Sunday, April 30, 2017

Am I An Activist?

The dictionary describes an activist as a person who campaigns to bring about change. Being an activist and marching for what you believe in is a powerful and peaceful way to let others know about what one believes to be wrong. Growing up and as a young adult I remember reading about protests and marches though I never became involved. This year, when I heard that "the little church," also known as Our Lady of Visitation, was going to be permanently closed, I felt moved to join some of my friends in protesting its closure.

When I was informed that buses were to take marchers to the Archdiocese of Denver to get the attention of the Archbishop, I decided to go along. After mass, the two yellow school buses were filled with banners, posters, water and people. Arriving at the Archdiocese, we were confronted with a sign informing us that we could not go on the Archdiocese grounds.

The group gathered at the gate, there were some short speeches by Federico Pena, young kids who considered the church their home, and a few other people who felt it was not right for the church to be closed.  I was touched by the teen-agers who spoke about how they had been baptized, made their first communion and how "this is the only parish we know and the only parish they want to know." Others put in their plea because the church was important to them and to the Hispanic community

I was impressed at the well-organized march, at the peaceful demonstration, and the many signs and banners carried by some of the group. There were a few television crews filming and I hope it will be on tonight's news. (I did see Andrea Flores of Channel 4 do a segment on our march on the ten o'clock news.) There was a lady who drove in from Longmont because she felt it was important to help save the little church. I overheard that negotiations are still continuing, a letter has been sent to Pope Francis, and many are hopeful that Our Lady of Visitation will be able to continue as a parish.

On our return to Our Lady of Visitation, we were treated to smothered burritos, posole, menudo and a variety of desserts. As we enjoyed our food, chatted with some of the parishioners and proudly wore our buttons, we all understood that "God's will be done" and that prayer is powerful.

My Button

Looks or Efficiency

All my life I have had blood drawn for different health tests and by looking at my arm, no one would ever know it. Yesterday, I had my blood drawn by a handsome fireman. I was at the 9 Heath Fair and even though there was a young woman flagging me over, I picked the tall, handsome blond fireman. He was friendly and with a sense of humor. How lucky am I, I thought.

He had me place my arm on his leg as he drew blood. That was a thrill in itself! He seemed to find my vein easily and I didn't feel a thing when the needle went in. I was out of the chair in less than five minutes. As he placed a cotton ball and tape in the crook of my arm, he looked at me with beautiful blue eyes and said, "Keep that on for at least thirty minutes."

I forgot all about the tape until this morning when I pulled off the tape. There was some blood on the cotton ball which I do not recall ever seeing when my blood has been taken. Then I saw my arm. A huge purple bruise looked awful. How could that have happened?

The only thing I can believe is that my good looking fireman did not know what he was doing. I should have gone to the nurse that had been flagging me. Was this my punishment for going for beauty? One thing I have learned for the future is that looks sometimes do not substitute for efficiency!
Got a blood test the
other day, and now I have a bruise
around the area where the needle went in.

  Bruising around the site of a blood draw
is a very common phenomenon and should
not prompt immediate concern.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Book or Movie

What do you do when it is a cold and snowy day? I woke up this morning and it did not look like spring at all. Snow was falling, the grass was white and the evergreen trees were loaded with snow.

About a year ago, my book club read A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman and I remember how much I enjoyed the book. It was about a grouchy old man who called everybody "idiots." I noticed that it was offered on Amazon with Prime. Having nothing pending that needed my attention, I began watching the movie.

I paused the movie and popped me a bowl of popcorn and watched the movie in my warm home while munching on salty popcorn. I usually prefer books to movies, but maybe it's because it has been awhile since I read the book, I thought the movie was excellent. I laughed in some parts and cried in other parts but how wonderful to see the characters in the movie; a Persian woman, two small children, a paraplegic, a cat, bureaucratic men referred to as "white shirts," and, of course, Ove.

Excellent movie of Ove trying to commit suicide so he can be with his wife who died six months prior to where we meet Ove. His attempts are unsuccessful, for one reason or another and he continues his grouchiness towards the world! Poignant moments between father and son, wife and husband, and Ove and his neighbors.

A perfect afternoon as the snow slowly subsided and I hear it will be a nicer day tomorrow.

"People said Ove saw the
world in black and white
but she was color.
All the color he had"
Fredrick Backman

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Fun Place to Volunteer

This year, 2017, I decided to volunteer at the 9 Health Fair. I contacted the necessary people, got signed up and on the day before the Fair I went in for a training. The morning of the Fair I arrived at the church where the Fair would be held, at six in the morning. There were a lot of people milling around and I did not know any of them. I picked up a packet and found a name tag, a ribbon with "Ask Me For Help," a 9 pin, two meal tickets and later I got a blue t-shirt so people would know I was a volunteer. 

A breakfast of scrambled eggs, potatoes, cinnamon rolls, and fruit fortified us before we tackled our volunteering jobs.  My title was Floater and my job was to relieve workers who needed a break. I tried relieving but everyone I asked did not want to take a break so I self-appointed myself to become an  Ambassador directing and helping people find where they wanted to go.

I have volunteered in various places but the 9 Health Fair, to me was the most fun. I enjoyed talking to the different people and listening to their stories. I loved helping them find their way through the two floors of health helps. Showing people, especially those that had problems walking, the elevator made everyone happy!

On my break I also took advantage of the benefits of the Health Fair. My blood was drawn and I will get results in about four weeks. My memory was okay and it felt good hearing someone tell me I did not have to worry. Bone density was tested and it was about in the middle of where it should be so that was good. Balance was interesting because I did wobble a bit when I was told to put one foot in front of the other. I was fine while holding on to something but on my own, I wasn't so steady. After listening to young girls tell me about nutrition and how to shop for healthier and cheaper items at the grocery store I received a large green bag and a $10 gift certificate to King Soopers.

At noon when everything began to close down, I found some friends and enjoyed a lunch provided by Chick fil A. My suggestion is to anyone who wants to make a difference in people's lives while enjoying yourself, is to volunteer at the 9 Health Fair!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Cell Phone Went For A Swim Today

My advice to people with cell phones is to never put them in the back pocket of your jeans. That is an accident waiting to happen, such as what happened to me today. I went to the bathroom and did not suspect a thing until I went to flush the toilet. There in the water was my cell phone. I fished it out and wiped it and then dried it as best as I could. A colorful streak of color ran up and down the screen.

I have heard horror stories of phones submerged in water. As I told my tale of woe I got different words of wisdom. "Put it in rice and let it sit for 24-48 hours." "Don't try starting the phone and maybe when it dries up it will begin to work again." "Take it to your phone company and maybe they will replace it." I said, "I will go to Verizon and see what they tell me. I may need to buy another phone."

At the Verizon store I explained what had happened to a young man. I swear, he looked about twelve years old. In fact, looking around at all the sales persons milling around, they all seemed like high school  kids. I was shown many types of cell phones and many prices. As I hesitated because the young man could not get my phone to work, he suggested that I take my phone to Staples on 120th to see if they could dry out my phone. "They have a special machine that will get all the water out of your phone," I was told.

At Staples, after I told them my tale of woe, they put my phone in a container, about the size of a bread box. A switch was turned on and I was  informed that in thirty minutes we would know if the phone would once again work. Another customer had also dropped his phone into the toilet and when his phone came out of the box, it did not work. I felt bad for him.  "What are my chances that my phone will be okay?" I asked. I was told that we would not know until the phone was removed from the box. I prayed as I waited that my phone would be all right.

Thirty minutes later, as the box was opened, we all stood around looking at my phone. It was turned on and my screen came up. I have never been so happy as when I saw my phone light up.  It seemed to be working. The technician tried different apps on my phone, checked my pictures which had not disappeared and she said, "I think you are okay, your phone is working."

I could not thank the Staples workers enough. They had saved me lots of money, saved me the headache of learning a new phone, and my phone seemed to be working as good as before it went for a swim!

"As long as you have
a cell phone,
you are never alone!"
Stanley Victor Paskavich

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Four Hundred and FiftyThree Years Old

Sunday Morning on Channel 4, I heard that William Shakespeare would be celebrating a birthday today. He was born and died on April 23 when he was fifty-two years old. The program reminded me of my Complete Works of Shakespeare that has been on my shelves for over fifty years.
Lately, I have been decluttering and am getting rid of books from my library. Getting rid of books seems so wrong. The books were purchased because, at the time, I felt the need to buy them. Now, here I am trying to get rid of those same books that I loved. I tell myself, these books just sit on the shelf and I will probably never read them again. After reading Marie Kando's book on decluttering she advises that I should pick up a book and if it doesn't excite me or give me a feeling of happiness, I am supposed to get rid of it. Give someone else a chance to enjoy it. Libraries, thrift stores and friends are places who take books. There is also a way to resell books but it just seems like too much of a hassle.

I am not sure why I hang on to the Shakespeare book. At first I thought my grandchildren could use it when they went to school. How was I to know computers would take the place of books! Maybe when I die and someone is going through my things they will think how well read I was or someone will say, "I didn't know she read Shakespeare." They would be right. While at Regis College, I did read him but I remember I had problems understanding his writing and struggled through his plays and sonnets. After the semester on the Bard of Avon was over, the book went to my shelf and has not been touched in years!

At our monthly Book Club meeting I mentioned my dilemma and one reader said, "My daughter loves Shakespeare. She has many of his stories but would love a complete book of his works." The thought about recycling my book took another turn. My book would go someplace where it would be loved and read. The idea of giving it to the lady's daughter appealed to me and made me feel better about taking it off my shelf!

"God has given you one face,
and you make yourself another."
William Shakespeare

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Fun Day Ends With Tiramisu Cake

Today three friends drove to Longmont, Colorado so the two that had never been to the Cheese Importers could experience the interesting place filled with many French items. I had been there before so I played being a tour guide as I directed the driver to the large warehouse looking building.
The parking lot was filled and the over flow lot was almost full though we did manage to find a spot.
Due to a rainstorm in the morning, all the umbrellas were closed so the colorful patio was not to be seen. Inside, it took my friends by surprise. "So many things to see," they said, as we entered. A long line waiting to eat reached the front door.

They spent time in the cold cheese room looking at the different varieties of  French, Italian and Mexican cheese. The bins had different types of olives and vegetables soaking in olive oil.

 They sampled some of the wares but I did not stay in the freezing room too long because it was too cold for me and I did not put on one of their handy jackets. After buying some cheese they exited the cold room and we walked up and down the crowded aisles commenting on the prices of aprons, towels, plastic ware, books, creams, candy, and an antique Virgin Mary. (Not sure if it was an antique, but it did look old!)
Lunch at the Cheese Importers seemed out of the question because of the long line that never seemed to get shorter. I suggested an Irish restaurant where I had met a friend for lunch once and luckily we found a parking spot about half a block from Mike O'Shay's Restaurant. We ordered two Ruben's that were stacked high with corned beef and sauerkraut and a turkey Ruben. None of us could eat all of our sandwich and we left the restaurant with "doggie" boxes. I don't know what caused one of my friends to look up, but she did and said, "Look, the light is made with wine glasses." My other friend said, "Look, that light is blue bottles and that other light is made from forks." We looked and were amazed at the clever lights!

Before we left we shared a gigantic slice of Tiramisu cake. The layers had chocolate mousse, a creamy sweet filling, dark chocolate, marzipan, and what ever else which made it the best cake I have ever eaten! It did not take long to finish the delicious slice of cake!

It seems fitting to say
Au revoir, Adios, Arrivederci,
and So-Long to end this blog!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Santos y Cruces

Santos y Cruces means Saints and Crosses. I took a drive to the Santa Fe Drive area in Denver, Colorado to see the display of Santos at CHAC (Chicano Humanities and Arts Council). Santo art is wooden carvings from local wood and paints. The paints are hand made from natural materials. CHAC was celebrating their 17th Annual Santos y Cruces and works by Sean Trujillo, Carlos Santistevan, Frank Zamora, Teresa Duran, Jose Raul Esquibel, Lynn Fresques, Judy Miranda, and Ron Miera, among others, were displayed on the walls and on stands.

As I wandered around looking at the primitive looking art, a young man began talking to me about Santero art. He was very passionate as he explained that he had always had a great admiration for saints and how important his religion was to him. "I believe that is what led me to working in this field. I use only original paints that I make myself from plants, pinon oil, and red earth. It is like a bonding between me and my work." He pointed out some of his work and posed underneath his retablo. I noticed that some of his work had been sold.

Years ago I knew Carlos Santistevan, a Santero, and would have conversations with him about his work. It was then that I began to appreciate the work of the Santeros and all that is involved in producing this unique art.  I remember him but I am pretty sure he would not know me after nineteen years. His work is beautiful and so is the price tags on his work! There was nothing priced below two hundred dollars and I saw one art piece for twenty-five hundred. "Carlos is a Master Santero," the young artist told me,  "and his sons are following in his footsteps and some of the work here is by one of the sons."

One piece by Jose Raul Esquibel I found to be unique because he had placed Nuestra Senora Valvanera in a bark grotto. Artists come up with unusual and different ideas and I suppose that is why they are artists!

A post card was given to me of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Teresa Duran and then later I found her
original hanging on the wall.

There are many art galleries along Santa Fe Drive; Space Gallery, Habitat Gallery and Studio, Niza Knoll Gallery, Aker's Gallery, Core New Art, Event Gallery, Sync Gallery and CHAC.

The simple yet beautiful chest was created by Lynn Fresques and I like that women are involved with Hispanic art. In the past the Santero art was dominated by men. It was an interesting afternoon  learning about the Hispanic form of art. Years ago I thought the art form was too bloody and grotesque, but through the years I have slowly come to like and appreciate it.

Santero: Person who makes religious objects.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Non Meat Eater Ate a Pork Chop Today

No, I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan. I am not a lover of meat, though sometimes I will eat chicken, beef or pork, but not often. Lately I have been craving meat, especially when I see meat being cooked on television.

Today I decided to fix some pork chops that were in my freezer. I had purchased the meat to prepare green chili and never got around to fixing it. After thawing the meat, I fried them in oil. Probably not healthy but what the heck, when a craving hits, it is too late to think about healthy food!  My house smelled like a diner but the pork chops were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I enjoyed the tasty pork chops wrapped in a warm tortilla with a salad on the side. I wondered why I don't eat meat more often because I loved my pork chop!

"There is poetry
in a pork chop
to a hungry man
or woman."
Philip Gibbs

Movie That Hits Many Emotions

Michael Caine is one of my favorite actors and his latest movie, Going In Style, is a fun movie to see. Especially, if you are, as they say in Spanish speaking countries, of the 3rd Generation! Three fellows who are terrific actors decide to rob a bank. I found the movie to be funny and found myself laughing in many parts. Aside from hilarious moments, there were tender moments also. Romance enters into the story and love is around every corner between grandfathers and granddaughters. I liked the tight friendship that the three men had and how they reacted toward each other.

All three major actors are academy award winners. Michael Caine for his two Oscars; The Cider House Rules and Hannah and her Sisters. Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby and Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine. How could a movie not be good with three great actors plus Ann Margaret, Christopher Lloyd and Matt Dillon thrown into the mix?

I found myself feeling a bit sad that we were all old and wondered if young people would enjoy the movie. There were many parts that I could identify with, like when Michael Caine tries to get out of a chair or when Alan Arkin tries to run.

Since most of my friends are older, I recommend this movie to them. I do believe they would get a big kick out of this clever movie.  As I left the theater, along with many other senior citizens, all the remarks about the movie were great!

A Visit from Cinderella

Our Young At Heart luncheon took place on April 18, 2017 and the theme was Disneyland.
The decorating committee did a tremendous job in setting the mood with castles on the dessert tables, balloons hanging from the ceiling, Micky and Minnie greeting people at the entrance, silhouette of ears on the tables and a visit from Cinderella.

Cinderella sang two songs a cappella and spent time visiting with the people at the luncheon. Some enjoyed having their picture taken with the charming Cinderella.

Lunch consisted of sloppy joes, a cucumber-tomato salad, potato salad and yummy desserts! After everyone had finished eating, four women in blue blouses and grey slacks stepped up to the microphone. They told us they were the Day Timers Quartet and part of the High Country Chorus of the Sweet Adeline's International Organization. The four ladies harmonized as they sang well known tunes which allowed us to join in.
 The luncheon was a happy gathering with good food, wonderful entertainment, lots of camaraderie,
and Cinderella was the icing on the cake! My thanks go to the ladies who prepared the food, to the decorating committee who made the room quite festive, and to the person that found the entertainment. Without hard working volunteers our group would not be able to function and bring joy to many of the Young At Heart group.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Would I Do Without God In My Life?

Without God, I would be a bumbling fool, not sure what to do next. Many times in my life, without me even realizing why or how, God has directed me to make a right move. This morning was one of those mornings. It was Easter and I wondered which mass to attend and chose the first mass of the morning at seven. I don't believe I have ever attended mass that early, except maybe once on New Year's Eve when I partied until dawn and went directly to mass before going home!

About two months ago a friend told me that she and her family went to Blackhawk for brunch on Easter. I said, "That sounds like fun." She said, "Join us." I told her I would let her know. The idea of going to the hill evaporated from my mind.  About a week ago I was invited by another friend to join her family's celebration on Easter. This being my first Easter without my son I knew I would be feeling blue, yet I didn't want to intrude into some one else's family.

On Holy Saturday I wondered what to do on Easter. I checked to see if stores would be open and thought I might go shopping. I checked the movies, maybe I would go see a movie. There was always grocery shopping I could do. I could read or work around the house.

Easter morning arrived and I had not made up my mind as to what I was going to do. The sunrise was beautiful and I drove out of my way to get a picture making me wonder if I would be late for mass.
Arriving at church I was lucky to find a parking spot and entered the beautifully decorated altar, the choir was practicing the hymns they would sing, and women were dressed in pastels or floral outfits and men wore suits. Well, more suits than I usually see at mass. I found a place to sit when behind me I heard,  "Is this seat taken?"  I said, "No," and looked up and there was a dear friend who is battling cancer. We embraced and she and her husband sat next to me. To me this was a miracle....first because they found a seat in the crowded church and second that it was next to me!
"Will you be going up to Blackhawk with our friends?" she whispered.

Immediately, I knew God was letting me know what I would be doing for Easter. "Oh my, I had forgotten about that, but yes I will go if I see her." It was then I remembered the past conversation about Blackhawk.  When she reached over and got my hand while slipping a black and silver bracelet rosary on my wrist, she whispered, "Happy Easter." I had to choke back my tears. How thoughtful is this lady, I thought, she has her own worries yet thinks of others.

After mass the couple going to the mountains met us near the back of the church.  They did remember our previous conversation. After hugging and wishing each other a happy Easter, it was decided I would be picked up at ten to drive to the mountains for brunch!  I could not have planned it better myself, but God could and did!

Easter at the Isle of Capri was fun and enjoyable. The $32.00 brunch was free after playing for thirty minutes!

The desserts were my favorites though the traditional food was tasty also! After eating we returned to the machines and one of the four hit it big! What a grand day beginning with mass, being with friends, eating a delicious meal, enjoying the desserts, and winning and losing!

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are Easter People
and hallelujah is our song!"
Pope John Paul II