Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Budding Artist

July 29, 2014

It seems that every other person I meet in New Mexico is an artist in one medium or another. My mother took oil painting classes at a local college in Oklahoma where she lived when she was in her late sixties and she had talent. She eventually talked my brother, Wes, into acrylic painting and he painted some beautiful Arizona desert scenes, one of which I have hanging on the wall in my living room. Wes kept telling me that I should try it because he thought I would be a good painter.

I started out taking basic drawing lessons from Penny Espiritu in her Le Spirit Art Shop on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This went well so I started taking acrylic painting lessons from her and we started out painting a New Mexico sunset (they are absolutely phenomenal). She did not tell me when we began that sunsets are most difficult to paint so I plunged ahead in full confidence that I could do this.

Below is my first result. Feel free to make any constructive comments. I am, of course, still in the learning stage, but I'm determined to master this medium and go on to others. As you will note, I was not happy with the end result. I just felt the blue color was a disconnect on the clouds as well as the other mountain range. See the changes in the second painting.

"Delicious Sunset" by CCC 

"Delicious Sunset" updated by CCC
Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr, Photographer, for both shots of my first painting.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Red Hatters Travel to Historic Old Mesilla, New Mexico

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red Hat Society New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter members of Alamogordo, New Mexico traveled to Old Mesilla, NM to engage in the official Red Hat Society sport of shopping and, of course, a lovely lunch. On the way, we stopped to pick up a friend, Mildred Evascovich, who formerly lived in Alamogordo and now resides in Las Cruces, N. M.

There are a number of lovely shops displaying pottery, jewelry, paintings, clothing, shoes, etc. etc. Prices are reasonable and we took great advantage by buying a number of items. One I really like is a sculpture of a roadrunner bird and I just had to have it. Others bought shoes, clothing and paintings.

After a short rest in the center of the Plaza, we went to the Double Eagle Restaurant which has been placed on the United States National Register of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior. In 1970, Robert O. Anderson (born in Roswell, N.M.) bought the building and turned it into a restaurant. He was president of Atlantic Richfield Oil. He and interior designer , John Miegs, brought in all the crystal, art and antiques. Anderson named the restaurant after money and the $20 gold piece was called the Double Eagle.

In 1984, C. W. "Buddy" Ritter and his wife, Margaret became the owners and they have added to the extensive collection of turn of the century art and antiques.

At the Double Eagle entry you will walk through the post-Civil War 1,000 pound cast iron gilded gates to a shaded entry way to the massive antique oak front door. The lobby sports a littering, gilded, baccarat crystal chandelier hanging from the pressed tin ceiling. To the left is the 30 foot hand-carved oak and walnut Eastlake style bar framed with four Corinthian columns in gold leaf. The back bar is illuminated by two Imperial French floral "coronas": each over 5 feet tall, with 23 lighted brass flowers, some of which have blue or white Lalique crystal rosette shades. Hanging above the bar are two magnificent, classic French Baccarat crystal chandeliers measuring seven feet tall and three feet wide. The ceiling is of highly decorated pressed tin accented with 18 karat gold.

One massive oil work hanging on the wall inside is "Stacey", circa 1900-1910 which came from the estate sale of the notorious New Mexico madam, Silver City Millie. Millie, finally forced out of "business", held her estate sale well before her death. Buddy Ritter thought there might be some items of interest and convinced his reluctant wife to drive to Silver City with him after he told her the sale was in a warehouse and not the house of ill repute. Still, she just couldn't imagine that woman having anything she would want in her home or the Double Eagle. As they walked into the warehouse, Millie called out in her loud rambunctious voice, "Buddy Ritter! I would know you anywhere! You look just like your grandfather!"

Mrs. Ritter simply turned, walked outside, got into the car, locked the doors and stared straight ahead. Mr. Ritter, though stunned himself at the reception, purchased several items for the Double Eagle. It was an extremely long and silent trip on the return home.

The Lew Wallace Salon was named after a Territorial Governor who wrote the famous novel "Ben Hur". Several art works adorn the walls and there is an 1857 map of New Mexico and Arizona showing Mesilla as the Capitol of Arizona with both territories extending to California.

The restaurant is massive and there are numerous rooms, The Gadsden Room, The Billy The Kid Patio, The Maximilian Room and the Isabela Ballroom, which I won't write about here. However, there is one other room that should be mentioned:

The Carlotta Salon - The Ghost Room

Named for Marie Charlotte, born in 1840, a Princess of Belgium. She was the wife of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria. In 1864, Napoleon sent troops to Mexico to support the installation of Maximilian and Marie Charlotte as Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlotta of Mexico. Their reign lasted until 1867 when Maximilian  was executed and Carlotta was exiled to Belgium.

There are two oval portraits on one wall, of the original owners of this home, Senor and Senora Maes. It was a home from 1849 until the 1960's, housing some of the Mesilla Valley's most prominent families. The Maes Family were import/exporters in Santa Fe and, after the Mexican-American War of 1846-1847 and the conquest and confiscation of the northern half of Mexico to be the western half of the United States, they moved south to help found Mesilla as a permanent Settlement. With such a large house, there were many servants, one of which was a teenage girl named Inez. The oldest Maes boy was named Armando and he fell in love with Inez. Senora Maes was adamant that her son should not marry a maid. She had planned to make a marriage for him with another wealthy family in Chihuahua City or maybe even Mexico City.

Senora Maes fired Inez, sent her from the house and forbade Armando from ever seeing Inez again, but love will find a way. One day Senora Maes came home unexpectedly, from a trip and found Armando and Inez entwined in Armando's bedroom - now the Caroltta Salon. She was so outraged, she grabbed a pair of sewing shears, attacking Inez and stabbing her to death. In the struggle, she accidentally stabbed Armando. He spoke one word "Inez" before slipping into a coma and he died three days later.

It is said that the ghosts of the young lovers haunt the Carlotta Salon and the restaurant to this day. If the restaurant isn't overly busy, someone will usually take you into the salon and tell the story. Today, it was very busy and a lady who had just heard the story, Blanca from San Antonio, Texas, related it to the Red Hatters as we stood around the large elegantly set dining table in the middle of the room.

Before I forget to mention it, the food is delicious, reasonably priced, and very well prepared.

L to R: VQ Penny, Alice, Margie, friend Mildred, Dorothy E. and Darla taking a shopping break in the plaza

Mildred and Dorothy E. in the Double Eagle. It turns out that they've known each other for years.
Margie and Alice. Margie is always creating new fun hats.
VQ Penny, our birthday girl in July.
L to R: Darla, Margie and Alice waiting on that delicious food to appear
L to R: Mildred, Dorothy E. and VQ Penny
VQ Penny and Queen Ladybird (Carla) (Photo by Darla Shelley)
Blanca, a teacher from San Antonio, Texas relating the ghost story

Hope you enjoy reading some of the history of the Double Eagle Restaurant. To learn even more, their web address is: double-eagle-mesilla.com  Thanks to the Double Eagle establishment for their comprehensive brochure which was of tremendous help in writing this blog today.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Red Hatters Attend IMAX Theater and lunch at Carino's

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter members of the Red Hat Society gathered at the IMAX Theater in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Saturday, July 12, 2014 to view "Tornado Alley". It was indeed spectacular and made one feel as if they were in the middle of a tornado. We learned about storm chasers and all the safety creations they built to keep their people safe as they filmed and experienced these nature made phenomena. It was definitely a relief to experience this horrendous occurrence in a theater and not in real life.

Afterwards, we drove to Carino's Italian Restaurant in Alamogordo for a lovely lunch.

A Starcharger rocket parked near the IMAX Theater waiting to be installed on the grounds of the New Mexico Museum of Space History
Mike and Marian Ruth. Mike wanted to see the film and he fit right in with the group.
Alice, digging for her money to pay for her ticket
L to R: Margie, the ticket seller, and VQ Penny
So happy to see Lu felt well enough to meet us at the restaurant
L to R: Donna C., Margie, Alice and VQ Penny enjoy the bread and oil
Miriam and Mike
There were a couple of group photos which did not turn out because the setting was wrong on my camera so I was there, just not in a picture this time. It was an enjoyable outing and we determined that we will drive to Old Mesilla (near Las Cruces) on our next event to shop and dine. We also sang and kazoo'd VQ Penny celebrating her birthday.

This is all I have to say for now.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Alamogordo, NM 4th of July Parade

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stephanie DuBois, a resident of Tularosa, New Mexico, is running for Otero County Commissioner of District 2 and had a spot in the July 4th Parade in Alamagordo. I'm not in her district so I can't vote for her, but wanted to show my support by marching in the parade. Chris Jones, another loyal Democrat also joined us marching and handing out candy to the children.

Stephanie's father, 93 years young Stephen DuBois who is a Pearl Harbor Survivor, rode along in the decorated van with her.

I have no idea how many units were in the parade, but from my point of view, it looked fairly long and there were many families along the parade route waving small American flags and applauding. It was a great parade for a town the size of Alamogordo.

L to R: Carla Kerr, Stephanie DuBois and Chris Jones

Dungan Fire Department and they do love serenading everyone with their sirens and bells
Stephanie and Carla decorating the van
These must be the most patient horses in the world-look at all that paint!
Another shot of the horses-they were really quite beautiful
There was a huge contingent of bikers in patriotic decor
This is a particularly spectacular arrangement
A shot of our decorating skill
Adorable girl with her mother waiting for the parade to start
Stephanie just couldn't resist putting this sign on the back!
One of many old cars in the parade
I'm ready to roll with my bag of candy
The parade is moving out
We have limited photos this year because my darling Doug was not feeling well and I am just thankful he came long enough to take these shots.

Later in the evening, we sat on our front sidewalk and watched the official fireworks display at the New Mexico Museum of Space History which is about two miles from us and our house is at about the same elevation so this is a perfect spot to view the display. The fireworks were beautiful.

This is all I have to say for now.