Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 1, Skeletons in a Cave

The missing tourists were driving a 1929 Nash (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

... on May 29, the Lorius car was found abandoned in Dallas, Texas - the first sign that something went very, very wrong. Contacting the Lorius family in Illinois, Dallas Police learned George and Laura were on vacation in New Mexico, although they hadn't been heard from since the family received the postcard from Vaughn. They simply vanished. Even today, not a trace of their whereabouts has been found.
from Socorro County Cold Cases, June 7, 2008

In the past couple of posts, I have given you some background on the Heberer Lorius case and on the Pintada Kid. Today, I bring you Part 1 of the story of the Kid's investigations, told in his own words: 

I never meant to try to solve the Heberer Lorius case. It just so happened that I was traveling down this deserted road in my 65 Comet Convertible with a leaky roof on a rainy day over 30 years ago with a couple of good friends of mine who loved treasure hunting and being out exploring in the mountains. As we approached certain areas they would tell me how they had friends that lived out here many years ago who rode horseback all over these areas.

One of these people told how, when they were little kids, they were playing in the cliffs and caves in the center of New Mexico and came upon an opening which led to a hidden cave with several skeletons in  it. The kids were scared and ran to get their parents, but on coming back they supposedly couldn't find the right area or opening again. 

At the time I had never heard of the Heberer Lorius case. I asked them where the area was where the skeletons were seen and they said that after you pass a certain draw or crossing it will be the mountain with the cliffs out in the Distance. I thought that was easy enough, yet I spent years searching caves in the area and killing some big rattlers, some with rabbits in their stomach, but I never found any human skeletons in that area. I thought that if I did find skeletons [they would be from] an Indian burial.

It wasn't till years later when one day my Brother-In-Law was visiting at my house and we were out sitting in the back yard. He started telling me a story about when he reopened the Heberer Lorius case back in 1951 when he was a [member of the] New Mexico State Police. I asked him, "What are you talking about?" He says the Heberer Lorius case--it was one of the Ten Greatest Unsolved Mysteries in the United States. He said, "I searched those mountains north of here for years and went into caves but could never find the bodies of these two men and two women, so I could never solve the case." I told him that I had been looking for a cave with skeletons these kids saw out there many years ago. It turned out that I was searching several miles from where my brother in law had searched for the bodies.

My brother-in-law, who was much older than me, told me that if I found that cave with skeletons I would solve the Heberer Lorius case. He went on to tell me what happened to the people, who the killer was, and why the killers ended up killing the two couples.  ~El Pintada Kid

Tomorrow: The Kid's investigation continues

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: A Little Background

The Pintada Kid is a unique New Mexican character who has appeared on this blog before (see the Pintada Kid Stories, Tales of Living History from the Center of New Mexico). He has spent a lot of his life exploring many parts of New Mexico and believes that he knows the location of the murdered tourists in the Heberer-Lorius case.

Before we read about his investigation, I asked him to give us a little background on his own life. Here, as always, in an almost exact transcription of the Kid's own words, is what he had to say:

*****

THE PINTADA KID was born in Pintada, N.M. and he remembers his life going back to when he was 2 or 3 years old. [His family lived in a] two room rock and adobe house which still stands in ruin today. 

As a toddler he used to follow the old people into the hills and dark mesas that surrounded his home while they dug up plants for remedies for different ailments or hunted for food. He remembers going on long walks with his dad and a single shot rifle that his dad would shoot rabbits or jackrabbits with for food. When he killed a jackrabbit his dad would take it home and the Kid's sister, older by a couple of years, would skin the rabbits while the Pintada Kid watched. Sometimes the wind carrying a fluff of fur would float into his face or mouth. After the Rabbit was cleaned the Pintada Kid's mom would cook the meat and make a Red chili stew and that would be everyones' supper.

The Pintada Kid's toy was an old car fan that his dad left lying around in the yard. His dad was a mechanic and this fan was perfect for spinning around but if [he] went off balance it would hit the dirt and scrape his small hands against the dirt, which was very painful. The ants all over the yard were constantly biting him, but the insects and grasshoppers were his toys, and the whole landscape for miles was his playground. 

Because he had quick hands, one of his favorite games was to catch a fly and clap his hands together and daze the fly. Then he would walk up to the wall of his Rock Adobe house and find the biggest spider web he could find and throw the fly on the web. Seconds later a big black spider would come out and start eating the fly or covering it up with its web, which was a fun game for the Pintada Kid, along with following his dad out hunting.

When the Pintada Kid was about 6 years old he moved to Santa Rosa, New Mexico where he was enrolled in Saint Rose Catholic School. At the time he didn't know very much English because all he [had spoken] with the old people was Spanish. However, he managed to make his First Holy Communion in the first grade with the Sisters of Saint Rose, which takes lots of studying and lots of Prayers to Memorize. The First grade is also the time his father died and so the Kid was left with his Mom and two sisters, one younger and one older than him. 

The sisters at the Catholic School were very strict and mean but they were very good teachers and the Pintada Kid made it to Fourth grade which was the year that his mom died in a Bad Car Accident with some other people in the car that went head on into a Semi Truck late at night back in '58 or '59. At the Funeral they didn't show his mom because she was buried with all kinds of other peoples body parts and it took the Pintada Kid a few years to finally believe that his mom was gone. 

The Ranch out in the Middle of nowhere where he and his two sisters went to live with his grandparents was a big change from what he was used to in the city. The only things his mom and dad left him were a Guitar and Violin and he would get up on top of this big old barn every night with his guitar and sing and play to all the Wild Animals below; to the horses and cattle; and to the Stars, the Planets, and the Moon; and he Swore he was gonna be the best guitar player and singer that ever was. And today he has now been playing over a half century and he considers himself as good or better than the best at playing guitar and singing in both English and Spanish.

For a couple of years after his mom died the Pintada Kid would stare at the Road into town about a dozen miles way hoping he could spot a glimpse of his mom coming down the road to pick him and his two sisters up and take them back home, but she never showed up.

Ranch work was hard work but it made the Pintada Kid strong and by the time he graduated from High School he had put 8 or 9 years of hard work. After graduation he took on all kinds of jobs in Restaurants, Gas Stations, Motels, Truckstops, and Vocational schools, but he loved being out in the Mountains exploring. Of course, his guitar was always with him wherever he went, and everywhere he went people wanted to hear him play and sing. 

[Some of his friends] loved treasure hunting and exploring New Mexico. They [told] the Kid about a friend who had seen some skeletons in a cave out in the Pintada Canyon area and gave the him Directions to the area. The Pintada Kid [knew] that area well and thought he could probably find [the location] but it wasn't as easy as he thought. Years later he talked to his brother-in-law, who convinced him that if he found that cave with skeletons he would probably end up solving the Heberer Lorius case, one of the Ten Greatest Unsolved Mysteries in the United States. Although it took years to find the right area of the Heberer Lorius peoples' resting place, the Pintada Kid feels sure he has found [both] the right area and important evidence to solve a Great Mystery rivaling [those of] Amelia Earhart and the Lindbergh Baby.


Starting tomorrow: The beginning of the Pintada Kid's 10-part Story on the Heberer Lorius case in his own words.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Heberer Lorius Case: One of New Mexico's Unsolved Mysteries

Two middle-age couples were on a summer vacation, driving from Illinois to California in a 1929 Nash. It was 1935, when a driving trip through the Southwest was still a big adventure.


George Lorius, a coal and ice company executive from East St. Louis, his wife, Laura, and the couple's friends Albert and Tillie Heberer, arrived in Vaughn on May 21 and spent the night at the Vaughn Hotel.


They got up early the next morning to eat breakfast in the hotel's cafe.


"And," says one of their relatives who is searching for answers 75 years later, "they were never seen again."


~Albuquerque Journal, June 20, 2010

There is something about a murder mystery that fascinates us all; we get a little chill imagining the circumstances, the feelings of the victims, and the grief of their relatives. But when that mystery remains unsolved for 75 years with no bodies ever found, the chill we feel becomes something else--a curiosity and, for some, a drive to find out just what happened. 

The car that the tourists were driving was found later near Dallas, showing signs that it had been in at least one accident. Burned belongings, thought to be those of the missing tourists, were found near the cities of Albuquerque and El Paso. Clues were examined by both local law authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When the trail got cold and no solution was forthcoming, amateurs got involved and have been investigating ever since. 

I recently read a book about a 1949 unsolved murder in Las Cruces (Cricket in the Web, by Paula Moore). The investigations of that murder revealed the complexity (and sometimes the corruption) of New Mexican politics, a place where relationships are intertwined, families don't give up their own, and some folks still wouldn't talk about the case when interviewed over 50 years later. The bungling, and the competition and spirit of non-cooperation between law enforcement agencies after the murder was mind-boggling. I suspect that many of these same factors came into play when the Heberer-Lorius case was investigated. 

For more background on the Heberer Lorius Case:

Murder Mystery Lingers, by Leslie Linthicum. Albuquerque Journal article, June 20, 2010.

"The Mystery of the Missing Tourists," an excerpt from the book Albuquerque Remembered, by Howard Bryan (University of New Mexico Press, 2006). 

*****
Monday: The Pintada Kid on the Case


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tinnie Greens Up for Skywatch

The old-timers in this part of the state say that this year is the greenest they can remember. Abundant afternoon rains and our almost-daily sunshine have made our hills, mountains, and valleys lush with growth.* The Hondo Valley of southeastern New Mexico is no exception. It is home to orchards, lavender fields, and iris farms and is a beautiful place any time, but it seems even more so this year. 

I took these photos near the tiny town of Tinnie (pop. 174) as we drove on our way recently from Las Cruces to Clovis. 














Blue skies are wonderful and we are so lucky to have them most of the time here in New Mexico, but seeing all this green this year makes us very, very happy. For sky photos from all around the world, be sure to visit Skywatch Friday.

*****

*"lush with growth"--As I re-read this post and look at the photos, I realize that "lush" is in the eye of the beholder. I guess that the vegetation in these photos would look "lush" only to a desert dweller. Perhaps I am becoming a true Westerner!



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farmers Market in August: A Little Cactus Tale

The Las Cruces Farmers Market was as crowded as we've ever seen it this past Saturday. It's a wonderful place to watch people, listen to music, get a massage, buy fresh produce, try out an herbal remedy, get a sack of fresh green chiles roasted, and...



... we always need to STOP to see the nice couple who sell the cacti and other low-water plants, just in case we find something to add to our garden. 



We were just digging around in our pockets for some cash to buy the last beavertail cactus when a little boy--oblivious to us, but focused on the cactus--leaned down in front of us, scooped it up, and said, "I think I've found my cactus! What's it called?" The cactus lady explained that its name was Opuntia basilaris. Handing over his two dollars and fifty cents (what a steal!) he said, 

"I think I'll call it Steve."

Then the budding young gardener ambled off, smiling and hugging his cactus pot to his chest. We were charmed. Next week, we'll try to get there early enough to buy a Steve of our own.

Not Steve

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Las Cruces Report for August, Part 2: Green Gold

It's hard to explain the importance of chiles here in the Mesilla Valley. Chile is a crop, it's a culture, and it's a big part of the cuisine here. Our friend, Pat, who is planning to retire here soon, calls them "green gold." There's a sign in one of Beez's favorite restaurants that says, "A day without chiles is like a day without sunshine," and we rarely experience any days without both of these staples of New Mexican life. 

When it's chile harvest time, the air is filled with the smell of roasting chiles and the grocery stores sell a ton of those little quart freezer bags. We all shop for our year's supply of chile and a great many of us have an extra freezer just for all those bags of green gold. 

We bought our first batch at the Farmers Market on the weekend. You buy a big burlap bag, 20 pounds worth, right from the farmer...


... then you bring the bag over to the roasters...


... who roast your 20 pounds and pack the hot chiles into a plastic bag like the one on the left in the first photo.



Once we get the chiles home--and what a fragrant ride it is!--we spread them out a few at a time on a pan to cool a bit. Then we plunge them into some chilly water, drain them, and package them (skin and all) into those little freezer bags, 8 chiles to a bag. Once the bags are all closed up, we pop them into the chile freezer, all but the plateful of fresh ones that we peel and eat for lunch. 

It's a lovely, almost ceremonial tradition, and a nice thing to do on a hot day in a shady kitchen while looking out the window over the sink up at the Organ Mountains and being thankful for such a good life.

*****
If you are a fan of cowboy stories (Deb, I'm trying to catch you!), be sure to check out the tale of tenderfeet over on the Remember blog today. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Las Cruces Report for August, Part 1: Misery

Flies in the early morning light
Click on the photo to enlarge it. If you concentrate really hard and look at the air about halfway up the trunks of these pecan trees surrounding our house, you will see what I was trying to capture--millions of flies, swarming around in the early morning. Millions more of their brothers were perched on the side of our house and flying around my eyes and into my ears on that same day; the day I was outside sweating and swatting and trying to do a little gardening at dawn.

You probably can't see them, but take my word for it: August has been a month of bazillions of flies and of heat and stickiness. Oh, and mosquitoes, too. Pretty miserable for us here in the Pecan House with few window screens, no air conditioning, and a swamp cooler that promises nothing during monsoon season. Poor us! However, I keep thinking about all the people in the world who do quite nicely without any a/c, not to mention all the people who lived here in the Mesilla Valley before there was electricity and before the city obligingly sent out trucks to spray against mosquitoes and the dangers they carry.

Human misery aside, the feeling of living in a rich and fertile oasis in the midst of the desert has never been so strong. That hot sunlight and all of our afternoon rains have worked their magic on the local field crops and the cotton plants down the road seem to grow a foot a day. My poor struggling roses, looking so pathetic in their first year, have sprung to life with new leaves and a second blooming. The vitex (Texas lilac) has grown over two feet in height since it was planted in early July and is blooming again, too. The hollyhock seeds that a friend gave me are coming up all through the garden, promising lots of flowers for next year. The Farmers Market is overflowing with bounty: Corn, grapes, honey, sweet melons of all kinds, and peaches--juicy, wonderful, ripened-on-the-tree peaches.

There is one more crop being harvested, but its importance is so great that it deserves a report all its own. Tomorrow, Green Gold.*

*****
*Thanks, Pat!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Remember

My grandfather and just a few of his many children around 1919; my mother is front right, looking very biddable (which is not how she turned out!)


What does a blogger do when cut off from the Internet for a few days? Why, she dreams up another blog, and that's just what I have done. Keeping up three blogs* might turn out to be like juggling and keeping three balls up in the air all at once--we'll see.

The new blog is called Remember; Family history, family stories. It seems to me that the blog format would be a good way to tell about our family stew and all its ingredients, and to share old family photos and explain what I know about them. Yes, I'm feeling a bit mortal, as my baby sister just passed a big birthday milestone and another one is speedily racketing toward me. 

I hope to eventually link the people in the stories to a family tree, starting with Beez's parents and mine and working backwards. And, oops, Beez's real name might have to be revealed! I have plans to link to genealogical resources and to other family history blogs, both personal ones and how-to ones.

Speaking of how-to, my hope is that some of you might start a family history blog of your own, and that we can share ideas of how best to pass on the stories of where we came from and how we came to be.

*****
* See "My Other Blogs" below 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Rainbows for Skywatch

I was so frustrated when taking these photos because things kept getting in the way. You see, I expect a perfect rainbow at all times (just ask my sister) with no ice cream stand roofs (1st photo) in the way; and with no messy-looking vacant lots (2nd photo) cluttering up the foreground. 


On the other hand, my Princess Bluebird (again, ask my sister) heart is so happy to present these less-than-perfect shots for Skywatch because, for the first time in several days, I am finally able to upload photos to Blogger. It wasn't Blogger's fault, it was my connection. 

Ah, well, I should stop with the fussing and smile at the rainbows. I hope that you will enjoy them, too, even though they are imperfect and very, very real world. 

Rainbow at the ice cream stand (mmm, expresso sundaes)

Double rainbow with a steer's skull cloud, very Southwestern

For more shots of skies everywhere, be sure to visit Skywatch Friday.


P.S. I almost forgot, until reminded by Luke's comment (see below, and the link that follows in my comment) that while I was trying to get a good shot of the rainbow, I could hear people all around me saying, "Oh, man, it's so intense!" Will we ever be able to look at another rainbow without hearing that guy's voice inside our heads?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

See You in a Few Days

I am having some major problems with connecting to the Internet, so I won't be posting for a few days. Don't forget about me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

We Are Siamese

We are Siameeiz if you pleeiz,
we are Siameeiz if you don't please.
We are former residents of Siam,
there are no finer cats than we am.*




Eating
                                                                                                                            

When I was a child, our family used to visit my father's cousin in the San Fernando Valley in southern California. Although he shared my father's New England blue collar background, Buddy (his family nickname) had started out writing for radio, hitchhiked to Hollywood as a young man, and worked his way up to being a screenwriter for some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies.** When Buddy was still at the starving artist stage my father treated him to many a meal, and he never forgot the favor when later his star rose and my dad remained a tow truck driver.

Sharing
Well! I have to tell you that visiting with Buddy was just about the most glamorous thing that us kids had ever done. He lived in a house that had once been owned by one of the Beach Boys (scream!), and it was just down the road from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ranch! His house had a swimming pool, a guest house, and I'm pretty sure there was a cleaning lady somewhere. Heady stuff, indeed!

Gracie

Buddy might have known plenty of big names in Hollywood, but for us little kids, it was his ownership of the Siamese cats, Ting and Ling, that gave him a place in our hearts. Those cats, fairly rare at the time, were just plain weird with their crooked tails and crossed eyes and their strange caterwauling. They would terrorize us by appearing in places where we didn't expect them, like up on top of the fridge, where they would rise up shrieking like manic babies. We adored them and I vowed to have a pair of Siamese of my own when I grew up. 

And I did. Sometimes I have even had more than two. 

*****

*The Siamese Cat Song from the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp. Written by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke.

**Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lunch at Ono Grindz


We discovered a great place for lunch after spending some time at the Las Cruces Farmers Market on Saturday--the Hawaiian restaurant called Ono Grindz, located along the Downtown Mall. The name means something like "delicious food" or "kickass eats" in Hawaiian slang.

It was a parching day and we had been out in the sun for a couple of hours, so the thick-walled adobe building with the fountain in its enclosed courtyard promised a cool respite that didn't disappoint. We were served tall glasses of ice water right away, and the sweet waitress even offered "to go" bottles of water later when we were leaving. When we said we were already carrying water bottles, she filled them up for us, a kindness much appreciated on a scorching summer day in the desert. 

The decor was casual and delightful, with all sorts of Hawaiian memorabilia and vintage posters like the one below. 


Our meals were colorful and delicious, and reasonable, too. I had the fish tacos, which came with an onion/pineapple/coriander sauce and a salad with fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts, and a mango vinaigrette; all for $7.95. 




Here are a couple more reviews:
Get Fresh at Ono Grindz (from the Las Cruces Sun-News) and Island Treasure (from Desert Exposure).


P.S. If you have a moment, could you help me with some Crock Pot Questions over on my other blog? Thanks!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Snow in August? For Skywatch

Just a dusting of snow
No, we're not having snow this month here in the Chihuahuan Desert. It's hot, and we're nearing the end of our monsoon season. Out here in the agricultural areas north of Las Cruces, it's apparently prime time for mosquitoes and flies. And of course, it's pretty darned hot (oops, I mentioned that before!), so I've been avoiding the outdoors and have been seeking quiet, contemplative pastimes, like a furious and sweaty "spring" cleaning of every room, every surface--go figure!

Long story short, I dug around in the files for these photos from last winter, which were taken facing the front porch. 

I really love the thought right now of those crisp, cold days when we could smell the delicious aroma of the piƱon fires burning in the kiva fireplace. Let's face it, some people are never satisfied with the weather they have!

That deep blue sky!
For more photos of the sky in every shade you can imagine, please visit Skywatch Friday.


P.S. If you have a moment, could you help me with some Crock Pot Questions over on my other blog? Thanks!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Modest Proposal

Those luscious peaches again--put some of these in your cart!
In 1729, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal (for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to the Public) satirically suggested that the impoverished and starving Irish sell their children as food for the rich.

Fast forward a few hundred years to our population, which is oftentimes "starving" on junk food, and lose the satire...

Researchers at our very own New Mexico State University here in Las Cruces have been looking into ways to help people make healthier food choices when shopping. They hit on the perfect solution--so easy, it seems almost ludicrous: They simply painted a line down the middle of grocery shopping carts and labeled one side "fresh fruits and vegetables" and the other side something like "everything else."

That's it. That's all there was to it. They found that people bought 102% more fruits and vegetables, with no other encouragement, and that the profitability for the grocery stores wasn't affected.

It takes a simple idea, sometimes, to make a big difference. Ever since I read about that study, I've looked at my grocery cart in a new way. I find that I am eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. You just need a little imagination to see that line down the middle of your cart, and you might just find yourself eating better and getting a little healthier.

To read about the study, click here. Interestingly enough, the last time I looked at that link there was an ad for a junk food meal right in the middle of the page; the researchers were right, we are bombarded with messages to do the wrong thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pink and Gold and Azure

He dreamt that he was walking in drifts of soft, pale-colored stuff, shreds and threads of pink and gold and azure, and felt a foolish pleasure...
                                                                           ~Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore




Ah, pink and gold and azure. The phrase stopped me in my reading tracks and I went off into a dream of my own. What beautiful words, and they described exactly what I had been planting out in the front yard. All the sweaty hours were suddenly worth the time spent digging and hoeing and mixing and shoveling. Pink and gold and azure...
Crape Myrtle



Geranium

Gold something--actually, I think this is yellow bells, also called yellow trumpet flower (not the vine, it's a shrub), Tecoma stans


Glorious sky blue plumbago

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hummingbirds Slowed Down

If you have seen hummingbirds, you have seen speed. If you have ever wondered what they are really doing, you should watch this short video, which is all about the making of a PBS Nature film on the tiny creatures.



You can watch the full PBS episode of Hummingbirds, Magic in the Air here.

Thank you, Auntie Bucksnort, for sending me these links.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Damage Report

Pecans forming; this photo was taken a couple of weeks before the big storm

I finally got to meet the owner of the pecan orchards that surround us. He stopped by right after the
big storm that caused so much damage. I was sitting in the driveway with a cell phone and the telephone book, shakily trying to remember how to look up the phone number for my insurance agent without the Internet. The power was still off at that point.

He was pretty worried about hail damage to his crop and wanted to know how big the hail was and how long it lasted. I could only see the tiniest branch down on his side of the fence, but he told me later that the hail knocked a lot of the little green pecans right off the branches, considerably thinning his crop.


While I'm talking about damage here, I can announce that yesterday we finally got gas to the house, three weeks and one day after the meter was broken off by the falling tree. I have spent some chilly mornings in the cold shower and have eaten a lot of microwaved frozen dinners, so I am grateful that we will finally have hot water and a cookstove. Yes, I know I'm spoiled.

However, the entire roof of the house still needs to be replaced (hail damage), a section of fence ditto (torn up by the falling tree), the family room ceiling ditto (I remember noticing that it was raining in there when I was evacuating), and some carpets require professional cleaning beyond what my rug shampooer can do.

The memory of the terror caused by the storm will eventually fade. For now, we all get a bit anxious when the afternoon thunderstorms begin, and the dogs follow me from room to room.
*****

P.S. Happy Birthday to J.R.--you know I'll never forget your day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Facing the Storm, for Skywatch


The wind was blowing hard and these birds were barely clinging to their wire as the storm rolled in toward them. There is something about this photograph that sums up my feelings of fear and fragility in the face of our recent very frightening storm.

Click on the photo for a larger and clearer version.

For all kinds of weather and all kinds of sky, be sure to visit Skywatch.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bertie Sings Mariachi

Sometimes there is an idle summer afternoon on the front porch.
A small quantity of beer may or may not be involved.

Perhaps the neighbors have a live mariachi band playing across the road.
Everyone knows that chihuahuas love mariachi music and that some of them even like to sing along.

Our little Bertie Pierre is no exception.

Sometimes people make little videos that should only be shown to understanding family members, some of whom will shrug and roll their eyes; and some of whom will howl and sing along.

This is one of those videos. Please don't look. I'm warning you.




That disembodied and demanding voice belongs to the director of this little production, who gets very tense behind the camera.

And yes, it turns out that YouTube is just full of chihuahuas singing mariachi. I'd suggest you spend an idle summer afternoon looking at some of them.

*****

You must check out the complete Adventures of Bertie Pierre.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We're Not Part of Mexico!

Even though New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the U.S.--area-wise, not population-wise; for population, we are ranked 36th--we are often thought to be part of a foreign country. You can read New Mexico Magazine's monthly column, One of Our Fifty is Missing, for true stories of how this plays out. New Mexicans are congratulated for being able to speak English so well, are told that their catalog orders "can't be shipped to a foreign country," and are asked for their passports with alarming regularity by fellow Americans who hear "Mexico" rather than "New Mexico," or who just plain never heard that we are a state, located between Arizona and Texas.

You can read a fun discussion here on common misconceptions about our state; it's always a hundred degrees here, we are crawling with rattlesnakes, no one speaks English, and this one:

Airlines Representative: "Sorry, Ma'am, but we cannot fly your cats on an international flight".

Me: "Which state is international? Maine or New Mexico?"


As long as we are in video mode, if you would like to take a quick but very lovely tour of parts of New Mexico, please visit Becky's Blog to watch her slideshow.

Tomorrow: A video that probably should have stayed in the Zee family archives!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scenes from My Sister's Garden, 2

In my sister's garden, you experience sound and movement...


... colors calling one to the other...


... tiny dewdrops...


... and all the lush sweetness


of summer.