An Oldie but a Goodie

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This post first appeared on the blog in December 11, 2007. It’s one of my all time favorite posts. Fixed a few broken links, made some minor edits and away we go! Everything is still very true. Happy Holidays!

Top ten things I miss about Christmas in New Mexico

1) Annual shopping trip to Old Town. A mom and me tradition. Every year I’d get to pick out an ornament that was mine. I now have all those ornaments in a Thom McAnn shoebox that, yes, Sunday night I opened and hung them all on my tree. They are like a history of my life. I remember buying most of them and it gives me a good sense of continuity to have them on my tree.

2) Luminarias. I always was the one to make them at my house. My mom would drive me to an empty lot to dig up two buckets worth of dirt and I’d fold bags, place candles and light them. It was my job and I loved every folded bag and every candle and every small emergency when the bag caught on fire in the wind. I miss real luminarias.

3) The Bugg House, which, sadly, is no more. My sister lived over on Prospect and we’d go for a Christmas Eve walk in the evening to take a look at the outstanding display of holiday spirit. When I wwent to Winrock Mall to shop, I’d always swing by the Bugg house to take a look. No one does lights like the Buggs did.

4) Neighbors bringing over a plate of fresh made tamales as a Christmas gift. When there are three generations of Hispanic women in a kitchen with some masa and some shredded pork, magic happens. Yum! I also miss that people would bring tamales to work in a cooler and sell them to coworkers. I was always good for a dozen or more.

5) A ristra makes a good Christmas gift. I’ve given. I’ve received. I love ’em. They’d become a moldy mess here…and that makes me sad.

6) Biscochitos. My love for these is well documented.

7) Sixty-five degrees and warm on Christmas Day. Growin up, I think one year there was actually snow on the ground for the 25th. But it was melted by the end of the day. Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love your weather.

8) Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Spanish with the overpowering scent of frankincense filling up the overly warm church. Pure torture for a small child, but oh how I’d belt out the carols… And when we came home we could pick one present and open it. Gah! The torture of picking just one!

9) New Mexico piñon, gappy, scrawny Christmas trees that cost $15 at the Flea Market and were cut from the top of a larger tree just that morning. Look, to my mind, it ain’t a tree unless you are using low hanging ornaments to fill the obvious gaps. These fluffy overly full trees just ain’t my bag. If you aren’t turning the ‘bad spot’ to the wall, you paid too much for your tree.

10) Green chile stew for Christmas Eve dinner and posole for New Year’s. My mouth waters. It’s weep worthy. I can taste the nice soft potatoes in the stew, the chicken broth flavored just right…ouch! And posole to bring you luck with red chile and hunks of pork. Yeah……

*sigh* Now I’m homesick.

Which is not to say I don’t have happy holidays where I live now…but sometimes I feel melancholy. And that’s what the holidays are for, right?

Image via.

This Is What Being The New Kid Looks Like

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New job + No vacation accrued = One of maybe eight people at work on Christmas Eve Eve.

This is the first floor of the parking garage at 9:00am (usually packed by then). I parked in the most coveted spot.

Don’t feel too bad for me, though. My executive boss-type guy said I could leave at 1:00.

Until then, the halls are pretty empty. Helloooooooooooooo….?

In Lieu Of a Bonus

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Yesterday, after a oh-so-very-long day at work, I did what busy worker bees have done for years…

I went home and whined to my spouse.

The Good Man was very considerate, listened to my tale of woe, made sure I had dinner and tucked me into bed with a “maybe tomorrow will be better.”

Well, he was right. Tomorrow, now known as today, has been *much* better.

The tipoff that today might be a bit different began when I saw a strange truck in the parking lot, located in one of the front spots.

So, you know, curious as I am, I made my over to the assigned area and got in line.

After about a half hour of waiting, I got to see what the hubbub was all about.

Yeah. They call that the Commissioner’s Trophy. You know, nothing much…they just hand it out to the team that wins the World Series**.

No big deal right? Just a hunk of metal.

Let me tell you this, I’ve been within inches of an Oscar, a Grammy and two Emmys.

They got nothing on this little beauty. NOTHING! The Commissioner’s Trophy glows and shimmers and giggles with glee.

Or maybe that was me giggling. Hard to know.

Anyhow, when I got to the front of the line, I handed my camera to a decidedly NON photographer so she could take a blurry and out of focus shot of me with the trophy.

Forgive me readers, this is a terrible photograph. But we were only allotted one and this is it.

Just know this…blurry though it may be, make no mistake, I’m very, very happy.

(why do my eyes look so funky? Gah! Couldn’t I look cute for just ONE minute, but noooo, geek girl looks geeked out)

My employer pays reasonable but not large salaries and rare bonuses. But this, this was TOTALLY worth that long, mean, very bad day yesterday!

**To my readers outside the US, I do realize that to call a sporting event a “World Series” in which twenty nine US and one Canadian team competes is rather audacious.

You Want Weird? We Got Weird.

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When I need a quick break from the piles of spreadsheets I’m working on, I often take a few moments to do the daily ABQJournal Word Sleuth.

Today’s topic for the puzzle is “Food Cities”, as in, towns with a name that is also a food.

Friends and readers, you’ll be glad to know that our fair New Mexico has not one but two entries on the list:

Pie Town (in West central NM) and Chili (north of Espanola).

Odd names, to be sure. But let me tell you this, Pie Town is only scratching the surface of odd names for towns in the great State of NM.

Since we’re near Pie Town, let’s also visit Quemado. The word quemado means burned. There’s a happy connotation!

What about Raton? Rat Town. Yay! Let’s live there!

Ojo Caliente? Yes, folks, come live in hot eye!

Fruitvale. Mmmm, fruity!

Cotton City. Mmmm, cottony!

Catch a breeze in Windmill, near Cotton City. (they don’t have a lot going on down in the bootheel, do they?)

How about Loving? I mean, I’ve spent time in Loving (down in the southeast of the state). It’s just a normal town. You’d think folks would be doin’ it in the streets or something, but no.

Then there’s the easy pickings like Elephant Butte. Yes, yes, I know it’s butte, like a hill, but is there ANYONE traveling I-25 who doesn’t think the sign says elephant butt? No, I don’t think so. It’s giggle inducing.

And while we’re at Elephant Butt (left the e off on purpose) let’s talk about the neighboring town of Truth or Consequences?

More on the paths less traveled, let’s go get the tingles in Tingle, NM, up in the northwest of the state (south of Gallup, and yes, even Gallup is a funny place name).

Or get fried in Crisp, NM (in the Lincoln National Forest).

And I won’t start down the list of all the Navajo names like Ya-Ta-Hey and Chilili.

Folks, this isn’t even nearly an all inclusive list. I’m just getting started!

Gotta love our state, we can make it quirky in three languages, and that makes us a part of every kooky trivia list, crossword puzzle and word search looking for a something little different.

In my best Hee Haw style: Saaaaalute!

Auspicious, Sort Of

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Last year, in the holiday season, I saw a Christmas tree that was decorated with white origami cranes. It was so simple and beautiful, and was located, of all places, in my local Ace Hardware store.

The idea stuck with me, and so this year, I decided to do something similar.

I bought real Japanese imported origami paper and I chose to decorate our holiday tree with origami cranes this year.

In the tradition, cranes are said to be a special gift or a very auspicious thing. So heck, The Good Man and I could use a little auspiciousness (<-- not a word) in the new year. So I folded and folded and soon, I had a pile of 100 cranes I then placed on the tree. We’d intended to add more decorations, but found that the colorful cranes were simple and elegant and more than enough to make our Christmas tree really beautiful.

They are quite pretty and a nice alternative to the regular ornaments.

When I look at my tree, it just all feels very auspicious and good luckish (<--also not a word) and makes me happy.

But I have a question. What is the impact on the auspicious meter when The Feline callously rips a crane from a low branch, bats it around (playing a game of cat and mouse), then leaves the crane for dead on the train tracks that encircle the tree?

That can’t be good.

Rather inauspicious (<- actually a word!)

All photos by Karen Fayeth, taken with my iPhone 4