My Christmas Vacation

Santa Fe

Photo from a Santa Fe trip a couple years ago.

(Thanks for the photo Kitty and/or Blizzard)

Toby has promised to write a short story describing our Christmas in Albuquerque so I will defer to her for a summary from the hostesses’ (is that right? my grammar don’t be so good) point of view. But I will make some comments from my point of view as a guest. Of course the first comment I have to make is that the “CABIN” (a misnomer– as has already been pointed out by most visitors to the house in the mountains) is gorgeous! The ‘partially finished’ (another misnomer) basement may have been the best part. Al’s (I’ll be calling Allison by a more gender appropriate name from now on) pool table was lots of fun, but it earned me a new nickname—scratch and sniff—which I don’t like. I’m not sure what the sniff is supposed to mean and I didn’t put that many scratches in the felt! I probably should have played a game with Al, from what I hear he isn’t much better I am. The food was spectacular as always, both in ABQ and in Jemez Springs. As a result, I am in much worse shape than Haus Frau. Not only did I not run, but I gained at least 5lbs! I enjoyed seeing some of Toby and Tiger’s friends who I hadn’t seen in ages. It was fun to see Ralphie (the Red Ryder, you’ll shoot the eye out kid) who I used to babysit a million years ago. OK, he wasn’t really the BB gun/Christmas story kid, but he did look like him at that age—maybe Toby will send a photo. I was sorry Kitty never made it from Denver, but we managed to run up the phone bill both in Jemez Springs and ABQ so it was almost like she was there. Old town wasn’t quite the substitute for Santa Fe (we missed the traditional drink at the Ore House), but it was fun to walk around at night and we saw a few (albeit electric) luminarias.


Act of Kindness: Easier said than done.

I recently promised my new blog friend –Bill (, who is dying of heart disease) that for his birthday I would

1. perform a random (anonymous) act of kindness and

2. make an effort to smile more frequently.

I hesitated at first because I wasn’t sure I wanted the awesome responsibility of performing this act of kindness when I’m not even sure what it means. I’m the type of person who finds buying Christmas gifts a stressful, anxiety provoking responsibility (Bah-humbug?). Years ago, I sent a fruit basket to my mother-in-law and she later informed me that the fruit was rotten. Over-ripe? I asked. No… Rotten! She replied. On another occasion, Salvatore and I mailed a very expensive whole, fresh salmon from the fish market in Seattle to his brother in California. It sat on their front porch for several days before they discovered it. Our well-intentioned gift ended up a big stinky mess (with mob threat-like connotations). We try to avoid perishable gifts these days.

As I left work the other day, I pondered this ‘act of kindness’ idea. Meanwhile, I nearly ran over a young woman dragging a suitcase across the parking garage. (Yes, this is the same garage where I almost ran over Jesse Jackson a few weeks ago–but that is another story). The point is -I realized almost immediately that simply stopping to let this woman pass would have been an act of kindness. At the first stop sign outside the parking garage I decided to take the opportunity to wave a pedestrian across the crosswalk in front of me even though she had already stopped to let me go first. But does this really count? It seemed pretty artificial and I had hoped to do something more significant. Next, I drove through a part of town where pedestrians routinely risk their lives darting out in front of moving vehicles. I had yet another opportunity to use ‘not running over a pedestrian’ as my act of kindness. Unfortunately, not running over a pedestrian on this particular stretch of road is more of a ‘daily challenge’ than an act of kindness. Maybe I could use ‘not cussing to myself as I avoid running over pedestrians’ as my ‘act’ of kindness. I did decide to donate money to the family that my dept ‘adopted’ for Christmas. But I don’t think this should really count since I had sort of planned on doing this anyway. So….the bottom line is that although I agree with the sentiment (and the smiling thing seems to work), I haven’t really performed a significant act of kindness yet. Maybe just making a conscious effort to be a kinder person is good enough. Any suggestions?


Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Pink Floyd

Album: Is There Anybody out There?

The Wall: Live 1980-1981

I had to read up on my Pink Floyd to figure out which song zappoman was referring to. I had thought this was all one song.

I thought I’d include this bit of research to impress Ms. McDougal who would have certainly already known this:

“The Happiest Days of Our Lives”
The song is reasonably loud in dynamics. It is approximately 1 minute, 52 seconds in length, beginning with 24 seconds of a helicopter approaching followed by shouting from the schoolmaster. After that the sound effects abruptly cut out for the lyrical portion. Throughout the most of the song, the lead instrument is the bass guitar and during the bridge to Another Brick In The Wall Part II, there are intense drums and backing vocals.

At the end of the song, there is an abrupt halt in the music. This is due to the fact that The Happiest Days of Our Lives is followed by Another Brick in the Wall, Part II, and the two mesh together in what is often mistaken as one song. It is due to this that many radio stations play the two songs together.