Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Case of the Missing Earring

The ocean slapped the hot sand as my son and his girl friend rested underneath a palapa. "We have got to go shopping.....I saw some earrings I think she would like," the girl friend said. His response was to take another sip of the frosty piña colada. "Later," he said.

Soon it was later and they were in a taxi headed for the resort's downtown. She knew exactly where she had seen the earrings and in about twenty minutes they entered the jewelry store. She pointed out the earrings she thought his mother would like, silver with turquoise. He agreed and after the purchase was made they headed back to the resort to enjoy another piña colada and to sit under the palapa to watch the sun dip behind the water!

The earrings were placed in a suitcase when it was time to return to their home in the United States. The first chance they had they visited the man's mother and presented her with the earrings. She was excited to receive the gift because she loved turquoise. Whenever she went out she put the earrings on and it seemed as if anyone who saw them commented on their beauty. "Oh, these were brought back by my son on a vacation to Mexico," she would proudly say.

One day, about four months after wearing them, one disappeared. She looked everywhere but the one earring was missing. After a few weeks of searching she resigned herself to the fact that she now had another single earring to join the many others which also lacked a partner.

The years went by and sometimes in looking at her jewelry, she would see the beautiful earring and wonder how she could have lost it. She remembered how her Mother would say, "When something is given from the heart, it will last forever!"  Had the earrings not been given from the heart she wondered?

The earring was soon forgotten until yesterday when she happened to look in her jewelry box. She saw the lone earring. This time a pang struck her heart. She had lost her son in October and here it was May.  She picked up the earring and thought about her son. Poignant thoughts and sadness overwhelmed her as she looked at the beautiful earring. With a sigh, she put the sole earring back into the box with all the other earrings without partners.

Today she was looking in a drawer for a bill that she needed to review. Buried in the many other bills and envelopes she saw something shiny. She could not believe it was the lost earring. But how? She knew she looked through the bills at least once a month. Maybe three times a year she emptied the whole drawer out and went through every piece of paper. There was no way she could have missed seeing the earring. Ten years of looking in the bill drawer, how could she not have seen the earring?. Now this was a mystery with no explanation.

She got the other earring from where it has patiently waited, and happily she put them on. Somehow she knows that her son had something to do with her finding the earring. I can just hear him saying, "See Mom, I did give you those earrings with my whole heart!"

When a gift is given twice
the first time is appreciated and nice.
When the lost is returned to its mate
it has got to be some kind of fate.
The giver has gone so far away
yet, finding the lost is a special day!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tears for Breakfast

This morning I met the father of my children for breakfast. He brought some pictures he had found in going through some boxes and happened to find this photo with his three sons. My son was the big brother to his three sons from his second marriage but I had never seen this picture. I remember my son telling me how he would take the children sledding down a big hill and how much fun he had with his younger brothers. Later they would seek him out for teen-age advice and they played on a soccer team together.
We both became teary eyed and had to force ourselves not to cry out loud. As we were wiping our tears the waitress came up to the table but made a U-turn when she saw our sadness. She returned a few minutes later to take our order. It was a sad breakfast because he remembered losing two of his sons and his wife. His wife and our son died on the same day making it a double whammy for him.  Her birthday is coming up on June 13 and that was on his mind also.

I can see that he handles her death by writing poetry and some of his words are touching and full of sentimentality. I can tell the words come from deep inside his heart. They were married for forty-six years and he is glad he has many memories of their life together, yet, it is difficult being without his partner. He mourns his wife and son, while most of my mourning is for my son.

It is good that he has two sons who watch over him and have planned a few trips with him. They have traveled to San Francisco, Peru and San Diego. He told me, "My wife is always with me, though traveling with my sons helps me handle my pain." I told him that as long as we keep those we love in our hearts, they are never gone!

"They say that you die twice.
One time when you stop breathing
and a second time, a bit later,
when someone says your name
for the last time."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Flowers For The Dead

My usual jaunt to the Mt. Olivet Cemetery on Mother's Day to take flowers to my mother and family members was postponed until today because of the rain, hail, snow and wind. No matter what day I picked to visit the graves, bad weather intervened and I had to pick another day. Today was the day because the sun was shining, the sky was blue, clouds were white and it was warm.

Driving through the gates of the cemetery, I saw many American flags decorating the grounds for Memorial Day. There seemed to be more people than usual and my guess was that they were out because of the lovely weather or they were trying to miss the Memorial Day rush. My first stop was to visit my two aunts. Every year I buy them plastic flowers because I know my Mother would have wanted me to remember them. They both have been gone for quite a few years but I still remember them. They never walked side by side, but one followed the other and I used to find that strange. One was a talker and the other one was quiet. They were my Mother's older sisters, yet my mother died before they did.

Second stop was to visit my parents, my brother and my son. They are lying next to each other on earth and my hope is that they are all together in heaven. If they are sitting around a table, I know my Dad has the seat at the head of the table. When living, no one sat in his chair and I suppose it is the
same in heaven! In my brother's yellow flowers a white, fuzzy spot appeared. A sign?

The latest death is my son and I am still trying to come to grips with his death. He was so young and had so many more things he could have done. But, as the priest said at his funeral, "He has completed his mission on earth." Visiting those that have gone ahead, makes me feel sad that they are no longer here with me. I know, it is a selfish thought, yet the ache in my heart is slowly easing. My son's leaving is still fresh in my heart and it will take awhile for me to not feel the pain of losing him.

For three days after death,
hair and fingernails continue to grow
but phone calls taper off!"
Johnny Carson

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Now Calling R427

The automated number system at the Motor Vehicle Department penetrates my brain as number after number is called. I wait for my number to be called to get my license plates renewed.
as the impersonal voice calls another number. A person gets up and looks for the station where he or she will be helped. I see people get up from where they are seated on the long benches along the walls,  they move to the clerk that will take care of them and begin explaining what they need.
This process is repeated over and over again. Sitting and waiting, I hear many complaints. " Why are they so slow?" "Why don't they have more clerks?" "This is ridiculous to have to wait this long." Others, become "friends" and spend their waiting time chatting with the other people waiting. Some sit staring off into space, many are reading something on their cell phones and I have my Kindle.

After waiting about fifty minutes, my number is called. In less than ten minutes I am finished and I say to the clerk, "That was quick." The clerk responds with, "This part is fast, it's the waiting that takes so long."

The office on 64th and Wadsworth opened at 7:30 and clerks come to work in shifts. For about ten minutes not a one number was called. Once the nine o'clock shift  arrived the calling seemed to move faster.  I  try to not be critical of the system because my first job when I moved to Denver was in the License Plate Department of Motor Vehicle in Denver. Lines would be around the building, especially at the end of the month. I am sure there was a lot of grumbling going on then also. We worked hard but no one seemed to appreciate how many people we helped each day. I recall a very critical article in the Arvada Sentinel written by a disgruntled customer who complained about the service. I wrote a response, hoping that  people would understand how hard we worked. Sometimes, you have to walk in someone else's shoes to know the whole truth!

Yesterday I needed to renew my driver's license and that was an experience in itself! I waited in a line that went out the door, zig-zagged between ropes, and followed the persons in front of me until I reached a clerk fifteen minutes later. She gave me a number, told me to go to the left side of the next room, not to sit down, and follow the directions once I entered the double doors.

I stood in the room full of people, trying to get my bearings. When I saw a small sign directing me to move forward to the Stop sign, I did. I reached the stop sign, stood for about five minutes until I was flagged by a clerk sitting behind a counter. There were about six clerks helping different people renew their driver's licenses. I greeted the clerk, she asked some questions, she had me press down with my forehead on a bar to check my eye sight, I paid $26.00 and she gave me another slip of paper with a number. I was to wait until the number was called.

When I was called, a man had me answer the same questions the clerk had asked me but this was on a small screen. I was asked t stick my forefinger on an inky pad, and asked to step back a few steps to have my picture taken. "Can I leave my glasses on (to hide puffiness) or can I smile?" I asked. The answer was no to both of my questions and evidently before the words were out of my mouth, the picture was taken. No chance to pose and the picture on the temporary license leaves a lot to be desired!

After forty-five minutes I was on my way home with my temporary license. I wondered how, if I was stopped, a policeman would even recognize me because I looked quite different on the temporary license than  from what I believe I really look like!

"The other day I saw a guy with a sign,
Where will you spend eternity?
Which freaked me out because I
was on my way to the Dept. of Vehicles."
Arj Barker

Monday, May 22, 2017

What the Heck is Safonia

A concert held in North Denver at a Lutheran church was performed by Safonia. It was a concert of voices with no musical instruments. Amazing the sounds that singing can produce! The group is called Safonia and since I had never heard that word before, I went to Google.

Safonia is a made up word using two words.  Sappho which means Goddess of Music in Greek and Symphonia, a small chamber ensemble. A few times a year, I enjoy attending the Arvada Chorale  directed by Marla Wasson. She is an energetic conductor and she mentioned Safonia at one of the Arvada concerts. I do not remember what she said, but luckily my friend did listen and was able to get information on Safonia. A group of vocalists who hold concerts a few times a year. Yesterday was my first concert, Folk You! presented by Safonia.

A variety of music was presented including folk songs from Canada, Mexico, Cuba, England, Scotland, Ireland, Kentucky, Appalachia and Africa. Two sing-a-longs were This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie),and The Erie Canal. Other songs from famous singers were: Simon and Garfunkel, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen. Safonia not only use their voices, but also their hands and feet to emphasize some of the music.

One of my favorites was the Harp Singers who separated into four groups. The explanation of Harp Singers left me confused yet I enjoyed it immensely! With no instruments and just their voices the groups sing in their own tone and even though it was said that no experience is needed, that one does not have to be a singer, and that anyone can participate, I  disagree! My conclusion is that one has to have a voice to join in the repetitive singing.  A beautiful afternoon with the harmonizing voices of Safonia.

"If I cannot fly,
let me sing."
Stephen Sondheim

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Hectic and Fun Week

Blogging is a favorite pass time for me but this week has been so busy that I have not had time to write my thoughts! Monday was a tired day for me and I spent most of the day resting, emptying my backpack after a week end trip to California, doing laundry and napping.  Two hours out of the day I volunteered at the Arvada Food Bank.

Tuesday I attended Book Club to discuss a book that I had read a few months ago and could add nothing to the discussions. Seems as if my memory isn't like it used to be in the past when I was younger. Lunch with a few friends and then to my windshield appointment to have it replaced. It was being replaced because on May 8, 2017, when a hail storm came through Arvada, it had smashed my windshield leaving an artistic design of different sized stars!

Wednesday I spent a lot of time on my phone working on a trip scheduled for September by calling people who had signed up to go. That kept me busy the whole morning and then off to have lunch with a group called the Baker's Dozen and a celebration of two May birthdays; me included!

Thursday it was snowy and cold and I did not get out of my pajamas until around three in the afternoon. Most of the day I was on the phone with credit card fraud, (they found something odd in one of my transactions and were checking up), home insurance and car insurance. Don't know about anyone else, but one call can last over an hour! A lot of robot messages and holding, waiting for a live person to come on the line!

Later that day, I attended the Young At Heart dinner at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community. What fun! The chicken and artichoke meal was tasty, the entertainment by Shelvis (a woman who impersonates Elvis and sings songs of the 50's), women in fancy hats because the theme was "Day at the Track, visiting with different people and inviting them to go gamble at The Mardi Gras Casino in Blackhawk kept me busy at the dinner. (Once a month a bus leaves the parking lot of SOC to take us up to the mountains to either lose or win.

Happy Birthday!

Today, three of my friends met me at Bonefish Grill to celebrate two birthdays. The large revolving door with fish for handles was impressive.  I knew I was in a fancy restaurant because of its white table cloths and black cloth napkins. The waiters were in spiffy, white mandarin collared blouses or shirts. When a long white platter with freshly baked bread and olive oil, with spices for dipping, was placed on the table I knew I liked the restaurant. My salad with chicken (no I did not order fish!)
was excellent.

What a wonderful time chatting and eating delicious food in a more upscale restaurant than I usually visit. To help us celebrate, we were given a small box of chocolates and my friends ordered strawberry short cake on vanilla ice-cream. Two lit candles had to be blown out and wishes made!
Opening of gifts had us all oohing and aahing. How wonderful to have a birthday and to share it with friends. We all agreed that it is not the gifts that make a difference (though they help) but the friendship that matters.

"What is a friend?
A single soul dwelling
in two bodies."

Friday, May 19, 2017

Three Days of Celebrations

Boarding my flight at DIA around seven in the morning, I arrived in California two hours later. Thinking I was going from cool Colorado to warm California I found out I was wrong. It was cool in California too!  My daughter picked me up and said, "Today will be Mother's Day for us because the rest of the weekend we will be too busy to celebrate."

"Fine with me," I said. We went to see How to Be Latin Lover. A comedy about wealthy older women, gigolos, and family love, making it a semi-dark comedy. After the movie we ate at a
restaurant called, Cha Cha's where they serve fresh, authentic Latino food. I was in heaven having my daughter all to myself and enjoying good food at al fresco.

That evening, to celebrate my granddaughter's 18th birthday we went to Yogurt Land for dessert! After they enjoyed the large cup full of different tasting yogurts and many toppings, (I was good and did not have any!) the girls and I went to the mall. Again, I was in heaven because now I had my two granddaughters with me as we visited some of the shops. I purchased a gift card at Kiehls, a cosmetic place that she likes so I purchased a gift card for her birthday present. She has her own consultant who has given her facials in the past. The young woman's parents came from Guatemala and since my daughter was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, we had a good chat about the country! As the girls were growing up, one of our favorite pass times was visiting the mall and if they saw something they liked I would buy the item for them. As they got older, they preferred to shop by themselves. Friday night was like old times and I was happy!

Saturday  morning we drove to Laguna Beach to eat at the Urth Café as we continued my granddaughter's birthday celebration. Delicious food was enjoyed as we sat outside in the pleasant weather. Most tempting was the stuffed French toast; brioche bread stuffed with fresh bananas and creamy Nutella spread and drenched in fresh cream and egg batter and served with whipped cream and pure maple syrup. I had the Eggs Verde; two poached eggs over wild arugula, roasted corn, baby tomatoes and poached asparagus spears.  The healthy eaters had a fruit plate with neatly sliced mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwis, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries.

The ocean is less than a block away and the people eating seemed extremely young making me feel quite old.

After breakfast we drove to Dana Point to help my son-in-law's father celebrate his 90th birthday. What a fun party seeing the family, meeting friends, watching a video of his life, eating from a great spread of cold cuts, fruit and sandwiches. Instead of cake, individual cookies decorated with his name and birth date were given to people as they left the party.

From the first time I met the family, I liked the out going, close-knit, happy, well-read, and interesting people. I remember how they all made me feel at home when I visited them and how I was included in their celebrations.  I have watched the children turn into young adults and even though I have problems keeping them all straight, it is always a pleasure when I see them.

Happy 90th Birthday!

Even though my visit was short, it was quality time spent with my family and I loved it!

Image result for quote on family

Monday, May 15, 2017

Using Rocks to Pray

Last week I attended a talk about the Rosary. A Dominican priest, Wes Dessonville, came to Spirit of Christ Catholic Community to speak about the rosary. We learned that in ancient times, pebbles or rocks were used to count the prayers that were being said. In time, the rocks evolved into beads and as they were strung together it became the rosary as we know it today. It was interesting to know that all religions have some sort of bead connected to their prayers. For Catholics,  praying the rosary is the most popular devotion to Our Blessed Mother.

The priest mentioned that Dominicans wear a Rosary around their waist and it hangs on the left side with fifteen decades and not the normal five. Around the 1200's when men wore swords, the sword was on the left side making it easier to draw the sword with the right hand. That was the reason he gave for having the rosary on the left side. He did not mention what happens to the left handed knights! As the rosary is said, it is a repetition of prayers and becomes a mantra or chant. One reason for the repetition was that the majority of people were illiterate, yet they could memorize the words to the rosary.

Later, the mysteries were added; joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous.   As we pray the rosary we should meditate on the mysteries.

Joyful:  Annunciation, Visitation,  Nativity,  Presentation, and the Finding in the Temple.
Sorrowful: Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the   Cross, and the Crucifixion.
Glorious: Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption, Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Luminous: Baptism of Jesus, Miracle at Cana, Proclamation of the Kingdom, Transfiguration, Institution of the Eucharist.

"Through the eyes of Mary we get to God, which is the heart of prayer" was a comment I liked. We then prayed the Rosary and the hum of the voices and the murmur of the group was soothing in a musical sort of way.

About fifty persons attended the interesting talk about the Rosary and I, for one, am happy I was able to learn a little bit more about the Rosary.

"Grant we beg you, O Lord God,
that we, Your servants may enjoy
lasting health of mind and body
and by the glorious intercession
of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
be delivered from present sorrow
and enter into the joy of eternal happiness,
through Christ our Lord. Amen."
From Pray the Rosary Booklet

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Wood Carver

On Sunday I met a man who proudly said, "I made that cross for the church." I glanced up at the cross on top of Our Lady of Visitation Church and noticed the details in the cross. Even though I had attended mass at "the little church" I had never noticed the cross on top of the building and how beautiful it looked. And here was the man who carved the cross especially for his church. His  sadness was obvious as he said, "They now want to close my church, it doesn't seem right."

After the last mass, every one waited for the yellow school buses to take them to the Archdiocese of Denver where they planned to do a peaceful march in hopes that the Archbishop would listen to their plea and keep Our Lady of Visitation open and not close the doors forever. 

The man told me he wears a Celtic cross medal around his neck and that it served as the inspiration to make the cross for the church. He said he enjoyed working with wood and remembers when he was in school he would sit and doodle what he would like to carve. "I like making wooden walking sticks." He has made crucifixes and crosses but does it as a hobby and not to sell.

I found his story interesting because on September 11, 2001, he and his wife were going to go the Twin Towers since they were on vacation in New York City. They never got to visit the Towers.  "We drove home after 9-11 because we did not want to fly." he said. He mentioned that he was not involved with the church at that time and he wasn't too religious. A few years after 9-11 he met the Pastor of Holy Trinity and visited the little church. It reminded him of small churches in San Luis, Colorado, and became a parishioner and has belonged to Our Lady of Visitation ever since.

I asked him where he had his studio, since he is an artist that works with wood, and he said, "I work in my back yard!" He told me that in the center of the cross a solar light used to glow at night. Since it isn't glowing now, he said he needed to fix it so it would once again give out its light!

On the bus the granddaughter of the original owner of the land carried a plain cross. "This is the first cross that was put on top of the church and I will march with it," she remarked,

From the picture of the first cross to the Celtic cross made by the wood carver there is a huge difference, yet both crosses represent love for Our Lady of Visitation church!

Celtic Cross
Four arms represent earth, air, fire, and water
also, north, south, east and west,
or mind, soul, heart and body
and the rings mean eternity and unending love
of the sacrifice of the cross.
From the Internet

Mother Nature Has A Temper

On Monday May 8, 2017, a hail storm hit Arvada and places around Colorado. My thought was Mother Nature must be on menopause and unable to control her anger. Hail broke house windows, windshields, dented cars, broke through siding, wrecked trees and plants. A Costco employee told me that all the workers had their windshields smashed. I happened to be parked at 57th and Balsam where I volunteer at the Food Bank when the storm began to rage!

We heard the thunderous noise as the ping-pong and marble size hail hit the roof. We could see the hail covering grass and parking lot just as if it was snowing. When the storm subsided, we went out to look at the cars. Everything seemed normal and I gave a sigh of relief. When I got into the car I saw the windshield on the passenger side had about six stars. It looked quite artistic. The hail had not broken through the glass but instead left a design on the glass.

Driving home the street was covered in white and it looked as if it had snowed. At home I noticed my fence had changed color with many pits and where the hail had struck it. My car was covered with dings. The next day I spent the day trying to get appointments to get repairs. On the News, there was damage much worse than mine so I have to be thankful for that, as I told myself, it could have been worse!

"I once told Nixon that the
Presidency is like a jackass
caught in a hail storm.
You've got to just stand
there and take it!"
Lyndon B. Johnson