Thursday, February 2, 2023

10 Years Ago: Relocation 2013, Part 1: Mexico!

 

Spoiler alert: I didn't relocate to Mexico. 

First there was the military occupation sent to Morelia, my first-choice city. 

Then there was this teaser

And here was the climax. And part of it had to do with deciding to do something scary. Scarier than jumping out of a plane. 

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Relocation 2013, Part 1: Mexico!

Virgin of Ocotlan Basilica, Ocotlan, Tlaxcala, Mexico



Damn, is it that time already?


Back here, I drilled down my decision to either Mexico or New Mexico for 2012/2013.

This go-round, after toying with other possibilities, I've settled on Mexico.

Last year, these were my criteria:
  • Reasonable access to family/friends; 
  • Proximity to mountains; 
  • Locations with mild(er) climate; 
  • Cultural and language diversity; 
  • Low cost of living; and 
  • Income opportunities

For 2013/2014, my criteria are ...  huh .... identical, if one defines "income opportunities" to mean access to reliable and high-speed internet access, as my plan is to continue teaching English online.

So now that I know the country ... time to figure out the city.

My wish list for the city are (in addition to the above):
  • Population less than 500,000 and more than 50,000
  • Sense of place
  • Socio-economic, age, and ethnic diversity
  • Trees, pretty scenery; a lake or river would be nice
  • In a location that's a good base for exploring the entire country
  • Not in a criminal-gang hotspot.
  • Elevation lower than 7000 feet
  • Reliable and fast internet connection (this one is a deal breaker)
  • Within 3 hours of an international airport (preferably two)

But before I go to Mexico, I'll leave New Mexico (boo hoo) at the end of September, and spend October in Missouri.

Of course .... if I learned only one thing in Georgia, it was this: Be flexible. So, quien sabe? Maybe my plans will change.

 

 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Las Cruces, New Mexico: Scenes from the Farmers and Crafts Market

Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market with the Organ Mountains backdrop. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.
Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market with the Organ Mountains backdrop. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.

 

During my current sojourn in Las Cruces, I go downtown on Saturdays to the Farmers and Craft Market. I go for the kettle corn, mainly. It's not often I'm living in a place where I can get it in the wild, regularly. 

Las Cruces seems to have three kettle corn drug dealers. There's Uncle Banjo, Southwest, and a third one, as yet unseen and untried by me. 

My preference is Southwest Kettle Corn. I can taste all of the fat, crunch, salt, and sweet. Uncle Banjo's is too dry for my taste. And the folks at Southwest know how we are, "we" being persnickety partakers of the popcorn crack. As in: If I ask for more salt before I carry away my bag, I'm asked in return: "In layers or on the top"? And always, we users are asked: "Do you want your bag open or tied?" 

The market is long and large. 

On Christmas Eve, my eyes widened at the probable deliciousness of the mushrooms on offer. Oh, mushrooms, how I love thee.

Mushrooms and brilliant smile at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. December 2022. Credit: Mzuriana.
Mushrooms and brilliant smile at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. December 2022. Credit: Mzuriana.

Mushrooms and brilliant smile at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. December 2022. Credit: Mzuriana.
Mushrooms and brilliant smile at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. December 2022. Credit: Mzuriana.


On another day, I bought a stash of bright artwork from Alyssa Trujillo. Along with mushrooms, I do fancy lizards. I'll send the work to worthy recipients. 

Artist Alyssa Trujillo at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.
Artist Alyssa Trujillo at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.

A slide show of the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market, which includes photos from my first-ever visit in 2013: 

Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market


This and other markets

2010: Kansas City: Travels With Carol: Day 3: City Market, et al

2011: Color in Harar [Ethiopia], Day 4

2011: Last Day in Gonder [Ethiopia]: The Market, Gold, and God is Calling

2011: Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia: At the "Big" Market

2012: Istanbul: Larceny and Spice

2012: Alamogordo, New Mexico: Farmer's Market

2013: Las Cruces: The Not-So-Farmerish Farmers' Market

2013: Lafayette, Louisiana: Farmers' Market at the Oil Center, Winter

2016: El Paso: Downtown Farmers Market

2016: Antigua, Guatemala: Municipal market stories here and here and here

2016: Outside Antigua, Guatemala: The Sunday Blues

2018: Mexico City: New Housemates and the Saturday Market











Sunday, January 8, 2023

Las Cruces, New Mexico: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 8888: Caught Again?

 

Gaza. COVID art. October 2020. Source: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Gaza. COVID art. October 2020. Source: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

"So sorry to have to send this text to you. This morning I tested positive for COVID. ..... " 

This from Diana, who came to El Paso with her husband, Pete, to volunteer at a migrant receiving shelter for a couple of weeks. We'd spent such a good time together on Sunday and Monday, with so much laughter.

Not a text I wanted to receive. Especially since I've been visiting daily with Drake's dad, Beck, who is physically vulnerable on at least three levels. 

It doesn't matter that:

  • I'm pretty careful with my mask protocols; or
  • I have abstained from trips to zydeco dancing venues, feeling as holy (and deprived) as a virgin saving herself for marriage; or
  • I was pretty confident about my friends' practices, and that of the place where my friends volunteered in El Paso for the previous two weeks; or
  • I've had one, two, and three vaccination doses in 2021, plus the first bivalent booster in October 2022; or 
  • Had one bout with COVID in early 2022; or 
  • I successfully avoided contracting COVID when my Jefferson City hostess came down with it.

And it sure doesn't matter that I had this on my list of things to do: Get the second bivalent dose. 

I last saw my friends on Monday afternoon. Diana's test was positive on Wednesday morning. I waited until Thursday afternoon to take my own rapid test to allow time for a sufficient quantity of viruses to accrue. The little fuckers. 

My Thursday afternoon test result: Negative. 

My Friday afternoon test result: Negative.

And finally, my Saturday morning test result: Negative! Hallelujah! 


My third and final negative test result. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.
My third and final negative test result. January 2023. Credit: Mzuriana.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Life Hacks From the Road: The Three Gs


Desert View, Grand Canyon. November 2008. Credit: Mzuriana.
Desert View, Grand Canyon. November 2008. Credit: Mzuriana.

I began this post back in May 2019. It's been gestating in the draft womb ever since. Seeing as how we're in 2023's neonatal days, it's time to birth this baby.

During the course of a conversation, one of my El Paso friends, "Drake," referenced the three Gs. The three Gs aren't of Drake's conception; they are Dan Savage's.

Oh, Dan Savage. I hadn't read any of his columns in years, and I hadn't heard of his three Gs. Dan Savage is the author of the column called Savage Love, from which he dispenses relationship and sex advice.

Mr. Savage's three Gs reside in a sexual context, but as soon as Drake described them to me, I saw their useful application to life generally.

The Three Gs
  • Good
  • Giving
  • Game

In short (from a Psychology Today article):
GGG stands for 'good, giving, and game.’ Think 'good in bed,' 'giving of equal time and equal pleasure,' and 'game for anything—within reason.'"

For more details, here you can listen to Dan Savage explain below:




But, as I noted, I can try to apply the Gs in everyday milieus.


Desert View, Grand Canyon. November 2008. Credit: Mzuriana.
Desert View, Grand Canyon. November 2008. Credit: Mzuriana.




Good

Skill. To be good at something and to practice that skill.

For example, Drake is skilled at noticing.

Early on in our friendship, I saw that he noticed things I liked, and he noticed things I didn't like.

Then, for my pleasure, he acted on what he noticed.

I'm not talking big things. I'm talking small things.

Like noticing that I prefer taking a more scenic route from point A to point B instead of a more direct route. When we were out and about, he'd ask if I'd prefer walking an alternative route over the most time-efficient route - and being amenable to taking the longer way.

Like noticing that I usually opt for crunchy vegetable snacks. Consequently, he thoughtfully included a supply of carrots in a day pack for a joint excursion, in addition to his preferred snacks of chips and cookies.

I have since tried to build my own noticing-to-acting skill so that I can add some Good into a relationship, whether it be friend, family, romantic interest, neighbor, or colleague.


Giving

I'm not much of a hugger in most situations, and I used to groan inwardly when I encountered the friends who I labeled as eye-rollingly touchy-feely, gearing myself up for the inevitable greeting hug. But one day I realized that:

  1. Hugs do not actually cause me any harm; and
  2. Huggers derive sustenance from hugs, both giving and receiving; so
  3. How about if I unreservedly give and receive said hugs?


Game

"I only listen to classical music."
"I don't like your music."

It can be a bit of a bummer when a friend or relative rejects something out of hand that you like or something you want to try. 

I'm not just thinking of exotica, such as trying out a food new to you or me, like brains or crunchy crickets

And I'm not talking about things that risk one's physical or mental well-being, such as jumping out of a plane.

We all have biases for and against places and activities, which are evident with the words never, always, and only.

I used to have a bias against ocean cruises. But over time, my antipathy has become less strident: If a person in my circle really wants to go on a cruise, and my participation would be an investment in our relationship, and it's a cruise I can afford financially, and the opportunity costs aren't too high (i.e. if I do the cruise, I'd have to pass up something I value significantly more or something that won't be available later) ... then why not? I'm game. Maybe I'll be delighted! And if not delighted for myself, maybe I'll be delighted at the pleasure I see in my travel companion.

Being game doesn't arm us for future chess moves. I laughed the other day remembering Jewish-née-Episcopalian Charlotte's outcry to future husband Harry: "I gave up Christ for you!"


Monday, January 2, 2023

10 Years Ago: Chimps in Alamogordo, New Mexico

As I draft this in 2023, I am again in Alamogordo's sphere, over on the other side of the Organ Mountains, which I have the deep pleasure of seeing every day.

In 2015, I was able to visit Chimp Haven in Louisiana. It's open to the public only twice a year.

Alas, as of January 2021 ("Federal lawsuit filed over chimps still held at Holloman Air Force Base"), 36 chimps from the Holloman Air Force Base community still lived at the Holloman Air Force Base because, according to official explanations, the remaining chimps are too infirm for travel to one of the sanctuaries in Louisiana or Florida.  The situation had not changed in March 2022, although the number of chimps at the air force base had decreased to 35, due to the death of one inhabitant.  

The original post of UPDATE: Chimps in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

UPDATE: Chimps in Alamogordo, New Mexico




Chimpanzee. Credit: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Credit: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine



History

Back here, I related the history of chimpanzees in Alamogordo.


A new life for the Alamogordo chimps!


Today brings important news for the 169 remaining chimps at the Alamogordo Primate Facility on Holloman Air Force Base.

In short --> some? most? all? -- of these chimps will be retired to Chimp Haven in Louisiana.

Here is the final report from the Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research. There is a comment period before their recommendations can be finalized, but it would seem public opinion is in favor of retiring the chimps.

What a happy ending to a dismal history.  Kudos to Chimp Haven.


But what about ....? 

While I was researching the history of the Alamogordo chimps, I was dismayed to learn that Americans can breed and sell chimps as pets.

Insanity.  

Setting aside the horror stories of the dangers of adolescent and adult chimps, how does one rationalize taking a baby chimp from its mother?

A baby chimp that has been taken from its mother suffers effects similar to that of a human infant being stolen from its mother.

Recent ads: 

Baby Chimpanzee For Sale

($500.00)

Very tamed, veterinary checked diaper and crate trained, this chimpanzee baby is ready for a loving homes . She is home raised and always around kids. She is a playmate for kids and adults and gets along with other pets. She is going to come with all papers, toys, sample foods and a very large crate . If interested and ready to give this girl the kind of home we are looking for, get back to us for more information with your name and mobile number to ease communication...


$800, Cute Female baby Chimpanzee for sale

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:04 AM


Our Female baby chimpanzee is a house raised, diaper trained, leash trained , wears clothes and likes to lay around, watch TV and take snaps with you. Please contact for more information on this baby. she is vaccinated, vet checked, obedient, intelligent, acrobatic, very healthy and loves the company of children's and other pets. She will be coming along with all health papers, shots and cages too, So we are searching for any families that would take very good care of our baby Contact us via Email or Cell if interested.

Fast Facts
Adorable baby chimpanzees . they have all their health documents. They date with current vaccines. they are very charming, sociable, playful and very beautiful.Well tamed and hand raised.they just received their shots and have health documents issued by a qualified veterinarian, they are DNA and also tested negative on all possible diseases which could get them affected,they are also free from all genetic diseases as approved of,from their lab results, they have their papers of guarantee of health, and they will be coming with toys and very nutritive monkey food.They have a lot of games with the children and other pets such as birds, dogs and cats. We are always available for competent buyers, if you are interested in having these chimps.email 


Baby chimpanzee. Source: https://www.care2.com/
Baby chimpanzee. Source: Care2

                         

 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2023 Word of the Year: FEAR: Looking Into the Abyss Without Falling In

 

Grand Canyon. September 2007. Credit: Mzuriana.
Grand Canyon. September 2007. Credit: Mzuriana.


OK, this is a surprise, eh? 

A word like FEAR?! On the very first day of the spankin' new year?! What a buzzkill!

Shouldn't it be something inspirational or aspirational like other years, such as:

Well, I'm thinking no. We are living in FEAR-ful times. I want to look at that. I want to look into the abyss of fear without falling in.

I've got FEAR in all caps because FEAR is an acronym for many things in the 12-step universe, such as:

  1. Fuck Everything and Run
  2. Fighting Ego Against Reality
  3. Frustration, Ego, Anxiety, Resentment 
  4. Frantic Effort to Appear Real
  5. Failure Expected And Received
  6. False Evidence Appearing Real
  7. False Expectations Appearing Real
  8. Feelings Every Addict Rejects
  9. Forgetting Everything's All Right
  10. Feelings Expressed Allow Relief
  11. Face Everything And Recover

I'm not sure I'll try and match a month to an acronym. 

Alligators are dangerous sign. New Iberia, Louisiana. March 2015. Credit: Mzuriana.
Alligators are dangerous sign. New Iberia, Louisiana. March 2015. Credit: Mzuriana.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Travelutions (aka Travel Resolutions) for 2023

 

El Paso-Juárez Bus mural outside the El Paso History Museum, El Paso, Texas. November 2016. Photo credit: Mzuriana.
El Paso-Juárez Bus mural outside the El Paso History Museum, El Paso, Texas. November 2016. Photo credit: Mzuriana.

It's been a minute since I wrote up a travel resolutions post. 


For 2023, here's what other folks intend to aspire to will do

**crickets**

Yeah, I drew a blank, not for the wont of lists that exist, but for the wont of finding any lists that inspired me, amused me, or surprised me. Not because I'm so worldly, and certainly not that I'm world-weary. No, it's because the dozens of lists I viewed offered the bullets of low-hanging fruit that we've all seen before, like: go somewhere new, try solo travel, stayvacate, etc. Or it's because the target audience has far more money and disposable time than most of us do.

I'm gonna divide my own list into two parts: 

  1. Destination possibilities
  2. Travel practices or activities

My list of potential travel destinations for 2023

  • Trips to Vietnam, Romania, and Senegal (or thereabouts). Why these three? I have current or past students in the first two destinations, and because I've got a hankering to do that motor scooter thing that Phil in the Blank and a partner started up a few years back. Have I ever been on a motor scooter? Well, no. Maybe I'll take lessons somewhere first. That's on my list, too.
  • A one-to-three month stay in Toronto, renting a friend's apartment in the city while she travels elsewhere. The only challenge is that in her perfect world, we'd do this during the winter, which she would like to escape. In my perfect world, fuck no, it's too cold! So we'll see how that all works out. 
  • A visit somewhere with my youngest descendant, Jet
  • A one-week visit to another Big City with my descendant, Tab (current contenders: Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto), as a follow-on to a trip we took to NYC in September 2022
  • A few weeks in Houston, with a gluttonous consumption of zydeco music and dance
  • Several consecutive months of camping
  • I'd still like to do another road trip to Alaska (which I did with daughter Kit a long time ago), but that might be better for 2024, when Jet has a driver's license.

My 2023 list of travel practices or activities

  1. For the past decade, my rootlessness followed a model of one-year temporary residencies in different locations. With 2023, I am thinking to change this to quarterly moves, and even monthly moves, depending on the seasons and destinations. My tentative plan all along has been to settle in to a permanent home base in mid-2025, so accelerating my movement pattern for these next two and a half years feels attractive. 
  2. Embark on and complete a list of creative projects that incorporate writing, family letters, and photographs. This practice relates to travel in that I will need to consciously choose locations and spaces that are conducive to peaceful blocks of time to invest in these projects. 
  3. OK, so here's a practice that didn't hit my rootless radar until very recently: Establish medical relationships in convenient locations for effective continuity of care, record keeping, and oversight for:

  • Routine screenings
  • Management of noncritical conditions that require some oversight, or just those things that one needs to keep an eye on because of potential development into something that requires intervention
  • In the event something serious develops, there's already a relationship with a health care provider I trust and who knows me

Past travelutions posts