Monday, July 24, 2017

An Interesting Surprise

Today I received a package wrapped in a brown Trader Joe's shopping bag. Because I had ordered something from Amazon, I tossed the package on the table and went about my business. I wasn't going to open the box because I already knew what was in it. On one of my glances at the package on the table, I thought: That's odd, Amazon usually sends packages in special boxes. So I got the package and actually looked at it. It was from my brother in Massachusetts.

Once I found out the package was from my brother I began ripping the well wrapped package apart. Lots of tape! What could he have sent me? Cutting and tearing until I reached a red box with a picture of a slipper, size six. Could he have sent me slippers? If he did, that is not my size!

When I finally got to the heart of the package there was a book by my favorite author: Kurt Vonnegut Letters. I inside the book I found a six page letter. My brother has a way of writing that is informative with humor. I have always loved the way he writes and his writing makes me laugh. He told me about experiences with Sea Bear, his boat, that was leaking.  Their trip to Prague and Vienna. The trip was a surprise birthday gift and when he heard that they were going to Vienna he said,  I had heard about Vienna, are we going to waltz? How I chuckled at his descriptions of their travels. The food they ate, some good and some not so good. Their accommodations, some good and some not so good. I did not read anything bad about the beer or wine that they seemed to enjoy!

I vaguely remember that when he was here in October, we talked about Vonnegut and I showed him my collection of Vonnegut books. I now recall that he asked me if I had seen a new book about Vonnegut's letters. I told him I had not.  In the eight months that passed, I had forgotten the conversation so the book came as a complete and pleasant surprise!

Thanks to my brother for thinking of me and I am sure I will enjoy reading the letters because the blurb in the book tells me: The letters by Kurt Vonnegut collected in this book tell the story of a writer's life -- a writer whose influence is still widely felt through-out the world and, by every indication, will continue to be felt for along time to come.

"I really wonder what
gives us the right to
wreck this poor planet
of ours."
Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Three Birthdays In A Row

Many birthdays in July.  I went to a party of a friend celebrating her 80th birthday. A few weeks later a celebration for a friend that was ninety. I missed a party for a friend's daughter celebrating her 20th birthday. What fun being with friends, meeting family, eating great food and helping them celebrate their special birthdays.

July 8, 2017: A fun party as I helped celebrate a friend's birthday.

July 16, 2017: This young woman's 20th birthday was celebrated on July 15 but I could not attend the get- together because I had company from out of state.

July 22, 2017: Having fun at the party for a friend who does not act or look her age!

"To me -- old age
is always ten years
older than I am."
Bernard Baruch

Friday, July 21, 2017

Copper Canyon

The name sounded interesting and so did the colors in what will be my new roof. My neighborhood has many signs advertising the over two hundred roofing companies in Colorado. I don't know for sure that there are over two hundred but in my vicinity, blocks from my house, this is what I see.

My prayer is that the one I picked will do a great job and that my roof will last as long as the one I have now. Somehow, the roof currently on top of my house has lasted for over thirty years and is called a t-lock which is no longer made. The roof had gone through two big hailstorms and somehow no damage was done. A few years ago, after a tremendous hailstorm, all my neighbors replaced their roofs but nothing happened to mine. I had at least three different estimators check my roof and they all said, "Your roof is fine, no damage." This year, after our last hail storm, my roof will get replaced.

Even though a few companies rang my doorbell and many sent me flyers, I picked one that has an office not far from my house and I liked the fellow who came to do the estimate. Yesterday I spent an hour with him listening to him explain how insurances work, the type of roof that will put on, all that they do around the gutters, and much more. He did not know that all I wanted to know was how much was it going to cost me? Seems that my deductible is what will come out of pocket and I guess that is better than paying for a brand new roof!

Once I get my insurance papers over to him the process can begin and if what he tells me turns out as he said, I should have a new roof within the next few weeks!

Copper Canyon

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fourteen Days Later

The photographs from the disposable camera took fourteen days to be processed. After waiting patiently, well, not so patiently since I checked every day, I received a call that the photos and CD were ready to be picked up from Walgreen's. Once the envelope was handed over to me and after I paid the $16.59, the first thing I did was to look at the pictures.

What a disappointment. Most were dark and some had half a picture blurred out by what looked like an outside object; maybe a hand or finger. I complained and the manager said he would only charge me for the ones I wanted. The total I paid ended up being ten dollars yet none of the pictures are good enough to publish on Facebook.

From my Greeley visit on the 4th of July I managed to salvage a few. Yet, the special picture with my girlfriend and me there is a glowing light on her. I do not know what caused the light but I do like our picture together so I kept it! I will never know why she is lit up and I am not! The picture taken out side with her seven children is not sharp but it was one of the better pictures.


The disposable film also had pictures of some friends in Westminster on a day we watched the movie/documentary of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. After the movie, we ate delicious food, talked about everything under the sun (and the moon), and took some pictures with that horrible camera. Now a days we are so spoiled with digital cameras or phones with
excellent cameras where we can get, edit, and print pictures in minutes! If we do not like how a picture turns out it can be deleted but those options are not available with a disposable camera.

A disposable camera is expensive ($16.00), the developing charge is $16.59, there is no way of  knowing what kind of photos will turn out, and waiting over two weeks to get them back are all reasons not to buy a disposable camera. If your digital camera is not charged, here is my advice: It is better to not take any photos at all. Memories will have to be just that...a memory in your head!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stampeding Out Of Existence

Every year I drive fifty-two miles on the 4th of July to see the Greeley Stampede parade. I have heard it is one of the biggest and best but I am beginning to wonder about that comment. Each year
the parade seems to diminish from what I remember as a kid growing up in Greeley. How I remember the marching bands, lots of  horses, the colorful floats, the clowns, and the El Jebel fun entries were something to see. I try to return every year and I notice how the parade in Greeley has become a parade of advertisements. Ads for dentists, real estate, hospitals, and politicians among others make up the majority of the parade. It was disappointing that there were only two bands, when there used to be five or more; no decorated floats other than a few flatbeds with kids or people on them waving at the crowd.

This year the theme of patriotic or western did have many flags and veterans and when they approached we all stood up. I got teary- eyed seeing the elderly soldiers as they sat on a pulled trailer and waved at the people. I did enjoy the few horses, two clowns in pink hats on ATVs and the only lively group was a Mexican band playing loud and cheerful music. The live band was followed by a huge yellow bus and a limousine!

The long horn cattle plodded along swinging their heads made me wonder what kept them from charging into the crowd. There were a few cowboys and I noticed that the riders were either very young or they were older and did not look like my idea of a cowboy. I can remember many horses prancing along the route with "Marlboro" looking men riding them! I didn't see any "real" cowboys this year.  I did not enjoy the antique cars or the corvettes. The large garbage trucks did nothing for me only made me wonder why they were even in the parade.

I felt sad that the parade, which used to be filled with so much excitement and fun, has dwindled down to being next to boring.  Later, when I met some friends they also mentioned how boring it had been and if they had not had a grandchild marching, they would have left before it ended.


The pride and joy of being from Greeley and taking many friends and relatives to see the parade has always been a high light in my life. This is the first time I have been disappointed and for Greeley's sake, I hope they re-think the parade for next year and make it fun and exciting once again!

"And when it rains
on your parade, look
up rather than down.
Without rain there
would be no rainbow!"
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Don't Forget To Charge Your Battery

Who would have known that my forgetting to charge my camera battery would end up being expensive. When my digital camera ran out of juice, I had to purchase a disposable camera, the size of a 3x5 inch box, for $16.00. Using it was frustrating, and at times hilarious, because I had to look through a tiny view finder and after the picture was taken I had no way of seeing if my subjects' eyes were open or if the picture was good enough to keep. When it was time for another picture I had to roll a black disc on top of the camera with my thumb. This got the film to the next position to take a picture. I must confess it was a pain using the "old fashioned" camera.

After taking the twenty-seven pictures on the roll of film I stopped by Costco so they could develop the film. "Oh my, we stopped doing those cameras about two years ago." My question was, "Who develops the pictures on this disposable camera?" Her suggestion was Walgreen's. Sure enough, Walgreen's seems to be the only place that still develops the film in a camera. The clerk said, "Usually, these types of cameras are found in somebody's basement or in a closet and when they find the camera they have no way of knowing what is on the film. Usually the camera is about two or three years old, or older. We seldom get a new purchase!" I wasn't sure if that was supposed to make me feel better or not.

He filled out the envelope, put the camera inside it and said, ''It will cost $15.68 to get the film developed."  I asked, "Why so much?" His response was, "We're the only game in town so people have to pay!" He was right. I will pay and I hope the pictures are decent. I will not get negatives but I will get one set of pictures and a CD.

I have learned my lesson. Paying $31.68 for pictures that may or may not be any good is a bit pricey! Don't forget to charge my battery on my digital camera will become my motto!

"What was is sometimes
a good thing,
while other times
what was is not,
especially in cameras!"
E. Moscoso

Friday, July 7, 2017

Calavera Time

When I visit Mexico, there is always something to tempt tourists. One year it was ceramic bowls, another year it was different decorative crosses, once it was fish or funny puppets , or jewelry and this year it was skulls! Every store had skulls from ugly to beautiful. When a friend drove us to a small village near Nuevo Vallarta called Buscerias, it seemed that among the many articles being sold in the vendor alleys, they all carried painted skulls.

In October, when I prepare an altar for the dead for my mother, father, brother, my son and a close friend the altar will have my latest purchase of a skull. My son will have been gone a year right about the time I set up an altar. I wish I had purchased one small skull for each one of my loved ones who are no longer with me, but I didn't. That will have to be on another visit to Mexico unless I can find some here in the States.

 Below are pictures of some of the "stuff" that appealed to me and I brought back from Mexico. A cross for my wall collection, one of many fish I purchased when I collected fish, a colorful lizard given to me as a gift, and jewelry I still wear.

"Your skull encloses your brain. But never
forget that anytime you open your mouth
to talk, you have opened your mind for the
entire world to see what is hidden there!"
Israelmore Ayivor

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Mexican Fiesta

While in Nuevo Vallarta, I saw a poster that there would be a Mexican Fiesta and I wanted everyone to go and enjoy the music, dancing and food. No matter how I presented the fun night, no one seemed to want to go. I had two takers so on the evening of the event, my two granddaughters and I went to the Fiesta.

We walked to the Conference Center where the fiesta would take place and at the entrance, vendors had set up their wares. Jewelry, artifacts, clothing, toys, hats, and colorful ceramic items were ready for people to buy.  A man and a woman in Aztec attire waited for people to arrive and photos were taken which could then be purchased for ten dollars. As we entered the large hall we could see about 200 tables with white tablecloths. At the door, a small cup on a ribbon was placed around our neck and this was for waiters to fill the tiny cups with Tequila. Along
the walls were two long buffet tables with every possible type of Mexican food. Many of the dishes I did not recognize!

We ate to our hearts content; tasting as many dishes as we could. The entertainment began with a terrific band playing Cumbias and songs with Latin rhythms. Some people got up and danced and then the Ballet Folklorico came to dance traditional dances of Jalisco. The desserts were fancy and we enjoyed the Churros the best. When balloons were twisted into animals and hats, I got a bit bored and asked the girls if they were ready to leave. As we opened the door to leave we saw a rain storm raging outside. Torrents of rain made the street difficult to see. We returned to our seats and listened to the moderator poke fun at the "gringos!" On the agenda a Mariachi band would be playing but by then I was too tired and ready to get back to the condo.
We weathered the storm and made it back to the Tikal Building where we were staying.  The weather was quite warm and the rain hit us gently so our rush through the rain was not bad at all. Later the girls returned to the Fiesta (I did not go) and they told me the Mariachi was playing and that there seemed to be more people than when we had left.

Fiesta Fun