Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Am Back

First the disclaimer: This blog has nothing to do about lions. I just felt like posting a happy picture of lions to erase all the pictures of a dead Cecil currently on the internet.

This blog is really about a tooth. My ex-tooth. And that I will put off going to a dentist until it is so painful I consider pulling it myself with a pliers. I know I have blogged about how I feel about dentists before. This blog about The Tooth and nothing but The Tooth. Because that is what your life becomes about when you have a bad tooth.

Your focus at every meal is how to chew on the side The Tooth isn't on and in such a way the movement of your mouth or tongue does not touch THE TOOTH. THE TOOTH becomes the entire focus on your life. Even when it isn't hurting you are thinking about The Tooth.

You think that when at last THE TOOTH is gone you can get back to normal but then you get to think about not exploring with your tongue where it was, and how much it cost to have it gone, and that you cannot drink out of your favorite suckie cup until 48 hours is gone, and the foods you cannot eat in that time.

But suddenly you are hungry and oh so thirsty and so without pain. You wonder what you were thinking to wait so long. And you know. You do not like dentists on so very many levels. So when a dentist paid scouts to lead him to a beautiful lion to kill illegally you hate him more than most animal lovers will or do.

But I am back. The tooth is gone. I can give my attention to other things like art, and eating eggs and bacon, and beasts that kill the king of the jungle.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Argue for Your Limitations

Bridge on NM 434

I have been working in one form or another on a series of articles about the New Mexico Department of Transportation announcement to widen a stretch of road I frequently travel. It will take them five years to widen eight miles of which five is too narrow for two way traffic. It is essentially a one lane road without adding logging and cattle trucks and tourists with RV's or flagmen.

For all the years I have lived here, approaching 20 in Black Lake, we all knew the road needed to be widened but we were sure it was impossible. The state engineers' office doesn't think so. The five year plan is afoot. And now it is not whether or not it is impossible but whether they can do it without a complete road closure for at least three years of that five. Frankly, I love that we have something other than politics and religion to discuss. Or for that matter the never ending discussion of widening of NM 64 over Palo Flechado Pass to Taos.

There are always the naysayers, "Can't be done." Or the doomsayers, "Mark my words, they will get in the middle of the project and funds will dry up." But I love most the armchair engineers, "What they need to do is not descend 1000 feet into the canyon but bridge over to the cliff face on the west and not come down until past the four bridges that cross the Coyote." This one is a personal favorite of mine. After all I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado when then widened the road through Glenwood Canyon and not only crossed the Colorado River and the train tracks but the two lanes heading the other direction several times. There was a detour for cars but they never shut down the Amtrak or freight trains.

West Cliff

Design/build is a more and more frequent method of letting difficult contracts. There will be three designs and three contracts let for this silly 20 feet wider the road needs. It is enough to make me want to live another six years. I want to see how they do it. But I have already picked out my detour route to Las Vegas, NM for shopping. I doubt the Angel Fire Resort and town employees who live in Guadalupita and Mora will want to travel all that many more miles, but it isn't all that much further if you just want to go the Las Vegas and you have a four wheel drive vehicle.

Bridge over the Coyote Creek

I have to admire the can-do attitude of the NMDOT. In comparison it has made the pessimists very obvious. And it isn't just the road they are negative about but so many more things in their lives. And in researching this road expansion I found the limitations I had set for myself as No Ways. 

When I taught adaptive skiing to students with physical limitations we had a motto: Argue for your limitations and they are yours. That motto got me past my own ski accident and head injury. It is frightening how easily we can fall back into negative ways. After almost getting slammed by an inattentive driver or three researching those impossible eight miles and taking pictures I have had a paradigm shift in attitude.

I am excited about the next five years.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

They Ran Away From Me

Dad's story, told at every family gathering after I entered college, was that they could not get me to run away from home and so they ran away from me. I never thought it was funny but I did come to believe it was one of the luckiest things to have happened in my life.

Mother had registered me for college. I was not even aware she had done it until she got me up one morning and told me I needed to go enroll at the local school, University of New Mexico. So much of what occurred in my life following Mother's cancer was rote or automatic. I just did what I had to do. What people told me to do. Or in the absence of anyone making a decision I just followed the crowds. Like a lemming rushing to the sea. Keep on keeping on.

When I stopped to think I thought of suicide. I kept a notebook of all the thought about methods. I didn't want to make a mess that Mother would have to clean up. Or that would horrify my sister should she be the one that found my body. A friend of mine about that time cut herself open with a carving knife when she could not procure an abortion following a rape. I understood why but thought she was a bit uncaring of her parents.

It amazes me looking back at my high school years how I kept up my grades and aced all those important college placement tests. I took so little interest I do not even remember my scores but have friends that to this day can cite theirs.

I remember the art teacher that came after me with a mat knife. I remember the month of mandatory counselling because I screamed when he did that. I remember standing in a purple cap and gown in the third row of 300 plus students and going up to collect my diploma from the Principal that refused to let me transfer to another high school so I could continue to take art from someone that had not tried to cut me. I remember Mr. Mealy, my English teacher who accepted me on the Phaethon Literary Magazine staff so I could get the credit I needed to graduate without art class.

And I remember enrolling in college with all my high school college prep classmates and wondering if I ever had to see them again on campus. And I remember President Kennedy being shot. And our whole family at last crying together. His funeral gave us permission to grieve it seemed for everything lost since Ruskin Heights tornado.

That was November and in December my family moved to Denver, Colorado and I moved into Hokona dorm in with a steamer trunk Mom packed for me. I flew back for Christmas in Denver to find, Misty, my cat had not made the move. She had run away. Or had they also run away from her like they had from me?

You have to close a door sometimes before you can open another.