Sunday, May 29, 2016

#sharethefunofRHS Red Hatters at Clay Time in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Members of the New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society in Alamogordo, New Mexico had a bisque painting party at Clay Time at 908 New York Avenue. Clay Time boasts of pottery, ceramics, supplies/sales and classes. The owner, Carl "Hank" Hangsleben, was so knowledgeable and helpful to each one of us. Several of us had never painted a piece for firing so his help was deeply appreciated.

We began by choosing and purchasing a bisque figure we wished to paint and we received painting directions and chose the colors we wanted to use. Each place at the table was set up with a paint palette, a cup of water, various sizes of brushes and plenty of paper napkins. It was difficult wrapping my mind around the fact that the colors going on would come out extremely bright and shiny after glazing and firing because they were very opaque in the bottles and when applied to the figures. I did remember to bring all the aprons I had just in case we got messy. Somehow, I wound up with paint on my face. Fortunately, the paint is water based so it washes off easily.

When we finished, Hank took our names and phone numbers/email addresses so that he can let us know when our figure is ready for pick-up. I can't wait to see mine, a baby in a ladybug outfit.

L to R: Margaret, Lu and showing off her tortilla bowl is Jean (not seen)
VQ Donna putting the finishing touches on her Sunflower Faces
Close up of Sunflower Face
Lynne with her Poinsettia (once fired it will be bright red)
Dorothy E. with a turquoise bowl with swirls
Lu with her lovely little bird house
Margaret with her Christmas Angel
L to R: Hank, Lynne and VQ Donna
Queen Ladybird aka Carla with her ladybug baby (photo by Hank Hangsleben)
L to R: Lu, Margie, Flo, Margaret and Jean at Margo's for lunch
Dorothy E. and VQ Donna dressed in reverse colors for her birthday month
Queen Ladybird aka Carla (Photo by Lu Mattson)
We all had a delightful time lunching at Margo's Mexican Restaurant and visiting. Most were in agreement that Clay Time was great fun and they would like to do it again. I will revisit this post with pictures of the fired figures that we painted.

This is all I have to say for now.

"Telling: El Paso" Our Veterans. Their Stories. Flickinger Center, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On Sunday, May 22, 2016, my husband, Doug, and I attended the Adam Clayton Powell biopic at the Townsend Library housed on the NMSU-A campus in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It was an excellent film and a good discussion ensued at the end of which, attendee Wacinque Armistad Kaizen BeMende, who retires on June 30, 2016 with 40 years of military service, invited everyone  to come to the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday evening, May 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM to hear five veterans from "Telling: El Paso" tell their stories.

This was an impromptu presentation starting out with five empty chairs on the stage. A young woman comes out on the stage to announce the event (I apologize for not getting her name.). Then, four men and one woman come out one at a time each taking a chair on stage and one by one, they begin telling their stories.

In December, 2015, Max Rayneard, the Telling Project's senior writer and producer, interviewed these veterans and their spouses. From those interviews, Rayneard constructed a script that interweaves stories of service into a one-act play. Hector Serrano, an El Paso native, retired EPCC professor of drama and English, and area theatre professional, began the process of performance training and directing rehearsals with the cast of local veterans (there are six originally; one was unable to be in this particular show).

Telling: El Paso was the 40th production of The Telling Project since its inception in 2008. KCOS 13 of El Paso is a co-sponsor. One of the performances will be filmed and will air on KCOS near Veterans Day 2016.

For many civilians, the realities of war are just images on the local news from far-off lands in upheaval. Most only hear about war from talking heads, not from those who lived it. In Telling: El Paso, a performance piece organized by playwright Max Rayneard, six local veterans are given a voice to share their stories of service and coming home.

What they share will make you laugh, and make you cry. If the opportunity arises again, you should make a point to see this short play. They do such an excellent job of telling the good, the bad and the ugly and their stories are mesmerizing.

Introducing the play
Fortunato S. (Tito) Lechuga served the Marine Corps proudly in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. He received a Bronze Star with a combat V for Valor, a Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star, and a Vietnam Service Metal with three Bronze Campaign Stars. He was also awarded a Gallantry Cross Color with Palm, Purple Heart Metal with one Gold Star, a Combat Action Ribbon, and a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Metal. Tito worked as a warehouseman and for the Teamsters Organization for 30 years and ten years as Security for ICE. He is married to Dr. Mary Helen Lechuga and has five sons: Alan, Michael, Omar, Eric, Ivan and six grandchildren.
Felix Arenas served in the US Army at Ft. Bliss, and later in the US Navy where he found his career in corporate communications. He considered himself MULTIMEDIA years before there was such a term, working in broadcasting, marketing, photography, video, screenwriting, and later in computer graphics. Felix harbors a deep love of personal stories, old photographs, and family histories. He finds balance between professional and creative endeavors, a lifelong love of physical fitness, and the grounding of family and traditions.
Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende enlisted in the USMC in 1975, he is a Jack of all Services. Navy Sea Duty, Air Force Reserve, AGR-USAF, Army, Army Reserves, Wyoming ANG, Wyoming NG, Coast Guard Auxiliary plus appointment as an honorary member of US coast Guard. A lay historian of African American service from the Militia in the 1600's, the American Revolution to present day. He retires 30 June 2016 with 40 years of service achieving E-7 in the Air Force and Army. He received a BS degree with honors from Upper Iowa University and has created a consulting company to continue spreading the asset building initiative that changed the lives of US Colored Troops in 1864 to all youth around the world today.
Linda Hinchey served thirteen years (1977-1990) in the U.S. Air Force as an Intelligence analyst supporting F-111 and F-15 Tactical Fighter Wings. After a ten year break and transitioning in the Army National Guard, seven of those years (2002-2009) she was in the Counterdrug program working with law enforcement agencies to investigate and disrupt criminal organizations growing, manufacturing, and/or distributing controlled substances. During a deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, she drove a Combat HET (Heavy Equipment Transporter) moving tanks throughout Iraq and proved vital intelligence for the convoys. While serving in the military she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Management.
Jeffrey Garret Wells "Animal" was born and raised in El Paso, TX. He volunteered for the U.S. Army and graduated from the Military Police Corps in 1998. He served various assignments in Virginia, Germany, and Fort Bliss and later deployed to Iraq attached to the 4th Infantry Division and was part of dozens of combat military operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jeffrey was honorably discharged from Army service in 2004. His current and most proud achievement is being a full time husband, and father of two girls, Marilyn Harper (2 1/2 years) and Evelyn Aileen (1 year). Jeffrey volunteers with 22 is 22 Too Many to raise awareness on Veteran Suicide, as he continues to face his ongoing battle with the demon. He has also toured with acts such as Overkill, Flotsom and Jetsom, Pissing Razors, Hemlock, Section 6, and Cowboys From Hell Paso.
Taking the Military Oath of Service
Mr. BeMende (far right) barking orders
A military salute to all
If you would like to know more about The Telling Project go to:

We had a lovely visit with most of the cast in the Founders Hall next door to the Flickinger. Also Flori McElderry and her husband were there with friends so it was a great opportunity for conversation, eating some excellent ice cream, and getting to know these veterans even better. If the opportunity arises, I highly recommend you attend The Telling Project production. You will not be bored!

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr, Photography for the wonderful pictures.

This is all I have to say for now.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Carla Kerr and Friends from The Netherlands Explore Carrizozo and the Malpais

Monday, May 16, 2016

Carla, Eveline and Gerrit drove to just beyond Carrizozo, New Mexico to the Malpais "Valley of Fires" National Park. The wind was blowing as only it can in New Mexico, but we managed to walk the entire 2/3 of a mile along the trail above the Malpais. There are so many desert plants and flowers that are fascinating and colorful. At one point, I even spotted a ground squirrel but he was too fast for my camera.

The lava did not come from a volcano, but rather from fissures in the earth's crust about 5,000 years ago and filled this valley with lava. The pictures will tell a story of the wild beauty of this area far better than I so here goes.

Gerrit and Eveline on the beginning of the raised trail
Lava, various cacti and scrub bushes
At 13 different points along the raised trail, there are descriptive signs pointing out what to look for
This lava has the Hawaiian name of pahoehoe
The lava in this picture has the Hawaiian name of 'a'a
Prickly pear cactus in bloom
A gas fissure and barrel cactus blooming
Apache paint brush plant
Joshua Tree which grows very slowly, loves lava and this one is probably about 400 years old
Another shot of the same Joshua Tree
More barrel cactus in bloom
More pahoehoe lava
Pretty pink flowers growing among the prickly pear cactus
Eveline and Gerrit almost back to the top
We drove back into Carrizozo and had lunch at the Four Winds Restaurant. The food was well prepared and the waitress was very attentive. The restaurant is very clean and has been on this spot for many years. After lunch, we drove to 12th Street and explored some art galleries and a photography studio. It was time to drive the 60 miles back to Alamogordo. Eveline and Gerrit had to return to the hotel and pack so they could leave early the next morning to drive to the airport in El Paso, Texas, about 90 miles away.

I think they thoroughly enjoyed their visit. One day, they went on their own to the White Sands Monument and had a grand time meeting other tourists there and visiting with the Park Rangers. They returned that evening for the guided moonlight walk as well. They were well impressed with the State of New Mexico as far as they were able to explore. Maybe they will decide to come again and explore a different area of our beautiful state. Perhaps when it isn't quite so windy!

This is all I have to say for now.

The Kerrs and Friends from The Netherlands Explore Tularosa, New Mexico

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Our friends, Eveline and Gerrit, went with us to check out the acequia, (an ancient irrigation plan used for watering crops and plants) which is still used in Tularosa, New Mexico. Water runs in ditches and one must raise their gate to allow the water needed to flow onto their property. When they have enough water, they reset the gate and the water continues on to the next user.

We found yellow honeysuckle growing wild on the fences along the ditches along with huge pecan trees, mulberry trees and flowers of various types blooming.

Afterwards, we drove to lunch at the Casa de Suenos, our favorite Mexican Restaurant. We definitely wanted them to experience the cuisine there as we think it is the best for miles around.

L to R: Eveline, Gerrit and Carla visiting before our trip to Tularosa

L to R: Doug, Eveline and Gerrit posing for the camera before we leave
Eveline and Carla checking out the direction of the acequia
Carla, Eveline, holding the tree limb out of her face, and Gerrit
Eveline and Carla viewing the acequia
Looks like a serious conversation
The three of us checking out the beautiful good smelling honeysuckle vines
The four of us dining at Casa de Suenos
Eveline and Gerrit can't say this was a run-of-the-mill vacation. I took them to the Rohovec Theatre on the Hill to help collate, fold and staple the playbills for "They Mystery of Pirate's Cove" and they met several members of the cast. On one evening, Alamogordo City Council was meeting and we took them with us to that. They found it to be quite interesting and not at all boring. Of course, politics in Alamogordo is many things, but never boring!

As I am president of the Theatre Guild, while Doug and I were at the monthly meeting, Eveline and Gerrit cooked dinner for us in our kitchen. They made a recipe containing various vegetables, cheeses, butter and spices wrapped in fillo dough and baked in the oven. They also made a delicious avocado salad. What a fabulous treat!

Gerrit cleaning his glasses and getting ready to cook
Here we are enjoying this amazing home cooked meal served with six-grain bread
Eveline taking a well-deserved rest
Time was running out and we had one more adventure to experience so it was off to bed and up early the next morning ready to travel again.

Thank you Douglas A. Kerr, Photography for the great photos.

This is all I have to say for now.

Exploring Cloudcroft, New Mexico With Friends from The Netherlands

Monday, May 9, 2016

Our friends, Eveline and Gerrit from The Netherlands, enjoyed breakfast at our home before we drove to the mountains to explore Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Breakfast was our normal weekday fare including a plate of various fresh fruit and steel cut Irish oatmeal w/raisins, coffee and tea.

We did some visiting and my husband, Doug showed them around the backyard. Our new fence gate did not meet with Gerrit's professional specifications and I am inclined to agree with him. However, it took three attempts before they made one that fit so we have decided to live with it.

We took them to one of our favorite stores in Cloudcroft, Off the Beaten Path, and they thoroughly enjoyed all of the wonderful art on display. Eveline purchased a cap to keep her hair out of her eyes. It was quite windy this day. I could tell she was keenly tempted to buy one of the fabulous cutting blocks created by Thomas Thorp of La Luz, New Mexico and sold in this store.

We than toured The Lodge. How can one visit Cloudcroft and not go to at least see The Lodge. It is such a beautiful old hotel and even has a ghost named Rebecca, also the name of their magnificent dining area.

From there we went to Big Daddy's Diner for lunch and to introduce them to the wonders of posole. They both enjoyed the posole very much and we had a lovely time enjoying this repast.

On our return to Alamogordo, New Mexico, we stopped at the lookout point at the tunnel and they very much enjoyed this. They are both hikers and kayakers, so this area really intrigued them.

Gerrit listening to Eveline and Doug after breakfast
Eveline and Carla inspecting a fabulous Thomas Thorp cutting board
Eveline and Carla listening as one of the owners explaining how the cutting board is created
L to R: Gerrit, Eveline, Carla and an owner of Off the Beaten Path
Eveline, Carla and Gerrit
The Lodge at Cloudcroft
Carla, Eveline and Gerrit
L to R: Doug, Carla, Eveline and Gerrit at Big Daddy's Diner
Gerrit, Carla and Eveline at the lookout point near the tunnel (the only highway tunnel in New Mexico)
Gerrit and Eveline (It's a long way down from where they are standing)
We had a grand time showing Eveline and Gerrit around and we were all properly tired by the time we returned to Alamogordo. Time to rest up for another day of exploring.

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr, Photography for the great pictures and to the waitress at Big Daddy's Diner for manning the camera so all of us could be in the picture there.

This is all I have to say for now.