Stormy Monday

The only thing good about my drive home tonight, besides finally making it home, was that I did get some photos. The first photo was taken while the downpour had the traffic stopped on northbound I-25. The soft focus effect is from the heavy rain. When I got off on Alameda, traffic was backed up to Jefferson, so I turned north on Jefferson and drove out to the Balloon Fiesta Park and photographed the storm over the Jemez. I noticed the layers were accentuated by the storm while I was northbound on I-25. When I got back to Alameda the traffic hadn’t moved and a police car was blocking access to Jefferson south of Alameda. I turned left on Alameda, got on southbound I-25, and made a circular route home via I-40 and Coors Road (the traffic was light, so the drive was fast, thank goodness). I ended up driving almost three times the normal distance to get home tonight, but I might still be on Alameda, otherwise.

Burning Down the T-House

What a tragic weekend. Unfortunate families lost 12 of their loved ones in the Batman massacre Friday morning, a friend died from a stroke/heart attack last night, and we woke up to find the old Territorial House on fire.  The only comment I have on the Batman tragedy is that I find it ironic that the only people who noticed there was something wrong with the shooter are the owners of a gun club who rejected  his application to become a member.  The death of our friend was a complete surprise, and especially sad because he was getting ready to publish a book of poems. The book will be published, but he didn’t live to see it happen.  I grew up with the old Territorial House (most recently called Ranchos de Corrales Event Center), and I still drive by it every day. It had gone through various renovations and had many lives from when it was built as a hacienda around 1800 until it burned this morning. I started working for a woodworker who had a shop in a broken down adobe house on Corrales Road the summer of 1974. I was 15 years old, and one of my first projects was routing signs and painting them for the renovation of the Territorial House that summer. Shannon and I also built cabinets and all the interior doors for that renovation. When we came back from Spain during the summer of 1998, I played flamenco guitar at the T-House once a week until we returned to Spain that September. By that time, the T-House had been purchased by the owner of Ranchos de Taos Restaurant and renamed Ranchos de Corrales Restaurant. Mr. Sandoval had done minimal remodeling, so all the doors and signs I worked on in 1974 were still there, as they were the last time I was in the T-House about 10 years ago. As we were walking up to photograph the T-House burning, Laurie said “There goes all your work!”

Just after sunrise this morning, a fresh Two-Tailed Swallow Tail butterfly was making rounds around the blooms on the butterfly bush on the north side of the deck. I included several photos of it as it made its way around the tiny flowers that make up the blooms. The third photo in the series is particularly interesting because I caught it with its upper and lower wings separated. The overlap of the wings can be clearly seen in three of the five photos in the series.

Green Peach

This is the first time in seven years that we have fruit on our trees. Normally we get a hard frost that kills all the blossoms, and last year after the fruit had set in late May, we got a hard frost that killed all the fruit and took out some roses and other plants, as well. We did have a mild frost the last day of May this year, but it only affected some of our tomatoes and peppers, so this we have peaches, nectarines, wild plums, apples, crabapples, and I believe a few pears.  We got 4 or 5 yellow bing cherries (first time fruit survived on that tree), and I ate them straight off the tree before the birds got them. It looks like our tomatoes will actually ripen before first frost this year, and we have picked a few ears of corn already — they were kind of small, but tasty.

Simplemente Maravilloso

What happened to the drum solo?  I started thinking about that while listening to a mix of modern pop and classic rock that spans the 60’s into the new millennium. I remembered back to when I was around 12 or 13 years old dancing through the whole 17 minutes of Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” and trying to figure out what to do during the drum solo. In a rather brave and daring move, I took the girl I was dancing with in my arms and we hung on each other through the drum solo, and the rest of the song. I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden with that girl in my arms. As I paid closer attention to the differences between pop rock from then to now, I changed my question from “What happened to the drum solo?” to “What happened to the drummer?”  It seems like most of the current pop music uses sampled rhythm tracts that produce a steady, often monotonous beat. Those steady beats supply a solid base for dancing, but they can become rather irritating to listen to.  I was listening to some old Black Sabbath, and while their songs are kind of silly, they tell stories, have introductions and conclusions, bridges that connect the changes in rhythm and keys, and, above all, they have interesting drum tracts that were produced by a real drummer. Ditto for Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Billy Joel, Jethro Tull, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of interesting and creative music produced today, but it often comes up short on the drums… and guitar. Hmmm! Now that I think about it, “What happened to the guitar solo?”

First Dahlia

Our first dahlia bloomed. Laurie started several dahlias from bulbs in March, and while they are all growing, they are taking a long time to bloom. We have several rose bushes putting out a lot of nice blooms right now. Of the roses I put in the blog tonight, I only know Bella Roma — the rest are unmarked or new roses, and I’m too tired from too many very long days to get out the garden map and look them up.

DePorted

I got deported during lunch today. I left the office at 11:00 am and got back to the office at 12:30 pm. Pretty good for going in for surgery. As told Doctor told me after the twenty minutes it took her to deaden the area around the port, cut me open, pull out the catheter and port, then sew up the incision: “It’s sure a lot easier to take a port out than it is to put one in!” We chatted about life the universe and everything while she removed the port. Her nurse stood by doing little else but watching; I should have given her my camera and had her photograph the procedure, but I didn’t think about it until after the surgery. Laurie thinks the photo of my port is gross, so I’m sure she would have strongly objected to photos of the actual deportation.

In the photo above, the port, which was implanted in my chest for two years, is the white plastic device with the two membranes and the catheter attached. The catheter was in an artery at the base of my neck at the end of my collarbone. After the Doctor pulled out the catheter, she applied pressure above my collarbone for a minute or so while the hole in the artery closed. After she got the catheter out, then she pulled out the port and sewed up the the inch and a half long incision.

The other items in the photo are the remains of the worn out port ID card I’ve had in my wallet for two years. I was required, by law, to carry the card to let emergency and airport security people know that I had a port.  I haven’t flown since the port was installed, but I could imagine that TSA staff would have considered my port to be a bomb even after showing them the card. The needle with yellow “wings” is similar to what the nurses used to access the port. The port came with two “free” needles, which I’ve had sitting on a shelf for the past two years, since I never needed to access the port myself.

The green grasshopper was hanging out on a rose, and the balloon flew over just after sunrise the other morning.