Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Trip

She spent the last two days with her beloved dad and today she spent with him in the tractor riding the cane fields. Her mother went to collect her and called to ask if they stopped by would I mind bathing her and shampooing her hair. They leave on their trip tomorrow and I won't get to see her for a while. I would have agreed to her request even if they weren't going anywhere and soon the daughter was driving into my driveway.

She had her hair pulled back in an untidy ponytail, her shirt and pants were stained and  smelling of dust and diesel. I had her bath water ready but she wasn't. She protested and when that didn't do the trick, she broke down in tears. Reaching down, I took her hand and as the tears flowed, we walked to the tub where I undressed her and helped her in. She is exhausted and I have to make allowances for that.

We bathed the dust and sweat away and shampooed her hair while I promised her a surprise as soon as we were finished and dressed. Her only request was to be held for a while and wrapping her in a towel, we sat on the sofa while I rocked her and let her rest.
Soon she was calmed enough to dress and allow her hair to be brushed. A plate of chicken tenders and a glass of chocolate milk later, she was in a better mood.

We eventually made it to the patio where we played with the bubble sticks, had a make- up makeover and a tea party.

I'm nervous about the daughter and Carrie leaving on this trip alone. I'm not happy about it. The world has become a much more dangerous place since the time she and I roamed the highways together. Thankfully, she will have a laptop and a cell phone to accompany her. I will expect frequent updates and will remain uncomfortable until they are safely home.


I want to throw that printer out the door. It has ink. It has paper. It also has electricity and is plugged into the CPU. What's the problem?  Is it just being stubborn? Maybe it feels ignored since I haven't taken the time to print out pictures for my albums for a long time now. I stroked it nicely, banged on it a couple of times and then my language did get a little rough but to no avail. It winked and blinked and made a few whirring sounds. It refused to pick up the paper and drag it through it's innards to make a pretty print for me. Finally, in frustration, I emailed my project to a friend and later on today I'll drive over there and print from her compliant printer. Her printer knows how to behave.
It's a nice 77 degrees today. Where is all this great weather coming from? I know this is not typical. It was forecast to be in the low 90's; I'm not complaining. Now if the humidity would find a place to hide, it would be an awesome start to fall.
Oh, look! It's my nap time and I don't want to miss that. I might end up as cranky as my printer and refuse to function properly.
I'm outta recharge.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Toward Fall

This is still a little to early to get excited about a season change. I should be watching the storms that are crossing the Atlantic in the event they keep heading east instead of north. The big one heading for the Turks and Cacao's was supposed to turn north well before it hit those islands but it hasn't. I'm definitely not in the mood for a hurricane. As exciting as it may be when one is approaching, all I can think about is the mess after it hits and the lack of electricity which means no air conditioning and the high humidity the storm leaves behind. NO! I'm not looking forward to any storm much less a big ole hurricane.

A little rain today, temps down and humidity high; there is always a  price to pay for the coolness.

Carrie and her mother will be leaving soon for a trip to WV. A family reunion is planned for Labor Day weekend, an event she wants to attend this year. It makes me nervous to think about them being on the road alone for two days. I know I used to do it all the time but I was a veteran of the roads. I also had money saved and put away should an emergency happen. I'll be on "standby alert" until she arrives safely.
A trip to Walmart was my big outing for today and it was made after the sun went down and most of the traffic through the store had slowed down for the day. 

I think I'm in a blah mood today. I need to formulate a plan. A list of things I want to get done. If I don't do this I will just meander through the day never accomplishing anything except being bored. When I was working at a job out of the house, I would wish for the day when I wasn't so rushed and stressed. I didn't mean to slow down this much though. 

There are things here to do. It's just a matter of finding the "want". Maybe a call will come in and we will be off on another trip. I'm listening closely for that phone call. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

87 is Heaven

Yes! The temperatures here are lovely! The past 4 days that we have been back have not been what I expected for the end of August. There are a lot of storms in the Atlantic and though we haven't been threatened by any of them, maybe that activity has helped push cooler air and rain here. The weather channel is reliving the hurricane disaster that was Katrina. We are in remembrance of the 5 year  anniversary of that catastrophe. Though it has been 5 years, the city of New Orleans still needs lots of repairs. And if you are a brave soul to be there after dark and you would have to be either brave or ignorant, you will have to be alert and watch your back. Police are at  minimum power while crime is at maximum power.
I'm always amazed by the tourists that unknowingly enter that city and wander around after dark. Innocent in their trust of a town that can't afford to police it properly; the crime has moved up and onto Bourbon Street, a area that used to be safe to walk any time of the day or night.
I sat here in my house, 2 1/2hrs. away from New Orleans watching the TV and saddened to know that people here in Lafayette had taken boats to rescue those people and were turned away by the authorities.
A sad time for all here in Louisiana. Then Hurricane Rita hit on the other side of us.  And..recently the oil leak and I would say the Gulf has had all the bad luck it needs for a while!
And another depressing event. I had to go to the grocery store this morning. When you haven't been shopping for groceries for a few week, you really notice the jump in prices. When does it stop? I'm watching the figures for unemployment rise and the food prices do the same. How far does an unemployment check stretch?
I am grateful that the husbands job remains intact. I never take it for granted though. I'm cautious and careful during these bad times; I'm the same way during good times too. Waste not, want not.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost Pleasant

The weather. It's almost pleasant here. The humidity has disappeared along with the temperatures that hovered around 100 degrees. Oh, it's not cool by any definition but I won't complain as long as it stays around 90 degrees and below. We actually woke to a cool 71 degrees this morning.

It was time for a barbeque and that's what we did this afternoon. I invited the neighbors and daughter and family  to enjoy some chicken, corn on the cob and mac and cheese.
A few beers were tipped while watching the pre season football game, the Wii was played in the living room by grandson and his friend; it was a nice afternoon.
I'm racing around here tidying up the house in the event that another trip will present itself and I want to be prepared. The husband may hear something tomorrow about leaving again and all I have to say to that is "I'm ready". If a job comes up and he is required to stay on the rig I won't be able to travel with him. I'll sit this one out and wait to see what the next one brings.
It's time to sign off and get some sleep.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday and Home

A night in my own bed after 21 days gone from home, I'm ready to get back in and take a nap. We unloaded the luggage and perishables as soon as we got home last night. The unpacking of the luggage is still not done and nobody is in any hurry to do it. A few more days and we will be back to a normal routine here.
The lawn was mowed by the neighbors' and I pulled some weeds out of the flower beds before the sun got it's mighty glow on this morning. I'll do a little bit each day until they are cleared.
As soon as I could, I headed for the daughter's house to pick up Carrie. She spent the afternoon with us and it was great to see her. I bought her some "magic" nail polish so we painted her nails a pretty blue. I knew she would like blue as I stood in that gift shop in Colorado selecting a bottle for her. We painted her nails and then I had her go out into the sun and watch her fingernails. Never let it be said  that I don't know how to entertain a four year old.
She watched her nails in the sunlight and squealed when she saw them go from blue to green. She loved her magic nail polish.
As soon as her mother collected her, I signed on to the internet and started trying to catch up on my reading. I have a list of blogs that I read daily but it seems that I have neglected that reading lately and now I feel stressed. The obsessive/compulsiveness I have dictates that I catch up. My heart races as I read some of them and take note of all the ones left to read and knowing that those bloggers will be adding to that list tomorrow and I'll still be lagging in my catch up in blog reading. "Slow down", I think as I imagine them sitting at their keyboards and typing as fast as they can with all their stories and thoughts.

As in my reading habits of books, I can't just skip those postings. What if I miss out on a really funny post? A post that might provide a worth while message?

I'm stressed and pressed. I'll be catching up so I must get to it (typed as I press the "Publish Post" icon and sign off).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leaving Ft. Stockton

Leaving Ft. Stockton, Texas at 0716hrs and it's 67 degrees. Last night, arriving into Ft. Stockton the rain that had been but a slight sprinkle steadily increasing until it was a full on down pour. It came down in sheets, blown by the wind and dragging the lower temperatures in behind it. We hauled our luggage into the hotel and through the gigantic leak in the sliding door frame. We are just wet enough now for the 65 degree temperatures to cause us to chill. Quickly we dumped our belongings into our room and left to find a place to eat. It's after 1700 hrs and nothing in Ft. Stockton stays open late. We had to hurry.

The GPS was searching all the eating establishments in the small town and we found an out of the way, off the beaten path, small Mexican food restaurant. Rosalita's was a shabby little building but the parking lot was full. This must be the right place.

Once inside, the only waitress in a small room that might have held 10 tables, handed us menus, iced teas and then left us to study the menu. I was more interested in studying the inside of this place. The walls and ceiling were a bubble gum pink while the door trim, baseboards and saloon doors to the kitchen were painted hot pink. A mural was painted on each long wall. I don't want to be too critical here but the facial features on the people that were depicted could have indicated some form of torture. There was nothing natural about their smiles; their eyes wide and looked to be frozen in shock. My imagination started spinning. I could imagine this being a film where the husband and I entered a Rod Sterling world. The people in this restaurant all players that lured us to a horrible fate worse then death. Haven't we all, at one time, felt as though we have stepped into a scene where we are just observers? I don't watch horror shows. I can scare myself enough with out any help.

The scenery surrounding these wall subjects was an imagination of flowers. It wouldn't exactly be described as "impressionist" but more as "cartoonish". The Louvre won't be calling. On the upside, the food was great and of course, nothing horrible happened to us other then having to pay the bill.

The rain continued to pour down and another mad dash was made through the down pour to get back to the truck. By this time the streets are flooded and driving is slow. Ploughing through the water, the spray would wash over the windshield. Our vision would be temporally lost. The wiper blades couldn't keep up with the rain much less the spray. Few people were out driving in this.

A hot bath later, we watched TV until the Ambien kicked in. The rain, lightening and thunder continued and was the last conscious vision I had.

We have over 700 miles to cover today. We won't be home till after 1900hrs. Out the windows, the view is rolling hills, and land dotted with the mesquite bushes so common to this part of Texas. Wind turbines line the horizon, spinning slowly to create energy. A rusty pump jack appears in the distance, collection tanks with their share of rust filter themselves among the sand and mesquite. The power poles are not creosote wooden hangers for the power lines that carry electricity but tall aluminum poles uniform in shape and length. When did wooden poles get cast aside for metal? Towers, for what I don't know, stand tall, a light blinking at the top to warn aircraft of their presence. In country as flat as West Texas, these things stand out; it's what is most noticeable as I haven't seen a house or mobile home for miles now.

0900hrs and the gas gauge is caressing the big "E". The GPS instructs us to take the Sheffield exit and it will be 5 miles to the next gas pump. We do as told. It's desperation time. In 5 miles we arrive in Sheffield Texas and it's lone gas station that shows on the sign that has been crudely hand lettered in red and barely legible, "Gas/1.00 a gal. I'm assuming this place has been closed down for a long time now. We drove down the one street and made a right to drive one block where we saw 3 guys standing out by their truck. Pulling up, rolling down the window, I asked nicely where the nearest gas station was. They wanted to know if we had a debit card. We affirmed that we did and they directed us to Franks. Franks is just 3 huge above ground white tanks sitting in front of a dilapidated building, windows scummy with dirt and grime and a weathered past red painted door, peeling and locked.  No human in sight which explains the need for a debit card.

We thankfully pumped a few gallons of gas that will enable us to get to the next town for a fill up. First rule of traveling through this part of the country. Never let the gas gauge get below 1/4 of a tank. We know this but some how we ignored the warning of that reading. I'm grateful we aren't walking. I'll be back later when the surroundings get more interesting. For now, I'm dragging my book out to read. That's the one I reserve for the times we travel through West Texas. 150 miles to Luling and BBQ. It's a must stop on these trips.

1400 hrs. and we are in Luling, Texas. We haven't stopped for lunch until now. Luling barbecue is worth waiting 2 hours past the normal lunch time. We are in the hill country once again. 150 plus miles to Houston and from Houston, another 4 hrs of driving will get us back to Lafayette. I'm looking forward to all these miles being behind me but should another trip appear soon after this one, I will be ready. A few days at the house will be enough especially if a trip directs us north and out of the heat.

1730hrs. and we are about 40 miles west of Beaumont. We passed through Houston during rush hour but the traffic stayed moving so it wasn't too bad.

We just passed the Weinermobile. A large bright orange and yellow weinermobile is something we seldom see so as we passed it, I leaned close to the window to catch sight of the person driving it. The license plate was from Wisconsin and read "Weenie". I asked the husband if he would drive it and his response was "it depends on how much they would pay me", which I guess in this economy, a job is a job and driving the Weinermobile qualifies.

Billboards along the highway are advertising Gulf Coast resorts, seafood's and all things familiar to this part of the USA. I'm home, almost.

I was almost ready to close this down when we noticed cars and trucks pulled over to the side of interstate and the air filled with smoke. A pickup truck was parked with flames rolling out of the cab and smoke thick in the air around it. I expected to feel the impact of an exploding gas tank as we passed. I'm guessing the guy waving his arms and pacing around it was the driver and fearless.
2137 and I'm home! Tired and numb, I'm ready for a hot shower and an early bedtime.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to Lafayette

leaving Arizona at 0820 hrs. south to Tucson

It's that time again to be road warriors. Those Hatch's chilies got packed into the cooler and dusted down with crushed ice for their trip back to Louisiana.

We have a two day drive in front of us and every mile that clicks by gets us that much closer to our destination. Tonight we will be staying in Ft. Stockton, Texas at the Holiday Inn. The room has been reserved; we won't take a chance on there being an event in town that would take all the rooms and leave us searching for one after a long day on the road.

I can see Picaho Peak in the distance. A lot of desert land lay between us and that peak. The desert slides by in a blur of dusty colored green vegetation and rust colored soil, the occasional weathered mobile home the only shelter for those choosing to live along this stretch of road. A great deal of farming is done in Arizona though this part is dry and barren, growing only cactus and mesquite.

1130hrs. and we are passing through Lordsburg/Deming, New Mexico. 137 miles to El Paso and then we change direction to east due East.

Crops of cotton, with rows reaching across the desert, a train rushing down it's tracks on the opposite side of the highway and signs lining the road warning of the dangers of dust storms as we continue along. You can look across the desert and note the lush green areas enabled by the irrigation systems that allow the cotton crops to exist. The remainder of the land is arid; a wasted area in direct relation to the lack of water.

We are listening to Sirius XM radio and the news of the mine collapse in China, the gravel truck in California that lost control on a steep grade and crashed into a house, moving it off it's foundation and killing the family that was inside. Russia and uranium seized, murder and mayhem and we keep spinning along. Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock seem to have disappeared off the scene for the time being. The state elections for the senate seats are in progress in 6 states and I wonder with the state of the economy here in the USA, if anyone really cares. Most of the voting public are more concerned about paying the mortgage if they are still lucky enough to have one or how they will manage the groceries for the next meal.

I suppose all of the above is a good reason to appreciate this trip. It has been a vacation/work/vacation which means I got to enjoy a trip sponsored by the company. I would hesitate to be so extravagant in this economy. One never knows what tomorrow may bring and I like to play it "close to the chest" in times like these which I think, sums up most of the citizens of this country right now. Most are nervous.

We just passed over the Continental Divide. Had I not seen the sign on the roadside, I would never have known. The sky is a grey blue color and in some places it reaches down to stroke the ground. I smell rain or maybe it's the soil that has been touched by those rain fingers in the distance. I'll put this away for now and return later. It might be time for my nap.

1327 and it's 67 degrees. We left the interstate for a little back road travel. There is a light rain falling and we just passed through a small farming community. Sweet corn on one side of the road and pecan groves on the other side soon changed to pecan trees on both sides of the road creating a canopy overhead. A tunnel through the pecan trees and the rain escalates from a light rain to a full force storm. A sign for fresh green chili's was spotted alongside the highway. The rain is forcing the heat from the ground and the smell of wet earth overwhelms. Small town after small town glide by. Palm trees are easily recognized and I wish I were familiar with the names of all the bushes and trees that crowd the roadside.

On the radio are reports of gunfire and death in Acapulco. El Paso, a big border town now is deemed more dangerous then Afghanistan. Stray bullets have hit UTEP (University of Texas, El Paso). Gone are the days when we would stay overnight in El Paso and visit Juarez for cheap beers and lazing an afternoon away on an outdoor patio. I don't feel safe on this side of the border now. We won't be stopping over in El Paso.

I can see across the Rio Grande into Mexico. Houses perched on hillsides provide a precarious shelter. Some of these houses appear as solid, elegant structures, while next door a shabby rundown house attests to the fact that zoning laws are non existent. The fence separating the Super Power from the Third World Country is visible; a strange sight to be sure.

A few miles farther and a check station halts all vehicles for a search. Gaunt German Shepperd dogs leashed and led to each vehicle are then pulled back to the officer's side while he requests you roll down the back windows for inspection. He requests you announce your citizenship and then wants to know where we are going. Soon we are waved through and he repeats his inspection on the vehicle in line behind us. Another 50 miles down the road and off to the side, an unmarked SUV holds two more Border Patrol guards watching the traffic pass.

Another 45 minutes and we should be done for the day. Dinner and a hot shower and a long night of sleep awaits. I'm ready to get out of this truck. I've had enough traveling for this day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot'ner Hatches

August 23, 2010

Hot. I expect this as I'm still in the desert. Before we left Farmington, we purchased two cases of Hatch's chilies. After distributing them around to the family here, I stood at the stove with the broiler on and slid pan after pan beneath the heat to toast the skins of the chilies. Though this doesn't sound like much of a chore, let it be known that when you slide the chilies OUT, you have to take a pair of tongs and flip them over, slide them back under the heat and toast the other side. I had about 3/4 of a case to do and if I never see another cookie sheet covered in green chilies, it will be too soon.

Roasting them wasn't the end of the process. Cooling them, bagging them and moving them to the freezer followed the roasting. This took me about 4 hrs. of standing at that oven; opening the door, getting blasted by the heat of the broiler and wiping the sweat from my brow. The color "green" makes me cringe. I'll get over it.

We are doing laundry, reorganizing the suitcases and getting ready to load everything up for the exit out of here tomorrow. It doesn't matter when we leave. We won't be leaving for cooler climates so I'm not enthused.

Internet service is not available in this house, but if I drive to the corner and turn left at the stop sign, go down to the third house on the left, there is a garden bench sitting at the entry to Lindy's house. Her Wi Fi isn't secured. I can get comfortable on that bench which sits in the shade and sign onto the Internets. You do what ya gotta do.

Sunday morning everyone was asleep here. I got up, grabbed my laptop and headed for Lindy's Bench. I rolled in to the driveway, grabbed my laptop and leaped down from the truck. A nicely dressed, Sunday best type dressed lady, was standing at the garage doors. Lindy's mother-in-law was waiting on friends to collect her and deliver her to church. I had to explain who I was and that I would be using Lindy's Bench for internet connection. I wondered later if this woman though I might be lacking a few brain cells. She smiled and nodded while I made my way to the bench.

Did I mention the dog? A mastiff? Well, let me mention him now. The damn thing looks like a small pony. He belongs to Lindy and husband Trey. I walked into their house later and while standing and talking to Lindy, who is by no means a tall lady, I felt something nudge my waist. Turning to look, a face so huge that it looked like something conjured up for a horror movie, eyes that looked as big as teacups made me gasp and step back. I had been warned that their dog was big, but you just don't expect the size of this beast. If he could have smiled, I believe he would have. Though he was huge, he was most gentle and well trained. He didn't try to paw and leap on me. He just stood and looked at me with those great dark eyes and waited to be petted. He is a fawn color mixed with a little veil of black in throughout and beautiful. Soon after meeting me, he found a place in the room where he stretched out on the floor and fell asleep. I'm going to take a picture of Lindy and this gentle giant so you can get the full picture of just how big he is.

We have been treated to a dinner of BBQ's chicken last night and a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and fresh green chili salsa this morning. Dinner will be green chili con carne, beans and rice and tomorrow morning we will be on the road and eating from Burger King. We are enjoying the cuisine while we can. Family is great! They know how to cook the bestest Mexican food!

I'm leaving right now and heading to Lindy's Bench where I will copy and paste this from Word Pad to my blog site and then post!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Leaving Farmington

‎8/‎21/‎2010 and 59 degrees

0800 MT and we are packed up and on the road. But for one stop at the Walmart store to pick up some Hatch's green chilies, Arizona is our destination. Oh, I know. I just posted that we were heading to Louisiana but I feel that the husband would have really preferred to go to Arizona so off we go.

Hopefully, he will do more jobs here. I wouldn't mind making another visit to Farmington. I'm not interested in permanent residency, but a visit would be fine.

This morning at the hotel, the rooms were filled with young people from the special Olympics. Swimming, volley ball and baseball teams made their way to the dining room and it was total bedlam. I stashed my laptop and started hoisting the empty coffee pots back to the prep room for refill while moving the full pots on the back shelf to the front. I wiped up the spills and kept the breakfast bar area tidy. Those kids didn't have the best coordination so the mess was excusable. Trash overflowed in the trash bins, and the staff member working this morning could have used some help. As soon as she had a pan of eggs and bacon ready, she was back to the kitchen for biscuits. By the time she got back, like a herd of locust, the breakfast bar was wiped clean of food. Later as I was leaving the hotel, they were still stepping off the elevator and heading for the breakfast bar. I moved from my table to the sofa so the kids could use the table. I'm gazing around at the madness around me when my attention was jerked back to the person that had just sat down to the right of me. The reason I noted him was because he had his hand wound up in my purse. I gently extracted his hand. He then started stroking my arm and then my face. Soon his hand wandered to the keyboard of my laptop. One of his peers sitting across from me took note and asked "he isn't bothering you is he?" This she asked with a note of hopefulness in her voice. Considering the crowd today, I told her "Of course not." I could see the relief on her face that she didn't have to address this issue. She was his peer; not one of the chaperon's.

Towards the front of the room, the child wearing the helmet and strapped into his wheelchair was loudly keening, while the young female sitting beside him emitted periodic loud grunts. It was a noisy room to say the least.

I gathered up my stuff and stood up. I sidled up as close as I could get to the coffee carafe, grabbed another cup of coffee and two bananas and escaped. Waving to the desk clerk Brian, he smiled and shouted "hey..come back!" and at first I thought it was a command instead of a salute to my leaving. I assured him I would try.

It's time to shut down the laptop and concentrate on the scenery. I will be back later today.

1030hrs. and 78 degrees, we have just passed through Gallup, New Mexico and are now in the great state of Arizona. I expect the temperatures to soar but realistically, I know that won't happen until we drop down to a lower altitude. We are still on an Indian Reservation and the billboards scream out the wares they have at the outposts. 146 miles from Flagstaff and the mesas have started to recede from sight. Rolling land now with more houses then hogans are seen. Fields of golden wild flowers mixed in with the mesquite and scrub oak that surround the houses decorate what might be called lawns for these homeowners. We are on the Navajo reservation. Navajo rugs, fry bread, Kachina dolls and turquoise jewelry on sign after sign and at each exit off the road (I-40) we are traveling tempts the tourists.

The homes here on the reservation are very modest. Maintenance is spare. Mobile homes have their roofs covered with car tires minus the rims which are used to keep the wind from ripping the roofs off. The houses and trailers are in clusters. Miles and miles of barren dry land pass by then a settlement of homes can be seen across the prairie. Red and purple soil and giant boulders rise up from the landscape, those too in clusters. I never tire of watching the mesa's, and the colorful soil sail by. Soon enough we will be back in Louisiana and the scenery will be a drastic change from this.

It's time to log this off again. I will return.

80 degrees, 6000 ft. elevation at 1200hrs. and we are in Tonto National Forest. From the summit, we can see the tops of mountains in the distance. One mountain after another enveloped in a blue haze ring our vision. Pine trees line both sides of the road and the smell of the forest is pungent. White flowers and bright orange flowers grow thickly beside the road way. It's perfect here in the mountains of Arizona. For those of you who when you think of Arizona think it's all sand and heat, make sure you see this part of it. We are bout 25 miles from Payson, Az. and have crested the summit and are now plunging down a 6 per cent grade. I'm watching the temperature sensor that is monitoring the temperature outside and it has now risen to 90 degrees. I'm afraid the best part of this drive to the desert is nearing an end. As the temperature rises, my anticipation for a pleasant time heads in the opposite direction. I will survive the next few days that we will spend in the desert. I may never step outside though. It's only for a few days I keep telling myself.

We have arrived in Payson. I'm gone again. I'll be back a little later.

1300hrs., 99 degrees. 73 miles from Phoenix. That's all I have to say right now.


102 degrees and we can see the Valley of the Sun from this far out.

The landscape has changed to faded green and scorched earth. Saguaro cactus dot the land. Fields and fields, though you can't call the landscape here a 'field", the Saguaro dominate. Barrel cactus can be seen shriveled up and dead. Is the sun and temperature too much for them? The land is rugged. Hill after hill, cactus and century plants and sun. Lots of sun. The air is dry and the view is bright. The value of the sunglasses I'm wearing is priceless. The sun bounces off the pavement and the hood of the pickup. It's blinding but for the UV rays filtered by my eye wear. We are arriving in Phoenix via Mesa, one of the s'burbs.

Soon we will be in Casa Grande and I will be looking for some Internet access so I can post this. I'm done for a while.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The End

I have a routine now and I seldom stray from it. Up and to the lobby, coffee, breakfast, 15mins. in the jacuzzi, a couple laps in the pool and then outside to the patio with my book and Diet Coke for some sun.
This all comes to an end tomorrow. We are leaving New Mexico. I want to head home and that's what we will do. I miss my Carrie and it has been 18 days since I've seen her (not counting the web cam).

While the husband was at the rig doing his billing, I rounded up the suitcase valet and started loading suitcases and all the extra things we have ended up collecting on this trip. The only things left in the room for tonight are the laptops and cameras. I never leave them in the vehicles and take a chance on them collecting moisture.
The big scare of the day was my laptop. It would not boot up; the only thing I had was the blue screen. Nada...ziltch and nothing worked. I rebooted. I shut it down and left it. I booted up and left it sitting and I got the blue screen. By this time I'm feeling a little frantic. I ended up going down to the lobby and using the community computer. When I got back to the room I hit the 'on' button. I wasn't expecting anything to happen so I was pleasantly surprised when it started up as if nothing was ever wrong. I've since shut it down and turned it back on, did a restart and put it in sleep mode and all appears well. Just in case though, I moved all my pictures to a jump drive. Better safe then sorry.

We just got back from our last time in the jacuzzi here. This has to be the best jacuzzi I have had the pleasure of using. The jets in this thing are so strong it causes your skin to ripple up and down your back. By the time 15 mins have passed, the muscles in your body are so relaxed you can barely stand up. I'm going to miss that part of this trip.
We returned to the room and flipped on the TV to watch some news. Crested Butte has snow. Durango will be in the low 40's next week and to this, the husband says "It's time to get out of here." I'm afraid my desert rat doesn't appreciate the white stuff nor the cold temperatures. 
It's time to call it a day. We have a lot of truck time to do tomorrow.

Cam Time

Back in the lobby/breakfast room again with the laptop plugged up and Yahoo messenger engaged. I'm ready for my television appearance.
The web cam is in place and I'm waiting on a telephone ring that reverberates through this laptop to notify me that some one is requesting a viewing on the web cam. I just have to tap the "accept" icon and there they are in full screen view.

How neat is this. Carrie was sitting up in her bed in her nightshirt, hair awry and wiping the sleep out of her face. In her little girl voice she said "Hi Nana...". A big smile from both of us. Then, of course, she requested to see her Poppy. I promised when he returns from work, I would have him call.

We were in visual contact. She proudly showed me all her school work she had finished. Rainbows colored, letters drawn in both large and small and then the necklace she wore around her neck.

Eventually the time came when we had to disconnect. It was time for her to start her lessons for the day and then she would be off to visit her Dad for a few days.

We should know by late this afternoon if we will be packing our stuff and leaving here to head for Kansas. If not Kansas, I would prefer to head to Louisiana. I don't need to voice my justification for this. I think I've mentioned earlier the reason. Think triple digits and weather.

I'm outta here. It's jacuzzi time.

A New Toy and I'm Still Here

It appears that I'll be here in New Mexico for a day or more and then on to Kansas. I may escape that trip to Arizona yet.

Sitting here alone this evening, the TV was tuned to some show I wasn't watching because I was surfing the net. I was doing some research on a purchase I wanted to make. The built in web cam on this laptop was something I had investigated a little but never actually put into use. This laptop came with Vista for the O.S. and when we upgraded to Windows 7, it either wiped out drivers for the web cam or it wasn't compatible with the built in web cam. Normally this wouldn't be something that would bother me but since I've been gone from home for over two weeks, I wanted an operating web cam so I could talk to Carrie.
Today the daughter called and connected with me and since she had a web cam I could view Carrie but she could not see or hear me. I promptly bought a web cam that clips on to the top of this laptop and I practiced with it tonight.
It was too late to talk with Carrie, but I did connect with the daughter and spent about an hour on web cam with her.

I've always wondered about this web cam business. Usually I'm half asleep, hair uncombed and minus any makeup when I roll out of bed, pour a cup of coffee and sign on. Bleary eyed, I check my email and hop around from web site to web site. Sometimes the pajamas I've slept in resemble a ragged t-shirt that has seen better days.  I suppose if someone rang me on the camera I would have to ignore it unless dressed and public ready.

My intentions are to use it when I'm out of town and unable to visit physically with Carrie. I'll have to keep this a secret. I'm not into all the prep time it would take to go "on camera" to acquaintances. Maybe I'll have to go shopping for some presentable sleep wear and not bother signing online till noon unless it's designated a "Carrie Cam" only. 
It's time for me to get some sleep. I might have a camera appearance tomorrow and I'll want to look my best. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homeward Bound or Arizona Side Trip

We may be leaving here tomorrow. As much as I dread going back to the humid pit of Louisiana, I would prefer that to going to Arizona. The husband feels that since we are "only 8hrs." from Casa Grande, we could just stop by and visit family again.

Didn't we just do that? I thought we were caught up for a while on the family thing. I really don't mind visiting his family. I actually enjoy those visits; it's the heat this time of year that frightens me. "But," she says, "it's only 107 degrees today." That from his sister that lives there when I spoke with her on the phone this morning. Maybe she can say in one sentence "only 107 degrees" but I have a different view of 107 degrees and it ain't pretty. It's 69 degrees here and it's 0730 hrs. Can't I just stay here?

The lobby/dining area was again crowded this morning and since I was sitting at a long table, a gentlemen asked if he could share my table. Soon he was joined by his traveling companion. They were from Tucson, Arizona and again the comments about how the temperatures there were mild right now. It's all in how you view things, right?

I suppose I should go back to the room and start packing. I think I'll just go to the jacuzzi instead. I'm in denial.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brown as a Nut

Well, here it is another Wednesday and we are still in Farmington, N.M. I haven't seen the husband since yesterday and since we weren't arguing when he left, I'm assuming that he is on the job and hasn't left me sitting here unaware in Farmington.

I have nothing planned other then what I have already done this morning which was the usual 15 minutes in the jacuzzi and then draping myself over the chairs on the patio for a few hours of sun. My once pale olive skin is now a richer olive color. It doesn't take me many hours in the sun to bring out the color of my heritage.

A woman that works here at the hotel has some Roux that she bought while visiting her mother in Lake Charles, La. and we are cooking up a plan to do some cooking.  If time permits, and we all know I have nothing but time right now, we may get together some where and cook up a gumbo.

The hotel manager and I have plans this weekend to take our cameras and go on an excursion; a photo shoot trip. Of course all this depends on if I am even in the state of New Mexico. Soon I will have more friends here to hang with then I do in Lafayette, La.
It looks as though we won't be heading home on Friday. The job is going super slow with a multitude of problems. All I can say to that is "YIPPEEEE"!!!!

It's still hot and humid in Louisiana and I need not say more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Stress?

The very first thing I did this morning right after popping open an eye was to look lateral to where I lay. A digital clock sits on the bedside table and the time read 0530hrs. It's time to vacate this room and head for the lobby and some hot coffee. I'm a pro at this now and everything I need to get dressed in is stacked on the counter beside the door to this room. After dressing, I slip back and pick up my laptop. Quietly, I slip back to the door and let myself out. Down the hall, purse and laptop in hand, to the elevator for the ride to ground level.

The breakfast room is already hopping. The guests are filling up their plates, gulping coffee and will soon be on their way to their jobs. These are men that are working in the area so they don't spend much time hanging out after breakfast. A few tourists start drifting in and quietly make their way to the coffee station. Half awake, they are not into conversation with their travel mates. Very few children are around now as most places have commenced their school year.
I surf the net, check my mail and watch the news. Later I pick up a tray and fill it with foods the husband might enjoy and take it back to room. He has to leave at 0800 and I don't know when he will be able to return.
As soon as he leaves, I dress in my bathing suit and head for my 15 minutes in the jacuzzi. Afterwards, I take my book and make my way to the reclining chairs on the patio. A breeze was blowing and the sun was shining. I stretched out and felt the cool breeze; a perfect day to sun bath. I read for an hour and then flipped over onto my stomach and dropped the book so I could catch a little nap.

Perfect? Yes. It couldn't be any better. It was quiet, warm and breezy and I napped. So as not to get burnt and not be able to come back tomorrow, I watch the time closely. An hour of sun on each side and I packed up my belongings and headed back to the room.

Back in my room,I flipped on the television. Wrapped up in a blanket on the bed  I have done nothing productive today and it feels great. I've discovered the best stress reliever. It's not having to show up for a job and stay 8 hours. Not having my own car along on this trip doesn't allow for me running around all day. It does allow for lots of time for de stressing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not The Same

I used to move frequently. Not just the once every 10 years move related to a job transfer that many of us do and not a military move where the family is stationed for three years. Moving was a normal activity for me and sometimes I feel guilty about moving my daughter around so much. She was always the "new kid" in school. Adaptation was something she learned quickly.

You would think at this stage of my life, that staying in one place would be enviable on my part. Not so. I don't know if it's boredom but sameness is never an aspiration I have ascribed too but a thing I have tried to escape as often as possible.

I have family that have always been content to live where they were born. They take that two week vacation every year and usually vacation in the same place every year. There is no curiosity that needs to be satisfied about this country they have lived in all their lives. They don't have to see a place for themselves to assure them that there really is such a place. It's on the map and that's all they need to know. Not so for me. I had to see it for myself. I wasn't going to take anybody's word for California being there. I had to see it and I did along with most of the rest of these United States. Gypsy blood must run through my veins. I'll blame it on that since my heritage or at least 1/2 of it originates from Italy. 

The same town, the same house and the same people year after year means comfort to some. Why wasn't it something I yearned for? Adventure. Maybe it was the sense of adventure I've craved most of my life. The newness of what is just over the hill, around the curve and at the next place along with the experiences gained.

Some of those experiences were positive, some were not and some were down right scary. As I revisit some of the places I've lived during this trip, a flood of memories rush around me. I'm retracing the path I followed over 25 years ago through towns I've lived in or moved through in another life. Farmington, New Mexico, Moab, Utah and Monticello, Utah were places that were part of my life then. It seems like such a long time ago and a different person that traveled those places and I suppose it is a much wiser and older person now that looks back on this time. It's not a time I wish to recapture. It's the past just as this trip will some day be just the past. It's not the same and that's all that matters. 

Were You Born in a Barn??

Yeah, the steaks and margaritas were great. A nice evening to be outside enjoying a meal.

To the right of this picture just beyond those windows is the indoor pool and jacuzzi. This is the patio where we grilled the steaks and used this table for our meal while enjoying the breeze and the almost coolness of the evening. Nice area huh?

As usual, in the later afternoon hours, people are checking into the hotel after a full day of traveling. They gather all their children up and stuff them into bathing suits and head for the pool. Some times this is a positive event; a time for the children to unwind and for the parents to relax.

Last night I watched this family enjoying the pool. Destroying it might have been a better description. They disconnected the rope that was tied to the life preserver and were snapping it at each other, roping the stair rail leading out of the pool and swinging on it. The parents were ignoring them. Towels were left in piles of water on the floor and not in the used towel container. Wet, used towels were also stacked on the shelves holding the clean unused towels. A Pepsi can was left floating in the pool and eventually sank to the bottom. Along with the pop can were other things that I couldn't recognize on the bottom of that pool. I watched these people as they herded their children to the door and noted that they did look back over their shoulder into the pool area. This leads me to believe that these people were born in a barn or worse, a ghetto of the western variety.
It's so wonderful seeing parents teach respect. Respect of properties that did not belong to them and proper manners when out in public. This wasn't what I witnessed last evening.
Someday there will be these 5 children unleashed upon society; by that time they should be properly seasoned in the art of destruction. Good luck world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We Shoulda Been Home By Now

The "kitchen?" here in the room. The ribeyes are being prepared for the  grill.

The menu? Ribeyes, baked potatoes
Baked beans, sliced tomatoes, grilled green chili's and garlic bread.

It might be time to be back home. The chef has decided that he will be cooking tonight. He will fire up the grill that sits pool side for this feast. He has even invited a guest for dinner. 

This might be the last hot meal he will get for a while and eating out at restaurants has left him yearning for a home cooked meal and as long as he is the one cooking that home cooked meal, I'm agreeable.

I have spent the day at the hotel. I did the jacuzzi and then an hour in the sun today. I wanted to finish the book I was reading and since I only had a few pages left, I gathered up an extra book to take with me while I laid in the sun to read. I stacked my extra book by the jacuzzi, peeled off my bathing suit cover up and dropped it on top of that book and taking the book I was reading, I popped into the jacuzzi for 15 minutes of hot water massage by the strong jets. I held the book aloft and  as soon as the jets stopped propelling water, I climbed out. I'm ready to do some sun time now.  Bending down, I grabbed my clothes to drape over my arm for the walk outside to the recliners sitting in the sun. As I snapped up  my clothes from the floor, my other book resting  beneath them went sailing across the concrete to end up floating in the water of the jacuzzi. "Damn!" I moved quickly back to the steps and climbed down into the water and waded to where my book floated. Maybe reading and water are not compatible?

Sitting in the sun with my book resting on another chair, we were both drying out. Only the edges of each page were wet so it was salvageable. We both stayed outside in the breeze and sun until we were dried.

While I was doing the 'vacation' time, the husband headed for the rig to check to make sure all the tools were there that would be needed for his job. Now he is waiting on a call which should be tomorrow morning sometime. I fear my vacation may soon be ending. It's hot here today but the big difference between 'here' and 'home' is the lack of humidity which makes the 97 degree temps here more bearable then it would be in the humid heat of Louisiana.
It's been a nice quiet day with sun, naps, reading and watching a movie. Now for that steak dinner.....

Well...Look what I Found

I found my card and card reader!
Folks at the flea market

more folks from the flea market (clik on pic to enlarge)

miles and miles of rocks
a rock ledge
A drive cross country...miles and miles of this view.

Saturday in Farmington, N.M.

Here we are. Still in Farmington and now that we have scouted out the area within a 100 mile radius, we stayed local yesterday and went to the flea market on the edge of town.
I came home yesterday afternoon and plugged  the memory card into my card reader so I could download the pictures I shot yesterday and I seem to have misplaced the darn card and the reader. I am so O/C that I usually put my things away after using them but this time I seem to have not done that and now I'm suffering the consequences. I've lost it and it must be some where close to where my memory lies. I seem  to  misplace that most of the time. When I find it, I can post pictures of the beautiful rocks in the desert.

We drove  out of town and selected an unpaved road to explore. The road was the main road with branches of smaller unpaved sandy roads that serviced the gas fields. If not for the empty Budweiser cans and a few tire tracks, I would have thought no human had ever traveled this way. Apparently the ones that did were sloppy beer drinkers. Deserted as it was out there, it was too beautiful to degrade by someone flipping beer cans out the window as they cruised through.

 We followed that road all the way across that desert and at the first sight of a paved road, I sighed in relief. I could imagine us being on the TV show  "I Survived." I thought about all the water that was packed in the back of the truck that was not chilled and how I had complained a little earlier about not getting some ice and icing it down. When push comes to shove, should we be stranded or lost out there, I betcha I could have "taken" the husband down for  the last hot bottle of water. I can be vicious when hot and thirsty.
I'm in the lobby once again and now the staff will approach me without hesitation. I'm a fixture. Each morning I sneak out of the room and to the lobby clutching my laptop. I prepare the night before by putting my clothes, laptop, purse and shoes by the door. I dress in the dark and quietly open the door just enough to slide out and not enough to let the hall light shine into the room and disturb the husband.

This morning I grabbed the laundry bag; a chore I can do while I sit in the lobby and watch the news. I just have to remember not to leave it as it's not my "routine" to do laundry this early.

The husband goes to the rig today to make sure all his tools are there and get ready to do his job which may take 4 to 5 days. We have been here over 10 days now.  We may be headed home by the coming weekend. I want to wait until December before going back to Louisiana. It will be cool by then. The husband is ready to go back now. I'm still trying to convince him to contact the office for jobs available in Colorado. Thus far, I have been unsuccessful and it looks as though another week of heat relief is all I will have.
It's time to collect the laundry out of the dryer so I'll close out. I'll be without wheels today which means I'll be at the hotel all day which isn't a bad thing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old Town part of Albuquerque, N.M.

We spent most of the morning in OLD TOWN, Albuquerque. If you look past all the T-shirt shops and tourist type offerings you can see the old adobe buildings housing these things. The walls are 2 feet thick and the logs jut out from where the wall meets the roof testifying to the structure of the building. Are these logs from lodge pole pines and is that how those trees were named? Walls are stuccoed and dirt brown in color; the colors of the desert repeated in the structures and compatible with the heat. Wrought iron gates protected entry into private shaded courtyards that we could partially see from the street. This part of the town reminded me of New Orleans with it's private areas hidden from all but those who lived in their apartments. Were these buildings in Miami, they would be bright colors to reflect the ocean waters and scenery. To each part of this country, the landscape reflects harmony with it's surroundings.

We wandered from shop to shop and walked among the courtyards filled with pots of flowers contrasting sharply with the soft shades of the shops. Adobe benches were placed around for a place to sit and watch others that were working or shopping or just enjoying the great weather today.

We left Old Town and went to Garcia's Kitchen on Rt. 66 for a long lunch break. Sipping our iced tea, we weren't in a hurry to be anywhere other then where we were right then. I ordered a chicken taco salad while the husband had a combination platter and we both resisted the te‎mptation to order sopapillas though we did think about how tasty they would be with butter and honey dripping from them.

Our plans for the remainder of the afternoon are to go back to the Sandia Resort and hang out at the casino for a while before we head back to Farmington. It has been a great two days and I'm amazed that my "vacation" continues; amazed and grateful because it is still cooler here then in hot humid Louisiana.


We are 100 miles from Farmington and sailing down the highway. I watch from my seat in the truck as the terrain changes. From the red soil with no grass to the more mountainous view of grass covered land. This green is a soft sage color and sparse with sand visible barely contained by the grass. Against the outcropping of the rock walls, a homestead can be seen. Usually a corral erected from whole trees encircles the back part of the house. Sometimes the ruins of an old stone building is seen; two walls standing and managing to still support part of a roof. I'm always enamored of these partial structures and the stories they hold. Who lived there and where are they now?

Pueblos glide by noting when we arrive on one reservation and another sign when we leave. The Pueblos are small in number for each tribe and though their reservations adjoin, they still maintain their separate identities and customs. I'm not sure I understand the division markers for the Pueblo Indians. I'm told Pueblo refers to an area and in that area are many tribes that refer to themselves as Pueblos. Sandias, Ruiz and Jimez are a few of the tribes that live under the umbrella named Pueblos.

It's time to do some research on the web on this.

I'm ready to be back in Farmington and spend a little time in the jacuzzi. I'm beginning to think of Farmington as "home" now. Does that mean we have been on this trip too many days?

A swamp cooler!! Water is pumped through this thing and wets the pads that are on the inside of it and the fan then blows air through these pads to cool the houses! Can only be used in dry climates!