Alicia Lopez’s Musings

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

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


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

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 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