Monday, February 27, 2017

Seventy Six Musicians


Sunday, February 26, 2017, a group of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community Young At Heart members traveled to Lone Tree Arts Center to listen to The Denver Concert Band and the Queen City Jazz band. It turned out to be an exciting and peppy concert.

The Music Director, Jacinda Bouton is an energetic conductor and at one point her bracelet flew off her wrist and landed on the floor. It has always amazed me to see so many instruments playing together in a large orchestra and how the music pouring out fills the large auditorium.

All That Jazz was just that....lots of jazz! The eight member jazz group played many jazzy tunes and Up The Old Mill Stream was a mellow tune compared to the other numbers. Gospel and Dixieland were favorites also.  My favorite was When The Saints Go Marching In and everybody kept, or tried, to keep time to the music by clapping! The vocalist, Wende Harston, belted out the songs in a loud, clear voice!

The Queen City Jazz Band will celebrate sixty years in 2018! That's a lot of music enjoyed by more than one generation.

Photo taken from program
titled All That Jazz



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Thought Provoking Works of Art

The Denver Art Museum is running "Mi Tierra: Contemporary  Artists Explore Place" from now until October, 2017. I went to see it yesterday with two friends. They invited me because one person is a school teacher and is always looking for ideas, especially different cultures. A blurb on the Internet explains: Thirteen artists will feature site-specific installations that will examine diverse narratives of contemporary life in the Western United States through ideas related to labor, migration, nostalgia, memory, displacement and visibility."

Of the many displays there were a few I liked best beginning with the village of colorful paper. Not only was it beautiful, but it showed Mexican culture. Artist Justin Favela took ideas from Jose Maria Velasco (1840-1912 and Frida Kahlo,(1907-1954) to create the display of palm trees, parrots, volcano, cactus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, masks, and pottery. There may have been other symbols but those are the ones I remember. Fridalandia is quite impressive.


The display of The Wall was made with mirrors and depending on where I stood, I could see different images. On another wall with four screens the artists spoke about how they felt about different subjects and about their art.  A board where I could have made a comment about the art there was one I found interesting:
Another wall was a movie entitled Erasure and the artist paints every part of her body with black paint leaving only her eyes not covered. A very impressive piece of art!

A beautiful display of sixty-five miles of colored thread and representing complicated contradictions of gender and identity in Mexico. As I watched I got the sensation that either it or I was moving. My friend said it made her dizzy.

There were many other interesting displays but this blog would go on forever if I wrote about all of them. One other one I liked was the cleaning lady, a 3D collage of cardboard and paper, yet the concept was clear.
A movie of how the southwest had developed and changed using bison, ghosts, native Americans, and many symbolic things that had transpired in the area until now had people sitting or standing while they watched. This was the last display and an hour and a half of looking and commenting had left us tired and hungry. We left the museum and drove to  small hole in the wall type of Mexican restaurant named the La Abeja, (The Bee), and ate delicious green chili!

The man behind the counter and I chatted in Spanish and that was fun practicing my Spanish. He told me that he has been in the United States many years after leaving his home in Zacatecas, Mexico. He came to the United States because of the corruption in Mexico where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. He said he worked for $5 a day in Mexico and necessity had brought him across the border.  I do believe that if I lived under such conditions I also would have tried to do better for my family. The saying of do not judge until you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes rings true.

Today was an educational day, a fun time being with friends, eating good food, and a nice chat in Spanish. Adios, amigos!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tattoos

When I think of tattoos, I used to think of prisoners or bikers. Lately, the times of tattoos have changed and it seems that everyone has at least one tattoo.  Movie stars, athletes, office workers, and every day people all seem to sport a few tattoos, or a lot! My guess is that if you get one, you will eventually follow it with others. On the Internet I saw this blurb: Why are tattoos popular? Because every tattoo tells a story and everybody has a story to tell."

My son had some tattoos across his chest and I liked the one of his children's names over his heart. The Peruvian Deity across his chest and stomach I did not like. When his girl friend's son was fifteen years old my son took the young boy to get a tattoo and the boy's mother was not pleased. Before my son passed away, he had an appointment to get a tattoo. My grandson took the appointment and went in to have a tattoo put on his arm. He got a similar tattoo that would have been on my son. Yesterday, the young lady who waited on me at a coffee shop had one arm decorated with tattoos. It seems that tattoos are the in thing and I see tattoos everywhere.

What I am noticing is that older women are also getting tattoos. Two of my friends, an eighty year old and a seventy-so have also gotten small tattoos on their bodies. People I would never think they would get a tattoo are sporting them as ankle or wrist bracelets. I remember my father had a tattoo of a flag on his arm and when he died at ninety-six it was still on his arm but very faded.

Today I got a surprise when my sixteen year old daughter showed me her sunflower tattoo on her wrist. She asked me if I was mad because she did it. I told her that what she did with her body was her business but I did not like tattoos on any one's body.  "I didn't like it when my son got one, when my grandson got one and now when you got one. But if you like it, that is all that matters." She said,
"I like it."



In an article on About Style on the Internet this is what I found out under Brief History of Tattooing:
Explorer Captain James Cook is credited for words taboo and tattoo. His sailing voyages around the  world let him to the Tahitian and Polynesian Islands where tattooing was openly practiced. Inscribing the language into his diary he introduced both words to the English language in 1769.
Tattooing has been around for a long time!

The trend of tattoo art has been picked up by many persons and the artists who do the tattoos are becoming more sophisticated. On Pinterest there are many samples of tattoos and some are beautiful, but it may be the generation gap; I do not like tattoos. Yet, who knows, some day I may even get one, though I doubt it!

"Tattoos are like stories -- they're symbolic
of the important moments in your life.
Sitting down, talking about where you
got each tattoo and what it symbolizes,
is really beautiful."
Pamela Anderson

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Shiny 2016 Penny

Once again, my son appeared to me as a penny on the floor. Finding coins gives me a good feeling. It's as if he is letting me know he is near me. I feel he was letting me know he was near us because today  I met a friend of his for lunch. The penny had 2016 and it was the year he passed away.

Lunch was fun as we recalled my son's escapades. We both miss him but we both know he is in a better place. Tomorrow will be his fifty-fourth birthday.

Happy Birthday my fun-loving son. You will live in my heart forever and ever! And every time I find a coin, I know you are near.

Was It A Sin?

Yesterday when I drove to the Coliseum I saw three separate lots for cars. Each entrance had a huge sign letting me know that parking for the Mile High Kennel Dog Show cost ten dollars. I was trying to decide which lot and drove into the closest one. There was no one collecting money. I waited and when no one came I drove in. I found a place to park and then felt a bit guilty so I drove back toward the gate. By this time there were cars lined up trying to enter the lot so I returned to an empty spot.

I got out of the car and I asked a lady where the nearest entrance to the dog show was located. She said I would have to go all the way around the building to gain entrance. I started walking when I heard her say, "I'm going in that door," and pointed to a few feet away. "Do you think it is okay if I go in that door also?" I asked and she said, "Sure." I followed her into the arena where the agility dogs were going through their maneuvers. I watched for a while and then I wanted to investigate all that was offered so I looked at booths with paraphernalia for dogs, watched a woman massage a dog, looked at special food for dogs, a dog toy area and a booth with t-shirts with a favorite dog picture.

A lady sitting near some doors told me that if I wanted to see the show dogs I had to go to a different building. I started to walk toward the door and she said, "Do you have a stamp?" I told her I did not and she said, "Here, let me stamp you and then you can move through all the buildings." I left the first building and went to another building where the stamp on my hand let me in. Here I saw every kind of dog imaginable and they were running along side their handlers. I liked the Collies because they reminded me of Lassie.

After spending time looking at the competition, I returned to the first building and watched the dogs go through a series of obstacles. Most dogs could do the agility course in about forty-six to forty seven minutes. One did it in forty-three minutes and my guess is that he or she won.

I left the dog show, got into my car and drove away. I was going to the five o'clock mass and all of a sudden I began to wonder if I had sinned. Should I have insisted on paying to park? Should I have looked for the entrance so I could pay the fee to see the dogs? The more I thought about it, the less I felt that I could receive communion.

Driving to mass, it was as if the Holy Spirit put an idea in my head. I had not planned to enjoy the day for free, I had tried to return to the gate to pay but since cars were coming in I was unable to return to the gate, and the nice lady had suggested I use the back door. My theory on what constitutes a sin is when something is done with an evil intent. Since I had not gone to the show with the intention of sneaking in, I felt it would be all right to receive communion. When I told a friend, she said, "Honey, you did not sin you were just plain lucky!"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Once A Year Dog Fun

Even though I do not have a pet and I have been accused of not liking animals, I do enjoy seeing the well-trained and beautiful dogs groomed to perform at dog shows.  In the past, I used to attend the  dog show at the Coliseum but for about ten years I have not gone to see the different dogs trying to win ribbons.

Today I entered the manure smelling arena to see tall, short, hairy, straight, curly haired, barkers, quiet, prancing, walkers, jumpers and well brushed dogs. I know there must be many more adjectives to describe the many dogs I saw today.

I was mostly interested in dogs that looked like my California family's pets; black and white border collie mix. One year there were herding dogs moving sheep around but I was told that they no longer have herding competitions. This year it was the agility area where dogs had to compete. Dogs
jump hurdles, run through tunnels, climb a slopping ramp, run across a high beam, run up and down a teeter-totter and zig-zag through about ten stakes. Smaller dogs look energetic and full of pep as they leap through their exercises while the bigger dogs seem to move in graceful slow motion.

The one thing I noticed is that the dogs have one thing in mind. Please their masters and get their treat! The colors of the dogs are amazing from all black or all white, to grayish mixtures, brown swirls, and every color between dark to light. I do not know the breeds but did recognize collies, pugs, English Wolf Hound, cocker spaniels and border collies. As owners run beside the dogs I had to chuckle because I recalled Jimmy Kimmel erasing the dog and just showing the person running. It was a funny skit!

Ages of the owners seemed to range from about ten years old to around seventy. In this day and age it is very difficult to judge ages because those people running beside their dogs could have been older than seventy! Booths with t-shirts showing off a breed, fancy dog food, blankets for dogs, outfits for dogs to wear, and dog toys, line the arena. One booth had a lady who massaged dogs. I couldn't help but think that these show dogs have it made!

The Samoyed is a beautiful dog but noisy when it barks. The Afghan Hound has a little head and a large body. The Puli has long dreadlocks hanging to the floor. A friend of mine had two Puli dogs named Thunder and Lightning. The one I saw today was a Komondor, same as a Puli but larger. Collies reminded me of Lassie of movie fame. German Shepherds reminded me of war dogs. The tallest dog reached almost to my waist and the smallest dog barely came to my ankle.

It almost seems impossible that the handlers can give a command and as if by osmosis, the dog know what to do. A snap of a finger or a wave of a hand and the dogs know exactly what to do.

Dogs range from beautiful to ugly though some people would disagree with me! They think all dogs are beautiful!











I'm sorry I didn't win a ribbon.

"No matter how little money
and how few possessions you own,
having a dog makes you rich."
Louis Sabin




The Same Yet Different



I am not an expert on fried chicken but I do know my favorite place to eat fried chicken is at the White Fence Farm Restaurant in Lakewood. I have eaten there numerous times and each time it is perfect to my taste. When The Coop, part of the White Fence Farm, opened in Arvada I took my granddaughter to try it. It was pretty much the same as the one down south, but not exactly the same.  Of course, I believe the atmosphere has a lot to do on how one enjoys a meal.

One day I ate at another White Fence chicken place on 88th right off of Wadsworth. Other's had eaten at this restaurant and reports I received from various people was that it was not "so great." I don't know what I expected but the chicken served in green and white boxes, like take out, I  enjoyed and was pretty sure it was very much like the one on Jewell. I was told that the chicken recipe is exactly the same so there should not be any differences between the three places.

Image result for white fence farm chickenToday I ate at the one in Arvada again and was disappointed. Chicken pieces were small, breading was not as I expected and I mentioned it to the waitress. She said that the chicken is prepared the same as the one of Jewell. I explained  the difference between the one on Jewell, the one on 88th and the chicken in front of me. One big difference was the size of the breast. Today's breast was small. I asked if it was half a breast and the waitress said, "Oh no, that is a full breast." I don't think so. I will not return to the restaurant in Arvada but will go to the one on 88th and of course, if I feel like driving, I'll go to the one on Jewell.

These three places may call themselves White Fence Farm but somehow, when prepared it comes out looking and tasting different. My feeling is that the Arvada restaurant will not be around for long. Today the only customers were me and another couple.  It's a shame that if I want good fried chicken I am going to have to drive south to be satisfied. The chicken may be prepared the same, using the same recipe, yet there is a difference. Must be how I can never get my Mother's recipes to taste the same even though I prepare them the same!

"Our dilemma is that we hate change
and love it at the same time;
what we really want is for things
to remain the same but get better!"
Sydney J. Harris





Saturday, February 18, 2017

Premier Designs

Beautiful jewelry and many had Biblical quotes engraved in the bracelets or necklaces. A friend invited some friends to come to her first showing of the jewelry. There were about twenty persons crowded into the living room and kitchen to listen to a spiel about the jewelry. I do not wear jewelry and what I have has been in a drawer for years.  I did hope to find something in turquoise. The sad thing is that there weren't many turquoise items other than a ring and a necklace.

The "party" began with the introduction of Stiffeni , a play on the word Stephanie. Stiffeni was the headless mannequin in a black vee neck t-shirt. Necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets, watches, pendants and bling were placed on Stiffeni so we could enjoy the different bangles. I was impressed at how the pieces could be mixed and matched and still look great.

Another impressive thing was what I read on the Internet about this company. Its philosophy, purpose and objective of the company are the belief that God created every person with values. Their priorities are God, family and career. People are their most important asset. God demands fairness in every business deal. The company was founded in 1985 to help mother's earn money while staying home with their children. We were told that a hostess can set her own hours and that there is no magic quota to meet.

The play money was fun and it was handed out when someone asked a question or made a comment. At the end of the presentation the person with the most "dollars" was able to get into a surprise box and pick out a goodie.

The shaggy cat was on the couch when I arrived and I almost threw my coat over what I thought was a cushion!  The cat stayed through the whole presentation.


Good luck to my friend who is venturing out into this new endeavor. I wish her the best and many sales so she can do what she wants to do on her bucket list!


Friday, February 17, 2017

When Someone I Know is Dying



During my life, I have been around and seen many deaths of people I've loved and people I knew. Never have I felt and lived through someone's illness as one that I am following on Caring Bridge.org.  Daily, (except once) an update of how my friend is feeling, what she is doing and what is being done for her is posted. The postings are heartfelt and humorous. I marvel at how something so serious can make me smile. Through the writings, we know when she throws up, when she can't go to the bathroom, if she is sleeping, if she goes for walks, what medications she is given, what makes her feel better, visitors stopping by, and the information keeps everyone aware of what is happening in her hospice life.

We are elated when we hear she went to a Super Bowl party, sad when she can't eat, happy when she attended mass, pained for her when her stomach hurts, we get a good feeling when she goes for a walk, when she makes a cup of coffee, when she gets dressed, tries on silly hats and tries to live to a normal beat. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, I read that she is no longer eating, the priest administered the Sacrament of the Healing, people's  comments switched from remembrances to saying good-bye and how she had affected their lives.


I cried. I was not super close to her but I had gone to lunch with her once and felt a loss that I would not get to know her better. Maybe because of the daily postings, I feel as if I am getting closer to her and to her family.  I met most of her family at her 80th birthday party and knew she had done a great job in raising her family because they all seemed down to earth and nice people. She had given me a book that her husband had written and his sense of humor made me smile. The book came at an opportune time because on the very day I had lunch with her and she gave me the book, my son was admitted into the hospital and never regained consciousness. One chapter in the book deals with grief, a subject that helps me as I mourn my son. I do believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason.

Now, her end is near. I admire this strong woman who has led an exemplary life and as one of the posts let me know, she is ready for Jesus to come take her hand and lead her to eternal happiness.
With my friend and her brother.
Jesus came for her on February 19, 2017 at 5:45 p.m.
Rest in Peace dear lady.


Funeral Mass and Reception
February 24, 2017

At eleven in the morning, the casket was rolled into the church led by my friend's grandson carrying the large crucifix, immediate family, (two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and three grandchildren), and four priests. Many large flower arrangements adorned the altar. Beautiful music filled the church and many friends filled the pews.

The readings were appropriate and I wondered if my friend had picked them. The homily was touching and many were wiping their eyes, including the priest. The reception prepared by the Touch Committee of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community was crowded and the mood changed from sadness to joy. Memories were shared. I, along with many parishioners, was happy to see our past pastor. I do not know of any other priest that can give a homily like he can!
.
Internment was at Mt. Olivet but I did not go. I do not know how many people went to the cemetery but I do know that my friend was loved while living and her kindness, thoughtfulness and joy will be remembered for a long time. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Watching the Grammys

Am I being a prude
when I think a show is rude?
Watching the Grammys last night,
some of the acts were all right
yet
music sounded like noise,
no one seemed to have any poise
hair looked tangled
jewelry dangled
marching or prancing
they called it dancing
loud shouting
yet my mind was doubting
what did I see?
Is it just me?
Shimmering outfits,
sparkles galore
rears hanging out
boobs popping
vital areas barely covered
tattoos in odd places
rings in nose or ears
everyone trying to out do their peers
lights blasting
many looked deranged
how things have changed
made me wonder
could some really like this?
For parents this would be a shock
I couldn't even watch Elvis rock!
I must admit
some acts I liked,
yet others I thought were bad
quite sad.
Two took off their pants
to give their thanks.
The saving grace
is with my finger
I can push a button
to take me to another place,
that will surely amaze!
Singers dressed in suits and dresses
lyrics are words that my heart caresses
foul language not needed
censorship heeded
no need to be half naked
no need to twerk and shake it
no need to scream out loud
to please a younger crowd.
Maybe it is my age
but I like the past better than this latest rage!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shrine of St. Anne's Spaghetti Dinner



Eight dollars were paid at the entrance of the parish hall, I was directed to a lady holding a tray and she asked if I wanted white or red wine, she took me to an empty seat where some of my friends were waiting, and I sat down at a table. The table was decorated with flowers and no sooner did I sit down and took a sip of my wine, a waiter asked me if I wanted a salad.  From then on, the waiter made sure that I knew he was there to serve me. He took care of our table as if his life depended on it! I should mention that the waiters were parishioners and not professional waiters!

As soon as I finished my salad. he brought me a plate with spaghetti and meatballs, filled my cup  with water, brought extra sauce and hovered around to see if there was anything else I might need.
When I finished, my empty plate was taken away and a small cup of ice cream was placed in front of me.

The service was excellent, the food was good and the company interesting. I saw many friends from my past and chatted with most of them. A few of the persons I knew because they also belong to Spirit of Christ Catholic Community - Young At Heart group. (YAH)




A friend I had not seen for a long time joined us and we reminisced about our St. Anne's singles group of long ago. I remember I had named the group P.A.L.S (Praying and Living Singly though I liked to think of it as Preying instead of praying.) We were saddened to think that many from that old crowd were probably in heaven now.

It gives me a good feeling that I am supporting the fund raising efforts of St. Anne even though it is no longer my parish.




"When we give cheerfully
and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed."
Maya Angelou









Saturday, February 11, 2017

Polenta Party


Image result for polenta quotes

An Italian friend decided to have a few people over to her home so they could try some Polenta dishes. Most of us had never eaten it though some had eaten grits, a similar dish. Polenta is made with ground cornmeal, boiled in water for an hour or longer and stirred constantly. It becomes like a thick porridge and it can be cut in squares or spread thin like a pizza crust. Sauce can be poured over the pieces. I read that in Northern Italy Polenta is preferred instead of dough.

My favorite was the polenta pizza with ground pork, onions, red pepper, mushrooms and some asparagus. The other dish was small rectangles with mashed potatoes in a delicious sauce. Of course, she also had her famous meatballs and the Italian green been and garbanzo salad.

Our hostess brought out Italian cookies and one of the ladies brought a Red Velvet Cake, loaded with cherries and decorated with whipped cream.  Wine, food, the delicious desserts and great company helped pass the three hours spent at the Polenta Party!


                                    

Nothing Stays the Same

Yesterday I drove to Greeley, Colorado to visit a lady who was my best friend in high school. As I drove up to the house, I noticed there were six cars parked in front of the house. Walking to the front door I wondered if there was a party going on. One of her daughters greeted me at the door and warmly invited me into the house. "Are you guys having a party?" I asked. She laughed and said, "No this is the way it is every day!" There were seven persons in the room and the daughter said, "Hey Mom, see if you recognize this voice that just walked in."

The mother, with her back toward me, thought for a moment and then I said, "Remember eating a whole pint of ice-cream?" With those words, she knew exactly who I was. My friend and her husband are surrounded by their family. They have seven children; six girls and one boy. Four of the children were keeping their parents company plus her brother and his wife were also there.

I found out that the husband is suffering from cancer and has problems keeping any food down while  my friend finds it difficult to hold a conversation because she forgets certain words. She struggles to complete a sentence but we were able to converse and catch each other up on what has been going on.

After spending time with them, I left and called a Spirit of Christ Catholic Community friend who now lives in Greeley. I met her cat and then we drove to her sister-in-law's cookie store named Eileen's Colossal Cookies. As we entered the cookie "factory"  I said, "It sure smells good in here," and the response was, "Well I should hope so."


After visiting the cookie store we went to Chiles for lunch. I couldn't believe how big Greeley has grown. We talked about how much Greeley had changed and how different it was than when I lived there. Greeley High School is now Greeley Central High School. When I lived in Greeley there were only two high schools. Now, I think there are four.

I noticed Brannon grocery store has been replaced by a Smoke Shop. I remember we used our thirty-five cents lunch money to buy lunch meat for a dime, bread for a nickel and a dill pickle for three cents and still have some coins left over to buy a Green River at the bowling alley. A Dairy Queen where we would go in the evenings to enjoy a cone is now Cisneros Mexican Food. All of Greeley has expanded and what used to be fields and farm lands is now suburbia with lots of homes, parks and malls. Homes along 8th Avenue that I remember being new, beautiful homes now seemed to be in need of paint and looked run down.  Nothing ever stays the same and I have to admit that even I have changed!

After lunch we said good-bye and I headed for home, 52 miles away. A pleasant day in a place that I no longer recognize!

Intelligence is the ability
to adapt to change.
Stephen Hawking