Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I don't normally dress up for Halloween but this year was an exception.... I worked with Tracey (other PT) and Adam (tech) today and we dressed up as "patients". It was tempting to add a foley catheter and attends but we didn't.... just the gowns sufficed.
I would say it was a success on the floors (especially as we were handing out candy to patients, family members and other employees).

At this time my stomach hurts and I'm vowing never to have chocolate again (well, at least not in the next 8 hours or so...).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life Philosophy


I came across this quote a few weeks ago and it stuck with me. I tried to think of situations where this wouldn't be true and couldn't think of any.

Initially all I could think of was "What you see is what you get", the more direct (and do I dare say 'European') approach to communicating and interacting. This has gotten me in some trouble before, being labeled an "aggressive communicator" at work when I felt I was just objectively stating my thoughts and beliefs and acting on them.

I guess there's a more profound layer to it too, especially when it comes to personal things. When your words and deeds reflect your inside private thoughts, it puts your true nature out there for everybody to see and know. Therefore it makes you more vulnerable.

I feel it's a great life philosophy to follow......

My Monday / Tuesday weekend....

I had a relatively quiet few days, catching up with family and friends over skype and over the phone for hours on end. I really got my "fix" which was wonderful. I do spent a lot of time on the phone and over email but it is definitely worth it!!!

I hiked some (surprise anybody???), meditated for almost an hour this morning and have spent some time talking to my recruiter/agency about options after this assignment. Nothing definite yet, but there are some jobs of interest out there it seems.

I was also forced to go through some paperwork as my kitchen table almost toppled (well not really....) under the weight of unfiled payslips, bank statements, 401K and health insurance info, property management information and state license papers.

Here are some pictures that hadn't made it to my blog yet.......

I love the bright colors around.....

I started my fixation with photographing dead trees in Tanzania and it continues here in New Mexico. I'm sure there will be more to follow...

Monday, October 27, 2008

bumper stickers

I'm not a bumper sticker person.

I've had one little inconspicuous one on the side window of my car for a while now; a green spiral symbolizing circle of life, progression, movement, migration, travel... I got it at Zion National park when visiting friends about 18 months ago and it served as a reminder to follow my desire for exploring the Southwest.....
When I first got to Alamogordo, visited Cloudcroft, and realized the endless possibilities for hiking here in the area, I bought another one that says "My other car is a pair of boots".
Now as we're nearing the elections in the swing state of New Mexico, I felt I had to advertise... and put my "Obama for president" bumper sticker on......

So here we are .... 3 bumper stickers later..... Part of me feels I have to go all out.... and get some more I've seen around and really liked..... I've decided it's a better deal than getting a bunch of tattoos, so I might go for it. Maybe I'll post a picture of my beloved Subaru in a few weeks,... plastered with messages.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hiking around Silver City

No "weekend" is complete without strapping on my hiking boots for at least a few hours!! Gila National forest is over 700.000 acres of Wilderness!! I stayed close to Silver City as I didn't want to spent any more time than I needed to in the car.

I hiked Signal Peak in Pinos Altos, just 10 minutes North of SC. It was very pretty. I'm convinced I saw 2 wolves during my hike, grey-sliver, fast moving, luckily not too close (maybe about 100-150 feet away). I was too scared and too far away to take any pictures.

I also hiked just south of town along the great continental divide. It was not my favorite hike, lots of sand, small rocks and a gravel-like path but I'm glad I did it, even if it's just to say that I hiked part of the continental divide (a very very very very small part.....).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Silver City

I made it to Silver City for 2 days, left Sunday night after work and just got back today. It's a solid 3 hour drive from Alamogordo and as I was driving and navigating (not one of my strengths ;-) ), about 3.5 hours!!
I had wanted to visit this small "artsy" and outdoor town for a while and am glad I finally did! I explored the town on Monday and went hiking on Tuesday. There is so much to do it would be easy to spent a full week or even more in the area, but 2 days was all I had for now!!
The town center is build around "The big ditch", the main street in town that flooded in the 19th century and was made into a park area. Although it rarely rains in the city, if it does, it pours and still turns the streets into rivers. The curbs are several feet high to stop the businesses and homes from flooding. One little coffee shop had some chairs out on the sidewalk. They called it "the beach" as just a few days ago "the ocean" was right there.

The Big Ditch

Yankee street with the high curbs....

There are so many interesting art galleries, little stores and museums and even just walking around town, art is everywhere. It's obvious how this little town of barely 10.000 people has been compared to Santa Fe.

Some things around town...

I walked, shopped, ate and drank all day... Very decadent! I met some great people in a little local coffee shop where we discussed politics, single payer healthcare, New Mexican wind energy sources and infrastructure ..... It was great! They recommended a little restaurant up in the mountains for dinner so I ended up at some Cowboy Saloon, having a vegie burger at the bar, surrounded by cowboys (REALLY!!!). I would have NEVER ventured in there without their recommendation, but I'm glad I did!!!

Border patrol

Every major highway going north in New Mexico has a border patrol station. The highway narrows and exits into an impressive border patrol station with stern officials looking very important with their big guns. Every time I go to Las Cruces or elsewhere and drive back to Alamogordo, I need to pass them. I slow down and stop, roll down my window and am asked "Are you an US citizen?". In my best American drawl -which isn't very good- I answer with a smiling "Yep". They smile back and wave me through.
I have to admit, I don't understand. Why ask? They might as well ask if I had Starbucks for breakfast or if I'm wearing polka-dot-underwear. No verification of the answer. I am so tempted...... What would happen if I'd answer "Actually, no, I'm not a US citizen but an illegal immigrant, just drove back from Mexico City, picked up some of my illegal friends -they're hiding in my trunk- and filled up the rest of the space with some high quality cocaine and marihuana, you know.... need to make some extra bucks with the US economy going down the drain and all..........".

Friday, October 17, 2008


I haven't posted much about my meditation practice. There are no meditation gatherings in Alamogordo so I have to be more self driven in my practice. I am sitting in meditation at least 20 minutes about every other day.
Because I'm generally more relaxed and am living moment to moment due to the nature of my life right now, it's a little easier than it used to be. I turned my spare bedroom into a meditation room which helps too.

I've been reading and learning some more about Karma and want to share:
Karma is used as an ethical principle and a cosmological explanation for the world. Buddhists believe that the actions of beings determine their own future, and because of this there are no private actions: all actions have a consequence.

"I am the owner of my karma .
I inherit my karma.
I am born of my karma.
I am related to my karma.
I live supported by my karma.
Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit."
The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya V.57 - Upajjhatthana Sutta

This all makes some sense to me, or at least more than any other explanation for good and not so good personal and global events.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's been a long time.....

1- since somebody called me "little girl". One of my patients, an 86 year old gentleman who just had a knee replacement, was on the phone to one of his daughters when I walked into his room. He told her he had to go as "my little PT girl is here". I don't think of myself as "little" in any sense of the word,.... quite funny though....

2- since I have seen a dress code this laid back. I think I met one person in the past month who has worn a tie: the CEO of the hospital. Pretty much anything seems to go. None of the physicians wear a tie (let alone a bow tie). It's often hard to tell if the person bedside is a family member, a pizza delivery boy, a lost hiker looking for directions, or the attending physician on rounds. Seriously, last week I saw this dude on the floor in hiking boots, a pair of shorts and an hawaiian shirt so bright it hurt my eyes. Turned out it was one of the ortho-docs on rounds....

3- Since that many people have such a keen interest in my 12 year old bright blue Doc Martens sandals ;-). Maybe they do have another 12 year in them after all!

It never rains in Alamogordo


I finally decided to spent the night at White Sands National Park to be able to watch the sunset as well as the sunrise. It's back country camping without any facilities. There are only 10 spots available, very spread out with at least one huge sand dune in between.

The evening was unbelievable; not a sound to be heard, just beautiful landscape changing minute by minute, showing all colors of the rainbow. It forced anything else to the background; there were no thoughts or worries of the stock market circus, the upcoming elections or more personally where my life may lead and who will cross my path.... It was definitely good buddhist meditation practice!

Than the night came and with it the rain. i don't think I need to explain: lots of sand and lots of rain make MUD!!! Luckily my old tent held up very well (unlike the zipper on my sleeping bag), but breaking up camp this morning was no fun (neither was the mile hike back to my car). AND there was nothing much to see this morning; no beautiful landscape views just grey clouds and rain and lots of it!
Still, the evening made it worth it!

I tried the self timer for the first ever time, not bad....!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Odd stuff

Clouds over Cloudcroft

Do you think it was coincidental I was listening to Willie Nelson driving to the village of "Weed"?

I think I was happy this store was closed....

CHAMBER of Commerce...

I don't know what that is, but it's a 10 on colors...

Just pictures

I drove around the area today, exploring the "Billy the kid" legend and check out little towns. I could stop the car every few miles or stop every few steps when walking and take pictures. That's how much I like the scenery here.... You'd be happy to read I'm not about to post another 300 landscape pictures (I'll just keep them on my hard drive here ;-) ). But here are a few....

Fall is hitting New Mexico...

Or maybe not....

Monday science project

Okay, I'm writing this as I'm listening to the presedential debate, so if I'm not making sense, it's because I'm getting too fired up (I really don't want to be called 'my friend' by Mc.Cain, ...... Please!!!!)

"Sunspot", about 40 minutes from here, is the premier US facility for Solar Physics. Although I don't pretend to understand much of the research going on there, I felt like I had least check out where all these international research scientists were hanging out. Lots of telescopes, big and little........ I didn't see any nerds walking around, they must have been hiding inside.....

I did like reading day and time on the big sun dial though....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Las Cruces!!

I did it, I ventured out of the Alamogordo area!!! Traci (one of the PT's at work) and her boyfriend Vassil, great people, invited me to come along on their trip to Las Cruces after work. We finished work a little early -always a good thing- and drove together. It's an interesting college town of about 80.000 people, the biggest in Southern New Mexico, just over an hour from here.

First stop was "Toucan grocery store", a locally owned "Whole foods". There really isn't much grocery shopping beyond Walmart in Alamogordo, so this was a great treat. My fridge and kitchen cabinets are fully stocked with healthy and tasty treats!! After that, we drove through to Mesilla, the 'old town' for some browsing around the cute little shops and AWESOME mexican food at a local favorite: La Posta. My opinion of "hot salsa' gets re-defined daily!!
Unfortunately, my camera battery died along the way so I only have just a few pictures to post. I'm sure I'll go back sometime soon and get some more.

We also stopped at "Barnes and Noble" bookstore, not a big deal for anybody living in a larger town but neither the local bookstore nor the library in Alamogordo carry a whole lot of interesting books or magazines. so even that felt like a treat!!

Last stop was Traci's parent's house (they live there during the winter) where I met my first dead scorpion..... All in all, not bad for a Saturday night I thought!!!!

The BAD stuff in Alamogordo.....

Well, I have have sounded a little elated and overly happy in my posts about my Alamogordo experience..... There are very bad things in the area..... REALLY, it;'s not all that rosy........!!!

There are RATTLESNAKES, BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS, TARANTULA'S, SCORPIONS, the occasional BROWN BEAR in the mountains...... I am not joking!!! A few days after I got here, we went outside for a little over lunch and see this huge big hairy thing close to one of the hospital entrances.... turned out to be a dead tarantula!!!!! The 2 PT's I was with, Jesse and Randall, said they're very common and we started talking about all the other poisonous and dangerous living creatures in the area.... It took me a full afternoon to recover from the conversation!!! Later that night, the boys went for a hike in the foothills, came across a rattle snake, killed it and brought me the rattle to show!!!!! Yesterday in a house in Las Cruces, I met my first genuine scorpion (dead, luckily!).

Seriously, especially the rattlesnakes are definitely a presence to be aware off when hiking at lower altitudes. I haven't seen one yet but am hiking without my ipod, very aware and not wanting to miss the 'rattle-warning' before the bite!!!!