Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last post of 2011 (probably)

It's so good to be home! We had a good visit with Sandy's daughter and her family in central Oklahoma, but it's always nice to get back to our own bed, own house, own animals, etc.

Leading up to Christmas, there was quite a lot of activity for Sandy and Tom. In addition to doing our Christmas letter and sending out cards, there was buying, wrapping and shipping presents. Some of the presents included baked goods ... I made a full batch of peppernuts (about five gallons) and eight loaves of stollen to send out or take with us.

Lots of music here a Christmas; we caught three groups at the Silver City Museum ... this is Gleemaiden, a group of young mothers who sing beautifully a cappella, with their kids at their feet.

The Kiwanis have an annual Christmas party, but you gotta wrap presents for patients at Fort Bayard before you get to eat and do the gift exchange. Fair enough; they do good work!

Sandy created quite a Christmasy corner around the tree, which the cats immediately adopted as their parking place, soaking up the warmth from the Christmas lights. Fifi and Sophie's tanning bed!

We took a different route to OK this time, one that we'll probably repeat. The fastest way is I-25 and I-40 ... boring! So, we went up through the Ruidoso area, spending the night in Clovis. We sidetripped to see Cloudcroft, including the Mexican Canyon Trestle and then the boardwalk in front of shops in downtown Cloudcroft. It was overcast up there, but clear most of the rest of Wednesday.

We had an easy day Wednesday, so we poked around Tularosa a bit. Liked this mission, St. Francis de Paula Franciscan Mission, founded in 1865, only 15 years after New Mexico became a territory of the U.S. A couple blocks east, we wandered into what looked like a bar, the Tulie Cantina, and had lunch in a beautiful dining area with a tree growing in an enclosed atrium and a menu that was surprising in its diversity and the imaginative variety of ingredients. Best stacked enchiladas I've ever had!

And, of course, the slaughter of the wrappings! A good family gathering for the opening of the packages, including Sandy, with coffee and Scooby!

While in OK, we went down to Shawnee on Christmas Day and saw "War Horse." Good movie, ended with applause from the audience.

We targeted Amarillo for our overnight on the way back; 'twas snowy and cold but didn't keep us from having a day-delayed 45th-month anniversary dinner at Outback, which was scrumptious. The weather cleared east of Oklahoma City and we really had pretty sunny weather all the way back, though there was a lot of snow around Hereford. Got in in time to pick up our mail and have a pleasant evening at home. tv

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it's so dark ...

I'm thinking I will be so glad when the sun begins to return northward in less than 10 days! The days seem so short ... so little time between dawn and sunset. So little time for the dog and cats to follow the sun through south-facing rooms!

On the other hand, it's the time of year to play around with soups and stews, seeing what unrepeatable combinations can be concocted from left-overs. And, of course, it's the annual get-it-together-for-Christmas time.

We've had snow, which has left us with some interesting effects on the street art, like the snowy top-knot on the iron man. We have gotten out for some other reasons, too. I went to the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Fort Bayard National Cemetery (one of two national cemeteries in New Mexico; the other is in Santa Fe). We've also been enjoying holiday concerts, especially the one by the Hi Lo Silvers ... they seem to have the kind of singing fun we enjoyed so much with the Mancos Valley Chorus and Kriss Larson.

On the 10th, we had a booth at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in the Silco Theater downtown, cosponsored by two art groups we belong to. We were located near the baked goods booth of the Grant County Art Guild and Sandy helped cover that booth, too. Not great sales, but I realized what a pleasure it is to talk about our pictures with people who come to the booth ... talking about a picture offers a vicarious revisit to the instant the photograph was made ... sharing the joy!

That same day, there was a Tamale Fiesta at the center of town, just a couple of blocks down the street from the art show. LOTS of people lined up at the tamale booths, entertained by these young mariachi musicians and their musical companions.

Packages and cards are beginning to go out, peppernuts are baked, stollen is on the agenda, tree goes up today ... Christmas is coming!!!

We'll leave the house in the care of the cats for Christmas (shudder!!!) and travel to Oklahoma with Scooby Doo, the dachshund. She hasn't traveled with us very much and she'll enjoy this ... she actually travels pretty well.

So, Merry Christmas to all and a safe and happy holiday season! tv

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Last year was the big year ... 70 is kind of a landmark birthday. Still, each year is a mile-marker and worth taking note of.

Sandy asked me at supper last night (1zer06 - "fusion" restaurant here in SC) what I wanted in the next year. My response was to have my 72nd birthday ... and lots more beyond. We had a dump of snow in the last couple of days, but it's going already; I shoveled 30 feet of sidewalk in less than five minutes ... I can handle that! For my physical condition, the move to Silver City has been good for me. I need to be more active, get more exercise, but this town is good for those opportunities. It's also a great place to enjoy being Sandy's partner in life and I hope we'll be doing things together for decades to come!

We got to enjoy the beautiful a capella finish to the community Christmas concert and then went out and joined the crowds awaiting the town Christmas parade. Sandy has really enjoyed the chance to be active in Kiwanis again and this is a very active, very positive group. A chance encounter in the pool with a neighbor who is part of the MainStreet organization led to Sandy's leading a Kiwanis project to get Christmas lights on the gazebo in Gough Park. Sandy got the cooperation of Town Parks, Ace Hardware and the SC Fire Department ... and it's happened! A wonderful thing to see and to know I share life with the person who made it happen!

So, the seasons come and go, gently in Silver City. The downtown area was slushy yesterday, and a dragonfly mounted on a gallery was snow-covered, but the sun came out in the late afternoon and gave beautiful light to the hillside behind the house.

Life is good! tv

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A year in the city

Well, it's actually a "Town," not a City. And we actually live in the County, just north of the Town. But that's close enough!

But it was a year ago yesterday that we moved to Silver City, nine months to the day after we saw the place for the first time on a southward escape from the snows of SW Colorado.

Ah, memories! That COLD morning when we started southward, like a caravan with the rental truck, rental car-hauler (carrying the "Radish") and rental trailer and the Jeep. I guess Mother Nature was blessing our move with a window of bright sunshine after a day of loading in snow and cold, evidence of which is all over the ground and roof in the lower picture.

The most direct route led us under overcast skies through downtown Fence Lake, urban Quemado and then, finally, the sun began to appear again as we got down into the canyons around Reserve.

And it's kept shining ... most of the time. Despite what locals called the worst winter they could remember, we found it to be pretty mild ... one "blizzard" of the magnitude we saw a couple of times a week in Mancos! Summer never got over a hundred degrees at the house; cool breezescome down from the Continental Divide in the evening and cool us off.

We still find the folks in Silver City to be very friendly and courteous. Sandy's gotten involved in Kiwanis and that has been very rewarding, especially their programs with young people. She's heading an effort to put Christmas lights on the gazebo in Gough Park and Town and business people have been VERY supportive and helpful!

There's an interesting choice of eateries and an amazing array of musical talent that's been available here through the year. The major events (Blues Festival and Pickamania!) are FREE and tickets for the other concerts are $10 to $25, less than we were used to paying in SW Colorado. Most of our regular shopping needs are easily met here in Silver City and an occasional trip to Las Cruces or Tucson gives us our "city fix."

A good year and years more of exploring to do! tv

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh, Lordy ... the time has flown!

I'm shamefully AWOL from this page, exactly like those bloggers I check periodically and wonder why they don't post more often. Shameful!

So, we did go to Shevek's ... very good Mediterranean food, beautifully served ... and pricey. Certainly adds another dimension to the Silver City eateries we've tried.

And a lot of the time since then (for me) has been spent on the road. I left on the 29th on a photo expedition that included a meeting in Washington, D.C., Halloween with grandkids and tracking an ancestor. Got back in time to go to a wedding in Tucson and a baby shower in Scottsdale ... and it's nice to be enjoying home in Silver City with Sandy and the critters!

It was a good time to travel ... sunny days almost all the time, except for a rainy morning east of Dallas on the way back.

It was still just after dawn as I was coming down into Hillsboro on the east side of the Black Range, with golden light highlighting the cottonwoods' fall foliage. Then there were miles and hours on I-25 and I-40. The next day, in Tennessee, I caught an early morning fisherman on a lake near a nuclear power plant and then some eastern woodland color among the roadside oaks.

Halloween was fun with the kids, after watching Lucas get Aiden ready while Noi worked on Nola Jane. The next morning I went with Noi and Aiden to his school, Evergreen Community Charter school and got a tour of the facility. Really impressed!

Back on the road again to SE Virginia, where my great-great-great-grandfather lived in the early 1800s. Among other things, Drayton Mills Curtis was a lock-keeper on the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, which is now part of the Intracoastal Waterway, which many boaters travel up and down the East Coast. 'Twas a beautiful morning to be there!

On Nov. 3, I got to the Lincoln Memorial at dawn, walked the National Mall to Capitol Hill, visited my NM delegation offices and walked back to the Washington Plaza Hotel at Thomas Circle via the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial. The next day I could hardly move!

The Reflecting Pool is closed for repairs ... not a pretty sight. There were several groups in town, lobbying Congress not to cut AmeriCorps, etc. These RNs were at the MLK Memorial.

The rest of the time in DC was spent indoors at the annual meeting of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. I'll spare you the pictures of that!

I started back Sunday afternoon and the fall colors were beautiful along the George Washington Memorial Parkway as I headed west. Made it to Kingsport, TN, that night, on to Mount Pleasant, TX, the next and then longing for Sandy and home got me up early and 903 miles later I was home. West Texas sucks! (The river pic is on the Caney Fork River, off an I-40 bridge in Tennessee.)

I looked in on a job fair in Silver City after I got back (not hunting, just curious) and liked this sign in the parking lot.

So, sun's up and I have to open at Meeting today, so I think I'll leave it at that for now. Sandy's still healing, so life is good! tv

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Winter signs

The bucks have shreds of velvet hanging from their antlers and the juncos have started appearing at the bird feeder ... the seasons must be changing.

The nights are cooler for sleeping and the days are pleasant for walking in the sunshine. Last week we had breakfast at Vicki's, our favorite breakfast place, and then took about a six-block walk up Market, west a couple of blocks and then back up Texas to the car. SO much to see when you go slowly!

Like Gallery 400 and the FeVa Fotos partners reflected in a door next to Vicki's Eatery. Like the art filling a window space in the Daily Press building, with just about every facet of local culture incorporated into the tile borders of a lovely painting. Like the whimsical tile feathered serpent, done in tile on a stucco wall, next to a tile space-guy, next to a snake crawling over a drain. Like the corn maiden in the middle of a checkerboard design on the outside of a closed gallery. And the colorful view down Texas Street in the heart of the art district. Or the blue blooms in Molly Romolla's window box. The imprints of the past ... and of the present ... in the sidewalks. All this in a few blocks!

Later, we drove up to La Capilla, a community chapel from long ago that's been restored on a high knoll in the city. The spot offers a great panoramic view of Silver City to the north.

Saturday offered a chance to visit the next-to-last Silver City farmers market of the year. As we were approaching, we immediately recognized the delightfully lively sounds of Bayou Seco, our favorite silver-haired young musicians in the area. Jeannie and Ken just make such happy music! We didn't buy anything at the market, but it's always an enjoyable set of sights and sounds.

I'll miss the last market; I'm leaving Saturday morning on a driving trek to Washington, D.C., for the annual meeting of Friends Committee on National Legislation. By driving, I get to have Halloween with Noi and her family in Swannanoa, NC, as well as to visit the Deep Creek, VA, area where my great-great-great-grandfather, Drayton Mills Curtis, settled and raised a family. The driving days will be long and the meeting days in D.C. will also be long, so Sandy's going to enjoy the peace and quiet of the animals and Silver City without me. Maybe next year we can do it together.

I want to get as much FeVa Fotos mileage out of the trip as possible, so I'm hoping for several photo opportunities, weather permitting. I especially want to get pictures of the new Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial on the Mall, along with shots of other Mall features (the Lincoln Memorial and the "Wall" especially, plus others), so I'm especially hoping for good weather on the 3rd, when I hope to walk the length of the Mall on my way to and from appointments on Capitol Hill. It would be great to get morning sun on the Lincoln Memorial and the Wall, and I think the MLK and WWII memorials face west.

A project along the way, which you may see reflected here, will be "A Slice of America." I'm aware of (and often comment on) the fact that various groups claiming to know what's best for America (the Tea Party, Quakers and others) don't "look like America." So, as I travel 2,000+ miles to D.C. via I-40 and 2,000+ miles back on I-20 and I-10, I'm going to take snapshots in public places (in D.C., too) showing crowds. I suspect the series will have a "Golden Arches" subtheme, because I will probably be stopping frequently at McDonald's for fluid exchange ("one black senior coffee to go, please, in my cup") and use their WiFi access. Let's see what America does look like, or at least those two slices of it!

The other photo project will be on the evening of Nov. 1 and morning of Nov. 2, as I explore the land where my ancestors lived and walked. DMC and his family lived on the east edge of the Great Dismal Swamp ... not a very inviting name, eh? I've never seen that area and so I've contacted folks at the historical society there and hope to do a quick tour of the relevant places, trying to capture photographically some of the essence of their land. I'll probably blog that, too.

Well, 'nuff fer now. Sun's about to come up. Got lots of preparing for the trip still to do ... got the car serviced, but need to clean it up; hope to pick up new spectacles in Las Cruces before I go; still got some planning for the meeting to do; plus things to wrap up here.

Today is our 43rd (month) anniversary and we're going to try Shevek's for supper tonight, one of the many eateries in Silver City that we haven't been to yet. I regret that I've let myself get distracted and forget a few of these anniversaries ... I'm grateful for each one with Sandy. Just as I love the morning ritual in a few minutes of getting her the first cup of coffee when she arises. Life is such a wonderful thing; we just have to remember to savor each moment of it! tv