Friday, October 31, 2008

Are we there yet: a tale of election year fatigue

Four days to go and I'm ready for President Obama to be inaugurated so we can get on with the work of fixing the big hole in our national roof. There was an article in Newsweek about "election addicts", people who spend 20 hours a week and more following new reports, polls and Obamamercials. These folks are apparently worried that they will have a difficult time adjusting to a campaign-free lifestyle. Instead of getting their nightly fix of Fox's fair and balanced reporting, they are contemplating ways to fill the post electoral emptiness.

I have to admit, I'm watching the Daily Show more regularly than usual. But secretly I'm in love with Jon Stewart. Funny, smart, handsome: what's not to love. However, I'm skimming over the election coverage every where else and change the radio station when campaign ads come on. I missed Michelle Obama when she came into town, which was disappointing. She garnered a pretty big crowd, the size of which is somewhat disputed, and gave a great speech (though it was pretty similar to the DNC speech given in Denver).

But really, I'm ready for it to be over. I've been hosting a campaign volunteer since early October. He's the perfect houseguest, he's never around, doesn't make a mess and, when I see him, is very pleasant. I'm ready to have the house to myself again, though. Tip toe-ing around in the morning isn't fun. However it's forced me to use the automatic feature on my coffee maker so that the bean grinding does not disturb. That, my freinds, is the most wonderful invention of the modern world. Its like the coffee fairy came in the middle of the night and made my morning cuppa. Its absolute bliss to smell that coffee in the early dark hours before I'm even out of bed and just stumble down the stairs to fill my mug. The only thing that could possibly top that is to have an attractive man prepare the beverage exactly the way I like it and bring it up the stairs so that I could drink it in bed. Then the attractive man would make breakfast, clean up and leave until the next morning.

But I digress.

It'll all be over soon and then we can watch to post election analysis until inauguration, then the post inaugural analysis and then...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Its a Lovely Holiday with Wanda

I've just gotten back from three days at the Black Range Lodge ( in Kingston, NM. Kingston is about thirty miles wast of Truth or Consequences which is 300 miles south of Las Vegas. Look at a map.

The Lodge is one of the few original buildings left of the silver-mine boom town that went teats-up after the US went from a silver-backed currency to a gold-backed currency. All that remains of a bustling town with 20 saloons, one church, and a semi-famous Madam named Sadie Orchard is the Percha bank (now an Art Gallery, thank you Bonita, resident artist extraordinaire), the Assay office (a private residence) and the Black Range Lodge. The Lodge is 120 years old and is run by a very lovely couple, Katherine and Pete. It's property lines are adjacent to the Gila (hee-la) National Forest, full of pinon, juniper, and mountain mahogany.

Thursday night after check in, I'm snuggled up in my sheep pajamas under the down comforter reading "Henry and June", relating a little too well with Anais Nin, when I hear something similar to a jet taking off outside my window. I keep reading, cuz I'm dumb that way sometimes. A few moments later I hear someone calling my name outside. The handyman, Dan, is banging frantically on my door "Angela! Fire!" I throw something that won't be laughed at in the morning, grab the dog, my suitcase and the CD's and run out the door. Dan lit the path down to my car with a flashlight but he needn't have bothered. The back of the Lodge was completely engulfed in orange light and sparks where whirling into the dry juniper trees around us. We got Wanda into the car and the three of us moved across the street just as the emergency vehicles where coming into the drive. Fortunately the volunteer firehouse is just a few doors down and neighbors were quick to act. I watched from the car as flames shot up over the roof of the three story building. When I looked away from the fire, I saw a falling star. This is it, I thought, this is the end of 120 years and the end of Katherine and Pete's dream.

When the smoke cleared, the Lodge had been just slightly damaged, but the workshops in the back as well as an old fig tree had been completely immolated. The hillside hadn't gone up in flames and no one had been seriously hurt. The old hot water heater had exploded. It could have been a tragedy. Twenty feet from the flames sat two propane tanks. All around the Lodge lay construction materials; wood, straw bales, and miscellaneous scavenged items. It all could have burned to the ground and taken the national forest and all the neighbors with it. Good neighbors, good angels.

Katherine offered to give me my stay for free, which I declined. I stayed the entire weekend, as planned. Wanda and I walked for miles in the forest, picked pinon nuts, saw javelinas in the broad daylight, and deer on the hillside. None the worse for wear and I have a dramatic story to tell on Monday morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Ok, all four of you who follow my blog, hopefully you've all sent in your "vote by mail" applications and have received your mail-in ballots. Its time to break out the black ball point pen, fill out that bad boy and send it off. One of you has warned me of the possibility of vote theft by the bad guys (no name dropping, George). I'm not sure whether to succumb to the paranoia and hand deliver my ballot to the county clerk's office or drop it into the Anton Chico mail box.

Don't blow this off, voters. If you don't make your opinions known now, you can't bitch about not getting what you want! And, for crying out loud, if you receive any kind of social services, have family in the military, have to choose between your utility bills and your medical treatment, are concerned about the economy, care about your neighbors, drive a car, or heat your house you need to think very long and very hard about whether the status quo has worked for you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I had to take some time yesterday afternoon to sit by the river with the dog. We watched a kingfisher fly, screeching, along the water. We watched the fading light change on the yellow leaves as the sun went down.

It was a draining day. One of my morning patients had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was still reeling from the recent suicide of her son. Her grandchildren had been taken out of state by their mother. My patient sat in the exam room in tears, apologizing for making a scene. She lives alone in her little house in the mountains, only coming into Las Vegas for food and doctor's appointments.

I told her to make a scene. A big one.

At lunch, I recieved a text message from my father "atrial fibrillation. Pres ER". I panicked. I was calculating how long it would take me to get home on my bike and drive the two hours to Albuquerque. I was trying to sort out who could feed the dog. When I was finally able to get ahold of my dad, he was stable and in the process of being discharged, and had an appointment with a cardiologist. This morning he sent a text message that said he felt great.

I made a big scene.

Atrial fibrillation is serious, but not fatal if corrected. Its a fairly easy to manage cardiac condition in which the electrical system is disrupted and the normal, regular heart beat is short-circuited. The rate increases and the rhythm is jerky. That's how I was feeling, short-circuited and jerky. But, though this is a condition that should cause concern, its certainly not panic-worthy. Unless its your father and you are two hours away.

If this was a patient, I would very calmly give some oxygen, call the ambulance, and take the other appropriate actions. If this was a patient, I would explain what was happening in a rational, calm matter, being certain to reassure them and their family. It wasn't, though, and I lost my cool.

So, Wanda and I spent some quiet time on a ledge above a bend in the Gallinas river, feeling the wind, and watching the storm blow in.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Its Official!

Fall is here. It was cold enough today that I had to light the wood stove. Holy Cow, that thing heats the house fast. It was rainy and cold and dark this morning and if it weren't for work, I'd have stayed home all day in my pajamas.

I've nearly finished Katie's arm-socks (fingerless gloves), all done but the cast off. And let me just say "Its about freakin' time". The next time you get a hankerin' for making custom-knit arm-socks from custom spun silk yarn, think hard. I started these things in June. It is now mid-October. I'd do the happy dance with Wanda, but...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I have come to the realization that, in spite of the great content, my blog is BOOOORRRIIING. No pictures, no links, no fancy stuff. This needs to be remedied. Therefore, my goal for the weekend is to fancy up the blog-space. That is, if my computer comes back from Best Buy before then in working order. I'm driving down to Santa Fe tonight to get the bike tuned up and the rack attached by people who know what they are doing (the nice folks at the new SF REI), then to drop off the computer with the geek squad boys. Then maybe dinner at Dhara Thai. When I have a restaurant craving these days, its for Indian or Thai food. Neither type of cuisine can be found in Las Vegas currently. I'll miss my bike for the rest of the week, but I can feel the gears slipping and it just needs doing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wonderful weekend and doggie update

First the doggie update: The dogs that have been harrasing me for the last three months have finally been tied up after the very prompt and courteous attention of the San Miguel County Animal Control department. While I'm not thrilled about dogs being tied up, it's better than being allowed to run in the streets being a danger to themselves and others. On my way home from work today, I saw someone's little dog lying dead in the ditch. This is the sort of thing that happens when dogs are allowed to run on the road. Hopefully the owner of the little guy will pay attention and take care of the rest of his animals.

My weekend was a whirlwind and absolutely wonderful. My dear and old freind Paul (whose birthday is today) brought Indian food up from Albuquerque. Miraculously, it was still warm after a two hour journey in the car. Aaaahhh. Is there a patron saint of Indian food, or a goddess of the kitchen or some such thing. Next day we went to Taos with Arthur, one of my co-workers. It was the weekend of the long anticipated Taos Sheep and Wool festival. The drive through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Taos was breathtaking. The aspens are turning brilliant shades of gold and red in the midst of the deep green ponderosa pines. It was like driving through an impressionist painting of fall.

The guys, naturally, ditched me the minute we got to the wool festival. Never mind then. Today Arthur asked me to knit him a sweater and then realized he could have chosen a fabulous one of a kind yarn. Ha, said I, you should have stuck around! Anyhoo, I picked up a lovely shetland lamb's fleece: white with brown tips and little bits of grey. Also, after much deliberation, I found a wonderful yarn called "wicked". It's a bright purple alpaca plied with white alpaca. There were bits of acid green wool accents. Perfect for some outrageous mittens, say I. It was a perfect fall day in Taos. It was a bit overcast with just enough chill in the air to remind you of the date.

Sunday we went out to Lillian's ranch. That deserves its own post. Hasta manana.