New Mexico Spring–a Tale of Kites, Dirt and Snow

New Mexico is many beautiful things. One thing it is never is boring! The past few days—mind you, just before spring officially began–brought an incredible variety of weather. San Augustin Pass, our route over the scenic Organ Mountains, was closed due to wind and hit a 104 mph gust. That is comparable to a Category 2 hurricane people! Then it closed again due to a snowstorm. The plows were dusted off, literally, and sent up the mountain to scoop away the white stuff.

Spring winds here are normal and remind me of the fun my brother and I used to have building kites out of newspaper and bamboo. My dad used to egg us on with stories of the six foot kite he built that really did tug him off the ground. Fired up by the lure of flight, we’d trek to the drainage ditch to cut down long dry bamboo poles. After dragging them home across plowed fields, we’d collect newspaper, glue, rags and string from Mom, then turn the living room floor into a kite factory.

A couple of hours later we’d ease our creations out the door and head to the pasture or the dirt lot behind the house to see if we could achieve flight. Oh, sweet anticipation! We’d yell with the thrill of feeling the wind pull and snap those ragged homemade kites up like sails. Feeling the string yank the tethers on our scrawny wrists, we were sure that with the next gust we would fly.

We never did but we sure got close a few times!

May your spring be joyful and tug at your soul,

Karen

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Experience the Rewards of a Personal History

Your family’s history is important. This video from the Association of Personal Historians explains how it works and why personal historians like me are passionate about what we do. While the APH is no longer active, we historians are and are helping people tell their stories all over the world. I’d love to help you tell yours!

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Oh, the Adventures You’ve Had

We spent a couple months in New Zealand several years ago. One of the last things we did before heading back to the US was something called Blackwater Rafting. Not all of us remember this positively, but that’s their story. For me there were some pretty profound moments. Well, actually you might call it flat out fear—but you decide for yourself:

 

 

 

Monday 4/18/05

9:00 a.m. Blackwater Rafting. Struggle into thick wet-suits, then drive over to the river to get the inner tubes (flotation devices the guide calls them in her charming accent). We will use these during the adventure. In the southern hemisphere it’s fall and the river is quite low with a dark channel on one side and a deep pool with a white sandy bottom. Beautiful. The guides walk us out to the end of a dock where there are two platforms to jump from, one rising 10 feet above the current water line for use during high water and another at about four feet. It starts to feel like the gangplank scene in every pirate movie I’ve ever watched.

 

We had to jump off the dock backwards, holding the tubes onto our rumps. Shock of icy water, went all the way under like a bobber snagged by a giant fish. My first thought was a gasping, “I paid money for this?!!” However, the wet suit warms up pretty quickly and there was a fair bit of laughter among the spluttering as the rest of the group plunked over the side.

 

We are headed to a wild cave with this river running through it; it’s rough walking over the rocks to reach the entrance. And it’s chilly enough to see our breath. Our guides were two stunning, athletic young New Zealand women. In the first part of the cave we float almost flat on our backs and push along the ceiling just a few inches above our faces.

 

Note: Did you know that there is no suing in New Zealand? For example, if a tourist bungee jumps off the bridge and the rope breaks. Well—ta ta! You had fun going down!  As a result they have all these amazing adventures available, great fun but you take full responsibility for the risk. I think they might actually have a good idea, but that’s another soapbox.

 

Any rate, back to the river. Our little tour group of floating rubber sausages came to a spot where we were supposed to jump backward, again, but this time off a waterfall. In the dark cave. “Oh by the way, make sure you jump far out so you miss the rocks.” The guide, who by this time I was silently screaming unkind things about, had morphed into Amazon Warrior Woman in my mind. She stared down at my nice middle aged mom self from her six foot height and kept telling me to get closer to the edge. Backwards. “Are you ready?” “No.” “Are you ready now?” No, not yet.” Her, irritated, “I’m going to push you.” “Okay, okay, I’m going.” Actually I’m not sure I voiced anything out loud but there were sure a lot of panicked words going through my adrenaline rushed brain. And one ridiculous line from the movie “Muppet Christmas Carol” “God save my little broken body!”

 

Cold-cold-cold. Instant body part evaluation, intact, didn’t hit the rocks. Well, thank you, Jesus! Then we floated through caverns with stalactites of all sizes hanging down and glowworms all over the ceiling like gorgeous star constellations. It was surreal. We stopped and just floated below a “waitomo,” a natural window opening into the cave from the ground 60 meters above our heads.

 

It was worth it but wow, what an adventure. And I tell you, it all came back when I went to see Wonder Woman at the theater recently. I’m pretty sure Guide Girl had a role as an extra.

 

Now go capture some adventure memories–here’s your tips:

Grab a recorder, your phone or pencil and paper (yes, they still sell this). Find someone to talk to for 30 minutes.

Ask about their most memorable adventure.

How old were they?

Where did they go?

Who were they with?

What happened?

Was it what they expected?

How do they remember the event?—smiles, laughter, fear, embarrassment, anger?  Explore the emotions

Share your stories!

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Heat Waves and Surprise Houseguests

How did our ancestors deal with summer in the days before AC? One of the craziest inventions I’ve seen is a kerosene powered fan—that turned out to be not such a winner of an idea. Go figure! Soaked burlap sacks hung in front of windows was another trick. Need some trivia for the office water cooler? Check out this fascinating look at the history of AC from author Amanda Green in Popular Mechanics:

Of course here in the high desert we’re blessed with cool nights so opening every window in the house at night helps hold the heat hounds at bay the next day. This backfired on us once when we also opened the doors to speed up the process. One word.

Bat.

 

                                                            The House Bat

“Did you hear about the bat?” began a recent conversation with my daughter, who was overseas at the time.  Since my grown kids often communicate through FaceBook I’m never sure what family news they’ve already heard.  The conversation proceeded something like this:  “Uh, no— What bat???”   “Our house bat, Silly!“

 

One summer night we opened all the house doors to cool things down because the air conditioning wasn’t hooked up yet.  About 10 in the evening my college age son and I were sitting on the couch goofing around online.  My husband had gone to bed after working hard out in the field all day.  Observant Son glanced up and exclaimed, “Hey, there’s a bird in the house!”  I took one look and yelped, “No, that’s a bat!”  The airborne rodent flew, really well I might add, all over the house and we could not get it out.  I consider myself a fairly unflappable person but the bat was becoming more frenzied by the minute.

 

Finally, I sat down with my back against the wall as the bat was doing aerial loops and flybys,   sharing much the same space as me.  My husband must have heard me squeal; he stumbled sleepily out and tried to help us herd it outside.  He stood there with the bat zooming around his head, asking, “Where is it?”  We were laughing too hard to tell him and just kept pointing.  Eventually, we thought we saw it fly out, calmed down and went back to bed.

 

Not the end of the story.  About four in the morning I heard our cat rummaging around the room.  I got up, shuffled over to the corner and all the noise stopped.  Couldn’t find her in the dark so after growling at her to “Git!” I went back to bed.  This went on about every 15 minutes until five in the morning.

 

Finally, about 5:30 she began leaping and scrambling around next to my side of the bed.  I grabbed a pillow to fling at her and opened my eyes.  It was not the cat.  The missing bat was flopping around on the floor, its sharp little claws stuck in the rug, confused.  I sat bolt upright and started shouting orders to my husband, who had been sleeping soundly.  The bat managed to disentangle its claws and went airborne causing my husband to duck frantically and me to start laughing. I’m afraid I don’t always laugh at the most appropriate times.

 

The bat disappeared again and we finally gave up looking for it.  Later that night we returned from dinner out and walked through the house trying to startle it out of hiding by clapping and calling “Here bat, here bat!” Felt ridiculous.  Finally, we just went to bed, exhausted after the disrupted sleep of the night before.    We never saw our houseguest again, I assume he let himself out.

 

Stay cool out there friends! And turn your funny family memories into some written or recorded stories to tell down the generations. Share this with your friends and inspire them to do the same.

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Contact Me

Please contact me for more information or to to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to visiting with you.






Karen Ray Photo

Karen Ray

Address: 2877 Willow Creek Lane, Las Cruces, NM, 88007

Phone: 575-323-1048


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