When I don’t blog it feels like I’ve forgotten something. But I’m so very busily writing so the posts are few right now. It’s been a very nice Sunday and days like this should noted and treasured…First I wrote and watered my plants, including this new mystery flower that’s grown up next to the bamboo. What is it?
Then I made serious Fried Rice, I say serious because it took lots of chopping and tasting and googling (to find out how to properly cook Basmati rice and whether Sherry really can substitute for Shaoxing wine). I recommend making this recipe; it’s full of interesting tastes but they’re subtle and it’s just the right consistency…and I love it. However it would be even better had I been drinking wine while cooking, but with no time for a lengthy nap I had to forgo the vino. And I hate Sherry so I nip of that wasn’t going to work. Here’s the recipe. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12177-fried-rice
A splendid day. Now to bed with my newest detective novel. Denise Mina…who’s okay, not wonderful. Scottish noir can’t compare with the real stuff from Scandinavia.
Wait…there is no spring here, at least not one a northerner would consider worthy of the name. Here we go from bare branches to full blown leaves with no pause for odes to the season in between. That may be an exaggeration but not by much. No falling icicles, no rich earthy smells as the sun and melting snow instigate the Big Spring Thaw, no muddy roads or mud vacations. But the wind…oh yes, the spring wind…that we have. April wind is to the high desert what April showers are to the north—except for the part about May flowers. However, I am gradually re-learning to re-love every sunny dust mote of this sometimes magical, sometimes annoying place.
Sara will graduate high school. Sara will start college. Sara is no longer a cheerleader. But back when she was (up until two weeks ago) what a lithe and pretty presence on the playing fields and courts of Albuquerque. Now, however it’s off to UNM and the next move toward real life. I want to tell her over and over to treasure college and classes and books and the belongingness that college can represent—but whether she turns out to be a perpetual student like me or a normal human being who enjoys moving toward a useful profession, and yet another new stage of life, I hope she finds it exciting and satisfying.
Here are a few photos from the Sara’s last cheerleading competition. Her team didn’t win and she had a horrible cold but she carried on and made us proud.
The idea of geography is exciting to me: especially “the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere…” It doesn’t play out the way it should in my life though—I don’t walk and climb and hike through it; I seem to be better at staring at it from train windows or my seat in a movie theater. I must find a way to fix this—some activity to engage in consistently. Could I spend a day a month visiting one of the magnificent bits of New Mexican geography? Surely I could.
The first week in April, Scott and I will visit some choice bit of geography in SoCal. Maybe out to see the desert in bloom, or through the mountains to Julian to be rewarded with an apple pie, or down by the ocean the ocean the ocean… Then in May, a good Sandia hike when everybody’s here for Sara’s graduation. June, July and August are tough for New Mexicans, and early morning walks in the neighborhood aren’t exactly geographic explorations. although part of the definition of geography says “The study of … human activity …including the distribution of populations and resources, land use, and industries.” Okay, I could make a plan to walk some parts of my neighborhood—although unfortunately it is the most ordinary of lower-middle class neighborhoods. Maybe not.
In September, Steven and I may go on a giant road trip—which will be the study of GEOGRAPHY both from the car windows and trekking about in a grand way. Can’t wait.
This tree in the parking lot at my gym, a sunrise and Sandia (watermelon) sunset are the best I can do today.
It was a great relief to be invited back for a walk in the Bosque with friend Beth’s hiking club after whining a lot last time. I was chastised for not bringing water but the walk was only three hours on flat land so I was fine without, although I believe that’s considered bad hiking form. I’ve promised to be good and bring lots of snacks and liquids if they invite me back. We saw four porcupines nestled among the branches of the tall, presently leafless, cottonwoods. (They are cottonwoods aren’t they…in the bosque?) We were quite excited. Ian and I also spotted a werewolf but I couldn’t get my camera focused fast enough to get her picture. Here’s the album: (can’t caption for some reason but top two photos are one of the porcupines)
Thanks to Friend Beth’s invitation I walked/climbed 6.6 miles/1162 feet yesterday. Now granted I wasn’t appropriately grateful on some of those long uphill stretches but nine hours in bed and a pain pill later I am ready to offer up an earnest thank you. One of those goldy fall days, nice people, such a much better way to spend a day off than binging on netflix (really!) Here’s a two-part photo album: The Big Picture and Up Close and Personal:
BIG PICTURE: SANDIAS WITH FALL COLOR FADING INTO AUTUMN BROWNS AND GRAYS.
I walked the 10K Walk of the Duke City Marathon 2016. Did It. Who knew it would be so much harder to walk steadily and quickly (for me) for 10K than just to amble along taking photos every few yards? It Was Very Hard. But hey, I was second in my age/sex group—out of two of us! And I’m not sure what the overall categories represent but I was 76th out of 109 in the Division and 60th out of 85 in Gen (?) Rank. I realize that’s probably a C- and I’ve never considered myself a C kind of person (overlooking my Math Sat scores). However, considering I spent years living on mac n cheese and cigarettes; never ever playing a sport or going near a gym until recent times, I’ll take C.
My daughter-in-law Michele went way into serious running for her first time with the Half-Marathon—finishing hardly out of breath. Her foray into all this healthy living is fairly recent also but with the sweat on her brow barely dry yesterday she was already talking full Marathon next year!.
There you have it…another perfectly good weekend wasted on healthful activity outdoors in gorgeous fall weather when we could have been watching porn on the news channels.
“Billy the Kid shooting all those people over in New Mexico has made gunfighting real popular with the public.” Larry McMurty, The Last Kind Words Saloon
So that’s how all this craziness started?
It’s hard to maintain an ongoing photo album of the immediate natural environment or the sights along the highway if you’re neither walking about or driving about. And I had such good intentions. I still intend to use this blog, Walk Abouts & Drive Abouts to fall back in ‘small love’ (or ‘big like’) with New Mexico…which does have its own parched beauty, and summer mornings and autumn evenings are as good as anywhere. With no bugs to speak of, sometimes better. The history of this state is comprised of all those things compelling history demands—tragedy, bravery, duplicity, felicity—we were a territory of pueblos, then Mexican, then American. Manifest Destiny conquers all.
I haven’t loved it here for a number of years. Harsh culture, hot weather. Dry economy, dry weather. However it’s home and I will die here. I should try to love it again as I did the first twenty years. How to do that? Through the best of the natural environment I suppose. There are great walking trails along the Bosque, maybe in the mountains. And it is an almost perfect driving state. Space, big space, big sky. Mountains if you need a change. New Mexico’s open spaces are never boring…well almost never…because there’s always that odd outcropping over there, butte there, rain shower to the west, bright sun to the east, dust storm just ahead chasing tumbleweeds every which way…I’m making myself want to go for a drive.
I can’t start the ‘loving’ project right now because I’m going on a month-long trip North, Denmark, Greenland, Norway, England. When I get back though…
It will be August. If I can fall back in some degree of love with New Mexico in August I can do anything. Meanwhile I’m including a great FB post today from a guy named Seth Biderman.