Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red Hatters View "Dragonfly"

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society enjoyed viewing "Dragonfly" the movie and a potluck luncheon in the lovely home of member Lu Mattson who is, among other things, quite an accomplished artist.

"Dragonfly" was released February 22, 2002 starring Kevin Kostner as Dr. Darrow, Kathy Bates as his neighbor/attorney Mirian Belmont and Linda Hunt as Sister Madeline, a nun who investigates near-death experiences. The movie was panned by the critics and flopped at the box office.  I guess one could call it a chick flick because we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Joe and Emily Darrow are doctors in a Chicago hospital. Seven months pregnant, Emily travels to Venezuela to help natives in the Amazon Basin area. She dies when a bus is hit by a landslide and plunges into the river below. Her body is not found by local authorities.

One night Joe is awakened by his wife's dragonfly paper weight falling and rolling across the room. Emily always had a passion for dragonflies and had a birthmark resembling one on her shoulder. Joe starts visiting Emily's patients at pediatric oncology in the hospital. A child is brought into the hospital unconscious. Joe hears this child calling his name and follows staff trying to revive him without success - the child's heart flat lines.  As Joe approaches the child, his heart begins beating again.

The following afternoon Joe returns to the child who asks him if he is "Emily's Joe" and tells him she sent him back to tell Joe something. All over the room are drawings of a curvy cross, but the boy doesn't know what this curvy symbol means. Telling about his near death experience, the boy says he saw a light, and a woman showing him an image of Joe, and that the cross symbol was what he saw at the end of the rainbow. Later, Joe, passing by another boy's room, sees the same drawing. This boy immediately knows who Joe is and tells him he must "go to the rainbow."

On arriving home, Joe's parrot mysteriously goes into a rage breaking a flower pot making the same wavy cross symbol drawn in the spilled soil on the floor.  Joe spots a dragonfly outside the window and briefly sees Emily reaching for him. Joe's neighbor, Miriam Belmont, tries to talk him back into reality. Instead, he goes to Sister Madeline, a controversial nun. She advises Joe that Emily is trying to contact him.

The breaking point occurs at the hospital when Joe is alone with a clinically dead patient and hears Emily speaking through the patient calling his name, but no one believes him. He decides to sell his home and go on vacation. While packing away Emily's belongings, a light bulb in the room burns out. When he returns with a new bulb, he finds everything placed back in their original places. He then enters the kitchen where a map has blow open on the table showing the curvy cross symbol at several places. A friend tells him the wiggly cross is a map symbol for a waterfall. Joe remembers and finds a photo of Emily posing in front of a waterfall with a rainbow behind her.

He takes a trip to South America to the area where Emily died. His pilot takes him to a tribal village where the victims' graves are located. Joe shows the natives Emily's photo asking them where she is buried. The natives get in a argument. Joe runs off towards the village with the natives in hot pursuit. He comes to a cliff and jumps off into the river near where the bus is situated. He enters the semi-submerged bus causing it to shift and he is trapped inside. But, he calms down when a bright glow fills the bus and Emily appears before him, reaching for his hand. Her final hours flash before him, showing she survived the initial accident and was pulled to safety by Yanomami villagers. He is suddenly pulled out of the bus by his pilot.

Joe runs into the village where he is surrounded by angry native men holding weapons. When he holds up the photo of Emily, a native woman tells him they couldn't save her body but they saved her soul. Perplexed, he follows the woman into a hut where he finds a female infant in a basket. The woman shows him a birthmark on the child's ankle in the shape of a dragonfly.

The show ends with Joe playing with his daughter, now a toddler, having the same wavy blonde hair and who is the very image of Emily. (Credit to Wikipedia for help in writing this synopsis)

We then dined on macaroni and cheese, jambalaya, pink stuff, caramelized sweet potatoes, ham slices, freshly baked bread, pickled peppers, miniature chocolate muffins and macaroons. Potlucks are always a fun surprise.

We added a new member, Dorothy Edwards, from Tularosa, New Mexico, also an accomplished artist, and we are so happy to have her join us in having fun.

Queen Ladybird (Carla) sporting her "Mr. Lee" hat
L to R: Dorothy Smith, Jean Courtier and VQ Penny Pirrung
Margie Purcella
Hostess Lu Mattson and new member Dorothy Edwards
Margie and VQ Penny enjoying great food
The group got quiet for a while
L to R: VQ Penny, Dorothy E., Jean and Lu
The group had a great time visiting and making plans for upcoming events. Red Hatters are terrific at visiting, eating and having just plain good fun.

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr for taking my picture (forgot to have someone do it at the event).

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Juneteenth Celebration in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Juneteenth Celebration in Alamogordo, NM was sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Friends of the Library (FOL).

Juneteenth is a celebration that occurs every year on June 19. It commemorates the day that 2,000 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with General George Granger.  He announced that the Civil War had ended and read a general order which freed 250,000 slaves living in the state of Texas. Although President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect two years prior, in January of 1863, many were still enslaved until June 19, 1865, with the arrival of General Granger and his troops. This pronouncement was not magical in that compliance did not come easily and many slaves were killed and mistreated for some time afterwards.

This event is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance by all but seven states (Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah).

The meeting was opened with a prayer by Pastor Warren Robinson who also happens to be president of the Otero County NAACP.  Warren introduced Nadia Sikes, president of FOL, who then read a proclamation issued by Mayor Susie Galea about the Juneteenth holiday.

Carolyn Peeler, vice president of the NAACP, introduced her husband, Ron Peeler who then read the Preamble to of the Declaration of Independence.  Carolyn and Ron narrated slides of former slaves celebrating Juneteenth.

Storyteller Sarah "Juba" Addison, on the Board of Storytellers of New Mexico, proceeded to relate three excellent stories, one of which was "The Masada in America Ebony Sea" based on historical events that occurred  in 1803 when the sea turned to ebony. This is an incident when the Africans on a slave ship walk into the ocean, still wearing their chains, and drown, rather than to become slaves. Juba, as she prefers to be called, learned storytelling from her grandmother, Sarah Jane, a descendant of West African Griots. She is an exciting storyteller and quite expressive.

Keith Gerber, author of  "The Christian Chronicles", read a poem he wrote for this Juneteenth Celebration. He noted that Juneteenth Independence Day was not only important to people of color, but to everyone because all people should be free and treated equally.

Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with the New Mexico Arts Council and Camilla Dodson did not arrive until the event had officially adjourned. There were still 15 or so of us visiting and she came in with her driver, Nicole. We arranged chairs in a large circle while Nicole and several of the men brought in many drums so that each person had one in front of their chair. There were djembes, congas, bongos, etc. Camilla began to teach us African songs and how to play the drums.

We had a great time--it was almost like being back in kindergarten--and with her story telling, an hour and a half went by rapidly. Camilla Dodson is from Africa and she specializes in dance, drumming, song and storytelling.

Many thanks to Warren Robinson, Ron and Carolyn Peeler, and Nadia Sikes for all your work in putting this Juneteenth Celebration together.

Ron Peeler talking to the crowd

Juba Addison, a talented storyteller
Sharon Jenkins, NMSC-A librarian talking with Steve Haydu, Holloman AFB librarian. Joel Hamilton and Nadia Sikes in background
Juba Addison being interviewed by Jessica Palmer of the Alamogordo Dailey News
Bob Flotte of radio station KHII interviewing Nadia Sikes, FOL president
Ron Peeler talking with Joel Hamilton
Otero County NAACP President Warren Robinson with Juba Addison, noted storyteller
Attendee Carla Kerr with Juba Addison (Photo Credit: Warren Robinson)
Linda M. Barker enjoying the refreshments
L to R: VP Carolyn Peeler of the NAACP, Diane and Joel Hamilton visiting over refreshments
Keith Gerber, author of "The Christian Chronicles" reading his poem
Camilla Dodson, an authentic African entertainer including dance, drumming, song and storytelling
L to R: Steve Haydu, Karen Hutchison and Denise ready for their drum lesson
Nadia Sikes and Paul Logner
Carla getting down with her bad self! (Photo by Paul Logner)
Jessie on the left really is a drummer and Camilla directing us
Steve, Karen and Denise "got the beat goin' on"
This was my first Juneteenth Celebration and I will be ready for next year. It was just so enlightening and so much fun too.

This is all I have to say for now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flag Day Celebrated by New Mexico Democrats

Saturday, June 14, 2014 - 6:00 p.m.

A fun and creative Flag Day fundraiser dinner was enjoyed by a large number of Democrats from all over the State of New Mexico hosted by the Democratic Party of Otero County (DPOC). The venue was the Tulie Cafe in Tularosa situated in a lovely adobe building.

The event led off with all standing and singing a spirited rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the New Mexico State Pledge. DPOC Chair Nadia Sikes led the meeting with able help from her team, Liz Watson, Karen Hutchison and former Mayor Steve Brockett.

We dined on steak or green chili chicken and both were delicious and well prepared. These were accompanied by salad and mashed potatoes. Dessert was cherry cheesecake and the waiters kept our ice tea glasses  and coffee cups filled. Excellent service was had from the wait staff. We will be going to the Tulie Cafe again in the future.

Liz Watson and Nadia Sikes had an "Arts and Crafts" day and created a star banner for DPOC. Three outstanding Democrats were each recognized with a star on the banner and presented with a certificate. (See photos below)

Several speakers gave us their thoughts on the state of affairs here in New Mexico including State Senator Linda Lopez of NM District 11, Mariaelena Johnson running for NM House District 53, Rod Saint running for Otero County Sheriff, Rocky Lara running for U.S. House of Representatives District 2, Mary Lee Soules, former candidate for PRC and Stephanie DuBois running for Otero County Commissioner District 2.

DPOC Chair Nadia Sikes looking very patriotic
Mary Lee Soules and her "Cabana Boy"
Carla Kerr, a proud Democrat
Senator Lopez greeting Rob Saint, candidate for Otero County Sheriff
L to R: Mariaelena Johnson, Senator Lopez and Rocky Lara. There is so much estrogen in this photo it's a wonder it doesn't just jump off the page at you. Nothing like female power!
A random shot of the group at one end of the room
Joel and Diana Hamilton in deep discussion with their table mates
L to R: Vice President and President of LULAC at NMSC-A
A random shot of the crowd at the other end of the room
DPOC Chair Nadia Sikes at the podium
Rod Saint, candidate for Otero County Sheriff
Eric Spitty representing the Mescalaro Apache area and his friend
Another random shot of the attendees
Rocky Lara running for Congress from District 2
Our lovely Liz is moving away to Wright-Patterson AFB. She will be missed!
DPOC Secretary Karen Hutchison
Attendees giving a rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner
DPOC Star Banner created by Liz Watson and Nadia Sikes
L to R: David Townsend, Nadia Sikes and Karen Hutchison. A certificate was awarded to Dave and posthumously to his wife, Linnie Townsend, along with a star on the newly created DPOC Star Banner
L to R: Nadia presenting certificate representing a star on the banner to Paul Duran with Liz looking on
Liz presenting certificate to Stephen DuBois representing his star on the new banner
Speaker Senator Linda Lopez of NM District 11
Speaker Mariaelena Johnson, Candidate for NM House District 2
Speaker Rod Saint, Candidate for Otero County Sheriff
Speaker Stephanie DuBois, Candidate for Otero County Commissioner, District 2
Now, if we could just get all these good Democrats in Otero County out to vote on November 4, 2014 we surely could make a difference in our fabulous State of New Mexico.

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr for his great photography.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this event the success it was.

This is all I have to say for now.

Red Hatters Visit Alamogordo Zoo

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society gathered at the Alamogordo Zoo on Saturday, June 14, 2014 to check out the new animals and zoo improvements. Six of us were tough enough to withstand the heat and certainly got our walking exercise done as well.

This zoo is the oldest in the Southwestern United States and many of their animals have been rescued and doctored due to various happenings in their lives.  If they can not be released back into the wild, they give them a permanent home at the zoo.

The water area where the Black Swans reside has plenty of greenery, a waterfall and a hidden area of brush with running water filtering through it. Even though it was a hot day, there was a breeze and plenty of shade available. We spied some turtles sunning themselves at the edge of the water.

We saw numerous birds including a red tailed hawk, two American Bald Eagles, Rheas, and African Crowned Cranes whose windpipes are over 5 feet long, half of which is coiled within their breastbones. This gives them the ability to call their mates with a powerful trombone-like call which can be heard for miles. They are monogamous and very social.

One of the more unusual critters is the Capybara, the largest living rodent attaining lengths of over 4 feet and weight exceeding 100 pounds. They walk on the bottom of lakes and rivers where they dine on aquatic vegetation and grasses. They are found in Central and South America.

There was also a beautiful mountain lion,  two brown bears of which the smaller one had just dunked himself in the water and smelled exactly like a wet dog, and some capuchin monkeys.

We were also fascinated by a pair of African Crested Porcupines. They are the largest and heaviest African rodents, reaching weights up to 45 pounds. Their upper bodies are covered by sharp quills up to a foot in length. When provoked by predators, they attack backwards causing wounds that are sometimes fatal. They are nocturnal and feed on bulbs, roots, bark and fruit. The long hair on their heads was beautiful and very white.

The Rheas from South America are interesting birds and are sometimes called South American Ostriches. They may reach heights of 5-1/2 feet and it is said that they look like ostriches which have shrunk in the wash and been fluffed in the dryer. Their feathers have been used in making feather dusters. In the spring, the male Rhea becomes very aggressive as he selects his "harem" of three to seven hens. He insists on incubating the clutch of a dozen or more 2-lb. eggs, laid by several females, in a single nest which he has dug.

The Markhor Goat is a very endangered species and is not a true goat but a goat antelope. They live in the medium to high elevation of the Asiatic Mountains. They eat herbs, grasses and bushes. The males use their horns like battering rams during mating season. Their fight is fierce, ending only when one is injured or too exhausted to continue. Females or nannies are highly competitive and intolerant of each other.

If I could fault anything, I would say they need to improve on the  "herpetarium."  The only thing we saw in that area was a green iguana.

We saw one Mexican Grey Wolf and he is a beautiful specimen but looked so lonely without a mate. Hope they can find someone for him to play with soon.

After the zoo, we went to the little train depot to ride the train, but it didn't open until Noon and it was 11:45 a.m. so we waited. We saw the men bring the train out from the shed and we went in to buy our tickets. The lady said they had to take the train on a test run and would be back in twenty minutes. No one wanted to wait another twenty minutes to ride the train so we left to go eat lunch.

We had lunch at Mrs. Lily's Restaurant where two other ladies joined us who either couldn't handle the heat or had earlier appointments so we had a group of eight after all.  As always we had great conversation and dining.  Among the ladies was a visitor, a friend of Dorothy Smith's, also named Dorothy who is contemplating becoming a Red Hatter.  She is a perfect fit, very friendly with a ready smile.

L to R: Dorothy, Alice and Lu ready for our Zoo Adventure
L to R: Darla, Dorothy E. and Queen Carla ready for our Zoo Adventure
Ring tailed Lemur from Madagascar
No wonder they've survived for thousands of years just lying there doing nothing
Not sure what kind of duck this is but he kept diving down under for food
This one just out of the water preening his feathers. Such pretty colors on him.
Black Swans from Australia (one napping). There are no white swans in Australia.
A shot of the new and improved water area where the swans and turtles play
This is a healthy turtle specimen, don't you think?
AND, here we have Dorothy S. and Dorothy E.
This is a fine looking Capybara lazing in the sun and shadows
Red tailed hawk, just hangin' around
One of a pair of American Bald Eagles
Such a beautiful mountain lion. The fence made for difficult photography!
The large brown bear. The smaller one wouldn't stand still long enough for a shot.
Not sure of the name of this bird, but he is sure colorful
One of the capuchin monkeys showing off
The fabulous African Crested Porcupine (one of a pair)
I believe this is an emu because he is much larger than the Rheas
This really is an African Crowned Crane. Unfortunately he didn't cooperate for his close up
This is an iguana, I think.
Talk about the "Lone Wolf". He is the "Lonely Wolf". Boohoo!
Left Side: Lu, Darla and Donna. Right side: Alice, Dorothy E., Dorothy S. and Lynne
Queen Carla between the two Dorothy's
We had such a grand time together and are looking forward to our next event where we will be watching the film "Dragonfly" in Lu's home and enjoying a potluck luncheon.

This is all I have to say for now.