Friday, November 30, 2018

The Train

Metrolink in California shares the tracks with Amtrak and freighters. The row after row of freight cars rumbling on the tracks are covered with graffiti. This must be the artist's choice of canvas! As we waited for our train in Fullerton, noisy trains either whooshed by or briefly stopped to load passengers.

When our train arrived we rushed in and looked for  place to sit. There were no seats together and we separated to find seats on the crowded train.  Via our cell phones we communicated on where to meet  once we were in Los Angeles. Taking the train is a stress reliever because it is a fast way to travel without having to deal with a lot of traffic!

The scenery is not the greatest but I did see some interesting things along the way. Walls of fancy graffiti would end and there would be the fuscia-magenta bougainvillea. I liked the bridges we passed and made me think of a foreign country because they looked as if they were built a long time ago!

When we arrived in Los Angeles, some of us wandered through the elegant old station.
I remembered seeing the comfortable, individual chairs in movies. The floors glistened, the motif of what looked like a sea shell was beautiful, and people moved through the station admiring the clean station. Some people looked as if they had some where to go while others just seemed to be calmly waiting with their luggage!

We left the train depot and crossed a busy street and there was Olvera Street. The last time I had been to the replica of Mexico was about fifty years ago.  It seemed larger to me this time and it was fun playing the tourist and seeing La Placita Church: Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles, 1781; the booths with goods for sale, and statues of King Carlos III and Antonio Aguilar.

After our tourist moments at La Placita of Los Angeles, we got on a bus that would take us to MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art which will be my next blog!

"The basis of tourism is perception of otherness, 
of something being different from the usual."
Lucy M. Long

A Different Kind of Teen Ager

I had the pleasure of meeting my granddaughter's friend on Thanksgiving Vacation. I found him to be kind, attentive, and thoughtful with a good sense of humor. I like the way he treats my granddaughter
and how he tries to please her. If they have a tiff, they get over it. What amazed me the most was that he talked to me, really talked to me, and asked me questions. All the young people I have been around tend to dismiss anyone over thirty and when I am around teenagers, I wonder f they even care what I have to say. Most of the time I feel invisible when I am around teens. I realize that there is a generation gap and their interests are not my interest and vise-versa. My grandchildren are sociable and I talk with them and they do seem interested in what I have to say, though I get the feeling that their friends tune me out.

But, not this friend who told me about Canada and  how their Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. We discussed photography, foods he likes, and some of the differences between Canada and the United States. It was fun traveling with him to MOCA, (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Museum. I liked how he enjoyed new and different art perspectives. I noticed he has a good eye for composing his pictures and will probably become a great photographer.

Today he is nineteen years old and I hope he will continue to be the gentleman he is now. I noticed he is thoughtful and offered his help when he could tell it was needed. And of course, I liked that he told my granddaughter that I was an inspiration to people in their eighties!


"Good habits formed at youth
make all the difference."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Knights of Yore

King Arthur, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Robin Hood and Excalibur are stories or movies featuring Knights. I have always enjoyed seeing or reading about jousting and knights clanking off to war. On my recent visit to California, my daughter and I went to the Bowers Museum to see Knights in Armor from Florence, Italy.

My heart gave a skip when I saw two knights on horses at the entrance of the exhibit. It looked so realistic! How the horses could move with their face and chest covered with metal and the rider encased in armor is a mystery to me.

The title was Chivalry and Chansons De Geste and I found out that it meant a song of heroic deeds from medieval times. As I wandered through the knight display I saw beautiful artwork on the metal and could understand why it was only the well-to-do that could be knights. The poor could never afford the elegant decorated metal!

After looking at the decorated shields, helmets, chest plates, leg coverings and metal masks, I wondered how the Knights could ever be injured. I suppose finding the exposed part is where the sword would try to penetrate.  I put on a helmet and held a sword but when we tried to remove the shield it was fastened to the wall so I did not get the full effect! Of course, the helmet over my baseball cap took away from my knight look, yet, the sword was long and heavy!

"I'm sick of all these
knights in shining 
armor, I want to do
something worthwhile 
like plays and films
that have something to say."
Tyrone Power

Monday, November 12, 2018

Sunday Diary

November 11, 2018

Saw something of interest and something I had never seen before. As I was driving to church a pickup truck was in the opposite lane. The whole front bumper, along with the normal lights, was lit up like a smiling mouth with sparkling teeth. Pretty cool, I thought, but if it is normal on some trucks, this was a first for me!

Before mass, a video of all the military branches was played while the different retired soldiers stood up when they heard their military song. With the new sound system at the church the music came over the speakers loud and clear!  A lump formed in my throat at the beauty of the songs and the different men and women standing up. One woman stood up for the Coast Guard and another woman stood up for the Navy.

At mass I sat in the middle of empty seats. Two rows in front of me were empty, my row had no one in it other than me, and two rows behind me did not have anyone sitting in the pew. I recalled a saying my Mother always said: No ay un mal que por bien no venga. Which means that there isn't something bad that happens that good won't come of it. The good was that I could sing the hymns loudly and it felt good. Usually I keep my voice low because, in case I am off key, I don't want anyone to hear me. Yesterday I did not have to worry because I was able to sing to my heart's content!

When a reader tried to go up to the Ambo (lectern) she had problems going up the steps. She struggled and no matter how she tried it was a chore for her to make it up the steps. When she made it to the ambo we could hear that she was breathing heavily. I couldn't help but think that the woman was really dedicated to do the reading. Maybe, I thought, she should use the ramp instead of the steps. When she finished reading, a man from the congregation went up and helped her down the steps. My thought was that he was like the Good Samaritan.

During mass I could see that the snow continued to fall and hoped that the drive home would not be slippery. Wadsworth Blvd. was covered and I noticed a few cars slipping and sliding. I slid a couple of times but since I was only going about twenty-five miles an hour I was able to control the slide. Of course, I prayed all the way home until I entered my garage. I remembered something I had seen on face book:  If you only pray when you are in trouble, you are in trouble!

I was looking forward to meeting friends at four-thirty and having dinner with them. Spaghetti with a special sauce, salad, garlic bread and wine was on the menu.  Since it was my turn to bring dessert, I was going to surprise them with a pumpkin goodie. When we decided to cancel the dinner due to the weather, I was relieved. The dinner will now take place on Tuesday, God willing!

The rest of Sunday I shoveled my driveway and walks, read a mystery and watched two movies: The Magnificent Seven and The Intern.  Sunday turned out to be an okay day once I got out of the snowy weather.

"Do not let Sunday be taken from you.
If your soul has no Sunday
it becomes an orphan"
Albert Schweitzer

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Buying Groceries for 200 People

One never knows what will happen when one volunteers! Because we have a person who may become the next cook for our Young At Heart group and because she is still gainfully employed I volunteered to help her by buying the groceries that she will need to prepare the meal for over 200 persons. Turkeys are donated, cooked and sliced by various members. Yet, the side dishes need to be prepared and there are faithful volunteers ready to chop, mix, cook and get everything ready for the meal. But first, the items needed for the meal need to be purchased. That's where I came in!

Sam's LogoLuckily, I had the help of one person who has fixed large meals and the advice of another lady who has done the meals for over ten years. My first assignment was to request money to go to Sam's Club where things can be purchased at a discounted price. Walking up and down the aisles looking for green beans, chicken broth, butter, celery, brown sugar, instant potatoes, onions, and  milk was time consuming and required heavy lifting. Taking the six large cans of green beans from the display, putting them in the cart, placing all the items on the conveyor belt to be checked out, pushing the heavy cart to my car and putting everything in my trunk was using muscles I don't usually use!

At the church it was getting everything out of my trunk, putting it on a cart and rolling it to the kitchen. Thank goodness for the helper who helped with the lifting and guiding me on what I needed to buy. Our final duty was to make signs that the stuff belonged to YAH and we were finished with the shopping. Later, I went to King Soopers and purchased ten whipped cream containers and brown sugar. On Thursday morning I will buy the large pumpkin pies from Costco and deliver them to the church.

The day was an eye-opener for me and the saying of: you don't know how things are until you walk in someone else's shoes (paraphrasing) rang true to me. It was shocking finding out the quantities needed to feed the YAH members. I believe what amazed me the most is the lady who did the meals for ten years. My nickname for her is Wonder Woman and after I did the shopping she is, in my eyes, a Super Wonder Woman!

"Let's face it: 
My life tends to
revolve around food, 
and I love feeding people."
Ruth Reichl

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sad News on All Saints' Day

My day began with a beautiful mass celebrated at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community for All Saints on November 1, 2018. After mass I attended a Young at Heart board meeting and in the afternoon I ran around doing errands. Spoke with friends. Planned a trip. And while I was going about my daily life, in a house in North Denver, my nephew was having a difficult time. What seemed like flu symptoms with chills then feeling hot, throwing up, and then gasping for air until his heart stopped beating. When 911 was called there were attempts to revive him but he was gone. He died on All Saints' Day.

His wife called to let me know about his death. It was a shock because he seemed so healthy and strong.  Even though I was no longer in the family I was still considered to be their "auntie." His death struck me hard because of the three brothers, he was the one I saw most often. He was also my son's buddy and they hung around together. The father, who is ninety-two years old, is heart broken because his three sons are all gone. When I visited him he said, "I miss my wife, my sons and especially this son, because I saw him every single day."

My heart aches for the father, my ex-brother-in-law, who now has only memories of his family. His grandchildren are stepping up and trying to comfort him.

My memories of my nephew are remembering him playing with my children as they grew up. After adult hood we took a trip to Estes Park to see the Christmas lights about twelve years ago. In the picture what amazed me is that we look so young and that I could bend my knees!
Every year my son and his cousin would attend all the church bazaars to play the games and enjoy their drinks! Years later I ran into my nephew with his Dad at the Holy Family Bazaar

My nephew was an avid Bocce and Morra player and has a few trophies to prove how good he was at the games! I happened to be at one of the banquets where he was honored and awarded a trophy. One large trophy he won was taller than he was and everyone teased him about it. He played soccer and had many friends in North Denver.

It was nice seeing his family at his son's graduation from the Archdiocese Biblical School that took place at the Cathedral. A few months later I saw him at his older brother's memorial service where he had his picture taken with childhood friends from North Denver.

Even though we did not see each other often, it was always nice when we did run into each other. 
I will miss seeing around.

The three brothers now rest in the arms of our heavenly father.

Rosary and Funeral for Mark Moscoso
November 16-17, 2018

Last evening we prayed the rosary and many men got up and talked about their time with my nephew.
It was interesting to hear that he was an outdoors man, a fisherman, a sport fanatic, an Italian game player, a friend of anyone he met and dedicated to his ninety-two year old father. St. Peter and Paul church was full of many of his friends and family. The stories were humorous and it was fun listening about his life.

Today, Saturday, November 17,the church must have had over two hundred people at the mass. One man gave the Eulogy beginning with the parents, brothers, and his busy life as Mark grew up. There were some interesting pictures at the entrance and I took my own pictures of those on the board. His mother when she was in the Wacs, his Dad when he was in the Peruvian Air Force, the three brothers and his son and wife. Interesting to see what they looked like in the past.

When they carried the urn in, the pall bearers, about twelve of them, each lined the aisle and each man carried something that Mark enjoyed; bocce balls, fishing poles, or soccer balls. A clever way to be reminded of their beloved friend. After mass we went to a large room decorated in purple and white for a reception loaded with tons of food! Pizza, casseroles, sandwiches, tamales, green chili, salads, fruit plates, cheese trays, etc. The dessert table had a huge decorated cake, pies, cheese cakes, Italian and Hispanic cookies plus fudge and brownies. I do not think anyone left the reception hungry.

 I have a strong feeling that Mark was feeling good and pleased at seeing how family and friends gathered to remember him.

My dear nephew, even though I was no longer in the family, I loved that you always called me "auntie." I am happy I got to see you more often this past year at some of the Bocce tournaments. I wonder if you and Andy are raising hell in heaven!

Rest In Peace