Saturday, April 29, 2023

Can It Be As Simple As Lack Of Empathy?

 Please read Debra's Post on "She Who Seeks". It is an eye-opening explanation of where we are at with the conservative efforts to takeover the government. But the problem remains: what is the antidote?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Serendipity Made My Day

Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. 

Had to do a few errands in town (Santa Fe) on Monday...get the Honda serviced, stop at the Bank's ATM, drop off clothes at the shelter, pick up a prescription. Normally I would have a passing thought about getting a coffee or lunch, then think about the options and expense and decide to just go home. 

But it was only 10:30 and I hadn't had much for breakfast, so I decided to treat myself at Counter Culture, an artsy, bohemian hangout for locals and one of the more decent food establishments in Santa Fe with a somewhat interesting menu.

I was standing at the counter waiting to place my order for a fried egg, bacon and swiss sandwich and noticed a display of Counter Culture matchbooks that looked like they were for customers to take. I reached for one only to discover that the matches were behind a very clean glass case below the counter. "Oops!" I said out loud.

The woman in back of me who was with a companion, says, "Don't you hate it when that happens?"

"Yeah," I replied and laughed.

The woman gets the attention of the counterperson and says, "Give the guy a book of matches." 

The counterperson complied and handed me a couple of them. I turned to the nice woman and said, "Thanks. I quit smoking 35 years ago and you know, now I never have matches on hand. Sometime you need to light a candle or a birthday cake."

She and her companion laughed and we started chatting about smoking, about the Counter Culture famous humongous cinnamon buns, the coffee, all in a matter of minutes while I ordered my sandwich, coffee, and a "cinnamon bun to go" for hubby. When I told them the bun was for my husband. They said, "How thoughtful," and seemed pleased. In those few minutes we established a rapport and it seemed like we were old friends running into one another at this cafe.

I grabbed my coffee, bun and the order number on its pedestal to place on the table for the waitperson and turned to the two women, "I'm going to eat at the tables outside and I'd love it if you'd care to join me," I said. (Who is this Frank who is suddenly so outgoing?" I thought to myself.)

"Yes, we'd love to," the taller woman replied. I chose a table in the sun and displayed my number for the waitperson who would bring my order. The two women soon joined me with their coffees and their number.

We started chatting immediately and I learned that they are sisters (I knew I'd remember Candy but I've forgotten her sister's name) who have come to town from North Carolina several times since their brother died suddenly, to take care of his house and his affairs. He was a Park Ranger with the Park Service. That was an opening for me to bring up hubby who is also a Park Ranger, but with Bureau of Land Management, Recreation Department. Another instant bond.

We talked about their brother and his many years with the Park Service. And their planning for a memorial service. He traveled a lot, lived alone, liked to target practice shooting his gun on the property where a large picture of the former president was apparently his favorite target. We laughed. I felt the connection more deeply and said, "Just know that I'll be there in spirit at his memorial service."

I told them of Leon's and my adventure in coming to New Mexico. We talked about North Carolina, about quirky Cochiti Lake, about traveling. Candy was the more talkative of the two and she said she wanted to go to Italy, but did not want to go with her husband (I forget why). I immediately said, "I'll go with you!" (Who is this Frank who is suddenly so friendly?" I thought to myself.) We laughed.

Candy asked about my husband, how long we'd been together and when we got married. She shared that her daughter is married to a women and they have two children. She was appreciative of the fact that we older LGBTQs paved the way and made it easier for her daughter to live openly. I reminded her that there were many before my generation who paved the way for us and who had it much harder. 

We talked a bit about the current climate of regressive laws and how things seem to be going backwards. I mentioned that when Leon and I travel cross country we make it a point to carry our marriage license. I said that one of the reasons we chose to relocate to New Mexico was that it is a safer state than many.

The three of us chatted for an hour and seemed not to run out of things to talk about. It seemed like we'd known one another for years. It was such a delightful serendipitous encounter. I told them that meeting them made my day.

We hugged goodbye and made a tentative date to have breakfast together when they return for the memorial service. I asked to take their picture. And here they are. Candy on the left.

The chance meeting really did make my day and the feeling stayed with me all day while I did a few more errands and drove home. I think about the fact that, on other trips to town, I would never have treated myself to breakfast, but for some reason I let go of my frugality and went with it. And I met two beautiful, warm and friendly ladies. These are the little mysteries of life.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

A Little Trip to Southern New Mexico

Hubby had to attend a conference for work in Ruidoso, New Mexico and his employer provided nice accommodations. I was fortunate to be allowed to accompany him, stay in the hotel room and spend a few days checking out the little touristy town of Ruidoso.

Suffice it to say that this not the season to be a tourist in Ruidoso. At least 90% of the shops and restaurants are closed weekdays until their summer season begins. As we were there during the week, there was not much to do there. Boring. Boring. 

The Texans invade in winter for skiing and in the summer to cool off a little. Spring is apparently way OFF season. I don't know what the attraction is even in season, other than a place where wealthy rednecks get together to drink and shout and drive their big trucks and eat beef. I guess lots of locals also drive excruciatingly loud pick-up trucks, obvious looking for attention as they drive the main street in town. Fortunately our hotel was a bit off the beaten path.

Every town in New Mexico has the "BEST GREEN CHILI CHEESE BURGER" and sometimes more than one restaurant in town claims it. And finding anything besides burgers and fried foods in Ruidoso was a challenge.  I think every average New Mexico eatery buys their food from the same big restaurant supply warehouse because it all seems to look and taste the same. 

I should do a post on the scarcity of interesting, healthy food in New Mexico. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. I am not crazy about Mexican/New Mexican cuisine but the beef fajita at the Hacienda in Ruidoso was very good. 

The highlight of my day on Wednesday was buying food at the grocery store for our dinner.

The hotel was quite nice and our room/suite was probably the nicest one I've ever had the opportunity to occupy. We stayed four nights. Free breakfast with just about everything you could want for an American style wake-up.

There must be carpet designers especially for fancy hotels.

The highlight of our little trip was the Valley of Fires, a Malpais (Badlands) area of ancient lava flows. There was a very nice one-mile nature trail with interesting flora and lava formations. 

I like rocks and plants, so this was my kind of tourist attraction. Here are a bunch of photos, but it's better in person.


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