Friday, October 31, 2008

Who I'm Voting For

Disclaimer: This is not a political blog. I have never intended to make any posts about politics here. I am already an administrator on a political discussion board, Annoyed, and that is where I talk about politics day after day.

But somehow, right now, taking a stand seems too important to miss any opportunities, so I will make one political post here (I am a political junkie, after all!!)

At the beginning of this election season, I liked neither candidate, and I grieved for months because I saw no way that I was going to be able to vote in this election; for me, it would have been the first election I have ever missed since I voted in my first presidential election in 1968 when I was 22 years old. All summer I felt that not voting WAS my way of making a statement - declaring that neither man was fit to be President of the United States.

However, in the last two months, I have changed my mind, and made my decision. This decision was based on two things:

1. Governor Sarah Palin. I liked her even before Senator McCain named her as his running mate. She is an unabashed unapologetic conservative. She is a reformer. She is unafraid to say what she believes and she is unafraid to take on wrong-doing and make changes, even if it involves going against some in her own party. She is smart and articulate and natural and to me, she is the ultimate feminist - she is a mother and a wife and a professional woman … and she seems to do it all well. I saw that a vote for the McCain-Palin ticket would be a vote for the future of our party and our country.

2. The more I watched Senator Obama, the more I learned about him and his lack of experience, the thinness of his record in government, his strange associations in the past for which he never takes responsibility and for which he has never distanced himself, his reluctance to set forth any agenda for exactly what he plans to do, his dependence on his charisma and smooth talk and his irritating way of saying things without saying much of anything, the fact that his speeches drip with socialism, his years of flip flopping, his recently growing history of intimidating anyone who disagrees with him…..well, he scares me. He scares me a lot. I don’t want a president who is a messiah or a smooth talker or a rock star or a president who believes in “spreading the wealth around” or who believes in pulling out of a war before the job is done. I don’t want a president who tells us he will bring about “change” unless he spells it out and I can agree with him; there are all kinds of change, one single candidate doesn’t have a lock on the concept of change; change comes with every new presidential administration.

The more disturbed I got with Senator Obama as a candidate, the more
I began to realize that I HAVE to vote, just as I have voted in every election year since 1968. I’m too scared of an Obama future NOT to vote this year.

So I will be voting On November 4th for Senator McCain. I still don’t like him much, I think he has run a terrible campaign, I wish he would take a stronger stand on illegal immigration and smaller government, but even so I do believe he can be strong and tough and I believe he is honest and I know he loves this country, which he has served literally all of his adult life. And he sure knows how to pick a running mate!

I know many of you who read this blog and I know some of you agree with me and some of you don’t. If you are voting for Senator Obama, then I respect your decision, just as I ask you to respect mine. Whichever man wins this election, those who voted for him may have a lot to defend in the coming four years. And all I really ask of anyone who is voting for president, is that we all think long and hard about what we are doing before we pull that lever. I believe this is the biggest election of my lifetime, and depending on who wins, our country might be changed forever.

I am very comfortable with my decision. I think it is the right one. I am at peace.

McCain-Palin 2008 ~ Country First.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More scenery - Cochiti Lake and Peña Blanca area

Here is some of the dramatic scenery around the Cochiti Lake, Peña Blanca, Dixon's apple farm area:

This is the Pueblo de Cochiti Municipal Golf Course. What a setting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dixon's Apple orchard

Dixon's Apple orchard is located in a secluded valley (actually called a cañada - a place at the mouth of a canyon) at 6,200 feet elevation, near Peña Blanca, NM (about six miles west of Cochiti Lake). Dixon's apples are grown on 50 acres of volcanic lava rich soil which has proved to be perfect for producing excellent apples. Their apples are harvested in late September, and they sell out very quickly.

We drove out to the orchard on Sunday just to see their farm; this year's crop of apples sold out weeks ago. We were surprised at the location; it is truly up in the mountains and the scenery is just spectacular. Here are a few pictures John took that day:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake is located 30 miles south of Santa Fe and 50 miles north of Albuquerque within the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation. The lake is along the Rio Grande and at 5479 feet elevation.

Construction began in 1965 and was completed in 1975, creating a 1200 surface acre lake. The dam is one of the ten largest earthfill dams in the United States. The lake is maintained by Cochiti Pueblo and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

The lake has several camping grounds, a boat ramp, and a scenic overlook. The lake contains northern pikes, walleyes, and smallmouth bass, and is stocked during the year with rainbow and brown trout.

Here are some pictures John took on Sunday when we visited the lake:

The last picture is of the Cochiti Lake area looking towards the Town of Cochiti Lake:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman, 1925 - 2008

He was one of my favorite authors. I considered him a New Mexico treasure.

I will miss his books and all the stories that died with him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hillerman.

Fall means chile ristras!

You see them all over our area in the fall ... but there is nothing like having one hanging on your portal and getting to see it every morning when you look out the window! I guess everything seems more exciting the first year you do it.

(Bonus points for anyone who sees my dog Sugar in the picture...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BRRR .. first hard freeze

I think that there was a frost during the time when we were gone out of town last week, but last night we definitely had a hard freeze. It was 21º when we got up this morning, and many plants in our yard didn't make it through the night.

Today it is still cold -- only 36º at almost-noon. But it is sunny and the sky is the usual brilliant blue.

I do love the fall weather, even the cold. It's good to be outside in the invigorating weather. Feels good to be alive.

Coming up next before we know it -- SNOW!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tecolote Cafe

Today was our first visit to the Tecolote Cafe on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch -- and has a great menu. John had soft tacos and I had pork tamales. The green chile is HOT - just as they warned us! The meals come with a little basket of biscuits and blueberry muffins which were delicious. In fact, everything was delicious!

The hostess and waiter were really nice and attentive. The place is very simple and homey ... nothing fancy.

The restaurant is owned by Bill and Alice Jennison and has been in business since 1980. Tecolote is Nahuatl (Aztec Indian) for "owl." The owl is a bird used in nearly every culture's myths and legends, both feared and revered and sometimes worshipped, and often thought as a source of wisdom. But Jennison says he named his restaurant for the little northern New Mexican town of Tecolote near Las Vegas.

ANYWAY...we loved our lunch and we will definitely make a return trip. Need more of that green chile!!!! yum!!!

The view from our bedroom window

The man who owned our house before we did had the foresight to put in lots of trees, bushes, perennials, etc. So when we came to the house, we had lots of landscaping already in place.

But I think our favorite is the aspen trees he planted right outside the master bedroom window. He put them there for privacy, but they also give us a wonderful view from the window. In the fall they are particularly beautiful in their golden splendor. We are enjoying them while they are so colorful and have not lost their leaves yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October sunset

One of the first rules of life in New Mexico that we learned even before we moved here is:


We watch the sunsets over the Jemez Mountains nightly. Here is an interesting one from several nights ago:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back home again

We are back from our ten day road trip to Texas and Missouri to see our kids.

It was a wonderful time, surrounded by some of the people we love the most in this world.

As it always does, the time went by too fast, and the goodbyes were as tough as they always are.

We logged 2100 miles through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.

The picture below was taken yesterday morning in Trinidad, Colorado, where the mountains in the distance are already covered with a blanket of snow.

Time to get back into our routine here in Santa Fe, and time to make the rounds of all your blogs to catch up on my reading that I missed while I was gone.

I am adding a new blog to my list of New Mexico favorites, Seattle to New Mexico, which is written by one of my friends at City-Data Forum website. Be sure to click the link in the column at the right and read about her move to Bernalillo, NM.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The view from the mountain

Looking at the view down below is just spectacular from the area of the mountain near the Santa Fe Ski Basin. You can see the city of Santa Fe down below, as well as all the way to the Ortiz Mountains and the Sandias to the south and the Jemez Mountains to the west.

New Mexico is a beautiful state and the Santa Fe area certainly is one of the most scenic, in my opinion. Sometimes we must stop and let it sink in that we are actually living here!

First snow of the season at the Ski Basin

The first snow of the year fell up at the Santa Fe Ski Basin over the weekend.

Not enough for skiing yet, but it's a start, and we saw lots of enthusiastic people up at the ski area yesterday checking out the snow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Snow and Aspens

What interesting scenery up in the Sangre de Cristos today.

The golden quaking aspens, the symbol of the fall season, are at their peak color.

And the first snow, the sign of approaching winter, has fallen.

Which made the mountain a wonderland of October beauty today!

More quaking aspens on the mountain

We returned to the mountain today to check on the aspens...and they are really at their peak this week. This seems a little later than usual.

What a glorious day!

A new species of fall weed popping up here


are all over my neighborhood. They popped up like autumn weeds in the last month. Not in the last few days, but for a MONTH now.

I consider myself a tolerant person, at least as far as political expression goes.

I have worked in many many many political campaigns over the years, and I have put campaign signs in my own yard every election year in the past.

BUT. Most communities have ordinances about signs, and as a campaign worker in Kansas, I respected our local Republican party for requiring campaign workers to adhere to the campaign laws in various municipalities in our county.

My subdivision of Eldorado has a CLEAR policy that any campaign sign is not to be placed on personal property any sooner than two weeks before an election.

That means we should be seeing NO campaign signs in our neighborhood until October 21, NOT six weeks before the election as we have been subjected to.

Is this a big deal? Maybe not to some people. But to me -- seeing signs which offend me in the place where I live and for up to three times longer than the local ordinance allows -- yeah it offends me. And it raises questions as to how law abiding our Democrat counterparts are.

I'll be calling our Homes Association today. I know what they will tell me. There is no way to enforce the ordinance.

Sometimes personal responsibility is called for. I certainly am seeing a big lack of it on the roads throughout my subdivision. To me it doesn't matter who you support, this is a matter of being a good citizen and not offending your neighbors for WEEKS and WEEKS before an election.

I am sure the ordinance also says the signs must come down within a day or two after the election. Anxious to see if THAT happens.

< rant over >

~~From Towanda, suffocating among the Obama signs in Eldorado~~

(Disclaimer: The picture of the Obama sign was taken from the Obama website at

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's fall in the Land of Enchantment!

Our days are getting shorter. Our summer flowers have faded. The grass has gotten brown. There is a chill in the morning and night air. It really has begun to look and feel like fall here.

I love New Mexico in the fall, in fact it is my favorite season here. The chamisa are in bloom … seems like EVERYWHERE. The aspens up in the mountains are a blaze of color. New Mexico chiles and apples and piñon nuts are in season -- strings of chile ristras for sale on street corners make the city so colorful. Down in Albuquerque they are having the spectacular annual Balloon Fiesta. Tumbleweeds are maturing all over and will soon break free and be blowing around everywhere.

We bought our red chile ristra at Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Post in Santa Fe last week and it is hanging on our front portal. We can see it from our bedroom and dining room windows.

And … any day now we can expect to see some snow up on the mountain top. It’s fireplace weather!

In years past, we came to New Mexico in October but only were here for a few days of enjoyment of the autumn weather. This year we get to be here for the entire season! Life is good! Time to make some green chile stew!

These colorful fall flowers were blooming in Chimayó when we were there a few weeks ago. (We need to get more pictures of the wonderful fall color out here so stay tuned.....)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Up in the Sangres

John and I took a drive up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains today to check out the aspen trees and see how the fall foliage was looking.

The mountains looked just spectacular as always, but the aspens have not reached their peak color yet. John got some nice pictures anyway, and we hope to make a return trip up there next week to see if the color is even better.