February 28, 2013

A Sunday Drive

 When I was a kid, we did not have much money with 5 kids in the house so  often times our entertainment needed to be cheap or free. Thus, we often went out for a ride on Sunday. We went to watch airplanes land, visited relatives on Long Island, drove upstate NY, that sort of thing. When Mrsfabp and I hooked up, we kept doing that. We had just moved to Massachusetts and enjoyed our little trips, to the Cape, Newport, Vermont, museums, little quaint towns and when our kids arrived, it was more of the same.

So, it should not be a surprise that Mrsfabp and I have continued this sort of tradition. We have enjoyed our little trips, with friends or on our own. We have gone to see the cranes at Bosque del Apache State Park,to Hatch for Green Chile Cheeseburgers and music, to the Lava flows north of the city, to Santa Fe on the Railrunner express train, as well as the things right around town, like driving around neighborhoods, picnics up at Picacho Peak and trips out to the desert.

So it only seems fitting that Mrsfabp has had a desire to see Deming, NM. It was the first town we researched in the area and she thought it would be fun to see if we are missing anything not being there. So one Sunday, we packed the car with 2 dogs, snacks for them, water for us and headed out to Deming.

We can now sum up Deming in 3 words - out of business. There were more empty stores then working ones. Downtown was just about a ghost town. We stopped at the visitors bureau but that was closed too. At least the dogs enjoyed a few minutes out in the fresh air. We went and visited the place we were looking at to live to see what was there and again were totally underwhelmed. Country club estates was a grid of SW style homes next to what would have appeared to be a golf course, except there was no grass, lots of sand and it was flat as the eye could see. My friend Fred, a golf fiend would probably turned down the opportunity to play there, and he plays everywhere all the time.

Center of Deming
Nothing else to look at there
Then we got our first break. We saw a listing for the Adobe Deli and thought it might be good to get a deli sandwich and maybe a cold beer but the directions seemed unusual. Basically they said travel 15 miles south by south east. I thought Mexico was there but that what the directions said. After 10 minutes of driving there were just the occasional home. After 20 minutes, there was only grazing cows and as we approached the place, there was nothing but desert and barbed wire fence. The place itself looked like an abandoned car repair place, lots of chain linked fence, razor wire and abandoned cars. Out of the back there was a barbed wire fence in the distance that I was sure was in Mexico. But we pulled into the parking lot because there were quite a number of cars there. As we walked in we realized this wasn’t a deli but an old fashion honky tonk bar with plenty of tables for eatin’ and drinkin’ and moving around for dancin’. The decor was pure hunters lodge as you can tell by the picture below. I am sure that the person who coined the phrase "out in the middle of nowhere" was sitting at the bar of the Adobe Deli.

All it is missing is a deer blind!

Outside in the parking lot of the Adobe Deli

Two things to tell about the place. The food was great, including hand cut onion rings and Sam Adams, Lager and Alpine Spring on tap and cold as could be. The other is a story. While we were waiting on our food, a family (yes, apparently it is ok to have families come into a honky tonk DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS. Anyway as they settled into a table, their little girl, maybe 4 years old, wandered over to the pool table, looked and turned to her dad, pulled on his sleeve, and said “Daddy , what is this?” He quickly answered that it was a pool table. She turned and looked at it for a bit longer and turned to her father again, pulled on his sleeve, and said, “well, where is the pool then?” There was a murmur of giggles throughout the bar and the dad quickly got her into a seat at their table.

In my next post, a bit about the second half of our Sunday ride adventures.

February 27, 2013

Riverbend, a Review

Many years ago, there was a town in New Mexico, a little more than an hour north of Las Cruces, called Hot Springs. That town was renamed Truth or Consequences. Wiki explains: “Truth or Consequences is a spa city and the county seat of Sierra County, New Mexico, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,475. It is commonly known within New Mexico as T or C. Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to Truth or Consequences, the title of a popular NBC radio program. In 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Hot Springs won the honor. Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the
next fifty years. This event was called "Fiesta" and included a beauty contest, a parade, and a stage show. The city still celebrates Fiesta each year on the first weekend of May. The parade generally features area celebrities such as the Hatch Chile Queen. Fiesta also features a dance in Ralph Edwards Park.”

A spa city. Again, Wiki explains: “There are several local hot springs. The combined flow of the hot springs complex in Truth or Consequences is estimated at 99 liters/second. Before World War II, there were about 40 hot springs spas in Truth or Consequences. By 2008, the Hot Springs Association in Truth or Consequences had 10 spa facilities as members. Five of those obtained their water from wells, and La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa (formerly Marshall Hot Springs), Indian Springs Bath House and Hay-Yo-Kay Hot Springs are from free flowing hot springs. The New Mexico State Energy and Minerals Department created two demonstration projects using geothermal energy in Truth or Consequences in the 1980s. The Carrie Tingley Hospital for children with physical disabilities, which has since moved to Albuquerque, used the state money to create a physical therapy program. The local Senior Citizen's Center benefits from a geothermal space heating system.”

Our friends, Annie and Pete went there when they were visiting us and made it sound like a great, fun getaway. So for Christmas I made a reservation for Mrsfabp and I to go for a weekend visit. After much anticipation, the weekend arrived and we headed out to T or C  for our adventure. After we arrived in town and  drove a bit to get the lay of the land, we went to the Happy Belly Deli on  the main street in town, for  an excellent lunch with soup, sandwiches and  nice bagels, soda and coffee. Then we went out to Riverbend to check in and have our first “soak.”

Riverbend is on the end of a road that features several natural springs. However it looks a lot nicer than any of the others, more like a resort. Well manicured xeriscape front area, tall fence for privacy, very inviting looking over all. The staff were friendly, courteous and efficient. The room we were in was basic but met our needs as we were not planning to spend much time there.

Deck overlooking the Rio Grande
Entrance to one of the pools

Garden sculpture

We got changed and off to the pools we went. There are various sizes and temperatures and all, both public and private, have great views of the mountains, Rio Grande (with water in it!) and the beautiful New Mexico blue skies. The tubs are fairly accessible for someone with ambulation difficulties and so we climbed right in. The temperature range was great, the water had a nice feel to it and we planned to stay about a half hour but ended up closer to 75 minutes. We then left to go to dinner at Cafe BellaLuca which had some of the best Italian food that I have had in a restaurant, and included a house made pomegranate sangria which was wonderful. You could see the chef and staff working in the kitchen and the chef made the rounds of the tables talking to guests.

After dinner it was back to a private spa that had a wonderful view of the sky and the mountains, which were lit up by the moon. After an hour of this, we returned to our room to collapse in bed and fall asleep. The nect morning we were into the public spas again for a couple of hours before we checked out. The people who were also visiting the spa were very friendly and we ended up chatting with an NMSU professor (more about him in another post) and a couple who were storytellers (more about them later too).

Riverbend is a wonderful place for a couple of hours of relaxing or a couple of days, soaking up the warm waters. On the Penguin scale, Riverbend gets the highest recommendation, 5 Happy Penguins !

February 12, 2013

Promise of More Pictures

My last post focused on some photographs that I made during a storm here in Las Cruces. II have not published many of the photographs in this forum, usually depending on Facebook albums and Flickr albums to circulate them. I guess I am still sometimes dealing with comparing myself to other photographers I know and don’t feel as if I am their league. This is something I have been trying hard to work on. It is why I joined the Camera Club, to be able to one day realize my photographs are in the same league. It was why I volunteered to teach in the symposium last November as it served as a review of things I know, things I never knew, and things long forgotten. Extending it into the Digital Camera Workshop Series, continues to give me good ideas and a very sturdy platform from which to learn more.

Perhaps thought, the most important factor has been practice. “In Outliers: The Story of Success  a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines the causes of why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how Joseph Flom built Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom into one of the most successful law firms in the world, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. (Wiki)”

In an average year, one of the the last several, I would take about 500 pictures. In this past year, I have taken close to 3000. I don’t know how to gauge the time in this, nor how to include classes, both as teacher and student, and camera club time, a place where I have learned a great deal. I am sure I am not close to 10,000 hours but I am building up the time and I am making progress.

So, in order to continue to improve, I will be posting some pictures here on a regular basis, whatever I am shooting. If people want to comment on these, please feel free as constructive criticism is always worthwhile. Now, as for pictures, today I am posting some from tthe last few weeks, some dried red peppers, a llama, a cat in therapy and an old wagon. Hope you enjoy!