Monday, April 30, 2018

In A Foreign Land

Parking my car among many other vehicles, I wondered if maybe I would see someone I knew in the foreign land I entered.  The place was huge with things for walls, ground, tables or for hanging. Huge figures from gorillas, alligators, pigs, fountains, angels, turtles, deer, rabbits to saints and children were scattered throughout the strange land I had entered.


There were many strange names on little markers on low tables; Lianensis, Weigela, and Spirea. By now you have probably figured out that I was at a nursery. I visited two stores; O'Tooles and Echters. After seeing the cost of plants, I realize my plan to landscape a small area of my yard will be a pricey endeavor. A young man  who seemed to know everything about gardening, and I looked at many bushes and perennials.  He patiently explained how tall the plant would get, whether they liked sun and what kind of maintenance was required. The three plants I mentioned above should work on the sunny side of the yard and in my mind the whole yard would look terrific. Anyway, it beats having all the weeds on that side, but I am getting to like the yellow dandelions. I call it a Field of Yellow!


A home not too far from where I live, has something that is more or less how I want my yard to look so I drove over and took a picture. This should give the landscapers some idea of what I am trying to achieve.

Surely, by doing the wild looking landscape it should be low-maintenance and not need as much water since we are in a drought stage in Colorado.

"The richness I achieve comes 
from nature, the source of my
inspiration."


"My garden is my most beautiful landscape."

Both quotes are by Claude Monet



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Too Old For Fairy Tales

"The Ocean At the End of the Lane," by Neil Gaiman, is a story I just finished reading. It is not a long story, about 178 pages but enough to make me wonder why I did not find the story as interesting or as inspiring as others. I checked some of the reviews, thinking that maybe someone else felt as I did, and to my surprise, more than forty U-Tube commentators raved about the story. I began to question myself; why did I not get the story? What had I missed?

It's not that I do not have an imagination. I have all the Harry Potter books and loved the mystery, magic and unrealistic plots in the stories. This book left me wondering why I was reading it. I did not feel as if I knew any of the characters very well, if at all. I remember playing with paper dolls when I was young and that's what these characters reminded me of; two sided people. Without meat on the players in the book, I did not care what happened to any of the characters, including the man telling the story.

When I began reading, I thought it would be a mystery to find out who had killed the opal miner found dead in the family car. Instead, it became, to me, a ridiculous fairy tale with strips of dirty rags, a mean babysitter with odd powers, cold parents (the father tries to teach his son a lesson by almost drowning him in the tub), an ancient family who are the "good" ones, the eating of the landscape by weird beasts, a pond turning into an ocean and nobody is what they seem.

The only realistic part was the babysitter and the father attempting to have an affair and the son sees them. Yet, nothing more is said about what happens or how the mother reacts, if she ever found out!
One thing I read in the Internet about the story: "Fairy tales not intended for children and deal ferociously with the grim and the bad and the dangers."

As a baby, my mother read fairy tales to me. Then, when I could read I read plenty of fairy tales. Yet, I do not remember ever getting scared or frightened because I knew they were just stories. This story may have been a fairy tale and maybe I am too old for such stories, but this is not a book I would recommend!  After reading the reviews it makes me wonder why so many enjoyed reading the Ocean At the End of the Lane and I didn't!

"Nobody looks like what
they really are on the inside.
You don't. I don't. People
are much more complicated
than that. It's true of everybody."
Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Going Home

Today I received a call from my ex-brother-in-law to tell me that his oldest son had passed away on Monday, April 23, 2018. It was hard to believe because the young man was young; in his sixties and had  "died of heart failure." I felt terrible because I understand how losing a son is painful and difficult to understand because we always think that children should outlast their parents.

His death made be remember visiting their home and seeing the three boys hanging around the house. My son played with them and they grew up being close. The youngest passed away with cancer and now the oldest brother is gone. What pain the father and remaining brother must feel.


Not too long ago as I looked through old photographs I came across a picture with the three brothers and sent it to their Father. He thanked me for the picture and at that time we had no idea that his oldest son would pass away in a few months.

Not being in the family, I lost track of what the oldest son was doing. I knew he lived in Evergreen, worked in Blackhawk, had married and had two children. Of course, this is old news because I did not know any current things about him.

The last time I saw him was in 2016 and it always made me feel good that, after not being in the immediate family, I was still referred to as "auntie." My heart aches for the many losses that this family has suffered.

Four cousins have gone to heaven and are at rest. Two of the cousins were soccer players and maybe they will be kicking the ball among the clouds! Anyway, that's how I like to picture them!

"Death is nothing else
but going home to God,
the bond of love will
be unbroken for all
eternity."
Mother Teresa

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Health Fair

The Channel 9 Health Fair 2018 had many volunteers ready to face those persons wanting to take responsibility for their own health. Early in the morning on April 24, 2018, before 6:30 a.m. volunteers met for breakfast and to be directed to their spots where they would be working. Spirit of Christ Catholic Community church became unrecognizable as health stations were scattered through out the church!

At 6:55 I was at my station to receive my instructions. I was supposed to work at the Diabetes Risk and Assessment area but ended up working in the Hearing and Vision area. I interacted with two other persons and signed in those persons with concerns about how well they could see or hear. The other two volunteers had the spine, skin and oxygen levels.
Three Volunteers of many!
Last year I was an Ambassador and helped people locate the area they wanted. This year it was a matter of taking down a name, handing them a flag and directing them to the area where they would be checked. A much easier place to work!

One man told me that when his blood pressure was taken, it was extremely high and that his heart was skipping beats. After he had his eyes tested he came by my table to let me know he was on his way to see a cardiologist. Who knows for sure but coming to the Channel 9 Health Fair may have saved his life!

Thanks to the organizers of the Fair, because with their dedication people were alerted to major health problems. The update on the fair was that in the four hours open, there were 162 volunteers and 802 participants.



"Health is not valued
till sickness comes."
Thomas Fuller

Monday, April 23, 2018

Friendship

There are many changes as people get older and each one can give you a list of what has changed. Yet, when friends have not seen each other for long periods of time and they reunite, before long there is no change. Yesterday I saw a friend from my past. As we talked, she looked and sounded exactly as I remembered her.
.
What fun remembering the days when she worked across the hall from where I worked. Somehow we became friends and we enjoyed many lunches together where we would expose our deepest secrets to each other. After we both went our separate ways we would continue seeing each other for a Christmas dinner or a lunch. There were three of us that formed a bond because the third person worked on our same floor also. The three of us continued our friendship with Christmas cards until we all became engrossed in our different lives and we stopped communicating. I would receive cards from both of them, but since I am not a card sender I did not respond.  I was happy to hear from them and even though attempts were made to get together, we all had different schedules and we could never find a date where all three of us could get together.

When I heard that one had lost her husband, I contacted them and the three of us are planning to get together soon. Yesterday was an exciting day because I got to see one friend and enjoy a marvelous but tragic play about Anne Frank. Seeing my friend was like old times. Nothing had changed!
"To be with old
friends is warming
and comforting."
Ian Ziering

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Diary of Anne Frank

A friend I had not seen for over twelve years called me and invited me to see the play, A Diary of Anne Frank.  She is the stage manager and works on a large console making sure the lighting is the way it is supposed to be, while another stage manager works the sound system. They both sit in a small room at the back of the theater.

Even though we had not seen each other for a long time, seeing her today felt like we had just talked with each other yesterday! I loved the play even though it is so tragic and sad. But, the way it was presented was so clever and since the John Hand Theater where Lowry Air Force Base used to be, is small, it made me feel as if I was right in the middle of the story;  suffering, being frightened, frustrated, hungry, bored and laughing with them

For years I have had an idea about the story and today I found out it is not at all how I thought. Somehow, I thought it was just Anne who was hiding in a cupboard and that she had died while in hiding. I don't know why I had that idea because I am sure the story is pretty much as it was presented today. A father with his wife and two daughters, a lone man, and a couple with their son are the main persons hiding in the attic. A husband and wife who befriend the Jewish people are in and out of the different scenes.

From June, 1942 until August, 1944 the people have to live in close quarters and can never make any noise during the day; no walking, no flushing, no talking. etc. Complete silence in the day time but in the evening they can move around like normal people.

Someone betrays the family and the soldiers arrive and take them away. The father lives and returns to the place where they hid and is given his daughter's diary. And as he reads the diary the story begins.  I was impressed with how clever the characters got into the story. During intermission the characters stay in the attic, moving around as if the play is still in process as they dress, go to bed, read or look out a window.

Everyone dies except the father.  His two daughters die of typhus fever around March of 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
Image result for quote from the diary of anne frank

From the Internet

Thanks to my friend who invited me for a wonderful Sunday afternoon
and a superb play with great acting!





Saturday, April 21, 2018

Beginnings

There are no actual facts, but in a photo album I saw a picture of a decorated cake in 1978 for Young At Heart to celebrate twenty years. The group of over fifty-five year old members has been around a long time and this year would be forty years of being in existence.


Being the self-appointed historian of the group, I pulled out some of the old albums stored in boxes in my closet. (Somehow, when I became the photographer for the YAH group I also became the care taker of all the pictures taken in the past. I carefully took the pictures and placed them in albums to continue with the history of the group.) As I looked at the pictures I was amazed that some of the people in the pictures are still around today. Of course, I do not know the names of most of the "old timers" from the past but some of my friends are helping me with the names.














The picture I am putting in this blog are just a few of the many in the albums and these are from the first album from 1990-2006.  The photos are people I recognize though some of the spouses are deceased. My plan is to put some of the pictures into a video and those will be much easier to store.

Young At Heart is a ministry for seniors
that gathers monthly to provide spiritual growth,
fellowship, recreation and support for each other.


Friday, April 20, 2018

A Healthy Place To Eat

Every time I visit my family in California, they take me to "healthy" places to eat. I thought it was a California thing but today I ate at First Watch in Arvada and was reminded of  a California eatery. Four friends decided to meet for brunch because some of them will be leaving on vacation.

Two of us ordered a Veg'd Out omelet with lots of Crimini mushrooms, zucchini, onions tomatoes, broccoli, and goat cheese. What a tasty combination. I don't know what kind of bread was served but it was thick with nuts and very good. Greens accompanied the omelet to complete the dish.

One friend ordered the Trifecta and mentioned that every time she eats at the restaurant


she orders the same thing; two eggs, large waffle, and bacon.  Another order was an Elevated Egg Sandwich piled high with an egg, bacon, greens and avocado and a side of potatoes. The cubed potatoes had a wonderful flavor and we all picked some off of her plate.


We were surprised to hear that the restaurant does not have a microwave oven. I thought every restaurant had one, but it made me believe that this was a really healthy place to eat! Even the water, served in what looked like a small milk bottle, was cool and fresh tasting.

I read somewhere that people with friends live longer and that laughter is the best medicine. If that is true, we will live many more years because we did have some good laughs!

"If you have good friends,
no matter how life is sucking,
they can make you laugh."
P.C. Cast






Thursday, April 19, 2018

Will I Get Screwed Today?

The wind did a number on my fence gate. Tore it right off it's hinges and it is hanging askew. What to do? I got on the Internet and found Home Advisors, gave them my predicament and about twenty minutes later I received a call from a man who said his name was Aurelio asking what kind of help I needed. I explained my wind toppled gate and that I needed an estimate as to how much it would cost to repair it.

Later that day he told me he would do it for $175 and that sounded good to me. He said he would repair it on the following day and I told him "that would be great." And then the doubts began. What if he was a scam artist. I never asked him how he got my information and maybe he hadn't been referred from Home Advisors. What if he didn't know what he was doing and still wanted to be paid.
Would I have a fight on my hands because he is a handy man who does not work for any company, though he said "I am the owner of my own company."

This morning he showed up early and ready to work. He seems like an honest man and we chatted about wind and repairs. Evidently his brother had quite of bit of fence damage also. We discussed insurance and agreed that deductibles are higher than minor repairs.  He told me he pays Home Advisors a monthly fee and he is giving low estimates until he is established. He has only been with Home Advisors for three weeks. He told me he also does landscaping on the side. Could God have sent him to me, I wondered, because my yard needs lots of work! My fear of getting screwed has diminished but I will wait until I pay him and he is gone!

Forty minutes after he began working he rang my doorbell to inform me that he needed to remove a post that was leaning, set a new post in concrete and it would cost me $50 more. I told him to go ahead because gate needed to be fixed. I hope I don't get any more surprises.

I had to go to a meeting and when I returned the gate was all finished. It looks great. He even fixed a gutter that had come apart so that the water does not land on the gate. I am satisfied with the work that Aurelio from Zacatecas did and believe he is reasonable and efficient.



"I believe the future
is only the past again,
entered through
another gate."
Arthur Wing Pinero





Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Gust of Wind

Today I was caught unexpectedly by a swirl of wind. Who would have thought a gust of wind would raise my hair completely off my head? It happened so fast that I did not have time to grab my hair before it went rolling down the sidewalk. My uncovered head felt cool as I ran after the bouncing bundle of hair, rolling further and further away from me.

Oh my gosh, I thought, I hope no one is seeing this comedy of errors of a white haired woman chasing her brown, styled hair down the sidewalk! When it finally stopped, I bent to pick it up when another gust of swirling wind sent it off again. All I could I do was laugh at my predicament! Oh please, don't let anyone be watching me, I thought, as I neared the hair. It lay there, quivering and seeming to breath as I put my foot down on it to keep it from moving again.  I picked it up but the wind was so strong all I could do was plop it on my head and holding it tightly on my head, I moved toward my car as fast as I could!

In the safety of my car, I could see I had put it on backwards giving me a very disheveled look. I took it off and picked small twigs and tiny stones out of my once beautiful hair. I shook it out, placed it on my head correctly and drove away from the parking lot. I glanced around but did not see any body who could have watched the headless hair, like a small furry animal, running away from me! I could only remember my Mom telling me: "No matter what you do, there is always someone who will see you!"

I played the scenario of me chasing my hair and had to laugh. If anyone saw me laughing, they would wonder what could possibly be so funny! Never had this happened to me and from now on, if it is windy, I will keep one hand on my hair to keep it on my head!

"As funny as watching
a man in a wig trying
to hold down a job on
a helipad!
Rhod Gilbert


The saga of the wind continued because when I arrived home the wind had ripped the gate to the backyard completely off its hinges. I do believe I do not like wind because it can be so destructive. Yet, as I watched the news, I saw trailers overturned, trees knocked down, roofs ripped off and power out so a gate didn't seem so bad.  Again I remembered my Mother saying, "Things could be worse!"


Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Lady With Many Names

There is a lady who goes by many names. The most popular names are Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes. Yesterday, I found Our Lady of the Pillar and I had never heard of her. It seems she should be right up there with the ones I mentioned because this sighting of our Lady was probably the very first one!

She appeared in Zaragoza, Spain in the region of Aragon around 40 A.D. and is the Patroness of Spain. The story is that St. James the Apostle was sitting on the banks of Ebro River after being sent out with the twelve apostles to all corners of the world to preach the Gospel.  St. James ended up in Spain and was disappointed because no one seemed to believe him when he spoke on Christianity.

As he sat by the river, brooding and discouraged, the Blessed Mother appeared to him. She asked that a church be built near the river and she left a pillar of jasper to mark the spot where the church should be built. One thing I read is that when she appeared it was before her assumption into heaven. Gave me the impression that she was still alive on earth when she appeared to St. James.

I have traveled to Spain but have never heard of Our Lady of the Pillar. I have visited Compostela where St. James is buried, and I wondered if it was the same James.  As I continued reading I found out that it was the same St. James and he died a martyr. The church in Zaragoza, is the second largest church in Spain with the one in Seville being the largest. I can't imagine how large these churches are because I have been in some very large churches in Spain.  Her feast day is October 12. I found it interesting to read that Columbus found and claimed the New World for Spain on Oct 12, 1492 which is the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar.  In pictures she is standing on top of a cylinder post (the original post was of Jasper stone) and she holds the Christ Child.

Wanting to know more about Our Lady of the Pillar, I stopped at a Religious Book Store
to see if I could find some information about her. The clerk who is from the Philippines told me that she had heard of Our Lady of the Pillar but had no pictures of her. We both looked through some books and in one titled, Miraculous Images of Our Lady by Joan Carroll Cruz I found a black and white picture.



I have a book titled Visions of Mary and found Our Lady of Pillar under the Black Madonnas.

Now, I have an overwhelming desire I would love to travel to Spain once again and this time visit the shrine of Nuestra Senora del Pilar!

From the Internet

Friday, April 13, 2018

Am I Losing It?

After a certain age people begin to do odd things pertaining to memory. My friends tell me how they will enter a room and wonder why. Or they can't find items and need to retrace steps to recall where the "thing" was put. I find myself praying to St. Anthony more than ever to help me find things I cannot find.  But, the most outrageous thing I did happened a few nights ago. I was watching a movie on television and decided to make some popcorn. I got the pot ready and put the popcorn in, gave it a shake and went in to finish watching the movie.

I could hear the corn popping and was looking forward to eating the warm popcorn. I wondered if I should butter, salt it or eat it plain. When I could no longer hear the popping I walked into the kitchen to put the popcorn into a bowl to enjoy while I finished watching the movie. Entering the kitchen the floor was covered in white blossoms and the counter and stove had piles of popped corn. How could I have forgotten to put the lid on! Amazing how far a popped corn can travel! Either the movie was extremely interesting or I am losing it!


By the time I swept up the popped corn and cleaned up the stove and counter, the movie had ended and I never got to see the ending. Maybe I am losing it and from now on, when I decide to make popcorn, I am going to make sure the pot is covered securely!

"Hearing a nun's confession
is like being stoned to
death with popcorn."
Fulton J. Sheen

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Disappearing From Shelves

There are many things that have disappeared from our lives; dial phones, outhouses, wringers on wash machines, curlers, phone books, alarm clocks, etc.  Today I found out that an important part of our lives has disappeared and before long may be gone forever.  I took photographs of a friend who is moving away and wanted to put the pictures in an album.  Dollar store, Michael's, Target, and Walgreen's are phasing photo albums out.

Target was my first stop and they had two albums. I remembered when they had shelf after shelf of albums.  I went to another Target and they had none. I drove to Michael's and even though they had some they would not work for the pictures I wanted to store.  Visited two Dollar Stores and they had none. Finally, at Hobby Lobby I found a huge variety of photo albums and ended up buying one. The clerk showed me how to bring up a 40% off coupon on my phone and I felt as if I had hit a jackpot!

One clerk told me that albums will soon be extinct because of photos now being captured digitally so there is no need for photo albums!



"Great photos of the great moments
always give us a great joy!"
Mehmet Murat Ildan




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Question I Ask

I have a thing about finding pennies and I believe my son puts them in my way so that I know he is thinking of me or that he is around.  The question I have is:  If someone else finds a penny and hands it to me is that my son speaking or not?  It seems to me that I need to find the penny. Here is another penny story!

While at Blackhawk, after I parked the car, my passenger got out of the car and smiling she handed me a beat up old penny. "Look what I found," she said, "You have taught me that every time you find a penny, you believe it is your son." Not wanting to hurt her feelings I took the penny and put it in my jacket pocket, though deep inside I didn't think it had anything to do with my son, because I had not found it!

I never gave the penny another thought. Three days later as I was coming in from running errands,
on the stoop on my front door, was a penny.  How weird, I thought, that I'd find a penny on my front door step. I picked it up thinking that my son was near, but then I noticed it looked very much like the penny my friend had found miles away.




Okay, I thought, I have found the penny and now I know my son is near. I do not know how the penny ended up on my front door because the penny she found I had put in my coat pocket. And where had the penny been for three days because I had been in and out of the house every day and never saw the penny.

I decided to look through all my pockets for the penny she found and it was no where to be found.    The penny I found today had to be the same beat up old penny she had found. The only explanation is that my son placed it where I would be sure to find it to remind me he is near!

"If you've been seeing coins
after the passing of a loved one,
it's a sign. A sign that you are
valued, that there is a oneness in 
the afterlife and that there is a
continuation of the spirit of your loved one."
Amanda Linette Meder


Monday, April 9, 2018

In A Room Full of Men

On Sunday a friend and I entered a large barn like area. Inside were two long alleys covered in green and a bunch of men of all ages. I had been asked to join a Bocce league and I was being introduced to the game. Each team had four balls, about the size of a grapefruit, either red or green, and a small yellow ball called a Pallino.

It reminded me of bowling as I saw the balls rolled toward the Pallino. The Pallino begins the game by a player rolling it past half way and where it stops, everyone else with the larger balls, will try to get as close as they can to the smaller ball.

On the Internet I found out that the court is 13 feet wide by 90 feet long and has a raised wall about 5 inches high. The wall can be used to bank the balls and the game sort of reminded me of playing pool. The object of the game is to get as close as you can to the Pallino; kiss it if you can!




The first two balls I was given to throw hit the back wall so if it had been a real game the balls would have been taken out of play. Not a good thing. The next two balls I managed to get near the Pallino but it made me wonder if I would ever get any good at the game. Then, I watched the men who have been playing for years and felt much better when some of their balls hit the back wall and they were having trouble getting near the Pallino. It looks like a fun game and when June rolls around to the Summer games I think it will be fun. I noticed it is also good exercise because of all the bending to pick up the balls!

"If I can throw low
to get close to the Pallino,
a quick kiss is the best to try
to give me a bocce high!"
E. Moscoso




Sunday, April 8, 2018

Seventy Years of Marriage



Last evening I was honored to be with two beautiful people as they celebrated 70 years of marriage. How wonderful to meet their family and to enjoy being with many others wishing them congratulations and lots of love.




It all began with a mass celebrated by our priest where he blessed their marriage and had them kiss each other just as they did so many years ago.  After mass family and friends went to the reception at the church. Tables covered in white, a bowl with red roses on each table, and a long table filled with delicious-looking food greeted us.


After eating, stories from relatives and friends entertained the people and many had interesting and humorous stories.  It was surprising to meet their flower girl that was around eleven years old when they were married. Those speaking were people who had worked with them, prayed with them, played games with them and had been with them through the years. He was a "farmer" with a green thumb and she worked as a nurse.  The cake topper from seventy years ago was on a table.


There were many photographs and the one thing that surprised me the most was that at their 45, 50 and 70th anniversary photos the couple had not changed much. I wondered what secret they have that they can continue looking as young as they do. Meeting her son and daughter was a high light because she often spoke of them at our book club meetings.


A wonderful party for a beautiful couple. I got to know her through our Book Club at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community and she became our historian. She knows lots of facts and dates of things happening in our country and in Europe, be it wars, people, history, adoption, nursing or politics. I can only imagine what must pass through their minds as they celebrate another anniversary! They are the only ones I know who reached the seventy year anniversary and I am looking forward for their 80th!

70th Wedding Anniversary Quotes


Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Butterfly Lady

A few years ago when I met a lady at my church, the first thing I noticed was the butterfly pin on her lapel. From then on, when ever I saw her she had butterflies on everything; cane, jewelry, clothing, cards. She surprised us all, and her family, when she showed us a small tattoo of a butterfly near her neck! She loved butterflies.



Just like the butterflies she loves, she will be flying away to Missouri in a few weeks to be near her daughter after living near her son in Colorado. This past week there was a going away party for her. Her beautiful black and glimmering blouse was one huge butterfly in silver. 



I've known this lovely lady for a few years and am so glad I got to meet her because she is the epitome of sweetness. She is kind, thoughtful, loving and happy. At morning mass, when I attend, I know I will see her because she goes every morning. As we greet each other she always has a smile on her face. She enjoys writing and I have read many verses she has created for an occasion.

At her going away party, the tables had butterflies scattered at the center of the pastel colored tables. Each seat had a tiny wrapped box with a note. 

This is a very special gift
That you can never see.
The reason it's so special is
It's just for you from me.

Whenever you are happy
or even feeling blue,
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.

You never can unwrap it.
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold the box close to your heart.
It's filled with love inside.


Our choir director sang a few cheerful songs as he played the piano. She gave a beautiful talk on how much she appreciated everyone, her first encounters with Spirit of Christ people and thanked everyone for their friendship. A lovely party for a sweet lady!





 




 I marvel at our modern world today because even though she is moving away from Colorado she will only be as far as an e-mail to share stories and pictures.

God be with you on your new adventure!

 "Butterflies are the 
heaven-sent kisses
of an angel."
Anonymous