Alicia Lopez’s Musings

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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

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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

Yes, the June season is again in full swing, and I find myself, happy, sad, and mad.

Happy for all the graduates who have fulfilled their education goals, congratulations, especially to Dennis and Delaney Quintana, whom I saw grow up during our Democratic Party events.

Sad because Father’s Day is just another day for me now, with no one by my side to celebrate with; and also mad because at times I find myself asking, why me?  Especially when I see older couples, holding hands, laughing, talking, sharing moments; it is to hard to keep asking why them and not me.

Those moments finally pass and I take a deep breath, straighten my shoulders, and go on.

I finally got home after dog and house sitting for one daughter in McKinney,and spending quality time with my other daughter who also lives there; my son from Dallas came and kept me company too.  It was a relaxing time, spent reading, doing crossword puzzles, and keeping Frasier and Niles ( my two Westie grandpups) happy.

One thing I did not enjoy were the tornado warnings which hit the area on a Tuesday night.  My son called me and told me to stay at my other daughter’s house so I would not be alone in the worst case scenario.  We stayed tuned to the weather channel which gave periodic updates; it was no where near McKinney, but it did sweep across the Dallas area.  My son said he took precautions sitting in the hall surrounded by matresses and so forth.

The weatherman showed golf ball size hail which was falling in several counties; luckily we only saw rain.  Give me a good ole sandstorm any day.

I had to go see a doctor at the local emergency clinic; I had developed a very bad cough, and what I thought was chest congestion. With that problem there was no way I was going to get on a plane.  After a thorough examination, the results were there was nothing wrong with me, I was suffering from allergies. I was given a prescription for cough medication and told to go home and rest.  Well, the RX gave me plenty of rest, I could not stay awake!  Glad to say I was finally well enough to come back home.

My pooch was very happy to see me.  He had stayed at my son’s house in El Paso, and was ready to climb in the car and come back to his own yard.

After several days, we had a bear encounter.  Chico was barking hysterically at the kitchen door, I looked out and there was this big brown head, peeking in.  I thought at first it was a big dog, and made shooing noises, when he turned around, I saw it was a brown bear, and he had a companion!  They had climbed up the kitchen back stairs, and when I made noise, they turned around and scampered across to the front, then sauntered casually across to my neighbor’s house, through their back yard and on to the forest.

It has been so dry, they are coming down to residential areas looking for food.  I do not let my pooch out until I check  and make sure its safe.

Stay tuned for the next episode in the Perils of Alicia.

Hasta la Vista

The above word strikes terror in mountain dwellers hearts; there is no fear greater than seeing flames engulfing acres of brush being fueled by extremely high winds.

This was the situation on Sunday April 2 when my comfy, nesty world was shattered by my son’s telephone call.  He asked me to turn on the television and see what was happening in our area.  I was completely surprised and devastated, as I had not heard an inkling of the situation.

The fire was in Ruidoso Downs, which is quite a bit far from the Village of Ruidoso and my house, but with the high winds, which could turn at any moment, the danger was very real.

My son, being the adventurer that he is, went to some high ground to take pictures.  Me, being the worrier that I am, decided to pack a bag (upon his recommendation) with essentials, such as medications, insurance policies, change of clothes, treasured items, etc.  I stayed glued to the television set which had constant updates.  Thankfully, the winds died down and cool weather rushed in, giving the hundreds of fire fighters some relief.  They were able to get a better grip on containing the flames.

We are not out of the woods yet, as the weatherman predicts high winds today through the end of the week.  We have not had any moisture since the killer snow storm of February, so everything is pretty dry.

This turned out to be the unexpected end of a very nice weekend.  My sis was in town, and we had a wonderful time, talking, laughing, walking. and of course visiting the casino.  When I explained the situation Sunday afternoon, she decided to head back home and not have to sit and worry until Monday morning when she was scheduled to leave.

Upon her arrival, she called me and reported that the winds had been worse in Alamogordo and beyond.  She actually had to turn on her car lights, as the sand was making it almost impossible to see.  Thank goodness she arrived safe and very relieved to be back home and begin her trip back to reality.

My reality started Monday morning when I went to the unemployment office, since I had not heard from them.  I spend an hour on the telephone waiting for a human, and when I finally got one, she asked my name, social security number and my phone, and then the line went dead.  Not wanting to spend all day there, I came home and tried calling  at several interludes during the day. I finally got a message to leave my number and someone would call me back in several hours, which they did, three hours later.

I got lucky to get a wonderful lady who took the time to research my files, and find out why I had not started receiving compensation.

The end result, after an hour, was that my funds should be released within 48 to 72 hours.  I was so happy to finally get someone who cared, I asked for her supervisor and told her what a wonderful employee they had.  I guess they’ve never gotten such a call, because they were flabbergasted.  They usually deal with exasperated people, and I can quite understand that!

I still have to face that turn in the road, and I am really dreading it.

Hasta la Vista

Yes, I who thought I was brilliant in all aspects of my life, including my job, had a very humbling action taken against me.

I was not laid off from my job, I was terminated!  The reason given is very disputable; I was told that customer’s had complained about me, not who or why or when, just that.  It came like a bolt out of the blue, because the priority in every job I have ever had has been that the customer comes first.  They are the reason you are there, they are the ones who pay you, and therefore, they are actually your employers.

So to be told that because of them you are terminated, simply does not compute.  I accept it, what else can you do?  It is a very humbling experience and one that I do not wish on anyone.

I thought I was doing a very good job, and had no inkling or warning from the executives that in their estimation, this was not so.  It has been said that there is a first time for everything, and in all my years of work, this is the first termination.

So I am trying to pick up the pieces of my life again, and coming again to a crossroads.  The specter of selling the house looms ahead of me, and some very serious thinking has to be done.  I am praying for guidance from above.

I visited my hubbie’s grave at Fort Bliss National Cemetery this week-end.  I also prayed for guidance there, after telling him the circumstances of my job loss.  I could almost hear him say *#%&*^%$, because he knew my dedication to any job that I took, and my zeal to perform it accurately.  But I knew that he would also say into each life some rain must fall, and this is a torrent which I must bear.

I am very sad to be writing this, and you, my faithful readers, do not deserve this; but you have shared my triumphs, my sadness, and my joys, so I have taken the liberty of sharing with you this very humbling experience.  Pray for me.

Hasta la Vista

Does it sound like I am getting a little tired of this weather?  WELL, I AM!!!

Cool, beautiful, friendly, serene Ruidoso has always had snow and cold in the wintertime.  We are used to it.  But in the sixteen years that I have lived here, I do not remember ever having below freezing temperatures for a week and a half.  Combine this with one of the largest snowfalls to come our way in several years, and you have  DISASTER.

This same storm hit over 20 other states, most with much more severity.  I know my hometown of El Paso, Texas also suffered from snow and cold, and they hardly ever get both!  At least the majority of Ruidosoans know how to drive in this weather, with one big exception, me.

The snow readily turned into ice, making travel extremely dangerous.  The good side is that I have a friend who volunteered to pick me up in her four wheel drive truck, and I readily accepted; thanks Kelly.  I do not have a vehicle  equipped with four wheel drive because my hubby never wanted one.  He could drive in any weather, and I depended on him.  I can get down our little hill, but getting back up is quite another thing.

The snow plow angels came on the third day, and hit my street.  My two wonderful neighbor gals across from me came over with shovels and got that darn snow out from in front of my car and cleared a path to the street.   Isn’t it wonderful to have friends like that?

Because of the low temperatures, pipes across town froze, and then burst.  We were swamped at work (my job is with a plumbing firm),  everyone wanted our services at once, if not yesterday.  The Village of Ruidoso has started to take some action, shutting the water off several sections at a time, checking for some of the huge leaks which had begun to deplete our water supply.  We are a resort town, and a large majority of the houses are vacation homes, empty at this time.  So any leaks would not be known or reported.

Everyone in town has been most considerate, understanding the situation and putting up with the inconvenience.  We’re just waiting for the wave of vacation home owners to hit town; not all of them are patient.

I had gotten used to getting up in the morning and seeing the low temperatures.  This morning I was quite surprised to see that it was 30 degrees;  we’re having a heat wave!

Today the high was in the 50’s, and I’m praying that will hold through next week end.  All my children are coming in for their Dad’s second anniversary mass, and I know  most of my family will attend.  It will help me considerably being surrounded by them, I still get quite emotional; the sense of loss is always present.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all lovers, young and old;  I had a love of my own.

Hasta la Vista

The name says it all–I don’t know what to call my writings for today, except that.

It started as an ordinary day, being awaken by my faithful alarm clock (my pooch Chico) at 5:30 A. M.  Why go back to bed?

I turned on my computer and started by reading all my e mails, none too important, people trying to sell me things I don’t need or want.  Those that I do answer are all my faithful Publisher’s Clearing House notes which promise to make me a millionaire.  Why not?  Somebody has to win, it might as well be me.

Then I check my bank, want to make sure of what I’ve got, then I go to the fun stuff==Facebook!  Here is where I get to read all the postings of those who are my friends on this wonderful website.  I see their pictures, read their comments, laugh at some and pout at others.  I don’t write anything, except maybe a comment or two on my families postings.  Who would know that someday I would be able to keep up with everyone’s doings, whether they wanted me to or not.  Hey, put it on Facebook and the world knows about it.

I went to the casino and had some good luck; the penny slots were good to me.  Several hours pass and I forget everything except what’s going on in their digital brains.  One game in particular gets my fancy; they are all rock and roll insects who play the guitar, and when you hit the bonus, they all play their hearts away while giving you money.  What a good past time if you don’t overdo it, because sometimes they refuse to come out and play.

I  got home and had some sad news , an old friend passed away.  By old, I don’t mean by age, but by years of knowing him.  He was somewhat instrumental in getting my hubby and me together.  He was a friend to both of us, and eventually we met through his sisters.

We were close at one time, as young married couples tend to be; then our children started to arrive and pulled us in different directions. We met here and there and compared notes, but time slipped away and before we knew it, the Good Lord called them both home; I am sure they will meet again , and be pals as they once were. As Sophocles said “Now let the weeping cease, let no one mourn again, these things are in the hands of God”.

It’s easy to say,  but so hard to do.  Next month will mark the second anniversary of my love’s passing, and I know he is in God’s hands, but I am here by myself, coping as best I can.  Each day is a new beginning, and passes quite quickly.  I don’t know where my life is heading, but I want to be fully aware of it when it does.

Assure your families that they are loved, over and over again.

Hasta la Vista