Alicia Lopez’s Musings

Yes, that much awaited month of June has arrived!

Here in my mountain home it has arrived, bone dry.  We have been hoping for rain, but it has eluded us, and the fires have started.  You have probably heard of the large one devouring acres in the Gila; we have had a smaller one here, in the Hondo Valley, which has been 90% contained at last count.  Fire is the dreaded word that we mountain dwellers abhor, and do everything in our power to avoid.

In our village of Ruidoso outdoor smoking is prohibited, and I hope all our visitors adhere to that.  It is not that we don’t want you enjoying our mountains and coolness,  it is just that we ask you respect our environment and our home.

Other than that, the summer season is in full swing.  The racing season started on the Memorial Day weekend, and we had quite a crowd at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.  I say  “we” because I am part of that  scene, being employed at  Billy the Kid Casino adjacent to the track.  Parking is at a premium, and when we find one, we are jubilant.  I am not going to reveal the parking space which I have found, not too many people know about it.  It is not that far from the building, but I still get walked to my car by the security guards, God Bless them.

I still love my job, it has taken my life into new directions, having people to talk to, and  laugh with.  It  has  done away with a lot of the lonely times.  After three years I still miss my hubby, but have learned to live with the loss.

This month we will be celebrating the 50th birthday of my youngest, and his siblings will be here  to rib him about old age. Not too much ribbing as  they are now all over fifty, and I still think of myself as young!  To me, age is just a number; there are now a few more aches and pains, but I have been blessed with good health and good genes; my mom lived to 99!

There is sadness within my familia, as two brother in-laws are deteriorating in health; it will be only a matter of time before they too leave this earth.  I talk to my sisters often, and offer whatever encouragement I can, and I travel to El Paso at least once every three weeks to be with them.  My sister in California is the one most out of reach, but always in our hearts, prayers, and thoughts.

Another sadness is the fire that devastated my son’s home in El Paso; I went to see it on my last trip there, although he had asked me not to.  My view of the house was of a burned out shell, the roof  had been removed and what could be saved was taken, not much left.  They are lucky to be alive, thanks to their little dog and a neighbor who woke them.  As I told them, things can be replaced, but not human life.

The jubilation of June is now taken one day at a time.

Love and good health to all.

Hasta La Vista

I’m not really dancing around the May pole, with flowers in my hair, and a soft billowing dress drifting softly through the breeze.  Doesn’t that provide quite a picture?

My thoughts are the ones prancing about from place to place, thinking of all the things that must be done to ready the lawn and garden for spring and summer, and knowing that the energy needed is simply not there.  Spring always brings to mind planting flowers and seedlings, fertilizing the grounds, etc.

The flowers which I usually plant are those that are not favored by our deer population, mostly marigolds, whose scent seems to drive them away.  One year I planted petunias and assorted foliage which looked beautiful one Friday afternoon, and when I returned on Sunday night from a visit to my hometown, were nothing but chewed down stems.  My dear deer friends had paid me a visit.

They also like to feed on newly formed grass leafs, which does nothing for my lawn.  With these thoughts in mind, I have almost decided to forgo all planting.  This, along with the watering ban in the village, somehow dampens the enthusiasm that this season brings.

May also brings thoughts of another year added to my life.  I have been blessed with good genes and good health, and many people tell me I don’t look my age, which will turn to 81 on May 1st.  The fact that I don’t act my age  helps.

How does one act her age?  I have no idea, because I act the way I feel, which is usually upbeat and optimistic. My children are all coming over the weekend to celebrate another year.

When my hubby passed away three years ago I asked God why he had left me here on earth, when I had asked to be taken with him.  I know there is a purpose and a reason, and I do not question it.  I only hope that I can live up to whatever He has in store for me, but I also ask , what is it?

My job has opened up my life, I have the days planned for me.  I meet people, talk and laugh with complete strangers, and when my days off appear, I am happy to be home.  As I have stated before, my little pooch is the one who is lonely now, and is over joyed when I am home.

I have become more involved with my local Democratic Party, with the time that I have from my job.  That is also a source of pride and accomplishment, a feeling that I am contributing to worthy causes.

All in all, I do have reasons to dance around that May pole.

Excuse me if I sign off, I have to go shopping for a billowing dress.

Hasta la Vista

It’s really a few more days until March, but I have a lot of thoughts in my head that I thought I would put down in writing.

The signs of spring are beginning to show up in our mountain village; it’s not as cold as it has been, and believe it or not, some of my annuals are beginning to sprout; they are brave little souls, tempting the fates of weather.

I’m a little sad today, received the news that two of my old friends from El Paso had passed away to a better life. These two were originally my hubby’s pals, having all attended Bowie High School together, and graduating in the class of 1944. It was when young men were being drafted almost as soon as they got their diplomas; so they were separated by war. A few from that class did not make it back.

Life and circumstances intervened, but they kept in touch. When the high school reunions were in full swing, they met again, to plan their 45th and then their 50th. This was when I made my entrance into that selected list of Bowie Bears, an Austin High School Panther who, by osmosis, turned into a Bear.

We joined in full swing to get the reunions going, and for many years after, still met as a group and planned outings. We even went camping, and for some, it was a first. What fun we had!

Of course, all things slowed down as Father Time intervened; we managed a few luncheon get togethers when we visited our old home town. My hubby’s death slowed events even more; I still saw them once in a while, but fewer and fewer “osos” showed up.

So it was with great sadness that I learned of their deaths; Bobby, the greatest Sinatra and baseball fan, and Pepe, a golfer who enjoyed the camaraderie of others at the golf course when he could no longer play.

I know they have all met again in heaven, to continue their everlasting friendships in that forever land.

Adios, Osos Canosos

Hasta la Vista

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Ah, February, the month set aside for lovers.

Unless you are from a planet far away in the distance, you know that this month brings extra beatings to your heart, sets many a set of eyes a-flutter, and brings some of the strongest men to their knees.

I know of which I speak, because “I’ve had a love of my own”, as the song states.

My hubby and I were married for fifty eight years before his passing, and never a Valentine’s Day went by that we did not remember each other in some special way. During the lean years it might have been just a love note tucked away in unexpected places, a surprise hug, a rose cut from our garden and placed by the bedside.

The last Valentine’s Day we spent together, he was too weak to give more than a kiss. I made up for it by buying him a plant that he had always admired, telling him he was my true love, and hiding my tears from him; six days later, he was gone.

It has been three years, and I still miss him terribly. It is very hard to live alone with your memories, and try to fill that empty space in your life. How can you replace half a soul ripped from you?

This special day for lovers I ask each of you to hold tight with what you have; forgive small grievances, and perhaps even larger ones, life is too short to hold on to grudges. Ask yourself what you would do without him, or her, the lovable parts without the less loveable.

Yes, I will repeat the words from the song “Hello Young Lovers” where ever you are, ” I’ve had a love of my own”.

Hasta La Vista

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You have all certainly heard that old story/fairy tale about “The Cat in the Hat”?

Well I have a new one for you, The Cat in the Church.  This is not a fairy tale, but a true story of a certain gold and white Tabby who has decided to make the church his Sunday home.

Several months ago he wandered rather leisurely up the center aisle of our church, St. Joseph’s Mescalero Apache Mission in Mescalero, New Mexico.  He was picked up and taken outside.  Being very wiley, he sneaked back in whenever the door was opened by a parishioner.  After quite a few attempts to keep him out, he prevailed in making this building his own.

He obviously belongs to someone, as he sports a jaunty red collar, and he keeps himself/herself well groomed.  The children are quite taken with him, and a lot of grown ups too.

He fancied me during last Sunday’s service, sat on my lap and purred, than wandered over to my two friends and did the same.  He decided it was time for his grooming, and spent quite some time doing this chore which is normal to felines.  Deciding he looked quite handsome, he jumped off, and went to the altar to sit among the flowers and gaze at the audience.  He also gave the choir the once-over, but thankfully did not join in the singing.  I think he is masculine, but has a feminine-sounding meow.

Our priest decided that since he had made himself part of the congregation, he would name him Cat-achism.  This elicited a few groans and chuckles. Where he spends the rest of the week is a mystery, but Sister feeds him whenever he does show up.

This started me thinking; God loves all his creatures, man included, so it is quite normal that this particular feline feels at home in His house.

During the Christmas season, when a full teepee was installed at the altar, with the Holy Family inside, the priest said Cat-achism led the congregation in paying homage to them by visiting the teepee at the end of services.  This was said tongue-in-cheek, but some truth prevails in this.  After all, at the birth of the Christ Child, it was the animals who kept Him warm in that manger.

So,  it is that a small creature feels comfortable, and welcomed in His presence.

Would that the rest of the world behaved likewise.

Hasta La Vista

That old image of a  baby crawling in diapers and an old man with a scyth limping away certainly displays the feelings of all individuals, including mine, concerning the new year we are about to embark on.

To me, a baby is God’s promise that the world will go on.

Perhaps another example of new beginnings would be a book with blank pages, waiting to be written on.  I am ready to write in that book, filling it with hope for all.  Amid all the hoopla from politicians as to what is wrong with this world of ours, should be the antidote of what is right.

We,  in this wonderful country of ours, can count ourselves lucky.  Despite what you hear and read, we still have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, et. etc. in other words, the Bill of Rights.

That blank page in the book of life?  Fill it with good deeds, because it will eventually be the book you carry to the pearly gates, where you will be judged, not by what you possessed, but what good you accomplished.

Remember how several blogs back I extolled the benefits of Facebook, where you could keep up with family and friends, and acquaintances?  Well,I have problems with what I have recently been reading by some of them, not all are family members, but acquaintances through the years.  There is more concern with immediate satisfaction, be it drinking, partying, playing, mostly by the younger generation, than with accomplishing something with their lives.

I suppose this is a phase to go through for the young ones;  is this when the question “Too much information?” is required?   I do enjoy seeing pictures of my great granddaughter growing up through these pages; seeing friends traveling and experiencing new things;  praying for those who have health issues; and applauding those who have reached their goals in life.

I urge everyone to examine their lifes, fix what is broken, enjoy and love your family and friends, and aim to be a better person; life is too short to spend on grudges, hates, and broken promises.

May the year 2012 bring us peace on earth and goodwill towards all .

Hasta la Vista

It’s been a long time since my last blog; no not illness, or anything catastrophic; just procrastination on my part, and perhaps self doubt.  SELF DOUBT!!! ME???

Yes, I started to question my reasons for writing a blog in the first place, forgetting that it was started to place my thoughts in print, to get them out of my system, to relief the pressure building within me  after the death of my hubby.  So many thoughts whirling around in my brain, they had to have a way of escaping , and they did, by my writings.

The doubts came that perhaps they were not entertaining; but I have heard from so many of my friends and family telling me they miss reading my blogs, that I have started to believe again.  So here goes, more of my musings.

There is no better way than to begin by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  Yes, you read it right, not Happy Holidays.  I send that greeting to my non Christian friends who also celebrate their own beliefs.

Christmas is about the birth of a baby, born in a lowly manger, who was destined to become King, not of this earth, but of our souls.  No, it is not about buying that perfect gift, or spending a certain amount of money,  or decorating your house.  It is about reviewing your life, finding it wanting, as the majority of us surely must, and then doing something about it.

Did you really have to start that ugly rumor about your co-worker, turn your head when asked for alms, not have the time to seek out your family, ignore the needs  of those less fortunate than you?  Now is the time to resolve to change, and ask yourself is this what Jesus would want?

Yes, he wants us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, love our neighbors as ourselves.  We don’t have to go on a crusade seeking the Holy Grail, just look around us and do what we can to help our fellowmen.  It doesn’t take much to be kind, a smile, a friendly gesture; rather than an abrupt look of contempt to an outstretched hand.  No human is a bigger hero than when he kneels to help someone in need.

It has been said many times before, HE is the reason for the season, now all we have to do is to BELIEVE IT, and live it.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad y Paz en la tierra

Hasta la Vista

Yes, it’s that time again, falling leafs, falling doubts, falling spirits; but there is a brighter side, rising sun,  rising hopes,  rising aims.

Our beautiful mountain village is again experiencing the beginning of fall, and with it comes Aspenfest, when we admire the turning of the leafs from green to glorious reds, yellows, and orange.

This week end we are full of tourists who have ventured here to help us celebrate the turning of the seasons.  There is to be a parade on Saturday morning, and for the first time in the sixteen some odd years since I have resided here, my beloved Democratic Party will not have a float.  Due to circumstances beyond our control, we sadly came to the agreement it just would not be possible this year.  I know we will be missed, it has always been so much fun, tossing candies, waving flags, responding to greetings, and I have to admit, even some boos.  We are, after all, the minority in this Republican filled village.

The auto show and chili cook off  in Ruidoso Downs is also a part of this celebration.  The vintage automobiles are beginning to be seen in all their shining glory.  Stomachs are beginning to rumble at the thought of the tasting of the best chilis to be provided.  All in  all it is a wonderful way to start the season.

For years and years, previous to our move here,  we came , with our children and families, to spend this week end.  We loved it, and it became a tradition, followed by our permanent move to this location.  It has somehow gone by the wayside, with the death of my hubby, and we concentrate on meeting at Thanksgiving.

I have a lot to be thankful for; I have survived two and a half years by myself.  I will admit that I just existed for the first two years, and only for the past couple of months have started to live again.  My job has a great deal to do with this new life, I meet and talk to people, carry on with my co-workers, who are all very supportive of me, and have even taken to flirting with the customers.  I must shyly admit that I have had responses; it is quite a boost to my ego.

So my aim now is to live this life to the fullest, never to forget the past, but to make it part of my future.  I invite all my family and friends to tag along with me on this journey.  What do you say, que dicen?

Hasta la Vista

It hardly seems possible, but the falling pine needles announce that fall is coming.  My query is, where did summer go?

I know that part of the disappearance is the fact that I am now working at a job that I love, and the time just seems to fly by.

My working hours have taken over the lonely nights and weekends when I really felt the loss of my hubby the worst.  Now I am busy greeting people, being a ham on the microphone, and generally helping patrons at the casino in anyway that I can.  I find it most enjoyable to be able to talk to people; being home I only spoke with my pooch, who is a very good listener, but seldom makes comments.

I have my mornings at home when I can catch up on doing things that have to be done, or doing nothing at all.  That “”doing nothing at all” part is now done without any guilty feelings because I feel I have earned my rest.  I also rest on my laurels, as I have been told by several different people at work that I am doing a great job.  Isn’t it wonderful to hear that?

I experienced something new this past week end, I watched the horse races!  All these years in this beautiful pine country, and my hubby and I never went to the races.  All the hoopla involved never enthused us enough to attend.  Well,  I ended up going in to work with two hours of anticipation, and decided to sit in on some races.  They were quite exciting, and I can now see how people get so worked up over them.  The fact that the purse was at a high of  two and a quarter million dollars was nothing to sneeze at either.

The time  flew by also because I had a visit from my sister for the whole weekend.  We spend a lot of time talking, laughing, and sometimes even crying, as we both shared our  joys and our sorrows.  It is another thing that I miss, having the nearness of  kin, especially my sisters; we have always been very close.

I had an episode at church on Sunday, when my nose started bleeding and I could not stop it.  It took almost twenty minutes before it finally ended.  Since I had been having them more frequently, I went to the doctor.  You always imagine the worst, but it turned out that the membranes in my nostrils are swollen, and have hit some veins, which start the bleeding.  A prescription for some nose drops and a suggestion that I have a humidifier by my bed at night seems to have solved the problem; I certainly hope so, it is kind of scary when you can’t stop the bleeding.

So now it is time to prepare for fall and winter; as usual, I am probably the only person is this area who does not wish for snow. Since that is still a few months away, I will concentrate on enjoying the cool weather, and my viewings into Facebook where I see pictures of my great grand-daughter almost on a daily basis.  This is such a wonderful way to keep in touch, I recommend it to everyone–GET ON FACEBOOK!!!!

Hasta la Vista, you all  (I still have my Texas roots)

August crept up quietly, slowly entering my universe on tip toes.

I was prepared for another month of waiting, wondering, and speculating on the status of my life.  It was really going nowhere.  I had spent countless hours filling out applications, mailing resumes, going on interviews, etc. all for naught.  Tired of staying home and brooding, I went for a few hours of distraction to a local casino.

All the employees at this particular gaming spot have always been extremely friendly and helpful. I was not surprised to have the marketing director ask me what I had been doing.  My reply was, “”Still looking for a job”.  She looked at me speculatively and said, “I’ve got one, you interested?”

BOLT OF LIGHTING! !  After I finished hugging her, I asked her what the job was.  I was hired on the spot to be in the Players Club, signing in new members, etc.

So, I am now working , thank the Good Lord.  It is an extremely interesting and varied job;  I get to meet new people, greet, welcome, and help all who approach my station.  I have always been a friendly, outgoing person, so this suits me just fine.

I truly believe that God works in strange ways his wonders to perform; I am a beaming, shining example.

Since my hubby’s death, evenings and week-ends have always been the loneliest for me.  It was those times that I found myself wandering and wondering about my life.  My new hours have now filled those times, and I am very happy to be home on my hours and days off.

My children were all a little worried about some of my evening hours, but the son who lives here and I have worked out a schedule wherein he comes to my house after his working hours, feeds my pooch, lets him out for a time, and then closes up the house for the evening shift.  He has always been here for me.  Of course I have to call him the instant I get in, and let him know I am home and locked in for the night.

I also have the added assurance of having the security guards regally escort me to my car!

The only downside is that I will not be able to visit my out of town children as often as I did; I am sure we will work something out as time progresses.

The one who is not happy is my pooch, Chico.  He had gotten used to having me around all the time, and to say he is unhappy is an understatement.  The hours when I am home, he follows me around constantly, and demands much more petting, which I am more than willing to do.  He has been my constant companion and comfort in my widowed life.

And so I go forth, praying and hoping for the best.  Please tag along with me.

Hasta la Vista

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