Friday, November 30, 2012

Wisdom of Mechanics and Lawyers

Junkyard Sculpture by J. Binford-Bell

Cars and relationships break. Mechanics exist to fix your cars and inspire you with hope that it will roll again. Lawyers exist to not fix the marriage but profit from its breakdown. I will always need a car and ergo a mechanic. But if I never get married again I will hopefully not need a lawyer.

At some incredibly early age I announced to my mother that I had absolutely no intention of ever getting married or having any children. The latter decision came from the infant science of genetics in my biology class and my exposure to raising pedigreed dogs. The first part of my declared knowledge came from my close observation of people. Most of the married ones I knew just did not seem happy. And Mother, when most unhappy, talked about all she gave up to marry my father.

But I was married twice. I think of them as huge mistakes. So was just living together with Bruce after college. Tip: When you move into their house (owned or just rented in their name) none of what you move in is yours. I got semi-lucky on the dissolution of that relationship. But it did take me years and years to establish a credit history because of seven years I did not exist in credit land. BTW it also took thousands of dollars in deposit for essential services and an apartment because of that. I thought that belonged to the age of women having no rights but NOT.

After that experience I didn't even date for almost 5 years. My breakup from Dwight involved guns and high cliffs and may one day be a novel. My first marriage was shorter than the divorce and involved excessive alcohol, stalking, and him demanding alimony. Note: the alcohol resulted in him losing his job so I was the wage earner. Temporary sobriety led him to a religious conversion and I got my stomach full of biblical quotes. (PS, one day I will do a blog about my negative religious experiences of which this is just one.)

I wrote about some of the trials and tribulations of divorcing Marc in the previous blog - The Two Mrs. Bells. Breaking up is hard to do even if you really, really, really want to. And lawyers are going to make it very, very, very expensive. While Marc and I were going through the separation of bed and board a couple we were very friendly with were dividing bed, board and boardroom. They were in arbitration for almost two years because he wanted it all in a state that only guarantees him 50% and it was all hers to begin with.

Thankfully I stuck with my pronouncement about not having kids because that just makes it all that much worse. I do not even want to date a man with children. This blog is courtesy of of a high school alumni friend that asked if I had ever been married. Seems in my high school there were a lot of women that married their soul mates right after graduation and stayed married until the death do us part segment. I do know people that have had successful marriages. I am just not one of them. First, as Mother always said, I am selfish; two, as Dad always said I do not stick up for myself; and three, I love pirates.

That bit of self-knowledge came at great expense. But I also learned a lot about medicine from John, mechanics and electrical contracting from Marc. From my relationship with Bruce I think I could go for my master's degree in English. I learned to play the drums from Dwight. And from all those relationships I learned a hell of a lot about contract law. I have considered being a paralegal from time to time. Any lawyers need a part time clerk?

But I definitely know I am not getting married again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Two Mrs. Bells

It is often hard in this modern age to untangle confusion. I didn't give it a second thought when my ex-husband died that it would still be effecting my life two years later. We had been divorced for longer than we had been married and he had married his first wife again.

I fortunately only met the sainted Elinor once. By Marc's death bed. She expressed regret that she had won the pitched battle between us. Such is life. It is hard to see ahead to the consequences of our actions. And my error was in keeping my name. I had garnered a reasonable reputation as an artist and writer working with the hyphenated Binford-Bell I still use. Add Jacqui to that mix and Google informs me there is actually only one of me in the world. Marc and I also worked really hard to separate our finances and credit ratings upon our divorce. But then he remarried the sainted Elinor of two chapter 7 bankruptcies.

It was at a time I was not worrying about credit. Head injury. I was more concerned with getting well and surviving but then little minor things occurred that hinted there was a mix up between Mrs. Bell 1 and 3 and me. I was into debit cards and cash purchases and did not worry about it until the van died. When I applied for credit to purchase a used car I was told I had zero credit. Not bad credit but zero credit. As if I had died. Marc had but not me. While trying to explain that Elinor's horrid credit got into the mix. And the not-so-sainted stepson from hell.

Identity theft might have been a blessing. I ended up finding a car I could pay cash for while arguing that 17 years of on time mortgage payments ought to stand for something. I dashed off letters to all three credit bureaus as to who I was and specifically not Ira, Marc or Elinor. Everyone told me I should get a credit card to re-establish my credit but you need credit to do that. And the more you apply for credit the worse your credit rating gets. So you wait them out. Until you get one of those entry level cards with the annual fee, high rates and low balance offers and you charge gas and pay it off each month. Then you wait some more. Six to nine months until someone else thinks you have earned a second chance. Or the first card raises your limit. Credit is not based on paying it all off but how much people will let you not pay off.

The good news is my credit looks really good now. A credit union just offered to lend me $6000.00 on my signature. I still do not want to put that to a test, but we are getting into used car territory. I really like saving up the money to get what I want. But there are things like the roof blowing off or the car blowing up that do not always fit into that scheme. Hopefully I have established who I am well enough to not have this issue again. Google does still say that I am unique.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Side Roads and High Roads - I

Top of the World by J. Binford-Bell

It is that time of the year again when my sister and I go off-roading in search of the perfect Holiday Tree. And admittedly we do a lot more searching than finding. We can be very picky. Besides which the searching is a lot of fun.

It all begins with a trip to the Taos office for the Carson National Forest where a permit is obtained. Then you cannot go back by way of US 64 but must go through Talpa to take the backroads over the mountain while looking for a suitable tree. This you mark in your GPS so you can return on Thanksgiving day with the saw and tie downs, etc. The tree has to be cut on Thanksgiving which is why you just cannot cut it while going back over the mountain.

But it raises two problems: finding the marked GPS location on the GPS, and then finding it in the real world.

High Country Christmas Tree Lot

Then, of course, there is remembering which of those trees at that location you thought was so perfect. This year none of that seemed to be any problem at all.

Jeep with Tree

We even got the tree up on top of the jeep which the three inch lift and one inch bigger tires. And just us two short women to do it and tie it down. The fur kids were no help at all. In fact the fur kids were waiting for their own special part of the adventure - The Dog Races.

Adahy pulls ahead of Magique

But we accomplished all and got home in time to put the prepped turkey into the oven. And while it baked we erected the tree in the studio.

Waiting to be decorated

Mind you with all that activity and full tummies we did not get back to decorating it until Friday after all day off roading in other areas. More about those adventures in another blog.

2012 Holiday Tree

Hope everyone is having a great time making memories with friends and family. That is really what this is all about.

In memory of all those humans and fur kids no longer with us who we have shared this adventure with in the past.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Be the First in Your Neighborhood

Walrus and the Carpenter

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to speak of many things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings."

I confess. I was one of those kids whose parents read to her. And before Dr. Seuss, and other age appropriate literature. I remember Aesop Fables and Uncle Remus and Alice in Wonderland most specifically. Other kids were reciting nursery rhymes and I was doing renditions of The Walrus and the Carpenter. That behavior was seen as quite odd in the first grade and resulted in the first parent/teacher conference. And my Aunt Amy cautioning me at a family gathering, "You must watch it or people will think you quite mad." She would know because at times she fell under the same assumption.

I have learned not to speak of why the sea is boiling hot or whether pigs have wings, but it would seem that I am living among people that do. And without fear of the consequences. Mind you I expect some conspiracy theories to be bantered about. And Black Lake has its share of UFO's. And those that believe they are among us. One of my friends sees the Men in Black but fortunately not the aliens yet. Her husband had a top secret military clearance for some decades and she spends far too much time with him.

Taos is full of airy fairies. They go there to worship at the alter of crystal healing and magnetic resonance, and the mountain that hums. I will not toss all such theories out the window but they go and listen and do not fully attend and come out with their own unique version. Which is what I think I did with the Walrus and the Carpenter at six. By eight I had nailed it and was on to the funeral oration of Marc Anthony though not totally aware that "lend me your ears" meant to attend me and what I am saying.

This week, however, has been a bit over the top as to strange conversations. One or two I might have initiated in jest. But it occurred to me that I live surrounded by people that do not always get the jest of a remark I toss off. Or know all the lines of poems and plays I put into a conversation. At such times I truly miss the well read friends that have passed on.

Last night at dinner my Aunt Amy whispered in my memory, "people will think you quite mad." And I wanted to quote her to my dinner companion but I doubt she would have understood. In fact I was not sure what she understood of the evening. No, she doesn't drink. And I cannot see her dropping acid ever. But I thought of the funny farm song. And kept looking for them to come through the door. Do they still do that?

Course I am my friends are at that age that it could be dementia or Alzeheimer's disease. Or just too much time alone in front to the computer with Google.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Acceptance.of losing

Before you ask the above picture has nothing to do with this blog but no way was I leading off with a picture of Romney. And the topic has nothing to do with Obama. But it does occur to me in the Pirates of the Caribbean series that the pirates were good losers and the Brits weren't.

My childhood was a lot about becoming a good loser or being good enough to not lose and wise enough to choose my contests. I had for a brother the absolute worst of winners. So it did not help me learning to be gracious at losing. I am not sure how many Monopoly boards Dad threw away before I learned to never play that game again. I am not sure how but I know my brother cheated. And I gave up tennis when I discovered it was never wise to go on a tennis date. Try as she might mother never convinced me of the wisdom of losing at anything to please a man.

But I digress. This blog is not about my sportsmanship or even solely about Romney's lack there of. Though he is certainly a prime example. But about the fact that more and more people seem unable to just accept what happens and go on. Be it in politics or on the football field or in a marriage breakup nobody seems willing to accept the facts and shake hands. More and more men headed for divorce courts seem more willing to kill their estranged mates especially if pregnant. And football players are getting more and more vicious on the field. Oh, what about NASCAR last week with Jeff Gordon crashing deliberately into Clint Boyer? Or the wife that shot her husband because he voted for Obama?

We all seem to require someone to blame for what is generally our fault. So this week as Romney rattled off an endless stream of why he lost: Hurricane Sandy, Obama giving Gifts to the entitled, single women only thought about abortion, liberal news, everyone of any color but white, etc. of course he was joined by Rush and the GOP and Fox News. And no where in any of the analysis was anything said about his remarks about the 47%, or all the qualifiers to rape his minions came up with, or that he told so many lies he could not keep track of any of them.

No where did anyone say, "Hey, we blew it." And if the Republican party is going to reform itself as a viable political entity it has to get to that point. Acceptance is the answer. Until you accept what happened you cannot change your strategy. Your only hope of winning if you do not know why you lost is to cheat. Or drive your race car into the side of theirs at 100 plus miles per hour.

Hey, losing isn't the end of the world. But not admitting why you lost could be for someone. Or some party.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Revealed Truth on the Road to Raton

Grassland Conference by J. Binford-Bell

As much as I might whine about taking those road trips to Raton there is something to be said about windshield time. And beyond the photo opportunities though those can be grand especially if the buffalo herd is close to the fence. But if not it can be 41 miles of flat plain with distant mesas and mountains. Empty space with endless skies. And lots of windshield time.

Nemo jump drive shuffling between new loves and old time favorites on the car stereo and mind on free float. They say the memory is triggered most by scents and second by sounds. Sounds must include music. I am one of those people that can zero in on the time and place and event I first heard a song. And then there are the songs irrevocably linked to a person. So those 41 miles of open space can be filled with years of memories shuffling like the tunes on the stereo.

And in that review of life sometimes there comes revealed truth. I have 40 year friendship with a wonderful woman that has just entered into an affair of at least the body after 14 years. And of course she is trying to sell me on finding myself a man. So reveal truth one is that men get in the way. They get in the way of what I want to do when I want to do it. And they get in the way of those 40 year friendships. I see that in the telephone calls. Already I am sick and tired of hearing about Kurt. Or is it Kirk? Doesn't matter. It got me thinking about relationships when Adele sung "When Will I See You Again?"

I have been out of a relationship for four years now. Five is my average between relationships. That is about the length of time needed to forget why I ended the previous one. Rather like women forgetting the pain of childbirth. I find men with minds very sexy, but I have also been raised to fall for alcoholics. Intelligent alcoholics are dangerous. In spite of Alanon training I always become enmeshed. And nothing is more appealing to me than a man that is unavailable. And it is the unavailable part that is most appealing.

The longer I am alone the more truth I see in that old tee-shirt: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." The truth is that I am not me in a relationship. I thought for a while that it was something broken within myself. But a know too many women that are not the same person either. Not the person I call my friend. Certainly not dependable to keep a lunch date or hold an interpersonal conversation on the telephone. At least not in the opening throes of a new relationship.

Still at times on the open road I wonder what a relationship would be like with a very intelligent man with his own airplane, two plus homes in remote locations, a nice dependable fortune and no ex-wife or kids or other heirs if he was only in town three days out of 14 at max. And 20 years sober. I do know I can never introduce him to my girl friend of 40 some years because all men I have done that with fall for her.

I think I am better off as I am. At least until the next trip across the plains and more revealed truth.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Terror in the Neighborhood

Frequent readers of my blog are much more familiar with images like the one above. I live in a very loose rural mountain area we collectively call Black Lake. I have joked about Tween and Twixt and Beyond Black Lake. Black Lake in the minds of its residents begins at El Bordo hill and runs south along hwy 434 and then 120 for some 20 or more miles not counting side roads. Many of those side roads are what we laughingly call rental car roads. Except for meadows it is almost all high mountain forest with remote "cabins" dotted at the ends of those rental car roads. There are definitely more cows and elk than people in Black Lake.

There are some huge homes sitting in the midst of large lots of uncleared land. And many of them are not occupied the majority of the year. Vacation homes! This was the area where the Joker, yes that is his nick name had his two female companions drive him before the car ran out of gas due to a high speed chase into the center of Black Lake. He and one of the women in the car escaped into the wooded area across from the closed Boy Boys Social Club. Nobody knows if she was an accomplice or a hostage. But police had to assume she was a hostage.

And so began our approximately 30 hours of terror. He was well armed with two hand guns, a knife and a Taser. And a face none of us will ever forget.

Joker Rodriquez via photo
He was on parole yet again. He violated it and fled apprehension by the local police because he swore to friends he was never going back to jail again. So he was clearly desperate, armed, with a hostage and the mountain night was closing in Wednesday when the New Mexico State Police Tactical Team poured into our neighborhood and set up road blocks.

There are three ways out of the Valley of the Coyotes so road blocks are easy. And give those that live here mostly work in Angel Fire five miles away the first order of business was to keep any of those folk from going home. Several of my friends camped out with friends in greater Moreno Valley or at the Fire station. Even school buses were not allowed to take their charges home for fear the Joker had broken in to their houses and awaited their return.

Wednesday night I assured my sister who lives in San Fidel I was fine but I checked the guns and kept one by the bed while keeping my displaced friends in my thoughts. We have no local radio that I can get so my news is literally on Facebook and through friends there. I knew Thursday morning he had not been caught. I had a scheduled trip to Raton. I arrived home at 2:30 to find my little corner of Black Lake awash in black armored SUV's surrounded with men in full military assault garb and weapons. I was not allowed to go into my house until one of these men and cleared it. And so began my evening watching it all unfold while trying to stay away from windows and definitely not go outside.

View through my studio windows

Joker's mother, it so happens, owns the second house down from me. It is another of three duplexes on Llano Vista and is sometimes rented and sometimes not. Most of us residents like it when it is not. I suspect that Joker has stayed there from time to time. And maybe a few of his ex-con friends. It is forever known as the house where us neighbors with dogs have been threatened with what looked a lot like what the tactical team was carrying.

They busily went from door to door in teams of five armed men and cleared all the houses and assured us this would be over soon. Meanwhile they deployed the Men in Black cars strategically and prepared to set up road blocks again to limit access to the area and the felon's escape. By 9 something it began to go down with bull horns and flood lights and a helicopter over head washing the area with spot lights. Like a scene out of a war movie. I think I can relate to the citizens of Afghanistan.

And through it all we kept in touch on FaceBook, FB personal messages, and by telephone assuring ourselves and our friends that we were all still here, and so was the NMSP Tactical Team. THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

That was the week that was

Reflections by J. Binford-Bell

Sandy came on shore. All the Aspen leaves were on the ground. The weather channel revised its long range forecasts and the drought continues. Well, except for where Sandy came on shore. New York and New Jersey would like a dry and warmer trend.

Meanwhile I was walking the dogs around placid ponds and taking stunning pictures of reflections and ignoring all my email in boxes because they are full of messages from what seems a million Democrats. And staying off Facebook where I am bombarded by Republicans that want to tell me yet again how stupid I am.

I am rather above the fray as I voted mid October. I have been more concerned about my renters as real estate agents began calling me asking for credit information about them. There lease is not up until the 1st of March. Nobody in the highlands of New Mexico wants an empty rental property in the winter. But I have to wonder what they were thinking as they are not current on their rent and most months have not been so how did they expect a good reference from me?

It seems a lot of people these days are out of touch with reality. Romney, I am now convinced, has absolutely no idea when he is lying. He is really pathological. And my Christian friends do not seem to realize that their behavior is not enticing me to the "right path" but making me run the other way. Give me a kind atheist over a fundamental Christian any day of the week. And please, please, please do not pray for me. And who wouldn't be afraid of that after a reverend said Sandy was sent to Sodom (New York) because of their tolerance of gays. 

Meanwhile one of my long time friends has a boyfriend. This after 14 years. The good news is she does not have time to listen to Rush Limbaugh anymore. But she still wants to tell me I should get me a boyfriend too. She even put me on speaker phone recently so her roommate (also in yet again another affair with the rich love of her life) could also tell me how to live by getting a man to tell me how to live. No thank you. Do not think I will be calling my friend of 40 years any time soon again. I cannot even email her to tell her to never ever again put me on speaker phone without asking. She doesn't do email.

Meanwhile in Grants, NM some restaurant employees must have mixed bleach with ammonia and created a toxic gas. Nobody admits what they do wrong these days (see previous comments about Romney who is now in favor of FEMA - thank you, Sandy). So Hazmat crews and hospitals had to deal with the effects of a mystery incident. And on the New Jersey shore people that violated a mandatory evacuation order and were clearly told that they should prepare for a week or more of no power, no gas, no electricity, no lights, no water and no help are whining that they have no power, no gas, no electricity, no lights, no water, and no help after two days. Hey, you cannot call the victims of Katrina whiners any longer. BTW they went a week before GW even looked out his Air Force One window flying home from vacation on his ranch.

Maybe if I hibernate until spring there will be rebirth of truth, justice and the American way. Takes six months to get the bloom off the rose in a relationship so by April I will be able to call my friend of 40 years.