Alicia Lopez’s Musings

Posts Tagged ‘family

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

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,  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

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