Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lessons from Seven Years Ago

On December 29th, 2006 it started to snow. It snowed on the 30th and the 31st. On January 2007 we had six feet of snow in parts of the Moreno Valley and all of the four routes in and out of the valley were closed. They were closed for five days. My neighbor's husband was in crisis because of his just diagnosed cancer and could not be gotten to the hospital in Taos until January 2nd. The continual snow made even life flight impossible. It started to snow again, a friend reminded me, on January 3rd. Some areas of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico received a total of nine feet of snow over a week long period.

When the weather was clear the National Guard dropped hay to stranded herds of cattle on the eastern plains of New Mexico. That made the national news. But the plight of our valley did not. It was the height of holiday season tourist and the visitors were trapped in the valley with us locals. That means 10,000 more people than normally live here in the towns of Eagle Nest, Angel Fire and Black Lake. We depend on a constant flow of supplies over Taos Pass or through Cimarron Canyon from Raton Pass. My Trinidad, Colorado friend tells me nobody came to help them either. Nobody believed they were snowed in. Or that we were snowed in.

Albuquerque received 16 inches of snow from the same storm and their weather station had forecast just 20" for us. All their "local news" focused on the plight of their city and not us. Or did until the snow sliding off my roof knocked off the satellite dish for DirecTV. I never had it re-installed. Broadcast news does not apply to me.

Most of us locals are survivors but nobody had seen that level of snow in such a short time in 70 years. Everyone did what they could but plows could not keep up with it. Those with plows on their trucks were overwhelmed with the depth of the snow. The Hawaiian down the street had a tractor and he kept our road and driveways semi-passable until he ran out of fuel and the local gas stations refused to sell him more because they were saving it for the tourists who could go nowhere. Note: if you are snowed in that means the next person on the reservation list is snowed out. 

It took a few days for business owners to realize us locals had to be able to get to our jobs to take care of the visitors snowed in here. And it took days for the overworked road crews to get the roads just a bit passable. Many of us, out of gas because the visitors filled their cars, snowshoed to the highway and thumbed it into work. Even some of us were caught unprepared. This had not happened here before. It is not happening to me again. When fall comes I start subconsciously stockpiling food in my pantry and freezer.

I built my snowshed that summer so I could find my firewood. I had lost three cords under the snow. I installed a lock on it to keep the visitors in the vacation homes in the neighborhood from stealing wood again. The two gas cans for the riding mower are never empty even if it is winter. My friend in Trinidad still believes snow is evil. I admit to a bit of panic when it starts piling up. And I have never again believed a weather forecast even when I go on line to get it from NOAA.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmases Past

Christmas Morning Elk 2011

When my sister lived in New Mexico she would come up to my house for the holidays and we would almost always have several photo exhibitions. The Christmas Day photography trip was a tradition.

Snowshoeing Christmas Day 2012

Last year we had snow but we have had some warm Christmases in the past few years which allowed for more playing around. In 2010 we even had a picnic on Christmas Day. 

Crystal and Debbie Looking for Picnic spot 2010

Ponil Creek 2011
2011 was a bit chillier but in the sun it was definitely warmer than expected. We took tons of photos and had great laughs. But 2010 was exceptionally warm as the picture below indicates.

Off road in Ocate 2010
There was always animals and great photos to be had and memories to be made. Everyone else was at home in front of the television and we were able to have the wilderness and off roads to ourselves. Nobody to spook the buffalo which were sunning themselves. It was bitterly cold that day in 2012 unless you were in the sun.

Buffalo on the Vermejo Park Ranch 2012

Debbie bundled up against the cold 2012

Debbie hamming it up at Val Vidal 2012
I miss my sister and the wonderful off roading adventures we used to take in her jeep. I especially miss my sister on Christmas Day.  She returned to Texas. And she took the jeep!!!

Christmas 2012 Val Vidal

Monday, December 23, 2013

Really? Tomorrow?

Ornaments on the tree

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve? Really? Already? Physically I am ready. The tree is up and decorated. I have had my studio open for those looking for (and finding last minute gifts), and I know with whom I am spending tomorrow even with my sister having moved back to Texas.

But 2013 from July until now has moved at such a pace I am exhausted. I feel as if I have run the entire time. And yet my body does not look that slim and trim. My 365 day photography challenge appearing on my other blog certainly has told me daily how soon 2013 is destined to end but denial is a God given survival skill.

I have not even reviewed my wish list for 2013 let alone made out one for 2014. Did one of those silly games on Facebook where you post in comments the first word you see on a box of jumbled letters. It was wealth. I will go with that. I usually put that one down and hope for peace or love or some such. But I am going to stick with wealth for 2013. Wealth and fame.

Some decades ago in one of those philosophical discussions about futures I told my assembled drunken friends who all wanted money that I would take fame instead. I am now willing to change my mind. I want wealth. Wealth AND Fame. Never fear, I am willing to share. Wealth. hard to share fame.

In fact I think I want Wealth so I can share it.

I also want two cats that totally get along. And two totally healthy dogs. And snow tires which I think I will not be able to get until next winter because all the people with sedans in warm states bought them up this year when the forecast said freezing rain. But I want the snow tires on a four wheel drive pickup. Not new. Willing to accept old. I do not want to waste my wealth on one of those tricked out ponies the auto companies are rolling out these days.

Hell, I am self-sufficient. Just give me the wealth and I will handle the rest. And fame. Do not forget the fame.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Goodwill to nobody?

It is that time of year again. I swear the absolute worst comes out in everyone. Maybe it is all the expectations of peace and love and goodwill. Or that we look back at all the times we have prayed for peace and it has never been delivered. And there seems no hope that it will.

Read some where that out of the entire history of the United States we have only been not at war 35 years. Not any of my 35 years. In fact I no longer can say Vietnam is my war like WWII was Dad's. There has been Korea which Dad and I shared and then Iraq one and Iraq two and Afghanistan. Peace on earth is just a laugh.

And unless you can put it in a computer program and sell it as an app for your smart phone there is no good will to man or woman either. Angry Birds sort of says it all.

But the sun keeps moving on through its cycles and this morning brought the Winter Solstice (Summer Solstice for my southern friends). The days will be growing a bit lighter every day and that is good. And that Wiki says it is not the first day of winter but Midwinter is also very good. I always thought after suffering the cold of November and 21 days of December it was very depressing to think winter was just beginning.

I do wish my fellow humans good will if for no other reason than I would hope they would share some of that with others and our fur kids and other creatures upon this planet. But then we are back to those wishes that never seem to come true.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Open Mouth and Insert Foot

There is this debate on this other blog I post to sometimes weekly. The Mag is a weekly post by Tess Kincaid in which she challenges us to write a poem or vignette in response to a visual prompt. I like the group of people and their poems. I like the challenge of having to come up with the right words in a set time frame. I like thinking out of my comfortable box.

Even when I do not post a poem I will read the poems of others linked to The Mag. I do not always comment. How many times can you say "nice imagery" and sound authentic. I do comment, however, when a particular offering really hits a nerve or it is a friend of mine or someone who has just posted a particularly nice comment on my offering. Hey, they are not always gems.

The debate this morning on The Mag was down in comments and about the difficulty of posting comments. Not there but on the blogs of some contributing poets. It is those damnable "prove you are not a robot" puzzles you have to get through to prove you are real. And they do not stop everyone - like real people with vile language.

I deleted those little hoops to jump through from my blogs but I still go for comment moderation. Because of those real people with vile language. I use my Creative Journey blog as a website and I do not want potential customers of my business to be slammed up against a wall by a comment I have not yet seen. Moderation prevents that because I have to see and read it to post it. Yes, comments can be deleted even if automatically posted but I would just as soon not allow a chance for the vile comments to be seen.

I say debate. But it is not a debate. It is a witch hunt. The declarers of opinions less than poetic want the owner of this delightful weekly opportunity to delete all from the link up who require the word puzzle or moderation.

Oh, I could easily open another blog on the same platform that is just for poems and not moderate comments. But I am feeling shunned and forced and blackmailed. My first response is to post a poem never again. Or to just flip the bird and say, "who needs you to comment?" I know like me not everyone does comment. And as I link my blogs to Facebook some of my readers comment there where I have already deleted all the posters of vile comments from my friends' list.

Do not feel you have to comment on this blog, but know if you do I will moderate your comment before allowing it to be posted. BTW there is this Nigeria fellow that is always posting a comment asking me to buy his country.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time keeps slip sliding away

The Time of Long Shadows

I definitely think I am behind in my weekly blogs here. Too quickly we seem to be into the time of the long shadows. And the too short days. I seem to have gone into longer sleeps and more things to accomplish when awake. And less of those things done perhaps.

My neighbor has been gone and when she left that seemed like a really good thing because I was going to gain all that time I had been spending on morning coffee of late. Best Laid Plans*, etc. She left me with a list of tasks I could work on and get paid for while she was gone and I fully felt I could easily get them all done. BLP* again. And this week she will be home. I blame all the things I had to do at my house like clean up the studio, get the holiday tree cut down and decorated, etc. But there is a whole list of what I was suppose to do here that did not get done. BLP again.

Studio open for visitors
 But the Yule tree did get selected and erected and decorated. And the studio clean enough to have it open on the weekends through the holidays and then it snowed. About 10 inches with high winds. All other plans got set aside as I concentrated on the getting the snow out of mine and my neighbor's drive and shoveling walkways and keeping warm. There was this mishmash of which came first. Trudging through a foot of snow and deeper drifts I opted for the less is more approach to the tree and retrieved only enough boxes out of the storage area to do a Charley Brown tree with no lights.

Went with the old fashioned look

This week is about doing some catching up and wrapping up. And this blog is about trying to sum it up. The tenants are out but left behind the mess you would expect including the irate letter saying they are not paying for the extra days (10) their stuff occupied the space, that all future correspondence should be sent to their personal address (which they never provided and are still using my mailbox) and not the office, and a promise (I am sure they will never keep) to get the rest of their trash after the snow melts (they had 60 days before it snowed to get it gone) and they set that limit.

They left me with major repairs and stuff to get rid of and a total distaste for officers of the law as tenants, a section of fence down where I wanted to install snow fencing (I think about that every time I shovel the section of the driveway that snow fence would have protected), an endless source of kindling to pick up, and an acre of land that has to be reseeded next spring. But I have my driveway back and people coming to the studio can park.

Major storms across the nation held up new shipments of snow tires while generating a huge demand for them. I am renewing all my driving skills on slick roads without snow tires or a four wheel drive vehicle (I am doing better than the visitors with the huge SUV's). All I want for Christmas is snow tires. Well, a used four wheel drive pickup would be nice. A girl can dream.

But the studio is clean and open again this coming weekend. I am looking forward to morning coffee with my friend when she returns, and I know in the next few days I can wrap up round one of her list and tidy up the mess before beginning on round two.

Sometimes you have to look at what you accomplished and not what you failed to do. Dad always said I had a tendency to bite off more than I could chew. And there is always 2014 ahead. To close really.