Sunday, December 20, 2009

Notes for the solstice


Tomorrow marks the solstice and the beginning of longer days. For those of you in the north, the greater sunlight is a boon. I will admit, from my sunny location in the Sonoran Desert, the impact is minimal.

Then again, if the sun comes up earlier, so might I. Who knows what items on the long list of chores might get accomplished.

As usual for this time of year, I'm involved in the community "Little Angels" program, wrapping and delivering gifts to kids in low income families. Some of my friends and I have played elves for 7-8 years now.

I will attend the annual Christmas Eve tradition. Unlike most the the country where Christmas decorations go up as Halloween comes down, and Christmas music begins by Thanksgiving, the lights in Ajo's plaza are not lit until Christmas Eve. Carols are played and the community watches the firework (note: that is singular) and arrival of Santa in the bell tower of the old high school which is now an art center. He waves and then descends to ride the float (again singular) a couple times around the plaza before oranges and candy canes are handed out to the younger set.

It is an event I hate to miss and seldom do. Christmas Day is a quiet event out in the desert with a few friends. There are no gift exchanges, no frantic kitchen work, no family squabbles. We do have a wonderful potluck dinner, outside if at all possible, with "trash can turkey" at the center.

My spot in the desert is ideal. My friends and I are within walking distance of each other, but each of us has a private spot where we cannot see each other and our closest neighbors are the coyotes and birds. I sleep with window shades up so I can see the stars at night (no light pollution and usually crisp clear skies) and fantastic sunrises.

Hope you all have a joyous and peaceful holiday season.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow! In Las Cruces?

One does not expect snow in Las Cruces, N.M. A bit on the surrounding mountains perhaps, but not in town. But check out the photos I took Friday morning (Dec. 4) at Stephanie and Paul Bernhagen's house.

Bernhagen's are former full-time RVers who built their house in Las Cruces a few years ago. They made sure they left an area for RVing friends to pull in and visit. Great hosts, we visited the Winter Fest, although it was bitterly cold and turnout was poor. We had fun though. There were open houses in the art galleries with food, live music and some great displays. The next morning we enjoyed the open air art market and had lunch in a new bbq spot.

The front of Paul and Stephanie's house
I first met Bernhagens in Livingston years ago. Besides sharing a table for the Thanksgiving dinner, a group of us went to "Florida's Kitchen," the great local bbq spot. The new place in Las Cruces was as good.

Stephanie was great help to me on a photo book project. A great visit, even if they did drop temperatures to the very low 20's, forming icycles on the side of my motorhome. Schools cancelled classes that Friday due to snow and ice. Northerners and all my mountain friends will look at this snow and laugh. But it is all about what you are used to, and folks in Las Cruces are not used to these conditions.

this is not normal for palm trees
Octotillo covered in snow