Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Santa Fe, Here I Come!

I had to make some big decisions last week! I heard there was a job opening in Santa Fe, which is where I really wanted to go in the first place... the only problem was that they would only take me for a longer term assignment, while I was hoping to do a 2 month assignment so that I could return to school for the fall Quarter in Oregon. So, it was either take another shorter term assignment somewhere else, perhaps where I didn't want to be, OR take the job in Santa Fe, which would mean I'd miss the fall Quarter. It took me less than a day to decide. I love Northern New Mexico. And if you've been following my blog at all, you know I was having major concerns from a financial standpoint about continuing my University Art Studies in Oregon. So, when I left this summer to work, I told myself I'd be open to whatever happens. Plus, there is a community college in Santa Fe that has a BFA program in conjunction with the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, if I do decide to continue on with the Degree program. If not, there are tons of classes available at the JC level... they have six ceramics instructors at Santa Fe Community College, versus only one at Southern Oregon University. So, in terms of exposure to many different artists & techniques, I think this may be the best option. I've checked into classes, and unfortunately the are all full for the fall... apparently there are lots of people that love clay as much as me! BUT, they may have a community level class at Santa Fe Clay~ which is fine by me, as long as I can get my hands back into the mud soon, I will be happy! In the mean time, I'll share a little slideshow of (mostly) Northern New Mexico that I put together for some friends earlier in the year (see post below.) I hope you enjoy it!

New Mexico Slideshow

Just push play, sit back & enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Slice of Texas

I had never been to Texas, so I figured it being my last week & all, I should at least see just a little slice of it, since I'm just a few miles from the west Texas border. The nearest big city is Amarillo, so off I went. Lots of open space... and LOTS of cows along the way. I didn't stop for pics until I saw this guy above. It's Tex Randall- he's a sculptural icon of Canyon, Texas, and has been around since the 1950's. Recently, a campaign has been started to save Tex, as he was slated to be demolished. Apparently, fundraising is going well... Tex is now on facebook! You click here to learn more~ http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2222
In search of some down home Texas barbeque, a woman at work recommended I go to Ribs & More, in old town Amarillo.... so I did, but you guessed it... it was closed! My second choice which I had long heard about was the Big Texan, a well known tourist icon just off the I-40.

This is the home of the "Free" 72 oz steak! Free that is, if you can eat the entire 72 oz steak & all the fixings in under an hour... and people have actually done this! Needless to say, I didn't even think about trying it! After a mediocre BBQ beef sandwich, I headed off to the Cadillac Ranch... perhaps you've heard of it?

It was the brainchild of Stanley Marsh & the Art Farm, a San Francisco Art Collective.
I really wasn't sure what to make of it... it's certainly a sculptural installation, (an interactive one at that... as people bring their spray paint cans to add some fresh graffiti) but is it really Art? I just kept thinking of the line from Field of Dreams... if you build it, they will come. And come they do... it's a popular tourist draw... I saw license plates from Washington, Nevada, Kentucky... and well, of course, Texas. Some closer views~

Like I said... I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but it was interesting. People visiting had various reactions... some looked puzzled, while others joined in with their spray paint cans to add the latest layer to the already much graffitied "works of art."
For more on the artist & other things Amarillo, visit this post from Pat at "A View from the Edge"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This & That~ A Post From Clovis, New Mexico

I have to admit, I haven't really seen much of Clovis, New Mexico since arriving here 3 weeks ago. During the week of course, it's all work... and when I'm off in the evenings, I haven't had much energy left for exploring. That has long been the problem when I'm working full time... all other pursuits fall by the wayside. At any rate, I thought I'd stick around this weekend & see what I could find. Lo & behold the "Wiener Dog Races" were in town this weekend! Don't laugh, apparently this is a national event! It was kinda funny though, I have to admit. Here's the "racetrack~"

I'm guessing the entire race is about 50 ft long.

The owners put their dogs in numbered slots... and off they go!

O.k, so some of them just walk out, sniff each other & then wander into the crowd...
Their owners are at the finish line, calling them in hopes they'll run down the track.
Some do, like this little guy~

They were kinda fun to watch... for a half hour or so. After the festivities, I decided to head to the original downtown area. Here's looking down Main street~

It seemed as though most of the shops were closed for the weekend, or closed... period. It seemed a bit sad to me, because it appears this was once a vital area.

Alas, the Rock & Roll Museum was closed, too! Clovis was actually well known "back in the day" for it's recording studio- Buddy Holly recorded "Peggy Sue" & "That'll be the day..." there. A little Clovis trivia for you! There's also the Old Hotel Clovis, built in 1931 by architect Robert Merril. In it's heyday, this hotel hosted such names as Louis Armstrong (how cool is that?!) Glenn Miller & Hank Williams. From the info I could find, the hotel was shut down shortly after the Santa Fe Railroad discontinued passenger service to Clovis. It is now vacant & securely closed up, due to vandalism.

A side view.. I love the old fire escape~

I Also found this cool old Mural... I love the part where it says "200 miles to next Gas..."
it makes me think of simpler times, and more open space than we have today.

Leaving Clovis, and heading south toward Portales~ a storm hovers in the distance...

My goal was to go to the Sunland Peanut Processing Plant... I had been by there a few times but they were closed... today they were open! They are reportedly one of the nations largest producers of Valencia Peanuts... and I heard their peanut butter was delicious.

I picked up some peanuts & peanut butter to ship home to the family (It's fun to send home local goodies from the places I travel)... and for myself, a special treat~ Peanut Brittle!

YUM!! If you are ever passing through... this peanut brittle is highly recommended!

For more tales from Clovis, (and more recently, Las Cruces) visit Clair's Blog @

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bat Swarm Emergence at Carlsbad Caverns

Here's the short video of the "Bat Flight" that I had the opportunity to see, & that I had mentioned in my last post. ( I didn't film this... photography & filming are off limits... I think the guy who did the filming had some clout!) Just push play below... you may have to wait a few seconds for it to start. Pretty amazing stuff... I had never seen anything like it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Has anyone out there been to the Carlsbad Caverns? It's a pretty amazing place. It's a four hour drive from my place, but it was well worth it. You can enter via an elevator, or the "Natural Entrance..." I chose the natural entrance, so I could check out all there was to see on the way down. Either way, you will descend about 755 ft below the Earth's surface. The view looking in~

And the view looking out... the last daylight I'd see for awhile!

Photographing the inside of the caves is tough. It's dimly lit & my flash doesn't carry that far.

It is estimated that the growth of these underground formations began 500,000 years ago.

Stalactites above... Stalagmites & flowstone below~

The formations are basically formed by little drops of water & the mineral calcite... over many, many years. More interesting formations~

Without a tripod, there is no way to show the immensity of the place, due to the lack of lighting. I walked along underground paths for 2 miles marveling at the formations. There are many "rooms" to the caves, the largest aptly named "The Big Room," and is 8.2 acres if you can imagine that! If anyone is planning on going... a few recommendations:
1) Don't go on the Weekend! I had no choice, due to my work schedule... but it was crazy crowded!
2) If you are into photography... bring a tripod to capture the magnificence of the place.
3) STAY for the evening "Bat Flight..." this is not to be missed! You aren't allowed to take pictures, but I have found a wonderful short video I will post later... but for now, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going to the Mountains

I love the mountains... that's all there is to it. There's a John Muir quote~ "Going to the Mountains is Going Home..." and that pretty much sums it up for me. I just feel better when I'm in the mountains. Where I'm living now, it's flat... completely flat. So, having finished my work week... I headed out early Saturday morning for a 3 hour drive up to Ruidoso & the Sacramento Mountains. I had driven through there on my way to my new job, & knew I'd get back up for some hiking the first chance I got. My friend from Santa Fe was kind enough to meet me there. That's him way ahead of me on the trail... he lives at 7,000 ft... while me, somewhere around 4,000. Our hike started around 9,600, so needless to say... I could feel my heart pounding in my chest while he floated effortlessly up the trail.

There is so much beauty to be found in the mountains~

We caught the tail end of the wild flowers blooming...

Lots of Ladybugs...

And who doesn't like Lichen?

My friend on one of the peaks...

The surrounding mountains shrouded in mist...

And the view looking west... that's White Sands & the Organ Mountains far off in the distance...

I'm now off the mountain & back to the plains... & already looking forward to next weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Rainy Commute

No, this is not a bunch of crazy people driving down the middle of a river... this was my actual commute home from work the other day. The rain had been coming down hard for at least an hour before I left, and the streets were flooded... I was beginning to wonder if I should look for the Ark! I couldn't resist pulling off on a side street to take some photos... where thankfully the water was only ankle deep when I stepped out of my car.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Traveler's Tales

Well, this is not a typical post... but I figure now that I'm out of school & back to my travel job, all my thoughts, images & experiences are fair game. I sat down this evening to type out an email to my recruiter (he helps arrange interviews/jobs/housing) & to selected family & friends. I found it so highly entertaining to write that after I hit the "send" button I thought what the heck... I'll post it right here on the ol' blog. And to think you thought my life was all art and travel!

Hello to Bill, family & friends,
Today, I thought I'd write a little traveler's tale for your amusement. You never know what you are going to get when you're a traveler. This is in terms of EVERYTHING... your housing, the location, the facility, the pay, the weather, etc. My traveler friend Laura & I used to call it the five factors plus factor "X." (factor X = is there a dateable guy around.) For this issue of "The Glamorous Life of a Traveler..." I'll focus on the housing. The house itself is fine. I mean, some of the lights were burned out... there is a garage with no garage opener, and I was left with no key to the deadbolt.... but, hey, these things are trivial. Let's talk about cleanliness... 'cause everybody knows... cleanliness is next to Godliness! Below is a picture of my bathroom sink upon arrival!! (The shower stall & cabinet shelves were only marginally better....)

How about sleeping arrangements? Well, after many miles (and cheap motels to try to stay within the "travel budget,") it sure would be nice to "come home" to a nice comfy bed... but this is what I found! Puzzled? it is in fact, two twin beds! But no! You can't pull them apart... because they rest on a king bed frame! The funny part... as if this weren't funny already... is that there is not a sheet in the place big enough to cover them... so I had to make them separately!

But!! Below was my other option. I don't know, you tell me... how old does a mattress have to be to fall apart like this? (I once had a mattress for 17 years & it was still in tip top shape!) Well thankfully, the beds were not made, so at least I could see what I was (or wasn't) getting in to. By the way... can you see bed bugs? Just curious, 'cause I woke up with itchy bumps on my arms after my first night!

Uuummm... "shabby chic," or "sheet in the window?"
I think you know the answer...

Oh, and this was a fun find! It's always nice to find BULLETS on the shelf in your new home!! NOT!!!

Oh well, at least they started to clean the tub...

Usually, the housing comes with the basics... like say a kitchen trash can... but at first I couldn't locate it. Oh, wait.... I found it... outside! Because, who doesn't want to do some serious cleaning after driving over 1,500 miles to get to their new job!

Uuumm, wait, what's missing? Yep, no photo of the dining room table.... oh, 'cause there isn't one!! There is however, an outdoor chair in it's place... a little misrepresentation, or what? Well, this concludes the very first issue of "The Glamorous Life of a Traveler!"
Stay tuned for more glorious adventure!!
:) Becky
p.s.- dang... if only I started compiling these stories when my travels began 5 1/2 years ago... I'd have a book by now!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Roswell, New Mexico... UFO Festival

The last stop on my journey to Eastern New Mexico was Roswell. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the 1947 "Roswell Incident," a purported Government cover up of UFO activity. A friend of mine recommended I go to the UFO Museum pictured above. I have to say, it was pretty interesting to say the least. Lots of newspaper clippings & affidavits about the events of 1947, as well as research into "sightings" all over the world. After touring the museum, it seems their was definitely a cover-up of some sort... maybe not of the Alien nature, but perhaps something top secret that the government did not want the public to be aware of. In any case, the town of Roswell has certainly capitalized on these events... and as luck would have it, I was passing through during the annual UFO festival~ a four day event that brings in an estimated 20,000 tourists, with various activities going on... from films to talks, parades & races, to lots of food & many booths set up to sell various UFO paraphernalia like t-shirts, books, mugs, stuffed aliens... even Alien salsa! I partook in the "Alien Chase 5K" & got this really cool T-shirt!

I know what you're thinking... but no, it is not an Alien abduction going on... it's just the camera flash, folks! But seriously, good thing there were no Aliens, 'cause my running was so slow they'd have caught me for sure! I also went to the parade... because, well who doesn't want to watch a bunch of people dressed as Aliens taking to the streets! There were a couple of Movie Stars in the parade, including Wes Studi (most recently of Avatar fame... though I have yet to see the film) and Zack Ward (Transformers... nope haven't seen that one either!) Sponge Bob & Elvis even showed up! I've put together a little slide show of the parade & various signs & store fronts around town to give you a view of my 24 hours in Roswell~