Misty Water Colored Memories. Of the Way We Were. Orale.

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In the wake of my most recent (and fabulous) visit to my home state of New Mexico, I find I’m getting my old crone on.

New Mexico has both grown and grown up over the last twenty years. I suppose change is inevitable.

But sometimes I still lament the way it used to be.

So here’s a top of my mind list of how New Mexico used to be. This just happens to be what I’m thinking about on my first day back in California on a stormy Bay Area day.


Grumpy McGrumperson’s List of “That was my New Mexico”

  1. It rained in summer. It snowed in winter. The Rio Grande bulged with water in July. Farmers irrigated their land. Sure, it was still a desert, but water didn’t cost $300 a cubic meter. Cotton plants grew tall. Pecans grew large. It worked. Now New Mexico is in the midst of a terrifying descent into serious drought and a mismanaged water conservancy.
  2. If you went to the Balloon Fiesta, there was never, not for one moment, a thought that you’d just sit there and watch. You were expected to pitch in, even if you were a small child. “Safety” and “insurance” didn’t ever come into mind. We just helped, because getting those hot air balloons off the ground was what we did in Albuquerque.
  3. Breakfast burritos at the Balloon Fiesta were cheap, incredibly delicious, and you bought them out of a battered ice chest and didn’t think twice about it. Same with tamales at Christmas.
  4. Pinto beans were made with pork. No one ever wondered about or protested this fact. Ever.
  5. If you ate a Biscochito, you didn’t question if it was made from lard. OF COURSE it was made with lard. And no one thought that was weird, bad or worried that it would make them fat. Anything but lard was unfathomable.
  6. Luminarias used a real candle. None of this electric hogwash.
  7. If it said Hatch green chile, you knew it was actually from Hatch. It seemed strange to even question.
  8. When you looked into a bucket of ice at a bar, and pulled out a bottle, it was beer. Just beer. None of these foofy malt-based sugared up drinks. Just beer. And decent beer. What’s with the light, light, oh so lite you can breathe it like air. Just drink a damn beer! Or don’t. (this comes straight from the events of this weekend. I grabbed what I thought was a beer. It wasn’t. *sigh*)
  9. While on a two lane highway, when someone passed the other direction, you gave ’em a wave. Be it whole hand, the pointer finger, two finger Boy Scout style or whatever acknowledgement you like, you did it. And the other driver waved and smiled back. (in some places this still happens, but I got an awful lot of unreturned waves this weekend.)
  10. We didn’t call a tortilla a wrap. It was a tortilla. They weren’t made of spinich or tomato, and if mom made ’em from scratch they were thick and oh so very good.


There’s more, I think, but that’s enough of what’s bothering me today.

I suppose time marches on whether I march in step or not. New Mexico can’t stay the same forever and neither can I.

Must be the dark clouds I have, both mentally and meteorologically, that’s got me all stirred up.

Wish I could find a way to send you some of this wet weather, my Fair New Mexico.




Texas On Tour

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Because confession is good for the soul, I need to declare that what follows is a post sponsored by Texas on Tour, a function of the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

Proceeds will be donated to the Southwest Indian Foundation.

_____________________________

This Saturday October 1st ushers in the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The special shapes and crazy events like the key grab, Balloon Glow, and pin trading are back for another year of fun. I’m sad I’ll have to miss it, but work beckons. Photographic opportunities abound!

Hey, if you happen to make your way over to the Balloon Fiesta Park, keeps your eyes out for a little sumptin’ different. This year at the Balloon Fiesta, in addition to participating in one of the most notable events New Mexico has to offer, you’ll also be able to experience a little bit of Texas.

Albuquerque has the honor of being the last stop in 2011 for Texas on Tour, an interactive virtual trip to the Lone Star State.

Through the magic of green screen video and photography, visitors to Texas on Tour can get a taste of the fun that Texas has to offer such as kayaking, visiting San Antonio, or experiencing the bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin.

Texas is a big ol’ state with a lot to offer, and Texas on Tour helps you experience it all.

The good people behind Texas on Tour hope you’ll be so intrigued, you’ll want to visit in person.

“We are thrilled to have Texas on Tour traveling to nine destinations across the U.S. in 2011 to encourage travel to Texas and give potential visitors the ability to experience firsthand the many sights and sounds of the Lone Star State,” said Julie Chase, Director of Tourism, Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

If you take a look at the Texas on Tour blog, you’ll see a whole lot of people having one heck of a good time at all of the stops so far.

Sure, it may seem a little odd to visit a site touting the charms of Texas when attending one of New Mexico’s most iconic events. But I say why not?

Have another hot chocolate and breakfast burrito and go see what the Texas on Tour team has to offer.

You can also follow Texas on Tour on Facebook and on Twitter @texastourism














All images courtesy of the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.


Just an aside: neither this blog nor this writer endorse the presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry…or any of the other presidential candidates from any party, for that matter. Not even former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.



This Is Why I Went to College

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So I can have a good job and a nice hard walled office.

So I can listen to my Pandora radio in my iPhone.

So I can tune it to the “60’s, 70’s, and 80’s hits” station.

Where I can hear Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, first released in 1973, and again in 1976, right in the prime of my formative years.

So that I can sit in my hard walled office and sing along.

Badly.

With Steven Tyler.

“Dream ooooowwwnnn, dream oooowwwwwn, dream until your dreams come true!”

And especially this part:

“…sing with meh/sing for the yeaaahar/sing for the laughter, sing for the tear/sing with me, if it’s just for today/Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away”

And then there is that howl part on the word “away”… Yeah.

In my mind I think I can hit those same notes that Mr.Tyler could hit some 40 years ago.

Then the employee seated in the cubicle just outside my office prairie dogs up over his wall to give me a crooked eyebrow.

And I think “ffft! He was born in 1983, he doesn’t understand.”

So I go on singing. In my office. With my Pandora.

Thank you NMSU, that I may have this job with a Fortune 500 company, this office, and the ability to torture my employees on a Friday morning.






I never get tired of recycling this image.


Image is of Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and a pretty extensive web search could not net me the attribution on this photo. I found photos from that same event on the European Commission page which allows for the use of photos with attribution.



Reporting from the Front Lines

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There is a battle being waged. A mighty, vicious, chirpy battle. Take no prisoners. Victory is secured only by chasing the enemy away.

Nothing but full retreat shall be accepted.

Here is a photo of the front lines. Ground zero for the nastiest battle I’ve ever had to witness.





That’s right. It’s a fig tree. In the corner of my front yard.

The birds (mostly snotty jays) fight birds. The squirrels (generally snotty) fight the other squirrels. Then the birds join forces with other birds and the squirrels join forces with other squirrels and it’s full on species on species battle. It’s vicious! And loud.

The menagerie will squawk and chirp and flap wings and shake tails and go nuts at each other.

“Come at me, bro!!”

Yes, I’ve actually seen the birds and squirrels get into a physical tussle.

This is the prize in the all out war:





Figs. Lovely, sweet, squishy figs.

As you can see, our tree is heavy with fruit this year.





The figs on the sunny side of the tree have already ripened to brownish perfection. Tasty sugary carbs. Good energy for the wild animals.

The shady side of the tree still has a ways to go.





Which means this battle will rage on for a while.

My home studio is at this corner of the house and looks out over the fig tree. It’s rather disconcerting to be peacefully writing or painting and hear this angry battle going on right outside my window.

I look forward to the persimmon tree coming on with fruit. It’s in the back of the house and the battle will move there, away from my view and out of hearing range.

Oh, I almost forgot, the deer are in on this battle too. They eat the leaves on the low branches and like to leave their calling card for me under the tree.





(Congratulations long time readers, that’s the second time I’ve treated you to a photo of deer poop. Just keeping it classy here at Oh Fair New Mexico.)

Then the feline gets in the window and chatters at them all. Good gato mighty, it’s a cacophony over here.

Heaven help the human who simply tries to pick a few fresh figs for her morning cereal. The squawking, the strafing, the nasty chirps. Geez!

I’ll tell you, these were hard won. But oh so very tasty.






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