Alicia Lopez’s Musings

Posts Tagged ‘ruidoso

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

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,  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


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

Here it is, December already!  Where did November skitter off to?

It seems only yesterday I was excited about seeing my children at Thanksgiving,  being disappointed at only having two families show up, living through it, and now it is that most beautiful season of all, Christmas!

My season started early when my daughter, my son, and two grandchildren put up my tree right after turkey day.  The village, which was my hubby’s pride and joy, also appeared with a few changes.  It was becoming over-populated, as he could never resist buying one more building, a few more people, some more trees, and on and on.  So my daughter kept a couple of buildings out, and some residents.  I only asked that she keep the nun he always put in front of the church.  The scene is beautiful, and fills my heart with joy every time I see it.  It might not be traditional, but our village also has a casino!

I will be traveling to Dallas to spend that most holy of days with my family, the only one absent will be the son who lives here and my grandson, and I will miss them dearly.  My consolation is that I see my son daily, and my grandson on week ends.

I will get to see my church, St. Joseph’s Mescalero Apache Mission, decorated with the traditional tee pee at the altar, housing the Holy Family, surrounded by scores of pine trees with blinking lights, and the pews with their garlands.  It is a beautiful sight.  My hubby loved to take pictures, and one year we used the scene as our Christmas card.

So I am preparing for my trip, my children bought my ticket back in September. I should not have any problems, but with the new security set up at the airports,(am I really going to be personally searched that much?), and the number of people traveling, my son in El Paso urged me to drive down the day before, not at six in the morning as I had planned.  So I checked with my office, and they said it should not be a problem.

I AM WORKING, YOU KNOW.  I love to say that!

The season of peace and love is upon us.  My wish is that all the hoopla, the ads, the continuous pounding of  BUY, will not affect  us so much that we forget what we are celebrating;  the birth of the Baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Hold your family tight, and tell them you love them. Love your neighbor as yourself, and see the good in all.  What a wonderful world this would be if we all adhered to that mantra.

Feliz Navidad

Hasta la Vista