Saturday, September 30, 2017

Learning to Play Nickels

After a delicious pork chop lunch with mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh corn, green salad with apples, guacamole with chips, and cake for dessert, the table was cleared and the cards were brought out. I am not a card player so I had a coach who would tell me what cards I should keep and what I should throw out. This being my first time I was pleasantly surprised to win the pot and a few commented that it was beginners luck. I agreed because I really did not have a clue as to what I was doing. This is what I learned:

The game is played with two decks of cards.
The game begins with three cards being dealt making the #3 a wild card.
As each hand is dealt all the way to the King, whatever is being dealt is a wild card.
If six cards are given to each player, then the #6 would be wild.
There are other wild cards but as I write this blog I don't recall which ones are wild.
The game goes all the way to thirteen cards (Kings) being passed out
and I found out how that many cards are difficult to hold in your hand!
Object of the game is to get three cards of the same number or
cards in a row of the same suite.
When someone has those combinations and has one card to discard
they put their cards down while the players go around one more time.
If you are left with cards in your hand, those cards are added up.
The winner is the one with the smallest number.
One person keeps score and the one with the lowest score wins.

This is more or less what I remember but I am sure there is more to it. At least after my first lesson,  I have the general idea of playing Nickels. I surprised myself because I had fun playing the game and even though I say I am not a card player I may have to change my tune!

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Fall Day

Today I decided to go for a walk. Stepping out of the car and right at my feet, I saw a penny. Was it a sign from my son who passed away on October 29, 2016? Whenever I see a penny on the ground, I have a feeling that it is my son letting me know he is okay. I picked up the penny and I knew it was a special sign because a cross had been cut out of it. As I looked at it, I felt very close to my son.

After finding the penny, everything looked beautiful. Even though many plants were fading it did not keep the orange and black butterflies away. There were many flittering around along with grasshoppers jumping around.  Trees turning yellow, the butterflies, red berries on a small tree, grasshoppers flying past me, two horses in a field and purple flowers made my heart happy. Somehow, the penny gave me a special energy and I walked further than I usually walk. That feeling of contentment and feeling all right with the world inspired me to give God an extra thank-you. If you look closely at the pinkish bush there are many monarch butterflies fluttering around.

"I cannot endure to waste
anything so precious as
autumnal sunshine by
staying in the house."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Auditions Can Be Hell

Twenty-four young men and women auditioning for A Chorus Line gave the Arvada Center audience a taste of what it is like trying out for a part in a musical. There were no props other than large mirrors multiplying the few on the stage. The whole play is dancing, singing and story telling. I had seen the play some time in the 70's and loved it but it seems as if I had forgotten much of the story so I enjoyed the play all over again.

It is a two hour play with no intermission and the audience got to know the characters by their short and clever vignettes about their lives. After the show ended, the actors met with many of the audience in the lobby. While waiting for the actors to come out, I saw two other persons I knew and I took their picture. In the background is a fellow in a red cap and he was one of the dancers. Looks as if he is stretching his leg!

 One of the dancers who is petite and looks as if she is about fourteen years old, told me she is thirty-two years old.

Some of the songs I remembered; I Can Do That, At The Ballet, and What I Did For Love. The play was full of energy, talent busting out all over, wonderful choreography, and in some parts funny. There is one fellow who tells his story and listening to his tough life, brought tears to my eyes. I saw him in the lobby and told him, "Your story was so sad that you almost made me cry!" His reply was, "Well, I guess that's good."

With so many persons trying out, I can imagine how stressful it can be, if only a few will be chosen. Reminded me of Matthew 24:14;  "For many are called, but few are chosen." The ending with all the dancers dressed in glimmering gold and sparkles in front of a huge backdrop of bright lights, was not only beautiful but exciting!

Arriving home after the play, I looked for my copy of A Chorus Line that I had purchased sometime in the 80's. As I watched the DVD, I was amazed at how much the Arvada actors matched the movie with hairdos, clothing and acting.

"Every thing was beautiful at the ballet."

"But I can't regret what I did for love."

"Kiss today goodbye and point me toward tomorrow."

All quotes taken from A Chorus Line

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

That Can't Be A Cucumber

Volunteering at the Arvada Food bank I come across items that I have never seen. When asked, I have to admit I don't have a clue. Yesterday a small, yellow, pale-greenish round ball was placed on the shelf. "What is that?" I asked. No one seemed to know what it was until some one who did know, put  a sign on the box letting us know it was a Lemon Cucumber. It so happened that the man I was helping with his shopping said, "Those lemon-cucumbers are the ones I like to pickle."

I brought  one home and sure enough it has a cucumber taste but not as strong; much milder than a regular cucumber. I thought it might taste a bit lemony, but it did not.
 Looking on the Internet I found various recipes on how to prepare the lemon cucumber. Many of the recipes were for Lemon Cucumber water, a cool and refreshing drink. The small cucumber can be sliced, pickled and does not have a bitter taste as some skins on cucumbers do. Strange that they have been in the United States since the 1900's and today is the first time for me to learn about them!

"My size can fool you,
my color too.
Yet, this is how I grew
with a yellowish hue.
I'm a tiny cucumber so good,
to get you in a better mood
because I am a tasty food,
and good for you too!"
E. Moscoso

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Looking for Mary"

I finished reading the book titled, Looking for Mary by Beverly Donofrio and my thought was, I could have written this story. Many of the author's thoughts and actions I had struggled with and experienced some of her tales.  I had also traveled to different countries trying to find some meaning to my religion. My travels weren't all searching for something because many were just for the sheer pleasure of seeing new and different things. Yet, it seemed as if my whole life has been trying to find out more about my religion. I have always felt as if I am on the outside, looking through a window, at other Catholics and their actions. I do not feel quite as holy as many I observe through that window! Somehow, I never seem to fit in at 100%. Of course, some times, depending on my mood or a blessing from the Holy Spirit, I have a revelation and feel close to God and the Blessed Mother. Yet, the feeling does not last long and once again I find myself searching.

While in Mexico I saw and felt the closeness of Our Blessed Mother and the people.  The celebration for Our Lady is held on the 12th of December but begins much earlier. About one week before the actual day the altars around Our Lady of Guadalupe are decorated with flowers. People gather every morning to pray the rosary and the churches are filled as if it were a Sunday. One morning, "I heard a faint tinkle of a bell that woke me up one morning. I opened the window and saw two men passing beneath the window. It was only about 4:30 in the morning and still dark though the street lights glowed weakly. One carried a lantern while the other man struck a metal triangle sending out the gentle sound of a bell. Who were these men and where were they going, I wondered."

Returning to bed I slept for a couple of hours and then got up. My first question was to find out about what I had seen that morning. I was told that the men gently wake up the people to remind them of the Novena that begins to Our Lady. I walked to the church and found it full of people praying and singing. What a joyous occasion. How I wished I could feel the happiness I was seeing all around me!

The next morning, when I heard the tinkling of the bell, I got up and opened the front door. Many people were coming down the cobble stone street, some with candles and all with rosaries dangling from their hands. I joined the people, entered the church and for the first time I felt as if I belonged and joined in the prayers and singing. Our Lady of Guadalupe must have been so happy to see the congregation praising her! This went on for about nine days and on the 12th, the actual feast day, a Mariachi band played heart-felt music to our Lady. The smell of roses filled the church. Murmuring of people praying could be heard, each person quietly giving thanks, asking for help, and praising Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Mother. Hot chocolate awaited those leaving the service and the sweet smell of cinnamon filled the air in courtyard of the church.

I have tried to feel what I felt in Mexico by visiting the Marian Shrines in Portugal and France and once again marveled at the devotion of many people. I've returned to Mexico a few times on December 12, yet have not felt the closeness I felt the first time I encountered Her. When my son passed away, I felt Our Mother's pain when she saw her son crucified. Maybe that is why I have been able to handle losing my son because he just closed his eyes and was gone, while the Blessed Mother had to see her son beaten, tortured and crucified.

Yes, I enjoyed reading Looking for Mary and since I thought most Catholic women would feel the same way, I was surprised at our book club that no one identified with the character Beverly. Maybe because they had already found Mary or maybe because they weren't looking!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Orange Ruled

The first dinner of the 2017-2018 season for the Young At Heart group of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community met on September 21, 2017. The theme was Go Broncos.  It seemed that everyone arrived early to greet, meet and chat and the room was filled with the hum of voices. What surprised me was how many persons were in the color orange, while some were in blue, but no one would deny that it was a celebration of the Broncos.

A wonderful meal of  a juicy meat loaf, mixed vegetables, potatoes, salad and bread was served. After dinner the September birthdays lined up for a picture and each birthday person received the traditional Hershey chocolate bar. 

The incoming president did a great job even without a microphone as he explained some of the changes for the dinners and introduced new members. He announced the entertainment for the evening; a magician who made everyone wonder, how'd he do that? 

The first dinner after our summer vacation was a huge success and everybody enjoyed the evening. Well, I believe everyone enjoyed the evening because I did not hear any complaints, though I did hear a lot of compliments!

Image result for friendship quotes and sayings
From Pinterest

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Is September Too Late?

This year I missed the Palisade peaches because I never drove to Heine's Market when the peaches were in their glory. Today I drove to the market and wondered if all the roasted green chile had been sold. Either too early or too late seems to be my pattern.  When I saw the bins outside I figured  I would be lucky if I found any green chile because there were plenty of pumpkins and odd shaped squash on display. Red ristras (hanging red, dry chile) seemed to be the only chile outside. As the door slid open I got a whiff of the roasted green chile. The smell made my mouth water and sure enough, there were plenty of bags from mild to medium, to hot, to extra hot and dynamite hot ready to be purchased.

Corn and tomatoes were piled high, I bought some peaches but I do not believe they were Colorado peaches, and I saw some pears, apples and plums. For once, I was not too late for the green chile and I bought three bags. I hurried home to make one of my favorite meals; tortilla, melted cheese and green chile. I love the combination and did not bother to count the carbohydrates as I ate two of the delicious roll-ups!

"Life is like jalapenos,
what you do today
may burn
your ass tomorrow!"
Author Unknown

Friday, September 15, 2017

How Observant Are You

On a recent trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I noticed a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi to the right of the entrance to the Cathedral. In the many times I have been to the Cathedral I had never seen this statue of one of my favorite saints. It must have been put there within this past year, I thought. I asked a man from Santa Fe how long the statue had been at that spot and was surprised when he said, "It's been there a while." I doubted that the man knew and became obsessed to finding out when the statue had gone up.

I did some research and found out that the statue had been placed in front of the Cathedral in 1967. What a shock. How could I have missed seeing it?  That statue of my favorite saint had been in front of my eyes for fifty years and I had never seen it. I am now wondering how many other things I have missed in my life.

"The only thing worse
than being blind is 
having sight but no vision."
Helen Keller

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Art In The Park

On my recent trip to New Mexico when I took forty persons to visit the Stations of the Cross in San Luis, CO, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel near San Luis, and in New Mexico we went to Chimayo, and the Fiestas of Santa Fe, among other places, I was surprised to see ninety-three works of art lined up in a park. The exhibit surprised me and meant more to me because I came upon it by chance. The bad thing was that I did not have time to see all the paintings by Flemish, Dutch, French and German painters. The first of its kind to come to the United States from the Prado Art Museum in Madrid, Spain was free in the park next to the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. There were ninety-three pictures dating from the 14th to the 19th century. The exhibit opened on May 17 of this year and ends in October.
St. John the Baptist meets his cousin, Jesus with Elizabeth and Mary.

I recognized some of the artists; Goya, El Greco, Rubens and Rembrandt. I remember seeing the originals in Madrid, Spain at the Prado Museum and these photographic replicas look pretty much the same. I would have liked to look at every single picture but being on the tour I had to keep moving!

I felt like the Mad Hatter rushing through the paintings, thinking: I'm late, I'm late for a very important date! There is so much to see in Santa Fe and the procession with the oldest statue of La Conquistadora (1693) was starting in a few minutes and the fabulous art exhibit would not be seen by me on this trip. I hoped that those in my group would visit the wonderful artwork.

"I have three master;
Nature, Velasquez
and Rembrandt."
Francisco Goya

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

With My Eye This Is What I Spy

A box filled with delicious Biscochitos prepared by a Young At Heart member.  She individually wrapped three cookies in a baggie and had a package for everyone, plus a few extra. A thoughtful and kind lady who filled our tummies with the cinnamon and anise goody!

On the sidewalk at the entrance of Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel near San Luis Colorado. The Chapel is the property of a Young at Heart member and invited the travelers to visit. A beautiful chapel with Our Lady on the wall. I liked the wording on the slab of cement because we were told the whole family was involved.

A traveler admires a statue of Our Blessed Mother holding many rosaries and decides she will add her orange and blue Bronco rosary to the ones being held by Our Lady.

Standing by the statue of the three ways of life in Chimayo. There is an Indian, a cowboy, and a settler in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother known as Our Lady of Peace. My friend represents the women of the time!

A traveler admires the cross that looks like pine cones but in reality the roses are made of metal. 

A Native American room with the Last Supper and other pictures and artifacts. I found the Last Supper interesting with the apostles being Native American.

One of my favorite photos of Jesus in a window.

In the Chapel of Santo Nino de Atocha, his statue is surrounded by pictures and baby shoes. In fact, the whole room is surrounded by the pictures of miracles that have happened and the shoes. The story is that the shoes are replaced because he goes out at night performing miracles. In another large building, the walls have nothing but baby shoes, like a library of shoes! There was a Christmas tree decorated with little shoes.

A peaceful stream behind the Santuario de Chimayo. 

The sign for the Camel Rock casino and behind it, in the distance, the rock that looks like a camel.

One of the travelers with a wooden sculpture of St. Clara carved right in the tree.

What luck to be able to see art work from the Prado Art Museum in Madrid, Spain. Rows and rows of outstanding paintings by famous artists. Some artist works I recognized but there were many I did not know and I had never heard of the artists.

This is a monument representing the three cultures. New Mexico has  Native American,  Spanish, and Anglo-Saxon.

St. Kateri is the first Native American saint and was canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict. She proudly stands in front of the Cathedral.

Conquistadores leave their helmets at the entrance of the church before going in to mass.

Mariachi play for the people leaving the exciting and beautiful mass. One of our travelers said she got to dance with one of the mariachi players!

At the entrance to the Plaza where there was food galore, ice-cream, fun booths, a stage with continuous shows, and a variety of food from Indian fry bread to green chile plates.

A sign advertising the Fiestas!

A traveler sitting next to me!

Two of the travelers from Arvada gather the sandy dirt to take home with them. The dirt is considered medicinal and many miracles have been attributed to it.

There was so much to see and do on our journey to
southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
The trip is a three day journey but in reality
to see everything more days are needed.

"I have traveled to many
places but have no 
desire to leave New Mexico."
Rudolfo Anaya