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!

Friday, November 3, 2023

Fakin' It

 I admit I listened to too much Simon and Garfield back in the 60s and 70s. I think their music is rather introspective and depressing but it seemed right for those those times. 

Remembering those times, I guess I'm feeling rather introspective and depressed.

 ...And I know I’m fakin’ it
I’m not really makin’ it
I’m such a dubious soul
And a walk in the garden
Wears me down
Tangled in the fallen vines
Picking up the punch lines
I’ve just been fakin’ it
Not really makin’ it
No, no, no Is there any danger?
No, no, not really
Just lean on me
Taking time to treat
Your friendly neighbors honesty
I’ve just been fakin’ it, fakin’ it
Not really makin’ it
This feeling of fakin’ it
I still haven’t shaken it ...
I know I’m fakin’ it, fakin’ it
I’m not really makin’ it
This feeling of fakin’ it
I still haven’t shaken it, shaken it ...

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

I Am Tired

 This link is where we are headed if we fall asleep while fanatics are driving the bus.

 They call us the devil...but it would be just as easy for us to call them the devil.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

150 Pats on the Back and A Rather Expensive Week - With Autumn Colors

Leon polished my headlights (really) and saved us $150+ which it would have cost to have it done at the auto shop. 

He used Comet cleanser! Worked great. I gave him at least eleven pats on the back. So, at a $1 a pat, I owe him 139 more pats on the back. Good job honey!

Headlights Before and After the Comet

My 2010 Honda Fit has not cost me much in repairs over the years. Regular maintenance, a brake job, tires, but at just over 142,000 miles this past week, the clutch gave out. Thankfully we have AAA because the car had to be towed about 40 miles. 

I had to have a new clutch installed to the tune of $1,400. 

That came right after the MRI of my lumbar region ($300 co-pay) subsequent to a severe case of sciatica that had me hobbling around with debilitating pain in my left leg and calf and numbness in my left foot all over the Central Coast of California while on vacation

Followed by ordering my very first pair of hearing aids at Costco ($1,600 - which is almost a thousand dollars less than the co-pay for the ones that my Medicare Advantage Plan is pushing). 

And the month is not over yet. Looming in the near future sometime around November 14, is the Government Shutdown which means hubby will be out of work without a paycheck for who knows how long with no guarantee of receiving back pay. 

(Don't get me started on the ridiculous, petty, selfish republican members of the House of Representatives who are poised to cut spending by eliminating social security, medicare, foreign aid, and any program that actually HELPS people, but will let the budget lapse and it will end up costing more in the long them all OUT!)

A shutdown will cripple a lot of people financially. Luckily we saw this coming and so have a cushion for this eventuality. (Those republican fools in the house need to grow up and get their act together. Each one is worse than the next.)

I'll leave with a few photos of autumn in New Mexico. It's no secret that I often feel overwhelmed by the stark landscape here, the chalky brown earth, the endless juniper trees, the dead grasses and weeds and prickly things everywhere. 

We are fortunate to live near the Rio Grande and its Bosque (forest/woods). So we have a bit of color in the fall here in the Land of Entrapment.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Back to the Past

 Back to the more than one sense...we had gone back to the Central Coast of California where we had been in the past...for our fourth time...and now we are back to the where we started a few weeks ago, otherwise known as "home". 

Hubby and I just celebrated 35 years together and we had two wonderful weeks of summer vacation by the ocean. That, to me, was/is being in heaven. Being by the ocean. Hearing the waves crashing on the shore...knowing that the waves are endless. 

I cannot describe the feeling of total disengagement from all the quotidian routine and worries. Il dolce di far niente. The Sweetness of Doing Nothing. Sun, salt water, sand, warm breezes, Astrud Gilberto singing Corcovado. Walking barefoot along the shore. Sunning our buns at Pirates Cove. Going for a dip in the cool waters of the cove. Makes this 75 year old feel like 14 again. Trying to hang on to that feeling for as long as I can. I am truly fortunate.

But it's not like we did nothing, just nothing like we would do at home. At home I cannot seem to read a book. I might take me months to get through a book, sometimes I never finish one. I've had the nine book compendium of Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" series for years. I'd read the first six some years ago but just never able to pick it up again to read the last three. I read the last three (Michael Tolliver Lives,  Mary Ann in Autumn and The Days of Anna Madrigal), all 822 pages, in three weeks! Enjoyed them immensely.

But I do have questions. Could someone please explain the ending of The Days of Anna Madrigal? She's on the mechanical butterfly at Burning Man. Then I'm lost.

Just a few words about California and our sojourn.

California is expensive. At least to live there - anywhere along the coast. Multi-million dollar homes. Taxes. Landscaping. Insurance...etc. 

But I will say that California goes out of its way to provide amenities for all: lots of free parking, public access to the the beaches and lots of state and county and town parks and beaches. Rest rooms. Yes, Clean and numerous. Tables, benches, fishing piers, trails, walkways, bike trails, etc.

Eating lots of seafood was one of my favorite pastimes.

Our Air B&B

Walking at Pismo can through you off balance

The path to Pirates Cove (down to the beach, up to the parking lot)

Linguini Beach

Great attention to decor - even the concrete has real sea shells embeded

Pirates Cove from the trail

Pirates Cove trail

I love the waves


We watched wales breaching for hours...and putting on a great show

Whale breaching in the distance

Another one

Central Coast of California has to be totally void of LGBTQ people

Pismo Beach and surrounding area is the straightest place. Virtually no gay people - at least not openly. I think we may have zeroed in on two couples, total.

So...while we were away in California getting an "ocean fix" and cure for desert fever, we returned to find that one of our kind and generous neighbors had gifted us with a new (and very large) Rainbow Flag which has replaced a smaller, rather faded one. We thank you for the lovely gesture and while the size of the flag makes more of a statement than we might otherwise, we fully embrace the sentiment so aptly expressed by Gloria Gaynor so many years ago, "I Am What I Am" or in the case of Frank and Leon, "We Are What We Are" - so thank you neighbor!


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