Thursday, May 26, 2022

Link to another Blogger's Post

 For further opinion and information I refer you all to Bobservations at "I Should Be Laughing"


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Thoughts and Prayers are a Joke

We were eating dinner when the evening news came on. I told Leon I could not watch the news of children being shot while we were having dinner. It is difficult to eat when one has tears in one's eyes. I had to turn off the TV. 

Seeing the pictures right now on the morning news of some of the children and the teacher who lost their lives so needlessly and tragically. It is so wrong. We should all be sad beyond words for these children, teachers and their families. And for those who lost their lives and their families in Buffalo.

The second mass shooting in as many weeks. Business as usual. Life goes on.

Sick and angry with the gun culture in America, the NRA, and the republican's phony reasoning about the 2nd Amendment. And the evil and disgusting take on the President's speech by the Fox idiots. As if he were somehow disrespectful to the victims and families for calling out the lack of action by the congress to control gun sales and possession. Fox had the nerve to criticize his speech as "politicizing" the tragedy. Blood is on the hands of the Republicans who enshrine gun ownership and falsely use the 2nd amendment to justify their lack of action on gun control.

I've seen the photos of Republican politicians and their families including children, posing with guns and assault weapons for Christmas cards! SICK. Disgusting but as American as apple pie. Yeah right. I'll take the apple pie any day. Blame anyone, anything for mass killings except the ridiculously easy availability of guns. Deflection, projection, and lies. Anything but gun control.

The Republicans, the hideous, hypocritical "pro-life" party has blood on their hands. And like the Pharisees are like "whited sepulchers, .... full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."

I hope the midterms will untie Joe Biden's hand so he can lead us back to sanity.

 

 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Saying Goodbye to Two Special Women

I have been seeing a mental health therapist since last August (2021) and a physical therapist since last November (2021). Both therapies were, to a large degree, due to my ageing body. 

I had been experiencing some ongoing depression, mostly about getting old and partly about the road not taken (not to imply that there was ever a different road I could have taken). 

And then there was the osteoarthritis with loss of cartilage and torn meniscus which left my left knee swollen and painful and which just added insult to the injury of being 74.  

Well, I had an 8:00 am appointment with my physical therapist, Alexi, this morning and I suggested that I had perhaps improved as much as could, which, all things considered meant that I could now bend my knee to put on my socks and shoes, walk at least a mile without any real pain, do my house chores and tend to my vegetable garden with only mild exhaustion. So we decided that it would be my last PT session. She put me through the gauntlet as a parting gesture!

I am very grateful to have had such a knowledgeable, professional, warm and compassionate therapist. I thanked her and gave her a good-bye hug before leaving.

I stopped for coffee and then went to my appointment with my mental health therapist, Linda, which was at 10:00 am. Our meetings had been reduced to every other week for a while and there would be several weeks in the next month when I would not be able to schedule. So after we reviewed my journey briefly, we decided together that this would be my last therapy session.

Part of that review included acknowledging the imaginary "road not traveled" as well as the "road actually traveled." That actual road was the road to accepting my self and my sexuality. But it was one long, rough, bumpy, treacherous and difficult ride. One that left me a bit battered and wounded...and angry. 

When I came out at 36 I was able to channel some of that anger into Gay Lib and AIDS activism. 

The residual anger I still feel now sometimes is due to the fact that it was our judgemental, oppressive and homophobic institutions of school, religion, society, family, culture, and ethnicity that sent my on that very long, difficult road to begin with. It was strewn with guilt and fear and humiliation and depression and pain. And seemed to go on forever. (Each day now I read about new anti-LGBTQ shit that makes me angry, but that's another thing.)

Now I am still learning to own and embrace that road I traveled. It is not resignation, it is not quite acceptance. I am seeing that journey as part of what made me who I am, like it or not and.... too bad that I am not a marine biologist!

So, that was heavy. And after reviewing my therapeutic journey, I said, "Gee, maybe I need another year of therapy!" We both laughed.

I am very grateful to have had such a knowledgeable, professional, warm and compassionate therapist. I thanked her and gave her a good-bye hug before leaving.

Today I said good-bye to two special women (both of whom kind of had a "free spirit" vibe and were generous with their presence and attention) who were there to help me through a difficult time.  

My mental and physical pains may not be "cured" but thanks to these women I am walking and living with much less physical and emotional pain ... all on my own now.

Today was cathartic. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Bunch of Random Photos and Thoughts


The photos below are of smoke plumes from the Hermit's Peak and Calf Canyon combined fires near Las Vegas, New Mexico. The two photos were taken within minutes of each other. View from Santa Fe on Saturday afternoon (May 14) which is about 60 miles from the fire.
 
This is one huge fire and has been fanned by extremely high winds for more than a week. The air is much calmer today, so the firefighters have a little relief...very little. There are more than 1,800 firefighters on this site.
 
These are, from what the meteorologists have said, pyro-cumulous clouds that rise up from the heat sucking air inward at the ground and can get heavy and collapse causing winds blowing outward at ground level, which will spread the fire outward. There is science involved and we are all learning new things about wildfires.  
 

This firefighter was featured on the official fire info page. OK!

It is hot and dry here. Supposedly drier that Death Valley.

The Yucca Trees are in bloom. Some of the blooms are top-heavy and leaning over.

Irises have always been one of my favorites.

I forget the name of these wild flowers. Amazing varieties of wild flowers bloom
 despite lack of rain.

Had to photograph all our worldly possessions in case of fire. My cookbooks.

Purple Robe Locust in our back yard.


We Support Ukraine Flower Boxes - a little battered by the high winds

View of a part of the Veggie Gardens from the deck

Another view of the Yucca Tree

First Roses
Some biscotti for dessert


Post Script:

I am having so much trouble with Blogger. If I try to load more than three photos, it will upload all but one and that one will hold up the ability to "Select" the ones that have been uploaded. The upload freezes. I sometimes have to try 3, 4, 5 times or upload only 3 at a time. 

Yes our internet is not the greatest.

Then, once I get the photos on the post and try re-arranging them they often will just vanish (or not space evenly or have blank lines that I cannot get rid of).  Luckily the "undo" button will get them back.  One photo above is off center and nothing I tried will get it in line. 

Also, when trying to post comments, especially on "I Should Be Laughing" I get an un-typeable comment blank. I have to re-load ten times and sometimes change browsers and even then often just give up. So if I don't comment on your blog, please forgive. It has been frustrating.

SO. Blogging has become more of a chore than a pleasure. Which is one reason why I don't post much. Also because I don't have a lot to add to the conversation. 

Who really wants to know how my last physical therapy session went or get daily photos of my tomatoes and peppers? (By the way I have 32 peppers this year, [24 more than usual] all of which I grew from seed. Some are pepperoncini from commercial seed; some are the pizza hot peppers grown from the seeds out of the shaker; some are mini-sweets from seeds I saved from peppers from the grocery store.)

I am also trying artichokes again. I have called artichokes the vegetable from hell. But I will try to befriend them if I actually get an artichoke. The ones from last year are doing great and some new plants I grew this year are catching up.

Last year's artichokes - 2 varieties?

I think the plants are cool, even if I never see an artichoke. Kind of exotic.

New artichoke plant 2022 - there are 4 new plants

Also trying to grow a fig tree. Another kind of exotic specimen for the garden. I didn't think I had protected it enough for the winter, but it is sprouting.

And the FIG TREE made it through the winter! New sprouts.


Prickly Pear from Martha's Vineyard via Connecticut
Oregano

Rio Grande at Peña Blanca this morning - South view

Rio Grande - North view


Monday, May 9, 2022

Life in New Mexico in the Era of Climate Change

 The Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico is threatening Los Alamos because of unprecedented, sustained and extremely severe northeast winds. Here at Cochiti Lake, we are still not in immediate danger. But that is no guarantee should the wind change because the southern edge of the fire is only about 6 miles from town.

 Planes and helicopters have been scooping water from Cochiti Lake to fight the fire. They have been at it all day long for days. The fire is expected to burn for several weeks or more. Drought is also severe and coupled with the strong wind, the situation is dangerous all over the state.

 

 

Photo taken by a neighbor two nights aago

 Speaking of drought...the hubs, Ranger Leon was helping with trail maintenence in an area west of us and putting up botanical signs to identiy the plants along the trail. They could not find a living specimen of prickly pear cactus on the trail and actually had to go to a greenhouse that specialized in native plants to purchase a prickly pear cactus to plant along the trail. The drought is pretty bad when cactus are dying in the desert for lack of water.




Sunday, May 1, 2022

Another Update on the Cerro Pelado Fire Near Cochiti Lake, NM

We are OK so far. There is a chance we may have to evacuate if the fire gets much closer. 

Last report it was about 5 miles from us, which is pretty close for a wildfire fed by high winds. 

There is a “ready, set, go” system of alerts. We have not been given the “ready” alert. Once that happens “get set” and “go” can happen fairly quickly. 

There will be/are 150 fire fighters headquartered in our town where they will go up into the burn area closest to us where a very hot fire is feeding on huge, dead, extremely dry, fallen timber from the forest fire 11 years ago. According to the fire and forest experts who talked to us today, this is a very difficult and dangerous kind of fire to deal with. Even if there was no wind. 

But the experts who briefed us were all pretty calm...I'm not sure if it's time to panic yet. We have our camper packed fairly well and if we evacuate we plan on taking that. Have all the important papers together and believe me it is difficult trying to decide what has value (there's not much in our house that has monetary value) or is irreplaceable. 

I'm thinking mom's pasta board that dad made. Maybe a few pictures that dad painted. And I put SO MUCH WORK and EFFORT and KNEE PAIN in this year's vegetable garden... 

In the video our town is in the lower right hand corner of the map. That's exactly where the wind will be blowing tonight.

 

Friday, April 29, 2022

The World May Be Going To Hell But We Eat Well: Chicken Cacciatore

 Chicken Cacciatore to a new level: I had 5 leftover roasted chicken legs (thighs were not available) and some mini sweet peppers and an eggplant and white and baby bella mushrooms, so chicken cacciatore was the logical result. In some "authentic" recipes it does not have eggplant or mushrooms or peppers. But this was taking cacciatore to a new level.

I would have put this on my other blog(Dinner's Ready) https//cookingfranco.blogspot.com but I just don't have the patience to do a step by step description of how I made this dish.

What went into it (not necessarily in this order) olive oil, garlic, sliced onion, sweet red, yellow and orange mini peppers, white mushrooms, baby bella mushrooms, red wine, eggplant, imported canned whole San Marzano tomatoes lightly crushed, salt, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes, oregano, fresh basil. Simmered low and slow for a couple of hours.

I don't know whether it was the vermouth on the rocks that I had before dinner or the imported San Marzano tomatoes, but this was a heavenly meal with a nice oven warmed ciabatta roll. Fall off the bone chicken. Sweet flavor of peppers, eggplant and tomato. a slight bite from the hot pepper flakes. Extra meatiness from the mushrooms. And some good bread to soak up the sauce. 

I didn't even put parmigiano cheese on mine. 

The photos do not do it justice. I out did myself on this one.




On Top of Old Smokey

 So I spent the whole morning out in the backyard garden where I saw only blue sky and sunshine. Then, when I went out to get the mail and opened the front door, the sky was a whole other thing. This is smoke from the Cerro Pelado fire I believe. There are other fires burning and some communities are under evacuation advisories and homes have been destroyed.

We are safe so far...but vigilant. 

I think we will have a drink and watch the Titanic sink (I mean the evening news).






Blue sky and smoke

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Our Neck of the Desert

 Here on the reservation between Albuquerque and Santa Fe life is pretty good. Cost of living is much lower than in the cities and we have pretty much unlimited water. It is a 30 minute drive to Santa Fe for just about everything other than what is available at the convenience store, gas station, a post office, a mom & pop grocery store a few miles down the road. 

So I took a few photos from just outside of town today on my way back from Santa Fe.

And while there are fewer Ponderosa  Pines and lots of junipers the danger of fire is still a reality. The Las Conchas Fire in 2011 came frighteningly close to our little town. That was several years before we moved here.

Right now in New Mexico there are several wild fires buring out of control. The extremely dry conditions, gale force winds at times and dry thunder storms which produce lightening but no rain on the ground are making this season a very dangerous one.

The Cerro Pelado fire is less than 20 miles from us. It is burning in the Ponderosa Pine forest in the Jemez Mountains. We can see, and depending on the direction of the wind, smell the smoke, and at times, even see the flames. So far we are safe and there are no calls for evacuation.

The fire fighters are incredible. I don't know how they do what they do for many hours day and night. We thank them for their bravery and hard work.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

One Tree and Flower I Miss That We Don't Have In New Mexico

 Back in Connecticut the Dogwoods would be in bloom. Something about the graceful branches and simple flowers is beauty.

The photos were taken in Connecticut. 











Friday, April 22, 2022

New Mexico Wind and Dust Storm

 We are having the biggest wind we've experienced since moving to New Mexico nearly seven years ago. And with fires burning all around the state and in Arizona, this is definitely frightening. None of the fires are near us, fortunately, but still we are vulnerable should the wind take down a power line or some other event cause a spark.

The morning was quite calm and pleasant and I worked around the yard, putting away anything loose, trimming some bushes, planting seeds and watering. Leon was at work.

But he had a horrendous drive home. He has driven in snow storms and blizzards, driving rain and wind. But he described today's drive as the scariest conditions he's ever experienced. The wind gusts could turn a truck or camper on its side, the dust made visibility almost zero at times and a tractor trailer cam to a dead stop on the highway in the lane Leon was traveling in. 

He had to get around the truck by driving on the shoulder and passing the truck on the right. Admonitions say "do not stop on the road" but drive totally off the road if possible. 

Luckily Leon was going VERY slowly. He took a little video for us.


Friday, April 15, 2022

Leon's Office - Part Two

 Today's day trip was to the Guadalupe Ruins near the dilapidated town of Guadalupe. It is not exactly a ghost town as there appears to be one rather newish residence occupied by living human(s). The location is about a two hour drive off the paved state highway over a partially paved and mostly dirt road that is maintained pretty well by the county.But driving 2 hours on a dirt road with spectacular views but no civilization can be unnerving if you had no idea where you were going.

We passed several people walking along the dirt road which was, in itself, unusual. Leon has driven the road many times to his work area and said he's never seen people walking the road. Then we spotted their destination: an old stucco church off the side of the road. Today is Good Friday and people from the area were walking miles to the noon services.

We passed by El Cabezon peak which remains in the background throughout the day. We were definitely in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico.

The Guadalupe Ruins are reminiscent of, but not on the scale of, Chaco Canyon, an ancient pre-puebloan culture. Walls and Kivas are made of stone and adobe mortar. Pottery shards are scattered here and there and while visitors are welcome to pick them up, examine them, photograph them, they are not to be removed from the site.

We began at Perea Nature Trail on the main road (Rt 550) near San Ysidro. This one of Leon's projects. He had to haul 50,000 pounds of gravel to spread over the one mile trail. Click to enlarge.

Bird blind that Leon and a co-worker reconstructed


Leon's 50,000 lbs of Gravel

 Then it was on to far flung parts.Here are some photos and spectacular views of Leon's "Office" - another one of the places he patrols. Great job, but I do worry about him out there alone, miles and hours from any civilization or assistance, should he ever need it. But there is cell service - mostly.


 The ruins are at the top of this outcropping:

The trail to the Ruins

Guadalupe Ruins

El Cabezon in the distance





One of the two Kivas under a protective roof

Note the detailed fine stonework

The Kivas are round structures



Pot shards

Pot shards


The dark area is a "pond" and if you look carefully you can see cattle and a corral - Click to enlarge



Air B&B, Room with a View $500/night (just kidding)





Cabezon again

The trail to the ruins which are at the top of the hill to left

The geologic variety is astounding: sandstone, quartz "river rock", lava rock (not visible), and below is a trap rock "wall"


A "wall" of rock, a natural formation

Remnants of the wall of rock extends down hill across the road and up the hill

View from the road

Abandoned adobe at the "town" of Guadalupe

Here is a 360 degree view from the ruins at the top of the outcropping (It was breezy, so lower the volume):

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