Saturday, July 30, 2011

Joke's On Us!

     When we were here visiting last December, Bob, Esperanza and I enjoyed a really wonderful hike on a trail not far from town.   It was in the mountains but only moderately challenging, and rewarded us with a very spectacular view of a mountain peak to the south. 
Since moving to New Mexico, we have tried unsuccessfully almost a dozen times to return to that trail.  Each of us was absolutely positive it began just outside of town and on the left side of the road.  We were also all positive it began on a highway just east of where Esperanza's apartment is.  We even stopped in at the US Forest Service office and spoke with a trail expert who guessed at several possibilities, but who must have been shaking his head in puzzlement as we left. 
     Well, today we found it!  Quite by accident.  We weren't even looking for it.  No, we were headed to a music festival at a ski resort about 30 minutes away.  Shortly after leaving Taos, both Bob and I saw the trail head and exclaimed, almost simultaneously, "there it is!"   We had been right all along about its being near town and on the left side of the road--we'd just been picturing it on the wrong highway! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Birthday Surprise

      "Give it to Grandma, give it to Grandma...."  I heard Esperanza's words to Frankie as they were coming up the driveway.  When I walked out of the bedroom, there stood my grandson, proudly presenting me with a birthday cake he and mama had just purchased at the bakery.  My first-ever "Happy Birthday, Grandma" cake.  And well-timed, too, because even though my birthday is still a few days off,  Frankie will be with his dad that day.  This way, I was able to share cake and candles with him, too.  It was a sweet surprise--in both senses of "sweet!"--made all the more so by having Frankie share in the candle-blowing!  And, yes, of course, Grandma gave Frankie the cherry from the top of the cake!


Unwinding with Grandpa

      Frankie is a little boy on the move most of the time.  He rarely takes time to sit--except to eat.  So when he was enjoying books with Grandpa the other day, I finally went to get the camera.  Of course, I'd waited too long and by the time I returned, Frankie was ready to be on his way again.  15 minutes of laptime was a gift to Grandpa, and Frankie's limit!   

Monday, July 25, 2011

NOW It's 100% Official!

     One more trip today to the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles yielded a successful application for Bob's driver's license.  He, too, is now in possession of the NM document, making this branch of the family tree now 100% New Mexican.
     As the clerk handed him his temporary license and returned all his identity-supporting documents, I asked, "Did we pay you?"  We were surprised at her response--no charge since this is a one year license.  Once a driver reaches 75 in New Mexico,  they must renew every year.  We had known that, but didn't know that there would be no fee for his license from now on.  Welcome news! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another First for Us

     We've been feeding hummingbirds for years now.  The ones that have come to our feeders in Marquette were the ruby-throats--mostly a shimmering green with a bright red neckline (especially on the males.)  Now that the "hummers" have located our feeders in New Mexico, we've noticed there are two varieties vying for sole ownership.  The second is a rufous hummingbird which, when it catches the NM sunlight, looks almost golden.  We think we have about 4 regular birds coming to our feeders and they entertain us with constant "dog-fights" throughout the day, spending most of their time chasing each other away from the food source; once in a while, they pause to actually indulge.  Yesterday morning, we were flabbergasted to see 3 of them feeding simultaneously on the same feeder.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Stroll in the Neighborhood

Another rainbow tonight above "our" mountains.

Frankie ponders whom to squirt next and is oblivious of the rainbow and mountains behind him.

Heading north, and up hill from home.

Heading homeward, facing the town of Taos.

Sun setting behind a neighbor's hacienda.

Our place, as seen through a gap in the fence.  The small structure in the center is a storage shed.  The taller one on the right is a neighbor's house.

Home again, jiggety jig!

Viva Los "Yoopers!"

     It's not quite the same as "wearing one's heart on one's sleeve," but our new plate for the front of the car does declare our loyalty to a very special place in itself, and in our lives.  The plate may also serve as a conversation starter here--who knows where other Yooper transplants might be?  (Bob actually ran into a guy at Wal-mart who asked if Bob had graduated from Western Illinois University because Bob was wearing their logo shirt--a gift from a sister and brother-in-law on the faculty there.)  So, Yooper connections could be out there, too--we've seen a car around town a few times with another plate:  "Yoosta be a Yooper."  In the local parlance, "viva los Yoopers!"--long live yoopers--wherever they are living today!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taos Plaza Live!

     A delightful summer event in Taos happens every Thursday from 6 pm-8pm:  Taos Plaza Live.  This is a fun (and free) evening of  live band music and dancing in the plaza (square) of downtown Taos.  Each week, there are 2 bands that perform for an hour each, and each week there are different bands so the community and visitors get to experience a variety of music and local talent.  It's a very popular event and we have managed to attend 3 times. 
     The first time, we took a picnic supper and were spectators all evening.  However, as we left, Bob said, "next time, we'll dance."  Well, the next time we went, all 3 of us were coping with new colds and no one felt much like dancing.            
     Tonight when we left home for the plaza, Bob remarked that we probably still weren't up for the dancing and I agreed.  Much to my surprise, however, near the end of the evening, Bob leaned over and asked if I wanted to join the dancers after all.  The band was playing a pretty fast tune but we danced with abandon to the whole piece.  When the music stopped, I asked Bob what moved him to get out and dance at that point.  He'd thought it was the last song!  To my delight, and I think his as well, there were two more tunes before the evening ended--so we "cut the rug" until the last note was played.
     Thus, today, for the first time, we danced in New Mexico at an elevation of 6,000 feet--and are still breathing! 

Old Michiganders to NEW New Mexicans

     One of Caryl's brothers known for his clever phrases remarked recently that he'd heard it was "better to be a NEW New Mexican than an OLD Michigander."
Today, we made it 66.66% official.  After 2 1/2 hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles, we walked out with a new temporary driver's license for Caryl and a plate and title for our car.  Bob is the involuntary holdout, however.
      To get a driver's license, Bob needed a Social Security card--which he says he has never had.  In place of an SS card, the DMV required him to present TWO documents with his identity which also showed his SS number.  Do you know how hard that is to come up with?  He had his Medicare card; that counts as one of the required two.  A second option that was suggested was a "bank statement" with the number on it.  Most banks, including ours, don't do that.  His veteran identification card is also minus the SS number.  Amazingly, even communications from the Social Security Administration do not show the actual number.  So what's a guy to do? 
     Well, a very creative representative at our bank sent us a copy of the "signature card" which Bob signed for our savings account; this card shows his SS number.  And in case that's not adequate, the next time we return to the DMV office, we hope to also have a letter from the VA identifying him by name and SS number.  The DMV list of accepted documents says such a letter, in conjunction with his photo ID which does not have the SS number, would be acceptable.  We'll see--hopefully after a much shorter stint in the DMV office!


     Part of the reason our office visit took so much time was that the first print-out of our New Mexican title had our last name misspelled; the clerk had left out the "u."  She was a bit befuddled about how to remedy this and had to call over another woman who seemed to be a supervisor.  This woman helped the first woman to void the previous title, and the charges for it, BUT she thought that the mistake had been to put in an "r" where the "u" should be.  So when we were handed the corrected title, we noted that now our name was missing the "r!"  Oh, bother!!  At this point, the poor clerk (who was probably already an hour past her lunch time) looked really frazzled.  Fortunately for her, and us, the supervisor offered to finish the process.  Third time was the charm--all information on the title is now correct and our car is sporting its New Mexico license plate.  Now if we can just get Bob's paperwork together, we can make it 100% official!