Tag Archives: Land of Enchantment

Still More…Ramblings from the Land of Enchantment


The backyard in November.  All the leaves fell off the tree in one day.

The backyard in November. All the leaves fell off the tree in one day.

Well.  We’ve been back now for going on four years.  That will be four years in September, if we make it that long.  I see no reason why that won’t happen, but then I’ve been wrong before.  I’ve been wrong a lot.

Everybody in the blogosphere is talking about their yearly stats.  It’s because “WordPress” publishes an annual report and delivers it at the end of December, just in time for a New Year’s topic.  An easy topic, even if you’re suffering from “writer’s block” which you know (if you read “What the Fluffy”) doesn’t really exist, so we’ll touch on it here.  After another year of blogging, a mere 26 posts, it seems that Wednesday was my most “creative” day.  I uploaded 10 posts on Wednesdays.  You would think Mondays would be a more creative day, or even Fridays, but I seem to be a Wednesday guy.  Today is Thursday, so I’m a bit off track.

A total of 4,600 views of the total 268 stories were viewed in 2014. And the number one post….wait for it…”Who Invented The Light Bulb?…Wrong.”  The busiest day of the year, September 26th, had 54 views, and included this story as number one…again.  September 26th was a Friday. (Just throwing that in there.)  I say, again, because my top five posts were all written in 2011, and this story has been number one for the three years I have been writing “What the Fluffy” and have been sent an annual report.

You would think that I’m some kind of an expert on the history of the light bulb.  I’m not.  I’m not much of an expert on anything.  But if you type “Who invented the light bulb?” in Google search, you get 113,000 results.  I’m in there somewhere.  I used to be on page one.  That’s the reason everyone thought I was some kind of an expert on the history of the light bulb.  All I really know for sure is that Thomas Edison didn’t invent it.  It gets a lot muddier after that.

New Mexico is topping the list (whoever’s list that is) in drug abuse.  I can’t substantiate it, I’ve searched, but that’s what they were saying on the news this morning.  It doesn’t surprise me.  Drug of choice is heroin, overdoses are leading the nation, and Espanola, NM, made a “Forbes” list in 2009 for the highest deaths per capita.

Espanola has a population of around 100,000, is close to Sandia Laboratories where they do all kinds of novel research which means, I would assume, that they have a lot of high-paid, very intelligent employees, is in the northern part of the state, and really I have no reason why they ranked number one except in how “per capita” is calculated and what they try to imply with those statistics.  The National Drug Intelligence Center (there must be a “National Intelligence Center” for everything I imagine) in April 2002, reported “New Mexico leads the nation in per capita heroin-related deaths.”

There’s that “per capita” again.  We all know what it means.  Casper, Wyoming, was reported at one time to have the highest suicide rate per capita in the nation.  They attributed it to the wind as I remember it.  Yes, they said the wind, which blows every day like clockwork in Casper, drove people to suicide.  Okay, I’m sure that’s it.  The CDC statistics for 2010, list Alaska, New Mexico and Wyoming as the top three most suicidal states in America, in that order.  They’re all pretty windy states.  Maybe they’re on to something, but I’m going to go with maybe depression as the major cause.

Wait, maybe we all don’t know what per capita means.  It’s a Latin phrase which literally translates to “by heads”, in other words “for each person.”  So, for example a country’s per capita income means the average personal income per person.  Or in the case of heroin-related (which opens up a whole new question) deaths, 45.6 deaths in Espanola in 2009 per 100,000 population, put them in number one.  Which begs the question, how do you get a .6 death?  Enough of that.

My youngest daughter, super intelligent, lovely, enchanting, sweet, humorous, beautiful, girl, (I have no idea where she gets any of it) offered some sage advice the other day to overcoming obstacles.  She wrote, “Even a moped can get over a speed bump.”  I just love that.  No matter how big your speed bump is, you are clearly more than a moped, and if a moped can get over a speed bump, so can you.

So far into 2015, I haven’t won the lottery, haven’t found a job, haven’t done anything of note per capita, but have now written my first blog.  I did win the lottery in December.  Yes, I did.  Seven bucks!

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More…Ramblings From The Land Of Enchantment.


The “Romero Fire” as seen east of where I live.

Seems like it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on “What the Fluffy.”  In itself, what the fluffy is up with that?  Well, it’s called a jay oh bee, and it’s cutting into things I like to do, like write this blog.  I’ve been taking advantage of working overtime to make a few extra bucks – and I’m not joking, it’s only a few extra bucks – but it kept the DirecTV from being cut off last Saturday.  Well, it didn’t really prevent it from being cut off, but we did get it back on within a few minutes after parting with every cent we had left in the checking account.  So much for extra bucks.  Gotta have your 250 channels of nothing at all to watch.  Who needs food?

I’m going to give you my “State of the State” address in just a few words.  The whole state is on fire, it’s hot and windy, and we’re in a severe drought.  In fact, I forgot how windy it gets here, which is odd because I HATE wind.  I always say I’m going to find the one place in the whole of the United States where the wind doesn’t blow and I’m going to move there, only I’m not ever moving again.  It’s so windy here – how windy is it? – they have a wind forecast every day on the news.  They give a “Wind Forecast” for four periods of the day.  Seems pointless, since it’s windy in the morning, windy in the afternoon, windy in the evening and windy at night.  They tell you how windy it’s going to be though, so I guess that helps.  You’ll know whether the fence is going to blow over, or just lean a little more than usual.

Here are some of the fires burning currently in New Mexico: “The Whitewater Baldy-Complex Fire,” the largest fire in the state’s history, burning 296,726 acres, which is 464 square miles (It became a “complex” when the two fires joined together.), “The Little Bear Fire,”approximately 42,995 acres, “The Blanco Fire,” “The Turley Fire,” and yesterday afternoon, a few miles from my house, the “Romero Fire” which is burning in the Rio Grande Bosque.

What the hell is a bosque, right?  Well, let’s get scientific.  We’ll go straight to Wikipedia, because everything on Wikipedia is gospel: “Bosque is the name for areas of gallery forest found along the riparian flood plains of stream and river banks in the southwestern United States.  It derives its name from the Spanish word for woodlands.”   Sounds right.  We generally call it a river bank, but in the Land of Enchantment, about the only place you’ll find “woodlands” is on both sides of a “river” bank.  I put “bunny ears” around the word river, because you can jump most of the rivers around here, or, at least, wade across them without rolling your pant legs much past your knees.  The bosque burns like a torch, and the wind, well, the wind just makes it worse.  What makes the fire really difficult to fight is that it jumps from tree-top to tree-top and the firefighters can’t stop the flames spreading from the ground.  They’re saying that fire is now 80% contained.

What exactly does that mean?  You’d think, logically, that it means that only 20% of the fire is still burning, but that’s not right.  What they mean when they say a fire is “contained” is that they have a line around a percentage of the fire that they don’t expect it will jump.  Unless, of course, conditions change, like heat, and wind, and bad luck.  Lightning caused the largest fire in New Mexico history.  They have it 60% contained.  When a fire is 100% contained it’s still burning all the available fuel, just not expected to get any bigger.

Then you have the serious problem of erosion if, and that’s a big “if” it seems, the monsoon season ever materializes.  The monsoon season is now, and we haven’t had a drop of rain, or any rain forecasted in the week to come.  When it rains here during the monsoon season, it’s rather incredible.  The ground around here can’t absorb moisture worth a damn, even though it’s desperate for it, so all the water turns into torrential rivers called arroyos.  Arroyo is the Spanish word for stream.  Actually the arroyos are the dry ditches that the rain water will run into and form raging rivers that wash cars, people and land away in an instant.  Still, we need the rain.  Our average rainfall by this time of year is 2.1 inches.  We are at 1.87.  Seems ridiculous because I’ve seen twelve inches of rain running down the street when I tried to float my truck home one day in April.

Speaking of driving, I’ve decided, now that I’m commuting to work every day, that speed limits in The Land Of Enchantment are not even suggestions, they are challenges.  The goal of which is to see how fast over the posted speed limit you can go, without ramming into someone in front of you because you put on your blinker, which automatically gives you the right to change lanes in that direction – or the other- and the speeding car in the other lane won’t let you because it will slow them down.  This morning, I sped right along next to a Rio Rancho Police car that was accepting the same challenge, I guess.  They could easily make their quota for tickets on Paseo del Norte, loosely translated, the “ride north,” a six-lane roadway that connects Albuquerque with the “west side,” of which I am a resident, but I have yet to see a car pulled over for speeding on this ride east.  Yeah, that’s right, the road goes east- west and is called the north ride.  Okay, well, it is north of Albuquerque, so to speak.  There really is nowhere to pull a car over on this bridge road over the Rio Grande though.  The posted speed limit is 60, I drive 70 – because I have to -, and the cars fly by me like I’m parked.  I’m guessing that the Autobahn in Germany is very much like Paseo del Norte, although I’ve only heard about the Autobahn.  I’m sure, that if it’s like any freeway in the world, it doesn’t move any faster in rush-hour traffic than the non-posted standard of ten miles per hour.

Another thing I notice, is that a lot of cars in The Land Of Enchantment, more than any other state I’ve lived in, have a headlight out.  They also have cracked windshields, just like I do.  I wonder why that is?

Okay, I’ve exceeded my thousand words, so I’ll leave you with this question for my next story:  Does an aluminum baseball bat make a bell sound when it bounces off of someone’s head?

 

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Ramblings From the Land of Enchantment


New Mexico Chile.  Or is it New Mexico Chili?  Spelled either way, it’s one of things I missed the most when I moved from New Mexico in 1991.  You just can’t get GOOD chile any place else and if you’ve never had any chile from Hatch, NM, I know what you’re missing.  Chile, by the way, is the correct Spanish spelling of the cayenne pepper.  The Anglo spelling is the one with the “i”.  The misspelling probably started with the Americanized version of the dish, “Carne con Chili” which means “meat with chili,” or as Nalley’s, Libby’s and everyone else in New York City calls it, “Chili con Carne.”  

My daughter, Stephanie, surprised us with our chile ristra the other day.  I’m not an expert on chile by any stretch, but I knew to hang it by the front door.  Traditionally, when the ristra (Spanish for “string”) is hung in the doorway, it’s an invitation to visitors, but it’s really to continue the drying process in a well-ventilated area.  I just like how it looks.  And it’s eatable.  After drying, the chile can last up to two years.  You can chop it, grind it into chile powder, make sauces, add it to soups, if you cook that is.  I don’t.  It will most likely just continue to hang on my front porch.

Fall in New Mexico is one of the best times of the year.  The lingering warm days and crisp nights are a welcome change from hot desert summer days.  The swamp cooler is no longer running continuously to keep the house cool.  The lack of  the fan noise is noticeable.  The leaves start to gather on the porch and the corners of the yard.  And football.  Let’s not forget football.  The University of New Mexico Lobos are not very good this year.  At least that is the word on the street.  They lost their first game 14-10 to Colorado State, then a shellacking in Arkansas 52-3.  They let the Texas Tech Red Raiders take them out at home 59-13.  They entertain Sam Houston State on Saturday.  I don’t know how entertaining it will be for Lobo fans, but I’ve never heard of Sam Houston State, so maybe they have a chance.  It’s all about the tailgate party anyway.

Soccer is big down here.  I’m not really a rabid soccer fan, but my granddaughter, Cheyenne, and my grandson, Conner, both play.  We went to Cheyenne’s game last weekend.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  I’m sure it’s because she was playing, not because I’m suddenly going to like the game.  Maybe when I understand the rules more it will make more sense?  What I could see is there is a lot of constant running.  You had better be in shape…or young…if you want to play soccer.  There’s a lot of kicking going on too, and the game can get a little violent with all the high speed collisions trying to chase down the ball.  Speed is key here.  You have to be fast to be really good at it, I think.  But it’s a game enjoyed on a warm fall day on a grass field, so it can’t be all bad.

On this date in 1879, Billy the Kid was arrested for the first time, for of all things, stealing a basket of laundry.  He subsequently broke out of jail and became an Old West legend.  He is credited with 21 murders during his days as a horse thief, cattle rustler, gambler and gunslinger.  History credits him with only six murders, maybe nine.  William H. Bonney, born William H. McCarty, was shot and killed by the legendary Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881.  He was 21 years old.  Fort Sumner is about 120 miles southeast of here.

Well, I’ve got things to do, people to see, and places to go, so I’ll end this rambling from the Land of Enchantment with this notable quote from the GOP debates last night from past New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson.  “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”

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