Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping Up 2010

Another year has come to an end and for the last two years I have taken the time to review those years and write a summary. I find that I actually enjoy going back and reliving our adventures. 2010 was a pretty good year, and like all years we had some ups and downs. This year started out pretty slow. In January we just got back into the swing of things after the holidays and not much happened. Maybe that was a good thing, we probably needed to relax after our trip to Louisiana for Christmas.

February was a little busier and more exciting. The month started with the New Orleans Saints winning the Superbowl. Being a native Louisianian I was extremely excited for the team and the city. Also in February Thomas and I took a trip to Tucson to get away from the cold in Santa Fe. We spent about a week in Tucson and had a really good time. We did some hiking and letterboxing - we especially enjoyed our drive along the Sky Island Scenic Byway and hiking on Mt. Lemmon. You can read all about our trip at A Trip to Tucson (Part I and Part II). Back in Santa Fe we got back to our normal routine and started planning for our next trip. When we were in Louisiana for Christmas we didn't get to see my brother. He and his wife weren't able to get away for the holidays. But they had planned to be in Lafayette for Easter so Thomas and I arranged to visit then. So at the end of March we flew to New Orleans and rented a car. We did get to do a little exploring around Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well as visit the family in Lafayette. My sisters had also asked me to take pictures of my nieces, Tori (for her graduation) and Madison (for her first communion). I had a good time taking these pictures and even though I am not a professional I think they came out pretty good. You can read about this trip at Easter Trip to Louisiana (Part I and Part II).

When we returned to New Mexico in mid April it was to some bad news. Thomas' cousin Ruth had been diagnosed with cancer back in December and had been through surgery and treatments. Unfortunately things were too far along and Ruth was too weak to continue some of the treatments. So she and her husband made the decision to stop everything and make the most of the time they had left together. Ruth passed away on April 20th. Ruth and Thomas had been pretty close as we lived next door to each other for quite a while. But a few years ago Ruth and her husband Chris moved to Albuquerque and our visits with them lessened. It was still a very sad day for us and we miss her terribly. Ruth worked as an instructor at a community college and she was also an author. She wrote books under the names R. C. Brojim and Cleo Dare.

In May I took a trip by myself to Cape Cod, MA and Rhode Island. Some letterboxing friends were having an event to celebrate their semi-retirement from letterboxing and their finding 26.000+ letterboxes. I spent a few days on Cape Cod and then made my way to Rhode Island. This was my first time in Rhode Island and I really enjoyed myself. For more details on that trip go to Happy Trails! (& 26,000 (s)miles!) Letterboxing Trip. After this trip Thomas and I spent most of the summer just hanging around Santa Fe. We did work around the house and in the garden and took day trips in the area. It turned out to be a nice, relaxing time and we got quite a bit done around the house.

Then in August we went on a trip to Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. We had talked about going to Maine for a while but never really made any plans. One of the main reasons for the trip was a letterboxing event in Brunswick (which turned out not to be so good) and the other reason was to visit Acadia National Park. We really enjoyed this park and I would really enjoy visiting the area again. We also made a side trip to Montpelier, VT. This has to be one of my favorite State Capitals in the country. This is the smallest State Capital and I think it is one of the nicest cities. We also spent a little time in New Hampshire during this trip and you can read about the trip at The Maine Event.

September and October had us staying close to home but keeping busy as well. We attended the New Mexico State Fair and we went raspberry picking. And we took an overnight trip to Clayton, NM. And we also took a trip to the Four Corners area and spent some time in Farmington, NM. Pretty simple things but fun none the less.
During this time we also started thinking about taking a trip to Georgia to visit my brother. We had pretty much decided to go between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays but the we got a phone call from my brother and they wanted the entire family to go for Thanksgiving.

So we adjusted our time and plans just a little and made it for Thanksgiving. We actually flew into Birmingham, AL (because Southwest didn't fly into Atlanta) and then did a little driving to Savannah, GA and then to Asheville, NC before heading to my brother's place in Acworth, GA. We really enjoyed this trip - it was the first time for both Thomas and I to visit this area. There are much more details at A Southern Thanksgiving Letterboxing Trip.

That was pretty much it for our adventures for the year. December has turned out to be pretty quiet and cold and we ended having a relaxing Christmas. There are other things that happened throughout the year. Our puppies continue to grow and they have really bonded with each other - Daisy and Buddy have really become good friends. They ended up with another brother this year. During the summer a black dog showed up on the property and would sleep under a juniper at the end of the driveway. At first we did nothing, not knowing where he came from or if he was mean. I guess we thought that he would eventually leave. But then Daisy and Buddy started playing with him and Thomas felt sorry for him and started feeding him. Thomas named him Grim (because he is black and reminded us of the Grim in the Harry Potter books and movies). We have since adopted him and got him neutered and got him his shots. He has turned out to be a great pet - we think he was abused and he was just looking for a little love. I am glad we have the space for another dog and that we can afford to take care of him.

Okay, what else - my detached retina. Things are good! I feel lucky that I have my eyesight and that the retina is attached and healthy. I am seeing an eye doctor that specializes in vision therapy and so far that is going well. I will write a post once I have finished the treatments and let you know how things have turned out. Detached Retina has the complete story. I also continued with my picture taking blog but I had some camera trouble and wasn't able to do a picture every day so I just posted a picture when I had one I wanted to share. You can see what I was able to do at As I See It 2010.

Last but definitely not least was the victories for Gay and Lesbians. Five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia now have legal same-sex marriage. There are also major efforts in California and New York to get same-sex marriage legalized. And now Don't Ask, Don't Tell has finally been repealed. With Obama's signature we can now have openly gay and lesbian soldiers able to serve this country and not have to hide. Unfortunately, there were some suicides among gay teenagers due to bullying. But out of this sadness we gained some really great support. The Trevor Project, It Gets Better and Give a Damn! all came to the call for help. Don't get me wrong, we still have a long way to go but things are much better.

For me 2010 was a good year and I am looking forward to 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Factual Explanation

I came across this post on a blog that I read called Idle Eyes and A Dormy. I really enjoyed Ricky's explanation and felt a connection with it. Whether you agree or not I believe it can give everyone something to think about.

A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist

Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -¬- evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

This, is of course a spirituality issue, religion is a different matter. As an atheist, I see nothing “wrong” in believing in a god. I don’t think there is a god, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me. I would never deny your right to believe in a god. I would just rather you didn’t kill people who believe in a different god, say. Or stone someone to death because your rulebook says their sexuality is immoral. It’s strange that anyone who believes that an all-powerful all-knowing, omniscient power responsible for everything that happens, would also want to judge and punish people for what they are. From what I can gather, pretty much the worst type of person you can be is an atheist. The first four commandments hammer this point home. There is a god, I’m him, no one else is, you’re not as good and don’t forget it. (Don’t murder anyone, doesn’t get a mention till number 6.)

When confronted with anyone who holds my lack of religious faith in such contempt, I say, “It’s the way God made me.”

But what are atheists really being accused of?

The dictionary definition of God is “a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe.” Included in this definition are all deities, goddesses and supernatural beings. Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities. So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.

I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God -– what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-¬‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God--‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learned of evolution -– a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living. But living an honest life -– for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

So what does the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking “what makes you so special? “How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?” “How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f— you!” Let’s be honest, if one person believed in God he would be considered pretty strange. But because it’s a very popular view it’s accepted. And why is it such a popular view? That’s obvious. It’s an attractive proposition. Believe in me and live forever. Again if it was just a case of spirituality this would be fine.

“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -¬‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

Ricky Gervais is the writer and star of HBO’s “Ricky Gervais Out of England 2: The Stand-Up Special”


Friday, October 29, 2010

Detached Retina (Update #13)

It has been a year since my last update. I am now only seeing my Retinal Specialist (Dr. Wyant) once a year. My check-up went well and me retina seems to be attached and is looking good. My vision is about the same meaning that I seeing well enough with both eyes and my glasses. My left eye is still blurry and my peripheral vision is still less than in my right eye. My depth perception is much better and I have no problems with driving. Dr. Wyant cleared me for another year and my glasses prescription hasn't changed. Even though I am doing well enough I still miss my peripheral vision and with certain activities I do notice a problem with my total vision. After my visit with Dr. Wyant I spoke with a co-worker about her detached retina and what she did to help her vision. She told me about her eye doctor who specializes in vision therapy. She gave me his name and number and I will contact him to make an appointment. The treatments he provides seem like they could possibly help me. I will update here when I have my evaluation and treatments with him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Raspberry Picking

Earlier this week I spent the day with friends and one of the things that came up was raspberry picking at Salman Ranch. I mentioned that I had wanted to drive up there this year and somehow time had gotten away from me. It was probably too late to go now - all of the raspberries were probably gone. Then a couple of days later I received an email from the Ranch and it said that there were still tons of raspberries left and that this weekend would be a great time to drive up to La Cueva and do some picking.

So, this morning Thomas and I and two friends set out to Salman Ranch. We had a nice drive and great weather. It was a beautiful Fall day and there weren't very many people. Pretty much we had the entire field to ourselves. I really enjoyed myself and it was easy to pick these berries. They came off the bush very easy and there aren't the thorns or stickers that you find on blackberry bushes. We each picked two buckets of berries and ended up with a total of 17 pounds of raspberries.

After paying we stopped in to the Café to have a little lunch and then walked through the gardens before making our way back to Santa Fe. Once home I placed all my raspberries on trays and put them into the freezer. Tomorrow I will put them in bags and hopefully have enough to last me until the Spring.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Waste / Not

Today I was downtown just walking around. I remembered that there was an art showing at the Convention Center. This art show features recycled trash. I was impressed with the artwork and I enjoyed trying to figure out what they used to make each piece. The only thing I was disappointed about was that there weren't all that many pieces. I felt I wanted to see more. Anyway if you get the chance please go by the convention center to see this show. It is called Waste / Not and it runs through November 14th and is open from 10am - 5pm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It Gets Better!

These five teens all recently committed suicide after being bullied and teased because they were gay. Even with these five lives being lost not much is being done about the hate that caused these tragedies. Name calling and bullying someone who is gay seems to be an acceptable past time without much of any consequence. If someone chose to belittle women, or use the "N" word or make a derogatory remark about someone Hispanic or Oriental they would have to answer for that. But the ones that are constantly using the word Faggot defend themselves by saying they are just expressing their First Amendment Rights of free speech. Well, isn't that exactly what every bigot is doing when they defame members of the opposite sex or any of the minorities in our world. This simply can't be tolerated.

It Gets Better!

As a teenager I was constantly picked on and teased. More than once I was beaten up in the locker room at school while the guys called my faggot and queer. There were days I didn't want to go to school because I was simply tired of all the harassment. But somehow I survived. I am sure that the idea of suicide crossed my mind but either I was too scared to really consider it or I just didn't know how to do it. Please know that I never came out to anyone at this point in my life - the harassment was all because people assumed I was gay. Obviously they were right but at the time it wasn't something that they knew for sure.

It Gets Better!

After high school I attended a local college. The harassment got better but there were still innuendos and comments. Even within my own family. I remember my father making derogatory remarks about people on TV. So I kept my secret and tried to live the way that society told me I was suppose to. There were times I felt scared and alone thinking that no one understood what I was going through. And still I survived. I eventually dropped out of college and just worked - I had an apartment and friends and life was okay but not great. I knew deep down inside I wasn't being me.

It Gets Better!

Eventually I decided I wanted to go back to college but I didn't want to stay at home. I chose to move away thinking that if I were among strangers it would be easier to be myself. That wasn't the case. I still felt I had to hide. So even though I did date some men I didn't come out to any of my friends and family. Things still didn't feel right - I wasn't being me. But I was still scared and kept it all in. Luckily the harassment at this time was pretty much next to nothing. My reason for not coming out was I felt that my friends and family would all abandon me. It never crossed my mind that they may accept me for who I am or that I could find and make friends who were just like me or who would accept me.

It Gets Better!

Just before graduation I met a man. A man I had an instant connection with. If I didn't believe in 'Love at First Site' before I did believe in it when I met this man. This man - Thomas - has now been my partner for almost 21 years. I knew when I met him that I had to let all my fears go and take this chance. This meant that I would need to tell all my friends and family in order to live an open life with the person I fell in love with. My fears as they say were unwarranted. Most of my friends and family said they already knew and that it didn't matter. Others were upset because I felt I couldn't confide in them - they were my friends after all and my sexual orientation wasn't a factor in our friendship. Now I don't want to paint a totally perfect picture because there are some negatives (but those were few and I realized that those people were never really my friend). And lets be honest - Life isn't all perfect for anyone. It's all good and bad but you have to be who you are and accept the good with the bad.

It Gets Better!

I write this in the hope that a gay teen somewhere will read it and know that being gay is okay and even though you may get teased and harassed it does get better. I want them to know that they are important and their sexual orientation is part of who they are and it doesn't mean they are any less a person if they are gay.

Thanks to Dan Savage for starting the It Gets Better Project!
Also check out The Trevor Project!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One More Victory

It looks like the Gay and Lesbian community has won yet another victory. Yesterday U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is unconstitutional. Hopefully this isn't an early celebration because the Justice Department has until September 23 to submit objections. This decision means that all gay and lesbian soldiers will be able to openly talk about their significant others and will not have to hide their relationships. That is something that straight military personnel take for granted. This decision partnered with the repeal of Prop 8 in California brings great big steps in the approach to full gay and lesbian rights. Again, people are claiming this is a moral issue. It is funny to me how they are quick to classify homosexuality as amoral but they go around having sex out of wedlock and cussing and generally having no concern for any moral values except when it comes to homosexuality. As an example, my nephew makes post on his facebook page using the word God and quite a few curse words in the same sentence. It is appalling to me that they are willing to deny rights to people by standing behind God. I know there will be lots of struggles for gays and lesbians in the military even with DADT repealed because people are just ignorant. I heard on a radio talk show that the Marine Corp is already talking about separate barracks (does this segregation sound familiar - 'hey you gays get to the back of the bus'). It is funny how a group of men can share barracks as long as some don't know that others are gay but when they know all of a sudden that there are gay men there they think they are going to be attacked or something - it is just irrational. But I digress, the important point here is that there are other people out there who are working on equaling the rights of gays and lesbian. As I read about this decision I came across the photos below.
These photos are by Jeff Sheng and are part of his "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Series. Here is his take on the photos . . .

The photographer elaborates, “Ultimately for me, these photographs underscore the silence permeating the unsung heroism of gay and lesbian military personnel. The photos are about the men and women who continue to fight and serve despite the heartbreaking invisibility they suffer.”

Here are some links related to this decision by the courts.
DADT Defeated: Serve with Pride
Judge Rules DADT Unconstitutional
Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
Photographer Jeff Sheng: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Thursday, August 5, 2010

One Step Closer

Yesterday was an incredible victory in the pursuit of equal rights for all Americans. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker issued his 136 page opinion which strikes down California's ban on same-sex marriage. He stated that Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, violates gay couples' rights to equal protection and due process, as protected by the U.S. Constitution. Kudos to Judge Vaughn. I would also like to thank Kristin Perry & Sandy Stier along with Jeffrey Zarrillo & Paul Katami. These two couples are the ones that brought this case to court. I respect their courage and appreciate what they have done to bring equal rights to all. I do realize that the fight is not over and that the opponents of same-sex marriage have probably already started working on an appeal. Even so, this victory has inspired a lot of people and I hope that these opponents realize that they can't dictate their personal beliefs on everyone. Live your life the way you want to live it. If you don't believe in same-sex marriage then don't marry someone of the same sex, but please don't tell me who I can marry. Thomas and I were married a little over five years ago in Massachusetts. Maybe one day soon that marriage will be legal in the whole UNITED States. It seems funny to use the word united when each state seperately decides who can legally marry - seems very divided. It also seems funny to use the word united when it is clear that we are divided in who should have rights and who shouldn't. Our very own Constitution guarantees in the Declaration of Independence that all people will have the same rights.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
What really bothers me is that the same people trying to control who can marry and who can't are the same people complaining that the Government has too much control over their lives and that the Government isn't upholding the Constitution. But on the other hand they are trying to get the Government to control my life. They don't believe in the Constitution unless it actually benefits them - they are trying to take away my unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I do understand that they have their religious beliefs and that is fine. What isn't fine is them forcing that belief on me. I don't want or need their Church or their God to approve of my marriage. And if they don't believe in same-sex marriage then by all means it is their right not to marry someone of the same sex, but they don't have the right to make me accept their beliefs. I only want what the Constitution grants me. I work hard, pay my taxes and contribute to society just like most Americans - and I want (no, I DEMAND) all the same rights that they have. I demand the same legal benefits and protections that marriage brings to other Americans. Proposition 8 united the Gay and Lesbian community and soon after it was passed a NOH8 Campaign was born. That campaign grew over the last two years and I think made a big difference in this fight for equality. Today I have more confidence that my relationship and marriage will garner more respect in this country and that one day I will have all the rights that Americans are guaranteed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Celebrating Gay Pride Month

It's June and it's time to celebrate Gay Pride Month! There are celebrations all around the United States including Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Why is Gay Pride in June? Well, it all has to do with some incredibly brave individuals in New York City who stood up for themselves (and indirectly for all of us) in June of 1969. The Stonewall Riots were the most important tuning point in the the fight for gay rights. I am hoping to post something a couple of times a week as my contribution to gay pride.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Walking Around the Plaza

Today I was meeting friends near the Plaza for coffee. I arrived early and parked near the Capitol. I always enjoy walking downtown and looking at all the art and old buildings. So I walked up Old Santa Fe Trail passing the Capitol, Guadalupe Cafe, The Pink Adobe, San Miguel Mission, Upper Crust Pizza and eventually arriving at the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Alameda. I took some pictures along the way. I crossed Alameda and walked around the front of Inn at Loretto and took a few pictures. Still on Old Santa Fe Trail I passed some galleries and Loretto Chapel - I took a picture of the church. I turned right at Water St. and walked along the back side of La Fonda Hotel until I reached Cathedral Place. Here I turned left and made my way to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. There is a beautiful little park next to the Cathedral and they were having an art and craft show there. I walked through hoping to find a friend who was going to have a booth in the park with her jewelry. I found Alina (a fellow PT I work with at the hospital) and visited for a minute. I didn't stay long since she was trying to get things ready for the show. I exited the park at the back onto Palace Ave. and turned left heading toward the Plaza. I walked past Sena Plaza, The Shop, The Shed and the Frank Howell Gallery arriving at the intersections of Washington Ave., Palace Ave. and Old Santa Fe Trail where the Palace of the Governors is located.

The Plaza was packed. There were tons of people here for the Santa Fe Run Around - a 5K & 10K race in and around the Plaza. Some people were there to run and some just to cheer them on. I took pictures and walked around waiting for the start of the race. I positioned myself a little in front of the starting line so that I could get some good pictures . There were quite a few runners lined up and then 'Ils sont partis!' (cajun for 'and they're off!'). Once the runners were gone I walked up San Francisco Street passing shop after shop, pass the Ore House, San Francisco Street Bar & Grill, some galleries and clothing stores, Tia Sopia's, Burro Alley and stopping at the Lensic. Of course I took some pictures along the way.

Then I backtracked a little ways on San Francisco Street to the intersection with Galisteo. I turned right and walked along Galisteo passing Maya's, Santa Fe Hat and the Blue Corn Cafe reaching the intersection of Galisteo and Water Street. Just across Water Street on Galisteo is Collected Works Bookstore. Here is where I met my friends for coffee. We had a wonderful visit and you can read about that at Meeting Bandaid. After about an hour and a half of chatting and coffee we left. I turned right out of the bookstore and walked up Galisteo to Alameda. Here I turned left and continued my walk down Alameda to Don Gaspar. I turned left here walking past Del Charro, Santa Fe Village and the Hotel St. Francis. I stopped at the intersection of Don Gaspar and Water Street across for Cafe Pasquals. More pictures along the walk. I found a spot to sit and read The Reporter.

Did I mention that the day was absolutely beautiful, sunny and warm. When I made it to the end of the paper I retraced my steps down Don Gaspar and crossed Alameda, continuing on Don Gaspar passing State Office Buildings until I reached the Capital. I walked around the outside of the Capitol and made my way to Old Santa Fe Trail. I crossed here and was back at my car. It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

Sharing the Road . . . Not!?!?!

*NOTE* - This is going to be a rant, so if you aren't in the mood don't read any further!
And it isn't going to be politically correct either - this is my blog and I am going to vent.

You always hear "Share the road." when it comes to bicycles. I always felt okay about that and it always bothered me when I read about a bicyclist getting hit by a car. But things change and that changes our mind. And of course, we all know that the bicyclist are never at fault, it is always the big, bad car drivers are always wrong. I mean let's face it - they pollute the air, they have created the hole in the ozone and anything else you can think of. In case you can't tell I am being very facetious. Yes, there are bad drivers out there just like there are bad bicyclists. I encountered three today. And it just wasn't little things it was things that could have ended very badly.

Bicyclist #1 (Female) - wearing a helmet, dressed in all the correct clothing to be the next Lance Armstrong and seemed to be doing well. Then, she came to a crowd of people (this was on the Plaza in Santa Fe where there was a 5K run and Arts & Crafts Shows going on) where she barreled through a crosswalk full of pedestrians crossing the street. Two people jumped out of the way and just missed being hit. The bicyclist never slowed down and didn't even look back to see if anything had happened. The pedestrians had a few choice words and hand signals for the bicyclist.

Bicyclist #2 (Male) - again wearing a helmet and looking like a professional bike rider - whatever that is. I was parked in a line of cars trying to exit a parking lot and there were all these cars on the street that had a stop sign ahead. So they were stopping and moving and then every now and then would let one of the cars out of the parking lot. When I was the second car in line the car ahead of me was turning left out of the parking lot (the car on the street had stopped to let him turn) and all of a sudden stepped on his brakes and stopped int he middle of his turn. I wondered why! And then I saw a bicyclist come around the car in the street that had stopped and just kept going weaving through the cars ahead. Boy let me tell you that big bad car that was turning could have killed that bicyclist if he hadn't seen him and stopped.

Bicyclist #3 (Male) - again this was a bicyclist that had all the clothes and gear you see at the Tour de France. I was at a three-way stop and I was stopped. There were no other cars around. Directly ahead I could see a bicyclist but he hadn't quite made it to the stop sign. I start to turn right and low and behold the bicyclist turned left right in front of me - he didn't even slow down much less stop at the stop sign. Luckily I wasn't going fast and slammed my brakes on to avoid hitting him. I did sit on my horn for a good 30 seconds (secretly hoping that the noise would have scared him and he would have fallen off his bike). The road we both turned on is a 25mph road, so I was going slow and that meant that I didn't need to pass the bicyclist. On this road are four stop signs at street along the way and then you get to a signal light at a major intersection. This bicyclist did not stop at any of the stop signs. He even went around other cars that were stopped at the stop signs. Just before the signal light he put his left arm straight out to turn left onto a side street. He cut in front of the car in front of me - he never looked back to see if it was safe. I would say that the car and the bike were pretty close seeing how fast the car put on their brakes.

My point? I have had enough of this sharing the road crap and always hearing how bad the cars are. Roads were meant for cars not bikes. Roads are paid for by cars not bikes. So here are my thoughts and I don't care if you like them.
Since anyone driving a car needs to take a test and get a driver's license I feel that every bicyclist that wants to ride on the road should have to take bike safety lessons, take a test (written and practical), pass the test and pay for a rider's license.
They should also have to register (yearly) their bike and get a license plate for the bike (and pay for that as well). Someone has to pay for those bike lanes and it shouldn't be the cars (we already pay for our driver's license, license plates and gas which go to the roads). I don't mind paying for that since I use the road but I don't want to pay for bike lanes. These idiots today really pissed me off - you could tell just by their actions that they think they own the roads - they didn't want to share, they wanted everyone (pedestrians and drivers to yield to them).

If they want to share the road then they need to obey every traffic rule and sign that cars have to obey. Stop at every stop sign and only go when it is clear. Stop at pedestrian crosswalks (especially if there is someone crossing). Use turn signals at all time (and I will reiterate this for cars as well). Etc., Etc., Etc.! If they break these rules they should be ticketed just like a car would be if caught.

This is how I feel and I am glad I vented - if you want to share the road then practice what you preach. I realize that not every bicyclist is bad and it would be nice if bicyclist would realize that not all drivers are bad. When an accident happens it could just as well be the bicyclist's fault not the driver's fault - I witnessed three acts of reckless bicycling in the span of about an hour so my guess would be that there is a lot more of that going on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm a Total 'Gleek' . . .

. . . and tonight's episode was the best one yet. It was all Gaga and there were so many emotions.
Some of my favorite parts . . .
* When the girls (and Kurt) dressed all Gaga and sang Bad Romance - fantastic!
* Puck singing Beth to Quinn - touching.
* Rachel and Coach Corcoran (two incredible voices) performing Poker Face - sounded great.
* Tina making Principal Figgins believe she was a vampire - a little silly but funny.
* Coach Corcoran singing Funny Girl - I love Idina Menzel.
* Finn wearing an over-the-top red shower curtain and coming to Kurt's defense - the show of a true man.
But the highlight of the show tonight for me was . . .
* Kurt's Dad's speech.
Being a gay man I believe every gay man would have loved to hear this from his father when he was a teen struggling with all the feelings of being gay. Support from your father would make an incredible difference in any young man's life but the effect it would have on a gay man's life would be astounding.
If I hadn't already been a Glee Fan tonight would have hooked me. I applaud everyone associated with Glee for covering all the things teens have to deal with and not sugar coating it. I hope this show last for a while.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life . . . and Death

Tonight at around 11:00pm Thomas' cousin, Ruth passed away following a short battle with cancer. She called us a few weeks before Christmas to let us know she had ovarian cancer and would have to have surgery. She had that surgery on December 23. At that time they found that the cancer had metastasized to her liver. She underwent some treatments but they were too much for her, she wasn't eating much and started losing weight. Ruth and her husband, Chris made a decision to stop the treatments. A decision that Ruth's family had strong opinions about and they let Ruth know that they didn't agree with her decision. We visited Ruth quite a few times since Christmas and slowly watched her decline. It was amazing how fast she faded. This past Saturday it was obvious that she didn't have much time left. She had lost more weight and she was jaundiced. She wasn't talking much and she would drift out for short bits of time. The last two days she has been pretty uncomfortable and Chris was medicating her to keep her pain down which sedated her and we weren't able to really visit with her. Well, she is no longer suffering and I know Chris is going to have some rough days ahead. They have been married for about 30 years so I know he will miss her.

I have worked in the medical field for over 25 years and I have experienced lots of sad situations. My feelings are that there are worse things than death. Life and death are totally intertwined and it is inevitable that we will all die. No matter how hard we try, no matter what medical interventions are tried at some point our lives will end. I have found that the person dying isn't the one that isn't accepting it - it is usually the people left behind. I also have found that a lot of the religious people I know have a harder time with death. This confuses me - if you have such faith wouldn't accepting death as part of life be comforting. It really makes me sad when a family has difficulty accepting someone's decision to stop trying to fight the inevitable and just let go. They have so much on their minds and then family intervenes and puts pressure on them and ends up making the last days more difficult.

Of course I am sad tonight and I will certainly miss Ruth but that is something I must deal with. I know with all my heart she is in a much better place than she was in the last few months. But I have lots of memories that make me smile and I respect her for the decisions she made. Goodbye Ruth, you will be missed and please keep a watchful eye over us.

Ruth Jimenez
March 3, 1959 - April 20, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Throw Me Something Mister!

Happy Mardi Gras!
Hope everyone in Louisiana has a safe and happy celebration. Wish I could be there.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone has a beautiful and wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Dat Tuesday" and "Lombardi Gras"

I wish I could I have been back home in Louisiana for all the celebrations that are going on. It is obvious that Mardi Gras has started a week early. Today I watched the Saints Super Bowl Victory Parade on ESPN. It looked just like Mardi Gras. I could feel the excitement and merriment all the way in New Mexico. You can read about it at WHO DAT Tuesday Report. And you can watch a little of the parade at New Orleans Celebrates Saints' Title.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat!

Well, I don't claim to be a big sports fan but I am extremely happy this morning and bursting with pride. Even though I now live in Santa Fe I was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. I have always pulled for the Saints - even when they were at the bottom of the pile. Over the years they have played hard and come up short. But this was their year and New Orleans and Louisiana deserve this win and recognition. As I watched the game I realized that the Saints played better than I have ever seen them play. They pulled out all the stops and won that Championship without a doubt. From the onside kick, coming from behind and the two point conversion to the fourth quarter interception and holding the Colts at the 3 yard line they proved that they are Champions. Congratulations to the Saints, the City of New Orleans and Louisiana. Well done!

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Who Dat!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hurricane Who Dat!

This is something my sister sent me in an email. Let's hope this is accurate.

Not Much to Report On

Well, it is hard to believe that one month of 2010 is already gone - and I haven't written one blog post this month. Not much has been going on this month, just getting back to a normal routine after the holidays and traveling to see the family. The first couple of days of the new year were taken up with putting all the Christmas decorations away and getting the house all clean and back to normal. I was really glad when that task was complete. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and all the decorations but I don't like the work of putting it away until the next year.

I have been working more this month - the hospital seems to be a little busier and they are scheduling the staff differently. I only work per diem so my schedule fluctuates greatly and the hospital sometimes uses travelers so I never know how many hours I will get each month. Back in April 2008 St. Vincent's partnered with Christus and now we are Christus St. Vincent's Regional Medical Center. There have been many changes, most involve Christus bringing in new managers from other areas of their organization. There are good and bad things about this. One, they are a Catholic organization (so was St. Vincent's) and now at each meeting they say prayers. Not too many employees are happy about it. Two, we are also now required to wear uniforms - not too big of a deal. The therapy staff will be wearing polo shirts with khaki or blue pants. I can live with that. They are also making it a priority to build up a full time staff. Now this has been a problem ever since I started working there seven years ago, so I am not sure how they plan to do this. They did mention something about raising the therapy staff's salaries - but it would have to significant to really be competitive here in Santa Fe. We are also going to computerized documentation starting tomorrow which I personally think will be good. Right now it is so hard to get the chart that we end up wasting a lot of time - with the computer we will be able to access any forms at any time, even if someone else is viewing them on another computer. Anyway, I am glad for the hours. Before the holidays I was barely getting two or three days a month so it is nice to be working more now.

The dogs are also keeping me busy. Daisy isn't too bad. She is now about a year and a half old and is pretty settled and trained. But Buddy is another story. We are still working on house training. He does well for a while but every now and then he has an accident - it is getting better but it has been a slow process. Another issue with him is chewing. He has plenty of toys and mostly chews on them but he sometimes likes to grab a shoe to chew on. It is getting better but every now and then I catch him with one of our shoes. We are really loving having the two dogs around. They get along well and spend hours playing together which is nice when we are at work. Buddy is growing fast and before long he will be Daisy's size and it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops.

We've had dinners with a few friends throughout the month and that is always enjoyable. We also visited Thomas' cousin Ruth in Albuquerque. She had surgery last month and is still going through treatments. We are hoping everything heals quickly. On our trips to Albuquerque we took some time to do a little letterboxing. There really aren't a lot of boxes in the area and the weather is also an issue. I also mangaed to take a drive to Stanley to find a box and that was a nice trip. Thomas and I have been meaning to go see Avatar but things just keep popping up and we never make it to the theater. I have heard good things about it and want to see it at the theater to get the full 3D effect - maybe this evening or sometime this week.

I have also been thinking of taking a couple of small trips soon. I am looking in to a trip to Tucson, mostly for letterboxing and a trip to Lafayette for Easter to see my family. And possibly a trip to Georgia to see my brother and his wife. We would probably do some letterboxing there as well because it seems that my brother and his wife have gotten hooked on the hobby. Not sure about any of these trips - they are only thoughts at this point.

Our winter has been pretty mild with little precipitation. That is until these last two weeks. We had small amounts of snow three days in a row last week and then this week we had a major snowfall on Thursday. I love the snow so I was happy that we have been getting some. I took quite a few walks in the snow and took pictures. We still have some snow on the ground but it is melting fast. I am hoping for another storm soon. We really need the moisture for the summer.

Well, I guess that's about it, You see, I told you there wasn't much going on except for the normal day to day. Hopefully February will present more things to blog about.