Alicia Lopez’s Musings

Posts Tagged ‘life

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

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)

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

Today marks the twenty first month since my hubby’s passing.

It is the beginning of a ritual of counting months that started on that day.  I thought that if I could survive that first month, I would be on my way of learning to live alone.  It has been a very long process, and sometimes I wondered if I could make it.

The human body and mind has a resilience unmatched by none.  In the face of adversity and loss, it is still able to function, albeit at a lesser pace, but function it does. Look at me, twenty one months later I am still around, and still kicking.  The sense of loss never leaves, but I have learned to live with it.

I have learned that I can still share thoughts and ideas with my hubby, in the silence of  our home which we both loved, and which is filled with memories; the Greek fishermen’s caps which he wore constantly, his collection of music, even his eyeglasses which he kept by our bed,on a funny big nose stand.

When I leave the house, those memories stay behind, to be supplemented by normal everyday occurances.  My job keeps me busy, my mind expands with the meeting of new people, and new occurances.  I have never lost my sense of humor, but it seems to be rejuvenating.

I look forward to the coming holidays; our village has begun to decorate the main street with dazzling silver boughs and the local merchants have placed the white shimmering lights on their stores, and as the song goes, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.

For the first time in several years, I will have my three sons here with me for  this weekend; only the sons without my daughters in law .  It will be different, but nice. 

Next week, my daughter, son in law, and grandson from Dallas will be here for the Thanksgiving holiday,  the son who lives here and my small grandson will be present also; my cup runneth over.

The past holidays are just that, past and gone.  Time marchs on, and I have to march along with it.  So, start those drum rolls, begin the beat, and watch me strut.

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

Each day of my life now seems like a newly purchased book;  I am eager to start that first page and find new adventure and perhaps some mysteries;  I am, after all,  one of the biggest readers of mystery novels, next to my sister.

Before I begin on my page of the day, let me reveal to you about the “lending” library that she and I have.  I purchase a book, read it, and send it to her.  She does the same, but the books she returns seem to have multiplied like bunnies; I send her three, she returns twelve.  That mystery is solved when she explains that her daughter, also an avid reader, sends her novels she has purchased and read, so I end up with shopping bags full of books.

Before I began my new job I could finish a book in two days, and after compiling those, I would travel to my local paperback exchange, and return with even more books. My reading has slowed down a bit, as I have my days filled now with my new job.

This is when the new pages of my life begin;  I actually look forward to getting up in the morning with my day scheduled for work.  I never knew how much I enjoyed working until I no longer had a job.  There is just so much you can do around the house, and when those chores are finished, the rest of the day looms ahead.  I volunteered with my local Democratic Party, something my hubby and I did together, he was such an avid Democrat.  When his illness progressed he could not do as much, and I preferred to keep him company, so my volunteering dwindled.  I am just beginning to get back in that groove.

Each day brings new things into my life, new people I can talk to.  When I was home alone my conversations were mostly with my pooch, who listened intently, and agreed with everything I said.  He was, and still is, my constant companion, being privy to my saddest moments, sharing my tears with him, and also my happy thoughts.

I hurry home to him at noon, let him out in the yard, have my lunch, play with him a bit, give him a “dental” treat, and leave.  In the evening, the same schedule follows;  he demands more petting now since I am gone for the day.

My new pages are now filled with the wonderful views of the beginning of fall.  The days are quite cool in the mornings and evenings.  We had the annual motorcycle rally last week in our village, and the roar of the “motos” were heard everywhere, and you have not seem anything until  you view the hundreds and hundreds of  bikers filling every inch of space in your town. They are all welcomed, but you can hear the combined sighs of relief when they leave; we have the serenity back.

So, life goes on, and I float along with it.  Next week will be the annual Aspencade weekend, when the leaves are beginning to turn to the lovely golds and reds.

Come see it with me.

Hasta la Vista

The crossroads which I mentioned on my last blog have suddenly become very clear.  I do not have to take either route, but remain steadily ahead.

My life has taken a new direction,  one which I find productive and exciting.

I FOUND A JOB!

Yes, after eighteen months of floundering, I have found an anchor.  Two very nice people thought that I was worthy of working for them.  It has done wonders for my self esteem, and has boosted my self confidence to its normal high state.

The mountain village in which I reside is small, and geared more toward tourism than commerce; but the infrastructure exists and we need carpenters, masons, and plumbers!  My new job is with a plumbing contractor, and I am finding it  both challenging  and deserving.  I have  come in contact with numerous customers who were also customers at my old job, one I held for ten years.  It is so rewarding to have them remember me.

When we first moved to Ruidoso, I did bookkeeping work for a plumbing contractor, but that was quite a few years ago.  There are many, many parts required for any plumbing job, and after a week of working, I find that my brain is slowly but surely remembering them.

It has been said that it is not what you know, but who you know, and that is how my job came around.  A friend of mine worked for this firm, but she quit when a school district hired her.  She had earned her teaching degree three years ago and had been applying for jobs ever since, and suddenly everything fell into place, her new job and mine.  I am grateful that she recommended me.

So I shall remain in the cool pines for a while longer; the only unhappy one  is my pooch who did not want me to work and leave him by himself, but he is adjusting to the solitary daytime life.

I now find a reason for getting up in the morning, without the whole empty day looming ahead.  Being busy and among friendly people keeps me from  dwelling too much in the past, which I tended to do, being around all the reminders of my lost happy life.   My hubby is always in my heart, but I feel him urging me on to a new life without him.  I am beginning to think that I can do it.

Wish me luck.

Hasta la Vista


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