Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Remembering the Time We Didn't Buy the Valentines

 The time we didn't buy Valentine's Day cards for one another...but we picked some out in the store and gave them to each other, then put them back.

I think the card was $4.99 or more. That's when dinner at a mom and pop restaurant was about $20 for two. So then we went out to dinner.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Happy Mardi Gras! ........Oh! My! Thirty-three Years Ago!



This is a re-post from a January 28, 2008:

Our first trip to New Orleans was in 1991. Before digital cameras, because we don't have jpegs of the trip. We were visiting my sister the Sister and got to stay in a guest cottage on the grounds of a large convent across Lake Pontchartrain. We rented a little GeoMetro and tooled around the City and countryside. There were parades going on all week, some in the City, others in surrounding towns. We were invited to go with a group of Nuns to the Big Parade on Mardi Gras, "Fat Tuesday" the last day of celebrations before Lent. We had to leave about 5 AM to get there on time, which I recall was about 6.

What made the offer attractive was the fact that they had connections at a New Orleans funeral parlor on the parade route that would provide both parking and toilet facilities. This is important, of course, as the crowds would make finding a parking place nearly impossible and, although drinking alcohol is allowed anywhere and everywhere, bathrooms on the parade route are scarce. McDonald's and other quick stops were known to lock their facilities for the duration of the parade. 

Some folks would drive their pickup trucks, with their own private Porta-Potties, into the City in the wee hours and park near the parade route. While we were guests of the Undertaker, we were provided the "luxury" of relief stations: the women had access to indoor plumbing while the men were relegated to a large canvas tent in the back parking lot, in which was a wooden box trough filled with sawdust. This set-up was not for the pee-shy. By mid-afternoon, the sawdust was saturated and recycled beer was seeping through the wooden box, onto the asphalt and slowly out from under the tent and into the parking lot.

Meanwhile the townies were hoarding beads and trinkets thrown out by Rex, Zulu, Orpheus and Endymion. Little old ladies would crush your fingers with a quick stomp if you were foolish enough to reach for a stray doubloon. It's all in the technique. You stomp on your prize, THEN reach down to retrieve it. Beads on the "G" rated parade routes were generally most accessible to those closest to the street, on stepladders or with feminine charms that were not explicitly exposed. We've heard that elsewhere in the City, exposure, for both men and women, is heavily rewarded, depending on the crowd. Alas, we were in the Nun section.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Another Day at the Office With the Hubby

Leon and I both had doctor appointments this morning so Leon, who had some comp time coming, took the day off. Rather unexpectedly, both our appointments got cancelled. 

So we got to spend a leisurely morning and went for lunch at the San Felipe rest stop on our way to Leon's office, namely White Ridge and Ojito Wilderness near San Ysidro. It was a gorgeous day, a bit chilly when the wind was blowing gently across the landscape, but very comfortable in the sunshine. We were going to go for a 2 mile hike to some petroglyphs but my bum knee was not cooperating.

Leon having the job he has is nothing short of fortuitous. I makes me happy to see him in his element, and being excited about what he does. And the people he works with obviously appreciate his initiative and work ethic and teamwork.  

He could not ask for a more suitable position than this: driving around in the New Mexico wilderness, fixing barbed wire fences, putting up signage, schmoozing with hikers and visitors, keeping track of the "counters", maintaining trails, cleaning up the many "shooting areas" that are littered with all kinds of debris from target practice (I mean refrigerators, microwave ovens, bottles, cans, propane cylinders, cardboard boxes, and more that are blown to smithereens), hauling the stuff to the dumpsters. (Aside: these "shooters" are just a plague on the landscape).

I would add that the "shooting areas" were all pretty free of debris today, thanks to my hubby. How he knows his way around the hundreds of thousands of acres he patrols is because he has a GPS Brain. I was lost after the first twenty minutes.

And as office views go, his is pretty spectacular!

It really was a great day spending time with my hubby "at the office".

Here are some photos of a corner of his office that we haven't been to before:

This was unexpected out in the middle of somewhere

And Mary was there too.

This well is dry
Note: there are cattle grazing in the wilderness; I think it rather cruel to make them forage among the cacti and scrub for their meager meals over many acres of high desert. Some are chewing on cholla cactus. If they only knew what a grassy plain was like or the rolling green hills back east! We saw a nearly dry mud hole where the cattle look for water, but saw no standing water. Leon says the ranchers will haul in water occasionally.


Thursday, February 1, 2024

Che Inferno!

 So today I made homemade ricotta cheese. Technically, it is not true ricotta cheese, even though most of the YouTube videos referred to it as ricotta cheese. To make real ricotta cheese, you need fresh milk, preferably from a goat, and you treat it with rennet, make mozzarella, and then using the whey leftover, you recook it (ri-cotta) to make the cheese. 

Anyway, this is made using whole milk and heavy cream and lemon juice or vinegar. Heated to about 190°. Add a little salt and after adding the acid, that is lemon juice or vinegar, you let it sit until the curds form. 

It was a bit of a mess. I made a single container of ricotta plus a little bit more. It cost about $3.49 for the milk, $2.99 for the heavy cream $3.99 for the cheesecloth, about $.50 for one and 1/2 lemons. For a total of $10.97.

I can buy a container of BelGioioso ricotta at sprouts for $7.99 when it’s on sale, or $8.99 when it’s not. And there’s no mess to clean up.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Nuovo Olimpo - a New Gay Film on Netflix

 Leon and I watched Nuovo Olimpo on Netflix yesterday. An Italian film but you can choose the English audio which is very well done.

This is a gay love story, but a somewhat different kind of love story. It explores the various kinds and depths of love/attraction that individuals might experience and what happens when "space and time get in the way".. I won't say more than that. There is some very nice nudity, but it's not gratuitous. The three men in the film, the main characters, are almost too good looking...but well, I guess that's one reason for watching.

The story begins with two men, Pietro and Enea meeting at the cinema Nuovo Olimpo in Rome in the 70s. The cinema is a gay meeting/cruising place. Pietro and Enea begin a relationship and frequent the cinema as a rendezvous location. It happens to be in the vicinity of a major political protest against fascism and when the protest becomes violent the police raid the cinema and the two men become separated. (not exactly sure why the police target the cinema - perhaps I'll have to watch it again!)

All the characters are believable and realistic for the time period and culture. I was impressed with the fact that even the cinema's cashier, Titti, was portrayed with dignity and depth of character. I want to say more but don't want to give away too much of the story.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Good Grief

 We just watched “Good Grief” on Netflix. Good grief! Starring Dan Levy of Schitts Creek (a TV show I found forgettable) as a gay artist whose famous writer husband died in a car accident. It takes him a whole year before reading the Christmas card his husband left him on the night he died which revealed that his husband had a boyfriend (and a luxury apartment) in Paris. 

That could have been a workable story line but what the movie turned into was improbable dialogue among/between pretentious artsy characters that was often difficult to understand. I found none of the characters likable; which is to say I didn't like any of them. Ruth Negga's character could have been speaking Greek for all I got out of it.

It was like someone’s failed thesis on existentialism with privileged characters constantly experiencing angst and little if any genuine grief. It almost gave me a headache trying to follow the dialogue and plot (not sure the word “plot” is accurate). Throw in an extraneous stranger at a London bar who just happens to be from Paris...and a few other characters who appear with no rhyme or reason...and some improbable circumstances...

Too bad it was such a dud because there are so few gay or LGBTQ dramas out there.

Look, I can cry watching Magnum, P.I. But I had dry eyes during this entire movie and it was supposed to be a tear jerker, I think.

It might have been OK if it were about Charlie Brown and Lucy and Linus.

Friday, January 5, 2024

A Little Dance Music

 Hubby put this Dinner Time Jazz on the little Bluetooth Bose just before dinner.


We were both standing there near the speaker in the dining room when I took his hand and started to slow dance with him. We both got into it, however briefly as dinner was about ready. It was sweet. 

We held each other close and danced like it was our first date. 

I cannot recall the last time we danced, if ever. Before we met I would do the disco thing at Gay Bars or attend dances sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian organizations back in Connecticut. Leon and I might go to a gay club now and then, but he was never one to go out on the dance floor. 

And I can't remember ever slow dancing with Leon in our 35 years together. We need to do it more often.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Traditions and Validation

An Italian couple hubs and I have become friends with came for dinner last evening. 

They have become like family and we shared conversation about language, travel, food and work among other things. They really love living in the States - I think more than some of us disillusioned citizens. 

And I really enjoyed serving Italian ethnic food (antipasto, homemade ricotta and spinach filled egg crepe manicotti, meatballs, sausage, homemade bread, wine, sambuca, Italian Christmas cookies) to these friends as they gave me their approval of authenticity for my cooking.

So often in New Mexico I feel like I can’t relate. Our non-Italian/American friends have said they like my cooking, but somehow the compliments coming from native Italians carry extra weight!

It was nice to have a cultural connection for a change -- like what I was used to back East. 

We had what our Christmas Day meal would be if we weren’t going to a neighbors on Monday. 

Today, Christmas Eve we’ll have maybe only three (out of seven) fishes (anchovies in fried bread, salmon, shrimp) with a couple of guys from Texas who don’t have a clue why we eat fish!

And in I likely won't be posting again for days...I will share again the video of my niece Andrea singing a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night. She is truly talented. To all who read and listen: Have a peaceful and restful Christmas and always be there for those you love.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

La Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

La Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

We were privileged to see the local celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe last evening in Peña Blanca, a small village about six miles or so from us. It is a very old village and many of the residents are of New Mexican-Spanish/Mexican descent.

Today, December 12th is the actual Feast Day (Fiesta) and last evening was "Vespers" or the vigil of the feast day. The Catholic Church in Peña Blanca does the feast because the church is dedicated to La Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

The church, which is actually rather new (I suspect it replaced a much older one) was decked out with luminarias (paper bags with lit candles inside) and the street was lit with ferolitos (stacks of firewood) that get torched so that they burn for the entire duration of the solemn procession of the congregation which takes place while the church bells ring and fireworks fill the sky above.

The church bells are manually rung by men pulling the cords - obviously a strenuous task.

Here are a few photos and videos of "local color" which is probably not to be found in too many places in the United States outside of New Mexico.

The Procession began after the evening Mass.

Fireworks and Church Bells


Lighting the Ferolitos

The Little "Bonfires" Along the Street

The Church Decked Out with Luminarias

Main Altar in the Church

Another Likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Fireworks were as good as the 4th of July

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Moonscape - Leon’s “Office”

 Spent the day with two of our friends out in the desert. Leon was in his element showing us some of the more scenic areas that he patrols for Bureau of Land Management. We took his “new” used Toyota 4Runner for a drive. Had a great time even though we had a flat tire. Great day!


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