14 Dec 2009

Catching Up

Posted by Sam

December 5, 2009

How we be? We be seriously derelict in writing this, our 93rd journal entry, that’s how we be!

Albuquerque was great. We like the city, weather was good and thankfully, we got the bus switch problem fixed. Turns out we didn’t have two problems – the fixing the guy did in Junction City didn’t hold, so Statkus Engines in ABQ fixed it again, better. What a relief!!  Park sales were good, too.

We had another really great meal with Ted and Marcia in Placitas. They always entertain us so beautifully, but this time they had a little house finch in their lovely adobe home – perched most of the time on a carved St. Francis of Asissi (of course)! Be a long time before they can top that!

We got to Truth or Consequences on Nov 23rd. Our former managers live in Las Cruces and invited us down for Thanksgiving. Beth and Paul are the best friends we’ve met this past six years. We miss them. We got to visit again with Beth’s brother, the other Paul, who has traveled so much of the United States and the world. He teaches English as a second language and is, by his definition, “homosexual, but not very gay.” We were curious to find out what the difference was being a gay man in Korea, his last teaching job, and Arkansas, where he now teaches at Arkansas State. Not much, apparently, except Memphis is closer.

Truth or Consequences is reeling, well, wobbling, from an economic low. I don’t think it was ever high enough to reel. We’re struggling to make enough sales to print a map. This park, like a lot of others, has taken on permanent tenants, which puts advertisers off. Plus the owner is crabby and has had some bad reviews; she might not have as many snow birds this year, so ….

On the plus side, I have had some great birds at my feeder. An American Kestral stayed in the feeding tree a long time, not eating seed, but snacking on a dove he had apparently killed. And I had many Pyrrhuloxiae, a new one for me. They are a subtle colored, smaller version of a Cardinal, with a thin, really spiky crest. They will feed at the feeder, where I have only had Cardinals eat off the ground. A Curved Bill Thrasher came every day, busily throwing around leaves and grasses. And of course, lots of little female somethings, and dark headed juncoes or related juncoes. We were backed into a clay cliff with lots of nests.

I love this place. I love New Mexico. Dave likes the State also, T or C, not so much. He feels in time I wouldn’t be happy here, either. Thinks the populace is a little slow for me. I think they are all just slightly stoned. If I lived here I could be an Albuquerque Raging Grannie, wearing tye-dye and singing protest songs on the plaza. Truth or Consequences has its own aura (often somewhat like lysol over patchouli): a lot of artists, more than a smattering of woo-woo, good coffee, the New Mexican Veteran’s Home, and now the Spaceport, Virgin Air’s private lift off to provide tourist travel in space.

We drove out to the Spaceport last weekend. It’s about 20 miles out in the scrub dotted desert (Dave says it feels more like 50). We didn’t see anyone at the guard shack, so drove right through and wandered around where they are constructing the runway. I was looking for launch construction but I guess it’s good they are thinking of how to get the folks back.

When we left a security guard appeared at the shack. He apparently was “sitting kind of low” in his chair. Anyway, he politely told us that no one is allowed into the construction site without a guide. Oh. I’m anxious to see the hangar built. Pictures of the proposed building look like a very, very large manta ray, spread out, making just a copper colored hump to match the desert. The launching area is very close to White Sands, so you know they have a lot of space, pardon the pun.

I feel a real kinship here. It’s like a poor version of Eugene, touting “Peace, Love and Chili.” We were shopping at the one remaining market (except Wal *Mart) one day and noticed a pretty woman in her seventies, pushing a full cart toward the lot in the back. “SYLVIA,” we heard someone shout. It was an equally old woman bagger, shuffling up to hug Sylvia and say, “Let me get that for you!”

So we are on our way to Santa Rosa, our last park map west of the Atlantic Coast. It is unseasonably cold (17 degrees) and we have had snow. The folks in T or C got real excited about a couple of inches of snow. The kid clerking at Bullock’s Supermarket remarked dryly, “Be careful if you drive in it. All the old folks in town will be out looking for bread and batteries.” It was pretty, but gone before noon. We are in Bernardo tonight, having to make a stop to visit Walgreen’s. They haven’t had a freeze in four years, until this week. Dave put them on to the LaPine trick of putting buckets over the water faucets. Hope it works ‘cause it is going to be cold again tonight. We are very cozy in our metal house; just can’t hug the walls!

Wherever you are, we hope you are warm and happy. If you step outside, every now and then you can hear me holler GO DUCKS!!!!

Swans x 2

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