Burn, Burn, Burn!

Here I have been railing about pumpkin flavored dog days of summer and it turns out My Fair New Mexico had a gut punch to deliver.

Oh Fair, how I adore you, but is it *really* time to burn Zozobra again? I guess it is.

I always really enjoy watching Old Man Gloom burn away my troubles, but to be honest it’s 70 degrees and today I sat out on the patio at lunchtime and drank lemonade while a strappy sandal dangled from a toe.

How can I have gloom in this gorgeous summer weather?

Argh! Not ready, not ready, not ready, : covers ears : lalalalalalalalala I can’t heeeear you!

To assuage my sadness, I sought out my coworker, a fellow New Mexican (not a native but lived in Santa Fe for many years) and said “dude, did you know they burn Zozobra tonight?”

He had wide eyes like me, then said “That must mean mariachis are currently wandering through the streets of Santa Fe.”

Then we both got wistful.

After a few moments I said, “Man, I sure remember those days of being wobbling drunk on the plaza and shouting ‘burn, burn, burn!”

The effect of chanting while Old Man Gloom burned and groaned and flapped his arms was always very visceral.

I could tell my coworker was remembering too. He nodded solemnly in agreement. Then we sighed in unison.

Yeah. Days like these make me miss my home state. A lot.

Oh Fair New Mexico, I love, I love you so.


Side note: Lest anyone learn about Zozobra and think it’s a knock off of Burning Man, I should note that the purely New Mexico tradition of burning Zozobra started in 1926. Burning Man started in 1986. And the Celtic tradition of burning the wicker man is even older than that.

Fun fact: Zozobra’s hair color changes every year. It was yellow last year and photos on Mr Z’s Facebook page would make it seem this year his hair is gray. (Edit: I was fooled, it is green this year) Details for tonight’s event are here.

Image from the ABQJournal and first published in 2010.

My How Times Have Changed (for the better)

As I usually do when it’s a quiet Friday and I’m having a little lunch at my desk and I’m missing my Fair New Mexico in ways too numerous to count, I head over to Google, hit the news tab and type in “New Mexico” to see what’s doing back home.

After wading through the politics and sports stories, I found a nice little gem today.

An article with the title: N.M.’s First Gentleman Takes a Job

I especially loved this quote:

Franco told the Journal last year that when not traveling back and forth between Las Cruces and Santa Fe, he has filled his time in the state’s capital city with volunteer activities, yardwork at the Governor’s Mansion and a rediscovered passion for painting and drawing.

Wow how times are changing in ways that are both surprising and positive. In this year’s election, a record number of women were elected to public office which means there is truly a cause to start to better define the role of the “First Gentleman.”

I’m no expert in this area, but to my recollection first ladies have often worked with charities and other groups as part of their work alongside their spouse, or they quietly step to the background and work their own lives. To read the quote from Mr. Franco it sounds about right.

It was not so long ago you would have read that exact same quote from woman when asked what she does while her husband runs the state.

Instead it’s the female Governor running the state and her husband being a stay at home guy, and now he’s picked up a part time job. Why not?

I think it’s awesome, doubly so that it’s my homestate at the front of this trend.

My fair New Mexico, a little more progressive than even I ever thought.

Source: Albuquerque Journal

Image from What Comes Around Goes Around

In Like a Lion, Out like A….

Been reading via the ABQJournal that April has been a rather windy month for my Fair New Mexico.

Or as my NM friend Natalie so eloquently put it on Twitter: “Life’s glitter just fell off…it’s so damned windy, dusty, smoky here!”

Indeed. The glitter not only fell off, it was sandblasted away.

In an article today regarding education cuts in New Mexico, Leslie Linthicum says:

“I’ve been thinking about the wind lately. And by thinking about the wind, I mean hating it…”

Leslie posits that the wind makes everyone a little bit nutty:

“In addition to picking up tons of grit and garbage from the Arizona state line and moving it over to the Texas state line and then moving it all back again, the wind makes people nuts.

Yes, it will loosen your screws and knock you off your rocker. It will drive your train off the track and turn you dippy, loony and screwy.

Did I mention cuckoo? The wind will gladly make you that, too, just as soon as it finishes blowing some bats into your belfry and the cheese clear off your cracker.”

Ah, home sweet gritty home.

It’s been rather windy here in the Bay Area, too. I mean, we get a good wind up off the water and often it’s that coastal wind that drives the fog inland. But whenever I hear my fellow Bay Arean complain of the wind, I just smile.

These people don’t know from wind.

New Mexico knows.

I used to work at Sandia Labs in a building just off the Eubank entrance to Kirtland Air Force Base.

Our huge parking lot was uniquely located to catch the full blast of wind that channeled through the gap where the Sandias end and the Manzanos begin. That wind would come hurtling through the gap like a runaway freight train, picking up speed as it hit the valley floor.

Wind that brutal made walking to my car in order to drive home at the end of the day a unique and not enjoyable experience. More than once, I was physically knocked to the ground by that Spring wind. I once just simply crawled the rest of the way to my car, sand filling my teeth and eyes and ears. Oh, and my nose. Oh the nose. *honk, honk*

Freeloading on all that wind is millions upon millions of particles of pollen, all ready to provide itches, hives and sneezing so hard I’d see stars in front of my eyes.

My best friend’s dad spent some time in Amarillo where I’m convinced the wind never stops blowing. He likes to say that the best way to tell the force of the wind is to attach a logging chain to a sturdy post. If the wind blows so hard the chain is standing straight out, well, that’s pretty darn windy.

It’s when it’s gusting so hard that links are snapping off the end that you might wanna get yourself inside.

I feel for you, My Fair New Mexico, suffering through an April that came in like a lion is going out like a really, really pissed off lion.

Photo by Lize Rixt and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Hmmmm, it’s a thinker

Often I’m asked why I made the very big and life changing decision to move from New Mexico to California.

Suffice to say it is a very complex story filled with much emotion and fraught with “can I really do this?” anxiety. If you and I are ever in the same town at the same time, let’s buy a pitcher of margaritas and cuss and discuss.

However, there are some ancillary reasons why I moved that are pretty easy to explain.

To wit.

Today, February 1, 2011, this is what it looks like in Albuquerque:

Photo from the front page of the ABQJournal online.

And today, February 1, 2011 this is what it looks like where I live now:

Photo from my iPhone, taken while I ate lunch outside

Yeah, I know, it’s a head scratcher, right?

You Want Weird? We Got Weird.

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!