This week seemed very long

October 26, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

This week seemed very long. We had a field trip to one of our children's home where they had pumpkins for all of the children. It was really fun to go out there, and pick pumpkins, feed chickens, and have our lunches under the portal. It was very relaxing, and I didn't really want to go back to school. Isabell was able to go with us, since she didn't have school that day, so it was nice for her to go and pick her pumpkin. After school, we tried to go to Goodwill and Salvation Army, boy, do I miss Goodwill, and St. Vinny's in Portland. These places here do not compare! It was a very busy area, with lots of congestion and I felt claustophobic with all of these cars encroaching on me. Once on the highway home, and I saw the mountians beckoning me home, I felt the tension lift from within me. I'm now decitified and I have no desire to return to that hectic life style.

By Thursday, I was tired and the kids were wired from the day before. Going on field trips in the middle of the week really throws off the schedule. I was already for the weekend, but still had two working days left. On Thursday evening was Isabell's parent-teacher conference, and I rushed to her school, and waited for twenty minutes to see her teacher. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a huge turnout for the conferences, all possible parking was full. After twenty minutes, Mrs. Esquibel told me that Isabell is great student, is getting mostly all A's, and loves having her in her class. I felt so proud and guilty at the same time. Since I'm working full time, I feel that I'm not giving Isabell my full attention, sure, I try to make sure she has all of her homework done, but I feel disconnected with her school. When I lived in Portland, I had all of the time in the world to help at school, but here I don't. Isabell is an amazing kid, and I'm so proud of her as she adjusts to life here.

On Friday, Isabell had her friend Niamh, pronounced Nieve, over for a sleep over. They are friends from trapeze class, though they go to different schools. She's a very sweet girl, and they had lots of fun. I rented a movie, made pizza, and popcorn for them. Both stated that they were going to stay up all night playing Littlest Pet Shop, and watching movies. By ten o'clock they were both out cold. In the morning, we made gingerbread, and then headed to Taos, where they went to a mask making party. They both made cat masks and gave them to me. Very sweet! We went to the library, and then I took some money out and went back to a garage sell where they both bought costumes. I was suppose to sign papers for the house in Chamisal, but no one was at the office, so we went to Walmart to buy me a costume. Then we went to go swimming, however they were closed, so we went to a children's Halloween party downtown, where they got bags of candy, played games, and had a great time. I was ready to go home, when our realtor called and said that someone would be at the office, and that I could go over and sign papers. Went back, finally signed the papers and headed home. I talked to Niamh's mom, and I suggested that she could sleep over one more night. Isabell and Niamh got along famously, and her mom agreed! We went home, had more pizza, and they played and watched more movies. Again they said they were going to play all night, but eventually they fell asleep around ten o'clock. I was so happy Isabell made friends with Niamh, since I don't know any of her other friends. Hopefully we can get together often, since they get along so well.

Today, we dropped off Niamh, went to church, and now we are resting a bit. A hike might be possible this afternoon. Will have to see.

Sad news to report from Portland - last night...

October 21, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Sad news to report from Portland - last night my old cat Ripley died. She was 14, and has been aging quickly over the last few months. She's moved with me 10 times, in 5 cities, and would always be waiting form me at the front gate when I got home. Good cats are hard to find.

It was wonderful having three days off last w...

October 19, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

It was wonderful having three days off last week, it made the week shorter, but we had a lot going on at school . We had two birthday circles; each child brings in his or her parents and we sit in a circle with a candle lit in the middle. The candle represents the sun, and the child walks around the circle with the parents and teachers narrating the childs life. It's very new age, but I think it's neat for the parents to witness the growth of their child.

On Thursday, we went on a beautiful hike up near Santa Fe Ski Basin. The Aspens were still in glory, and the weather was heavenly. We stopped at a place called Hyde State Park, and the small lodge was built during the WPA era, which happens to be my favorite period of time. The children did really well, as we set off on our hike. I had a little boy named Samka with me, who refused to walk, so I had to give him a piggy back ride. We passed several artists painting the golden aspens, and wanted to stop and see their painting, but alas that was not to be, as we kept on trooping up the path. We passed several evergreen trees decorated with aspen leaves for Christmas.

After school on Friday, I went to pick up Isabell from trapeze, and had pizza afterwards. Isabell's friend Neve from trapeze and her family ate pizza too. The kids wanted to watch The Great Debators, but I told Isabell that she wouldn't enjoy it, but insisted on watching it. We all watched the movie, with only Neve's mom and I enjoying the movie while the kids ran and danced around the theator. Luckily there was only a few other people there, and it was fun for Isabell to have someone to play with.

Our valley is in a middle of a gold rush right now. Not a monetary gold one, but a golden cottonwood tree rush that takes your breath away. The cottonwoods snake their way along the Rio Pueblo river which stretches up to the high mountain peaks. We witnessed this spectacular sight on our way to Taos, where we went for breakfast at Michaels, and then went to Questa to visit my grandma. We stayed for a while and headed back to Taos to go to the library. Afterwards we went to Prudential Real Estate, met with Dawn, where we made a bid on a small old adobe house in Chamisal! Seraph and I are realizing that buying the house in Vadito, would tie us down for a long time, and we couldn't really enjoy our lives. The house in Chamisal is very cute, very run down, but with love we could make it into our own beautiful casa. We will find out this Wednesday if our bid was accepted. The other good news, is that our house in Portland is hopefully going to be bought by some good friends of Seraph, and then we can go ahead with the buying process of the house in Chamisal.

Today, after church we went back to Santa Barbara Camp Ground to hike some more. I'm currently reading a book called Last Child in the Woods, a book I highly recommend for parents. The author directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: The rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Children are being discouraged from playing outside, and are too dependant on todays technology and are losing touch with nature. I feel so lucky that Isabell loves the outdoors, and that we have this great "backyard" where we can go hiking and exploring. Parents told me about this incredible hike that we had missed last Sunday. We hiked up further, and discovered beautiful groves of leafless aspens with branches weaving themselves upto into the indigo sky. It literally took my breath away, as I laid down amongst the carpet of aspen leaves. Isabell joined me for awhile, but soon tired of this and wanted to continue. Around another bend, was another joyous spectacle of aspens. It was a Cathedral of Aspens as their towering trunks soared up to the heavens. I always said that if I were to die, I want my ashes to be spread amongst aspen trees, and I have now found my resting spot. Looking up amid these towering bare trees, one could imagine snow flurries fluttering around you as you gaped at these lofty trees. We hiked down again, and could feel the cool soft breeze as it penetrated your clothing, and you could hear the soft whistle as it whirled around you. We saw one little aspen with one yellow leaf hanging on for dear life, and it reminded me of a Peanuts cartoon that I saw a long time ago; in it Snoopy, Woodstock, and a few other birds, where holding up a blanket, waiting for the last leaf to fall off of a tree. I have searched unsuccesfully for years trying to locate this cartoon again.

We hiked down, went home for forty five minutes, and went to seet the Princess Bride. I love this movie, and Isabell who hadn't seen this movie in years, like it a lot.

We've had a pleasant cool weekend, and I have loved every minute of this beautiful weather.

"I live for autumn

October 12, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

"I live for autumn. All year long I have reveries of those cool beautiful days to come, and memories of Octobers past. It is the most alive, the most heartbreakingly real season in my bones..." quoted by John Nichols from his book The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn.

No truer statement could be said about autumn in New Mexico. We are in the middle of a glorious Indian Summer and the aspen leaves are fading into the cool fall breeze. A few trees are bare, and leaves are clinging on bravely, afraid to glide through cool autumn air. Not only are the aspens beautiful but the autumn sunlight reveals deep shadows on the rust red rocks as I drive home through Chimayo. Isolation is a word that comes to me as I drive through these hills, as shadows and light dance from rapid cloud shadows as they scuttle across the rocks. Once in the mountains, the trees sway to and fro, as leaves blow gently across my windshield.

My heart becomes full, as I take in these wonderful sights, and inside I want to become an artist. Not only a painter, sculptor, but a fly fishermen, and guitar player. New Mexico is an art thrives to be an artist, and not only as a hobbiest. Driving through the mountains today, I watched a man in his fishing vestiges wade into the rushing stream, casting his rod. His motions were smooth as he swung his rod back and forth, and it was an art form.

I bought a guitar yesterday, and want deperately to play spanish music, and feel frustrated that I can't pick it up and play skillfully. I look through the beginners book and strum diligently, but far from playing beautiful notes. This too, is an art form, and hopefully one day I will be able to sit by a fire, or sit outside and play smooth music.

Today, we took a drive in "our backyard", a half an hour from our house we drove to Santa Barbara Camp Ground, and hiked through the dazzling aspens, and other fall trees. A breeze whipped around us, as we hiked along the river. We stopped here and there to look at pebbles that glistened in the water. We'd find one that looked spectacular among the rocks, and I would pluck it out, only to be disappointed. It belonged with the other rocks as they framed the beautiful pebble. I collected stray aspen leaves, and with the help of Isabell she found a red aspen leaf. It was so beautiful and looked so out of place, that it came home with us. My senses here are so acute here, that I notice small things around my feet. I found an aspen leaf with a small dew drop on it; we found a honeycomb among the grass, and spotted beautiful bluebirds hopping in and aroud the brushes and trees. I took many beautiful photos, and when I figuere out how to post them, I will share with you the beautiful images of Northern New Mexico.

Friday morning, as I came out to defrost my windows, the haunting sound of coyotes echoed throughout the valley. Though chilling, it was beautiful hearing them communicate with each other. A few times I see them trotting throughout the woods, and I have seen a pair saunter through the red rocks near Nambe. Misunderstood creatures, whom farmers hate, and enviromentalists love. I think they are exquist animals with cunning skills. In lore they are tricksters, and collaborators, and I believe they are beautiful animals who help stablize the ecosystem.

I thought I'd give a bried story of my love affair with New Mexico, instead of an everyday account of what I do each week. This is as close to poetic as I come.

Quick update on my weekend plans! I'm headin...

October 10, 2008 by Seraph in Cortez

Quick update on my weekend plans! I'm heading off to Lincoln city after work today. Jenny & I have a room at the same hotel as Dad, so hopefully we can meet up for dinner or breakfast. Tomorrow are the boat races, and I find my self extremely excited about it! Saturday evening Jenny & I are driving back to Eugene, and I'll be staying at Mom's house.
Sunday morning will be breakfast with Adam, Jamie, and the kidos, and Jamie & I are sneaking off to King Estate in the afternoon. Yeah!
Other exciting news is that we may have buyers for our house! My friend Michael - a former Ai professor - and his fiance are working out the financing, but want to buy our place. As happy as I am about the sale, the part that makes it even better is that they have decided to get married in November, and I have offered to have the wedding at the house! I'm nearly giddy with the thought of adding a wedding to the history of the house.

It has been a nice and relaxing weekend, and ...

October 06, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

It has been a nice and relaxing weekend, and wish it would last a bit longer. We had a great harvest festival at my school on Friday night. My Aunt Teresa was really nice and brought Isabell down from school, so she could come and join the festivities. I was hoping that Teresa and my grandma would stay, but they left right afterwards. In the evening, there was a band playing, great potluck food, and lots of families enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. Several teachers, including myself hung around, listening to the music, and watched the parents playing with their own kids. It was so nice just hanging out and not watching the kids.

Saturday, we took our time waking up, and eventually went out to the post office. I don't get to the post office until Saturdays, because it opens when I leave, and closes when I return. Waiting for us at the post office, were four packages. It felt like Christmas, as we returned home and opened them. One was from Grandma Hanni, a Kit Kittridge costume that was fantastic looking, and a few Halloween decorations; A package from Grandma Susie, with more clothes of Isabell's, and a few goodies; A book of South African animal stories from Grandma Carolyn; and finally a book I ordered from England. It was a book about New Mexico printed in 1936, but was only published in Great Britain, how crazy is that!

Once the presents were unwrapped, we went to Taos to the Library, to Michaels for breakfast, and off to Grandma's house to do laundry and catch up with the family. We stayed until 6:00 and went back to Taos to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It was a very cute movie, and afterwards, Isabell talked all the way back about wanting a Chihuahua too. I really don't want one that looks like it had to much caffine, and one that I can loose under the stove. When we left, it was a down pour, and a welcome reminder of Oregon. By the time we got home, it had let up a bit, and we went to bed.

On Sunday, we went to church, and decided to go to Taos once more to buy a few things at Walmart and at Smith Groceries. When we left the house, we looked up into the top of the mountains, and there was a good dusting of snow on top of the peaks. I was so excited, and wanted to take a picture, but the clouds were moving fast and it wouldn't clear up enough for me to take one.

We walked around the plaza for a while, bought some presents for my mom and Seraph, and went home to relax. When we arrived it was hailing and very cold, and soon we started the first fire of the season. I was expecting Elisabeth from Taos Lending Team to come over to discuss finacial matters, but she called and said that her car broke down, and she couldn't make it. So I made enchiladas, watched Fools Rush In, and enjoyed the fire. Arlene called me, and told me there was a double rainbow, and I ran outside with my camara and took several pictures of this glorious sight. I'd post them, bought the pictures are really big and would take a long time to down load. I'll have to figure it out later. It was a nice relaxing evening, and now I'm ready for bed.

The house in Vadito has been the catylist for...

October 02, 2008 by Robbie in Cortez

The house in Vadito has been the catylist for our move to Vadtio, NM. When we were heads over heals for the house, we thought we could make it on my salary, and what ever money Seraph would make. We now have serious thoughts about the place. Do we really want to have such high monthly payments? If they lower the price for us, we still would love to buy the house. However, I have been looking around and want to stay in the area, so Isabell still can attend Penasco Elementary School. On the other side of Penasco, is a village called Chamisal. It's a very cute town, and there is an old parish house for sale. It was builit between the late 1880's and 1900. It's only 65,000, and it's definitely a fixer upper. It has a lot of charm, with flag stone floors in the living and dining area, scroll work around the doors, and walls. The kitchen and bedroom need complete updating, and we thought it would be great to add a couple of rooms, another bathroom, and a couple of kiva fireplaces. It's on decent size lot, and there would be plenty of room to grow. It's an option that we are thinking of doing.

Today, I learned a new aspect of fall in New Mexico; the roasted smell of green and red chili. When we were on the playground at my school, someone nearby was roasting chili, and what a heavenly scent as it drifted toward us. I became ravenously hungry for chili, and have decided to buy some this weekend.

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