About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Railroading in comfort to Silverton :-)!

All aboard

The winding rails

What sights coming on the railroad to Silverton an driving back in the Million $ highway...

Drinks anyone?

 Along the cliff
Molas Lake
Old Stagecoach trail...am I glad we took the bus/rail!
Animas River

HWY 550-the Million $ Road

On the road to Albuquerque

The geological formations along HWY 550 from SW Colorado to New Mexico are totally awe inspiring....I can never get enough.

Dry Arroyo

These sights make us, mere humans, seem so insignificant!
Finally Sandia Mountains in the blue haze ahead And the trip is over.

Mesa Verde and Hwy 550 to Albuquerqe

Welcoming Committee?
 Coyote says Hi There!
Stunning ...
 Cliff Palace
Oak Tree House

how the old ones lived ... and died?
After a busy BEE day
Last nite's Moon over Mesa

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ghost Ranch and Chama and onwards to Durango

Lake Abiquiu

Ghost Ranch

O'Keefe's favorite subjects- dead tree and rock towers

Chama - encounter with Model A's Club members from Austin
Pagosa Springs

Brown Eyed Susans line the road to Pagosa Springs

Chimney Rocks on way to Durango

Animas River and Aspens from Hotel balcony in Durango

Promises kept

the promised photos are here.
And no, I will not inundate with 200 plus.
Just a few .. indicative of the days spent.
so here goes: At the Nuclear Science Museum, Albuquerque,

  followed by History of Ballooning Museum also in that town.

Then a perfect rainbow in Santa Fe:
 And then on to Chimayo
Road to Chimayo
Many years ago, this Sanctuary on a little river seemed heaven after a dusty drive through dry and stark high desert. 
Photos posted in request for prayers

Honoring Native Americans
So you can imagine how I felt seeing the transformation from a introspective little church into a all inclusive political correct assembly:
St. Francis and Our Lady of Viet Nam

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The allure of rocks, cliffs and canyons

Now that we have spent 2 days up Mesa Verde, I can tell you that living in the 500-1200 AD is truly only for the hardiest.
Naturally those Anasazi etc. did not get very old.
Just imagine climbing up cliffs daily to forage for food and then carry it up multiple ladders, grinding corn on  stones,  and burning fires to heat it and the chambers....I think not only the food got smoked but the people did as well.
Plus the ever present danger of fires. And  the dependency on rain for water!

We had absolutely great weather, cool, a bit overcast and breezy.
Which made the various hikes off the well paved /tarred roads to overlooks and cliff edges rather easy.  Only the climb back up made us huff and puff (lol).
Shocking was the sight of the dead burnt trees due to several wildfires since 1996, the last, which damaged 80%, was just in 2002.
Sure, some of the older burns showed signs of re-vegetation, primarily the lovely yellow Rabbit bushes and other low growing vegetation including invasive thistles. But the sad burnt trees and stumps made for a sorry sight. Strangely, some trees looked intact, until one went around the trunk and saw signs of internal fires. The cause: lightening strikes burn into the root balls and then flames shoot up inside the trunks, or so the rangers told us. The National Park Service keeps helicopters with heat detection gear stationed close precisely to find such ' fire hot spots' and fight them at the root (so-to-speak). And the hard work to save the antiquities from fires.

The sights of those villages glued like hives into cracks of cliff sides was simply overwhelming.  And fires up one's imagination.. although ...I personally could not see myself as one of those dwellers in the cliffs. :-).
But having no access to TV in our room  at the Far View Inn was not a problem.
The view from balconies was wonderful , the breezes invigoration, the Metate Room food lovely.
What more could one ask.

No need to grind my own corn, harvest greens, hunt and skin game. Just enjoyed life without Television in our room at the Far View Inn. Did we miss it? NAW. The mudslinging of the campaign, the crazies killing,  or governments murdering people.. no we did not in the least miss it.

We did pass several promising sites on Wetherill Mesa, but per ranger, the tribes demand the stoppage of excavations, since they say: "You have 10,000 artifacts already, why do want more"?.So no more excavating.

This trip astounded with the variety of rocks, colors and formations.
Mother Nature with help of wind and water, ice and cold sculpted forms that  are simply stunning.

The scenery on the steam railtrip up to Silverton from Durango is an eye opener.
Rushing waters of the Animas River over boulders, smooth and slick; trees, rocks, mountains, and the absolute stunning feat of putting a railroad there, past rock slides that just happened a few months ago and were barely cleared up enough to let the railroad get on it's way. It was as awesome in its way, as the Mesa Verde sites are, just different.

Plus Highway 550 carved out from steep mountain sides along rushing rivers, still tarns, and the ever present mountains.  We passed Honeyville, where bees are queens ;-), and people make a good living tending hives on loan or owned. Railroad crossed over trestles, curved around bend after bend, and under Hwy 550.

Which,  BTW, took us from Bloomfield all the way to Albuquerque.
Passing through Reservation after reservation and watching more awe inspiring rocks pass by, and soon, it seemed we became saturated by rocks. Only to ooh and aah over other stunning layers of colors,  deep carved river beds running mostly dry, and the endless and infinite vistas of New Mexico, leaving us feeling diminished by their age and grandeur.

Tomorrow we head H -own-wards. Then comes the downloading of photos. The selection of those we deem best. Later I'll post a few, before gearing up for Ice hockey season again, ;-)!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Plans for hockey ...

well, the AHL schedules are out, and the Aeros will see us at least 15 times in the audience, while the  Rampage may have that pleasure possibly 7 times, and the new (again) Orlando Solar Bears just once!
What with Operas on Sundays, trip to Florida in Nov/Dec.

But first the season will start in September with the pre-season game of NHL Panthers versus Dallas Stars in San Antonio... which will see most likely quite a number of Aeros Hockey fans at the ATT Center.
Hockey IS still alive and well in Texas, isn't it, despite dire predictions.

A chilling experience

and so it was... really.
Pouring rain,  or high water in the parking lot of the hotel, nothing kept us from getting to the opera!
Having been forwarned, we dressed and hauled with us layers on layers (lol). Umbrella and rain hat, coats.
But the opera Maometto II by  Rossini , was totally unexpected, a chilling drama. Enhanced by superb singing, IMO Luca  Pisaroni, who looked real piratical , but sang with the most elegant and most affecting bass-baritone was the highlight. Although, Leah Crocetto as Anna was deeply moving, Patricia Bardon who sang Calbo, a trouser role, stunned with her incredible expressive voice that plumped the lowest level a mezzo can reach. Bruce Sledge, tenor, inhabited with verve the role of Anna's father, Paolo Erisso, Head of the Venetians in Negroponte. Negroponte is being besieged and conquered by the troops of Maometto II. Fights and slaughter ensues, Maometto falls in love with Anna and 'saves' her, but she abuses his trust, sets father and husband (Calbo) free only to kill herself as Maometto embraces her as his beloved. A rather un-Rossini Opera. Not a soupcon of comedy, satirical or slap stick in sight.
Even musically only here an there can we discern  typical Rossini sounds. Maestro Chaslin conducts beautifully and the orchestra, harp included sounded sumptuous.
David Alden surprised me with relative un-Alden type direction  (by which I mean it is "normal" lol). The lighting was extra bright white and clear, which was a boon to tired eyes.
And Mother Nature supplied thunder and lightening as well while the same took place ON stage. At first one could believe a thunderbolt struck because the stage went dark, but then one realised it was PLANNED and Mother Nature just happen to exercise her rights ;-)!
Finally the rain stopped, the wind died down some, and the temperature evened out at approx. 50F which had felt much colder whilst the wind was whistling through the open sides of the theater and blowing about the gowns of the cast members.
Despite the deluge which caused dangerous flash flooding in the N and NE parts of New Mexico,
Maometto II was , IMO, the better of the two operas seen this trip.

Next morning, still dodging puddles to reach the car, we were off to  Chimayo, an almost annual pilgrimage to this charming chapel on the little river, Abiquiu, and Chama. The touring Abiquiu with a tour guide showing O'Keefe's paintings in the settings from which she drew her inspiration was truly interesting. The sun was not really very visible, she poked out here and there (due to the expected eclipse, I am sure) but the rain held off (kind of Mother Nature, wasn't it?) until the tour ended. Then we raced to the car to avoid getting drenched (skipping the museum and the skeletons of prior inhabitants of Abiquiu) and drove, very carefully to be sure, in pouring rain and very strong winds, accompanied by thunder and lightning, to Chama, being spared the large hail others encountered further west. Thankfully.

Chama was chilly, almost  cold. But in the morning sun the gentler mountains and fir trees seemed all'spruced' up from the rain. And in the parking lot of the motel we found Model As (the cars of course) from.... all the way, Austin Texas.... getting ready for their drive back to Santa Fe. Passing the Cumbres and Toltec railyard we spied the little engine getting up steam for its scenic ride. Which we'll leave for another visit, perhaps.
And on we drove, up and down hills, past Browneyed Susans lining the roadsides, through valleys of firs, and other trees, past Tierra Amarilla, and strange geologic formations, that seemed, to me, like hillocks left behind in the broad valleys of old glaciers, (maybe because they were made of harder material.. but what do I know, am no Geologist) onto Pagosa Springs.
After we passed Chimney Rock, I actually saw 2 chimneys, carved by wind  and water, we arrived in Durango on its Animas River. There kayakers, rafters, inner tubers, and what looked to me like surfers, frolicked in the cool sunshine. Am sure the water was cold, well too cold for me, at least. And there were several 'surfers' and kayakers dumped into the knee deep waters. But hey, they had fun. Right now it is thundering again, but no rain as yet.

Tomorrow its onto Silverton via a narrow gauge railroad to Silverton. And back by bus to drive onto Mesa Verde's ruins.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

At rainbow's end

there was no pot of gold, I can assure you. Except of course, we saw a emotionally draining opera.

Driving towards KING ROGER by Karol Szymanowski with a libretto (in Polish) by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, a rainbow manifested itself  at the horizon.
First a leg, blurrily colored, than deeper and higher and clearer till it spanned the area in a beautiful wide arch. We drove through it and when the road turned the rainbow vanished.

King Roger's music was a mix of thunderous sounds at times diminishing into wispily soft lyrical phases.

If you ask me exactly what it was about, I must admit being at sea.
Maybe the composer meant to show the eternal lure of a charismatic leader/rebel on the general populace?
If so Szymanowski seems to have eerily anticipated the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco and their brethren who followed into this century.

But maybe he meant only the fight within oneself? 
Whatever the cause the opera is thought provoking and, when presented as well as at Santa Fe, almost overwhelming.

HGO Studio Alum Evan Rogister conducted with sensitivity and verve this mixture of Wagnerian, Folkloric,  Schoenbergian and other sounds.

Mariusz Kwiecien, Baritone presented King Roger as a tormented soul - theatrically as well as vocally. He sang in Polish as did all others. How well the others enunciated this tongue breaker language I cannot judge.. to me it all seemed well done, by Raymond Aceto as the archbishop, Laura Wilder as deaconess, Dennis Petersen as Edrisi and Erin Morley as Roxanna (she, too needed a bit more warm up time). William Burden as the Shepherd (the enigmatic leader) needed a few moments to warm up vocally, but then he sang with claritiy and strength.

Staging was simple, almost stark, but then that seems to have become the norm. Lush were the costumes of the archbishop, deaconess and the King's Mantle. The large chorus meshed beautifully and seemed like a Greek chorus. Some ballet action in the crowd's arousal scenes were tastefully danced.

A fitting end to an eventful day 2.
Which saw us at the fairly new (2005) Balloon Museum of Albuquerque. A revelation of the history and excitement of hot air ballooning (pics will follow). Where, amazingly enough, women were accepted pioneers in balloning in earlier centuries, but men did the circumnavigating of the globe in long distance pods much later in this 20th century.
And the afternoon before, spent at the Museum of Nuclear Science (previously known as Atomic Science) and the outdoor park with its old and newer planes.
So, seeing this magnificent complete and beautifully colored rainbow, was just the icing on the cake...:-)!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Storm in a Paper Cup......

Yes, I am referring to the recent uproar.
When Chick Fil A Cathy spoke about his personal beliefs and convictions.
So, IMO, IF my beliefs and thinking is not acceptable to YOU, YOU get on FB and Twitter and other social media, and slam mine. Supported in dreary length by the 'official' news media as an example:

SOOO Righteous, are ya?
 In Twitter Veritas :-)!

Well, I still believe that what I think and feel is mine.
Is it Politically Correct? Maybe not in the fullest sense.
BUT have we arrived at a stage where every word spoken is being trashed, and the speaker being hounded with hatred because it does not agree with YOUR thinking, whoever YOU are.

Maybe all of us need to be brainwashed  in 'righteous' thinking.
Keep a righteous script with us at all times. To babble from in times of need?
Nonconformist thinking, AND especially speaking, has become the new bugbear of this generation, methinks.
Am I ever glad I do not do Twitter anymore. Hatred is just tooo ugly especially in short soundbites!
FB is just about the limit of what I do when it comes to 'social' ( a misnomer that, IMO, asocial - perhaps might be a better one sometimes) media.  

Guess I must gird my loins for hate attacks after what I just posted.
Feel free to respond. I promise to post any comments that are reasonable, or sane.
EVEN, or especially IF, they do not agree with mine.
I try to have an open mind, but balk at pornographic and abusive hate mail!
So there!
Nuf said!
Have a happy day, y'all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

No chers readers...

I have not died and gone upstairs.
Which may be a bit hard .. right hip and left knee would protest rather loudly, at that.
But all's, weeelll, well! Shots work - most of the time.

Anyway, brain (what counts) is still going strong.
Busssssssy buzzing around all kinds of subjects.
Most  are IMO, too hot too handle publicly.
With that said, I want to assure y'all, that as I follow politics and other tragedies around the world, I do so empathize within.
While keeping mum on the outside.

Also, I do tend to keep my thoughts on religion, working class, green themes, bias, and what makes all out there, tick,  to myself.
Really, is it necessary to air all those insightful thoughts (for whom insightful I ask?) for all to see, if not to boast?

Reading between the lines - may it be press blogs, tweets or ???? I get the feeling that all's well with the world of  "a" ONE after all.
And that IS important to the world at large, or is it?