorale and the band we heard, That's A Plenty, Sweet Georgia Brown, Sleepy Time Down South and Sing Sinners. The vocals by a jolly, happy, and full of rhythm, Wende Harston had everyone clapping in tune to the music.
The Queen City Jazz Band

The Chorale had a duet sung by a husband and wife of  I Only Have Eyes For You. The group then sang Embraceable You, They Can't Take That Away from Me and Duke's Place. When This Joint is Jumpin' came on to entertain us, it was explained to us about a Renter's Party. "Have you ever heard of a renter's party?" we were asked. Evidently, when the rent could not be paid, a party would be arranged and the whole neighborhood would show up. Since many of the neighbors were musicians they would play, money would be collected and that is how the rent would get paid. 

Many other tunes were played and sung by the Chorale. Sitting a few seats in front of me, a lady could not contain herself.  In time to the music she moved her head, shoulders, clapped hands, bounced in her seat and waved her arms as she listened to the many tunes. I found out that her father
owned a music store, she loves jazzy music, she would be ninety years old this year, and she lives at the Meridian in Arvada. She was a peppy and fun lady and anyone who saw her could tell she loved music!

The Queen City Jazz band began its career at the Mon-Vue in Denver and some of the audience members had attended the jazz parties there and many knew where it was located. Sadly, I had never heard of the place. They will celebrate their 60th Anniversary in 2018.

Toward the end of the program, some of the Chorale members came down and danced in the aisles. I even got a chance to do a few steps with a Chorale member!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Petitions On Their Way to Heaven

My tortilla basket was placed on the altar at Las Trampas, New Mexico, with all the petitions and prayers to God. The travelers had put their requests in the basket to be offered up to God at mass.
After mass, I was handed the basket and ended up with all the petitions. This morning I decided to have a small ceremony, burn the petitions, and remind God of what the travelers had wanted Him to see.

I placed all the folded papers in a metal cake pan and placed it in my sink. I prayed, "Dear God, only you know what these persons asked for and I will burn them today and may the smoke go directly to you.  May your will be done. Amen"

Lighting the papers, I watched as the smoke wafted upward. The room smelled of a fire place and it was a pleasant odor. I felt good about the requests going up to God. When the smoke alarm went off it was if God was saying, "Enough, those are too many petitions!"

I poured water on the petitions, got a step stool and pushed buttons on the alarms and wondered how much longer I would need to hear the loud, penetrating sound of the alarms. I wondered if my neighbors would hear the alarm and coming running to help? Once the papers stopped burning; the alarm also stopped.

"Dear God, thank you for receiving all the petitions from the travelers and for giving me a sign when I should douse the burning papers with water to put the fire out!"

"Oh God, hear our prayers."

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Life as a Musical

Stage Set:  A room with a couch. A floral cover is thrown over the back of the couch. The couch's back is in front of a large window. A young girl is kneeling on the couch looking out the window. She sings: "Why am I here? I ask you again, why am I here?" A blue car drives past. The girl follows  the car as she cranes her neck to see the car as it turns the corner. Her forehead presses against the glass. She continues singing: "I know why I am here. I am here to see my love. He just drove by in his blue car and he has no idea I am here."

Last evening I watched the Tony Awards and felt a yearning to go to New York to see the award winning plays. Growing up I loved musicals and tried to see every film with singing and dancing. Marge and Gower Champion were my favorite dancers. Later in life, I went to see plays in downtown Denver and at Bonfils Theater. It helped that my friends in college were Thespians and I got in free to many of their productions. When my children were small, I would take them to plays in hopes that they also would fall in love with the theater.

Memories began to stir in my mind. I recall after coming home from a musical, I would write, sing and dance in stories I invented.  How I loved to sing and dance but only when I was alone in the house. I never preformed my plays in front of anyone. I don't know what happened to all my creations but they all were love stories. I had long-playing records of 42nd Street, Camelot, Oklahoma, South Pacific, the King and I plus many others. As I cleaned house I would sing along with the records. I don't remember any of my own musicals, yet I do remember how much fun I had singing and dancing to my own love stories!

The play Hamilton looks like an interesting and historical musical done in Rap. The Color Purple should also be a great play because the movie is one of my favorites. I saw the Phantom of the Opera when I was young and it was a scary movie. Later, when I saw the play I realized it is a love story. Well, that could be scary too!

Revert back to my musical: The blue car makes a U turn and stops in front of the girl's house. She leaps away from the window. Her hand is over her heart. She sings, "My heart is going to jump right out of my throat. What is he doing here? Does he know how I feel?" She peeks outside, He is getting out of his car and walking across the street where her beautiful rival lives. "I should have known. Yes, I should have known he doesn't know I exist. But Oh, how I love him. This is my secret. My very own secret." She bows her head as if she is crying.  A loud knock on her door. "Oh, could it be? Could it be? Oh let it be." And so the play continues! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Staying Out of the Grocery Store

Cooking is not one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I will get in the kitchen and when friends taste what I have cooked, I get compliments. But, would they really tell me they do not like what I prepare? There is an old saying of "necessity is the mother of invention" and I found that to be true
this past week.

Before leaving on a three day journey to New Mexico, I did not go grocery shopping and thought that when I returned I could go to the store and buy what I needed. After I returned, I just didn't get to the store so I looked in my pantry.  I had pasta, canned beans and other stuff. I wondered how long I could cook with what I actually had on the shelves before going shopping.

In my refrigerator I had some uncooked tortillas purchased at Costco. I heated up the griddle, put the tortillas on it, while at the same time I heated up some beans, mashed them, added cheese and then added the refried beans to the newly cooked tortilla. The large jar (Costco purchase) of Organic Jacks Cantina Style Sauce was poured over my burrito and I did not have to go to the store.

On another day I made some Fideos (pasta toasted and simmered in tomato sauce) toasted with onion and garlic. Not quite like my Mother used to make them, but tasty. The next day I warmed the Fideos and made me a sandwich. I enjoyed my sandwich with some green peppers I found in a jar in my pantry.

Last night I prepared a delicious dish of vermicelli.  I sautéed garlic, onion and green pepper found  in my refrigerator and still looked good; no green fuzz growing on it and quite firm. I added the vermicelli with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes which gave my dish a bit of a bite!

I have surprised myself and I still have not gone grocery shopping! The Oxford Dictionary defines the proverb of what I am doing: When the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of achieving it. So far I have not gone grocery shopping and as I look in my pantry I see lots of things I can use to keep me from starving!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Then and Now

Planning a trip to New Mexico is over, Young at Heart does not meet during the summer, bills are paid, photographing groups is resting until August, and Bible classes are over. I could not believe that my kitchen table was all clear of papers and notes. Let's see how long I can keep the table clear of paperwork! When I feel overwhelmed with papers, I will look at this photo of a clean table and know that it can be done!

Buried under papers galore
it has become an never ending war
to find my table
beneath piles of stuff,
making it so very rough!
One day, the war came to an end
and to my table I could attend.
Nice and sleek it now stands clean
polished with a nice wooden sheen!

At The Right Place At The Right Time

On Friday, June 3, 2016, I was driving out of the parking lot of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community and saw people walking in a group. Some had banners and one man carried a large cross. I stopped my car in the middle of the drive and got out to inquire who they were and what were they doing.
Zach informed me that the group of about twenty persons was from Immaculate Heart of Mary church and they were processing from Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada, to Spirit of Christ, to Immaculate Heart of Mary and ending at St. Joseph's Polish Parish in Denver.

"It is the Year of Mercy and this is what we do," he said. What a coincidence that I happened to be coming out of the lot when I saw them walking toward me.  Out came my camera to take a few pictures of the dedicated souls doing their part in The Year of Mercy!

"I think this is truly the most wonderful
experience we can have: to belong to a
people walking, journeying through history
together with Our Lord, who walks among
us! We are not alone; we do not walk alone.
We are part of the one flock of Christ
that walks together."
Pope Francis

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Traveling Statue

When I was in Portugal and saw Our Lady of Fatima's Shrine, little did I know that a few blocks from my house I would have another encounter with the beautiful Lady.  I was invited to pray the rosary at a friend's house. "On Tuesday, an Italian lady will have the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at her house and she is having friends over to pray the rosary," I was told.  I wondered how odd it would be to hear the rosary prayed in Italian.  Imagine my surprise when I saw four of the persons that had traveled to New Mexico on a recent pilgrimage present at the rosary. I knew four other friends and thought, this is certainly a small world.

An altar with twinkling lights, flowers, candles, green plants and netting draped over the altar was beautiful. The rosary was exciting as voices blended together and different persons led the prayers. Songs were sung in English and Italian.  One song sounded Spanish and when someone said it was De Colores being sung in Italian, I knew why I had recognized the music!

After the prayers were completed, the evening turned into a social hour. Some of us talked about our trip to New Mexico, some talked about gambling, some about illnesses, some about our pastor leaving Spirit of Christ and some about Italy. A delicious lemon cake was served with coffee as we sat around a large table. A mural painted on a wall is of the small village the Italian family had lived before coming to America.

A spiritual evening filled with friendship and fun. For those that are not aware, the statue of the Blessed Mother is requested by different families. A name is written on a request form and then the family is notified as to when they will have Our Lady visit the home. If you have the statue, you invite friends to your home to pray the rosary. I felt privileged to have been asked to attend this special evening.

"If men knew what eternity is,
they would do everything
to change their lives."
Our Lady of Fatima