Alicia Lopez’s Musings

Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

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

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

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

It hardly seems possible,  June sneaked in and out, and here we are in July!  Where did the month go?  I certainly don’t remember anything extraordinary, other than what I mentioned in my blog, titled “June, Dad, Grad, Mad”.

I was in Dallas the first week of this hot month of July.  It was even hot in my cool mountain home, reaching 90 degrees, something that doesn’t happen too often.  It prepared me for the 100 plus temperatures (and humidity) of  Big D.  I was in town for another of my dog/house sitter jobs for one of my daughters.

If I thought that time was flying by, my daughter and son-in-law experienced it at triple time.  My grandson, their only child, and they were flying to Lubbock for student and family orientation at Texas Tech.  Was it only yesterday when he was young?

Niles and Frazier, their two Westies welcomed me.  They are partial to this particular grandmother since I play with them and give them lots of love and attention. ( Don’t tell my pooch!)  He stays in El Paso with my son and his dachshund cousin.

The weather, as I stated, was hot.  Too hot to venture for long periods of time outside the refrigerated house.  I spent a lot of leisure time doing crossword puzzles, reading, and playing on the computer.  Gosh, it sounds like what I do at home, except for answering want ads and going on interviews.

I was talked into staying through the July 4th holiday, and I am certainly glad I did.

On the Saturday before the 4th, we attended an air show in Mabank, Texas, which is where my son in law’s mother resides.  It was quite spectacular, not in the grandeur of the Biggs Air Show in El Paso, but enough to give it competition.  There was a Japanese Zero from World War II, and the P 47, and several other P’s I couldn’t identify.  My hubby would have known all of them since he was an airplane buff and could name any plane flying.  The huge B 52 also flew, and a cargo plane larger than that.

On Sunday I attended a fireworks display at the Adriatica Center  with my children.  They had a band which played music from the Beatles, and I was quite amused to see most of the crowd (over 50’s) singing along, and waving their children’s lighted toys back and forth, just like in the concerts when they were teenagers. (What they waved then I don’t know) And, just like in that past time, I didn’t enjoy the music! My son could not understand why I didn’t like it, but I am from the big band era, Frank Sinatra, etc. how can you possibly compare that sound to rock and roll?  Guess I’m stating my age.

I was doubly amused when my son told me his grand-daughter plays music which all sounds the same;  same thing I told them  30 some odd years ago.

The fireworks followed, and it was awe-inspiring.  We all had fun enjoying each other’s company, and all the goings on.  The trip home was the only bummer, we waited in line for about an hour because of the number of people in attendance.

The next day I flew home, back to reality.  It was nice while it lasted.

Hasta la Vista


This May 1st I took a step into a new decade, probably my last one.

On the above date I reached the BIG 80!  So, its only natural to assume that this will be my last one; as I read the obituaries from my home town of  El Paso, I note that most of the deaths are below that age, or slightly above.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in good health; but my life has been lived, and I am ready to go when the Good Lord calls me home to be with him and my beloved.  I hope that when I reach the pearly gates the book that records my life will be filled with pluses;  I have certainly always strived for that goal.

The last two weeks were full for me, I motored to El Paso to spend Easter with my son and family; then returned home for a few days to get ready for my birthday and Mother’s Day which would be celebrated in my hometown.

The children wanted to throw a gala celebration for the big 80, but as I told them, I was not ready for that; I preferred a low key weekend with my children, which we achieved.   First on our agenda was a visit to their dad’s grave at Ft. Bliss National Cemetary.  This is always a sad occasion, but we did manage to laugh, thinking of  things he said and did.  We played scrabble, poker, talked, laughed, cried, and generally had a very good time.  Of course, we had lunch at Chico’s Tacos,  their visit would not be complete without it.

They all left on Sunday, and I decided to stay until I was to fly to Dallas for Mother’s Day.  That weekend was also fun; I was able to see my daughter’s new houses, which are a block from each other in McKinney, a beautiful, serene place to live.  I met my grandson’s girl friend, spent time with my granddaughter and her husband, and all the assorted family members. We had decided to have a baby shower for my granddaughter on that weekend, since everyone would be in town, except for my son who lives in Ruidoso, but  he was there in spirit.

CAN YOU IMAGINE ME, A GREAT GRANDMOTHER?

Well, all I had to say was Hooray!  The little girl that I used to carry would be carrying a baby girl of her own, due to arrive July 15.  We are all so excited.

On the following  Monday, I flew back, drove to Ruidoso, and faced reality.  There is always that feeling of happiness and dread that tugs at me on the way home.  I am happy to get back, and also sad to enter that empty house again.  There is  a scurrying of activity, un- packing, washing, opening mail, paying bills, etc. that occupied most of my day, then the coming days loom ahead; sending resumes, actively looking for a job, and looking for things to fill the void.

I began to clean the yard; and not thinking, allowed my pooch Chico out  to what I considered a dog proof yard.  I got busy in the front, feeling confident that he could not get out.  When I looked around, there he was in the street.  He managed to find a way to sneak out while I was busy; the only way to get him back was to get in the car and start moving.  He got to the driveway of my neighbors across the street, so I drove up and opened the door.  He climbed in and I started backing out, thinking the way was clear. When I heard a thunk, I thought it was only a rock and kept on going, but the car stopped.  I got out and saw that I had run over a railroad tie, and it was not allowing me to move.

As my hubby used to say “How did I manage to do that?”  My excuse is that their driveway is on an incline, and I did not have a clear view.  I called my superman son, who came to the rescue.  It doesn’t look like the car sustained any damage, thank the Lord.  He drove it around for awhile, and said it seemed O. K. and told me I was very, very lucky.  The  Good Lord watches over me, what else can I say?

Stayed tuned for the next episode of the Perils of Alicia.

Hasta la Vista

The title above should convey my feelings to all my family, friends, and unknown readers of this blog.

I was quite surprised to find that so many of you have paid me the compliment of your time in accessing my writings, and  some  took the exceptional way of letting me know they enjoyed them by posting comments; my cup runneth over.

I have always enjoyed expressing my feelings in the written word, some I have kept to myself, too personal to share; but the majority have gone into my columns, and now this blog.

My hubby was the first one who discovered that I had this hidden, dare I call it, talent.  He saved everything I ever wrote him, letters, poems, thoughts, feelings.  Some he preserved by framing them, and hanging them in our bedroom.  I suppose, in a way, it reminded him of my true love when we had spats and were not on speaking terms.  How childish it all seems now.

The first time I ever got the courage to have someone else read my writings was when I submitted my first column to the El Paso Times.  The editorial page editor was going on vacation, and he asked that readers sent him columns he could use while he was away.

I was surprised that one of mine was chosen, and he continued to use me  on a regular basis, as a contributing columnist.  When he left, his replacement contacted me about writing a weekly column.  I continued to do this for several years until the paper was purchased by a new entity, and it was decided I was no longer needed. I was fortunate that no limits were placed on me, and I could write about anything or anybody.  Many of my columns were reminiscent of my youth in El Paso, and being a staunch Democrat, many were also political.

I wrote about my mother and her friends, seniors , born in a generation when women were supposed to remain in the home, and their “coming of age” and blossoming after they were widowed.  They learned the power of the vote, and even demonstrated with the “Silver Citizens” in front of City Hall.

I commented on social issues, and the need for compassion in government. There were quite a few letters to the editor which protested my stands, but the paper was fair and printed both sides, those that agreed with me and the misinformed.

I still have people who know me tell me how much they miss reading my thoughts, that’s when I tell them about this blog and WordPress.com.

One of my sons, who is very computer literate, told me I should not stop writing, and started me on this journey.  Thanks to him, I am still scribbling away.  By the way, he is also the one who supplies all the pictures shown at the end, are they not something to behold?

So thanks to him and the new computer age and all its possibilities, I am still around.  Perhaps when the Good Lord calls me home, I shall appear, with pad in hand,  ready to write about all the goings on in heaven.  I mean, if that’s where I’m going!

Hasta la Vista

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn the clock back, just like we do every fall?  Of course, you would have to choose how far back to go, an hour, a day, a year?

In my fantasies, I would go back at least ten years, when my hubby was still in good health, when he and I thought we had the world in our hands.  We had good jobs, good health, a fantastic bevy of grown children, and we could look forward to growing old together.

Of course, old was not a word my hubby believed in.  He always thought and acted young, and I was swept along with him.  We were so sure we had earned the place where we then stood, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Then was then, and now is now.  You cannot turn back time, and only memories keep it alive.  I have plenty of those, and sometimes when I’m not even thinking, they crop up at unbidden times.

For example, I found tears in my eyes when I witnessed my wonderful boss busily opening a package which contained a new tool he had purchased, and it reminded me of the joy that my hubby took in any new tool he acquired.  I had a lump in my throat when he came back from a trip and handed his wife a gift he brought to her; there were many times in my life when I had the same happiness of knowing I was always in my hubby’s thoughts.

I find myself envying an older couple holding hands; that could have been us.  I have gone up to total strangers and told them how lucky they are, and not to take anything for granted.

With the holidays coming up, more and more memories will appear, I do not dread them; I even look forward to enjoying most of them. This year the traditional Thanksgiving will not happen, as two of my children who live in Dallas cannot come to Ruidoso to be with us, and the son who lives in El Paso will celebrate with his wife’s family this year.  I will still have two children and their families to keep me company.  Two is much better than none.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Hasta la Vista

The days are getting shorter, colder, and drearier; I wish spring and summer could last forever.

Fall and winter have their good sides, too.  Right now the leaves are turning red and gold, and we are having pine needles rain on our lawns.  Soon you will see  the piles and piles of pine needles raked and stashed at the side of all the roads in our mountain haven.  I have been told that they are good for the soil and should be left in place, but I still rake them, much to the chagrin of my muscles.

We just went through a week end of cowboys and wannabes.  The Cowboy Symposium was held at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack, which luckily will still remain open, thanks to the many voters who supported the tax issue.   I still prefer to see  race horses; I’m not into cowboys.

The Oktoberfest is on its way, and its always a lot of fun.  My hubby and I would always attend the events held at the Convention Center; for one week end we became Germans.  I haven’t attended since his death, all those goings on have lost their appeal to me, it’s not fun being alone.

With my job, I find the days and weeks flying by; I am so thankful that I have it.  I now am eager to get home everyday to my pooch, and I find consolation in the fact that somebody still needs me.  He is always so happy to see me, but I sometimes suspect its also because he is hungry and knows that I will feed him.

I really felt alone yesterday when I had a scary hour or so.  I was sitting down for breakfast when my right nostril, out of the blue, starting bleeding, and I could not stop it, no matter what I did.  After half an hour, I started panicking, should I go to the hospital, was it serious.  I decided to stuff some Kleenex up my nose, and sat down at the computer, searching for cures for nosebleeds.

  It turns out that the best solution, which worked for me, was to pinch the nose for ten whole minutes, while putting a cold pack on the nose and cheeks.  Not having an ice pack, I settled for the nearest substitute, a frozen package of peas!  After the ten minutes were up,  I slowly unpinched the nose, put a dab of Vaseline up the nostril, and the bleeding had completely stopped.  I was thankful for that.  It did bring closer to home the precarious situation of being alone.  The son that lives here is always telling me to call him if I need him, no matter what time.  I almost took him up on it.

Hug your loved ones close today and everyday.  You never know when they will no longer be there.

Hasta la Vista


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