Thursday, March 22, 2007

once more

into the fraying. TEAT

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Testing, testing



Does this work now?

We here at Green Chiles And Roses are experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by. If you don't care for the hold music, please understand that it's the griding of my son's teeth.

Okay, now this is posting. What's changed?

Wish you could read this

For some reason, I can't post to my blog, but my incredibly helpful son can. (Gosh, he's a great guy. I'm lucky to have him as my son. Smart as a whip, and always there for his mother. And so handsome. Modest, too. He would NEVER admit how talented he was, but that's what a mother's for, I guess.)

We're trying to figure out just what the problem is...

--N.L.W.'s staff,


You Should Read This

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Snakes and UFOs in New Mexico

During the late fall of my fourth year, I experienced two unusual events. I saw an officially recognized UFO, and I disturbed a sleeping rattlesnake under the front gate to my house.

The UFO, which even the Air Force couldn't explain, remains a wonder in my memory. It was dark, chilly, I recall, as we got out of the car at the house. I looked up and exclaimed, "Look, Daddy! Look at the Christmas tree." A huge Christmas tree shape filled the southern sky, emanating from a single white light high in the sky and reaching apparently to the earth. My recollection is that it was red. It looked exactly like the outline of a Christmas tree. It was distant from us, and looking back, to see it so clearly, even in the dry, clear air of New Mexico, it must have been high in the sky. At four, I was remembering pleasurably the Fourth of July fireworks I had seen the previous summer. I waited for more to come. My dad excitedly told my mother to look. We stood there, not too long, and the Christmas tree abruptly vanished. The light remained and was joined by a second light. The two lights moved swiftly across the sky. My dad loaded us into the car and drove to a higher vantage point. He speculated that the lights were somewhere over White Sands Missile Base. He exclaimed when the lights moved in what he said were 90-degree angles.

Most four-year-olds can't see 90-degree angles and will copy them as a curve. I couldn't discern the abrupt turns. I could see they moved wicked fast and changed direction. We watched for awhile, then my conscientious mother told my dad we had to go home to get me ready for bed. So we did.

UFO sightings in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico were frequently reported in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A book, Project Blue Book, eventually came out to debunk most of the sightings with logical explanations. The incident I relate was included and simply listed as unexplained. There was no mention of the Christmas tree my family saw, only of the lights that indeed were over the Navy missile base. The author was extremely skeptical about the 90-degree turns.
We didn't have television, and would often sit out in the front yard at night, while my dad taught me constellations and let me look through his powerful binnoculars at the full moon. The Tularosa Basin is the site of the first atomic bomb test (more on that later), the White Sands Navy Missile Base which still tests missiles and conducts research, and Holloman Air Force Base, where a great deal of aerospace research was done. Theories and sightings abounded. We had a lot of eggheads in the community from all over the world in addition to the ordinary Hispanic, Anglo, Apache and black population.

What did we see that night? I will never know. I will never forget.

A few weeks later, I think, I was with my mother in the same parking spot in front of the house, probably about the same time of evening. My father had a horrible cold, and Mother had taken me with her to go to the drugstore for some medicine. What the medicine was, I haven't a clue.

In 1947, doctors had sulfa and penicillin available and nothing else. There probably were some cough medicines--my father was partial to Smith Brothers Cough Drops, which came in his favorite licorice (shudder) and cherry. No antihistimines. Stuff to gargle with, though. So we had been to town and come home (we lived about three miles outside on a dirt road). I hopped out of the car and reached the front gate before my mother. My dad had fenced the whole yard, poured a cement walk from the front porch to the fence, and hung a heavy wooden gate at the entrance.

As I reached for the latch, I heard a tell-tale and familiar sound--I had disturbed a rattler snoozing under the gate and it was now coiled and threatening. My parents allowed me quite a bit of freedom around the place, figuring rightly that most of the time, any iconoclastic rattlesnake would hear me coming and slither away. Over time, several snakes had coiled rather than slither, usually when my dad happened on them. Then my father would shoot them. We had probably a dozen rattles on the mantle over the fireplace. My parents drilled me on what to do in such a confrontation, even to the point of what to do if I were bitten. This was perfectly acceptable good parenting in the New Mexico desert in 1947.

So I turned around and ran back to the car even as my mother was saying,"Get in the car!" The rattler was very loud. Our two dogs ran up and made short charges at the snake. I was afraid they would be bitten. Mother yelled for my dad, inside with a stopped up head listening to the radio. I don't think he ever heard my mother, but he eventually came to the door to see why the dogs were barking. Mother told him about the rattler. He got his shotgun and came out. He lamented the shot, which was at such an angle he not only shot off the head but the tail, and this was a big rattler.

I climbed out of the car to look at the pulsating, writhing dead snake. Dad commented that at least with the head gone, the dogs were safe. He lifted the body with a stick and threw the snake on the other side of the road. It was gone the next morning. My mother was delighted I remembered my snake lessons so well. I took my bath, put on my pajamas and went to bed. Mama told me a story. I was very proud of myself for remembering what to do.

Rattlesnakes have such good manners. Now I live in copperhead country. They don't tell you they are there.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Keep your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel

I was barreling north on the 4-lane street a few weeks ago when I realized ALL the other cars were in the left lane because there was construction ahead and that was the only through lane. My lane could only turn right. Sigh. I hate when that happens.

So I turned right. Traffic was heavy, so it took 10-15 minutes to get back to the 4-lane street again. I thankfully pulled into the left lane that I knew was going to be stop and go traffic but also take me where I wanted to go.

A large SUV was angled across the right lane, looking for a break in traffic. The driver had made the same mistake as I did. My solution had been to handle it myself and go around the block. Hers was--someone had to let her in. I visualized her getting ahead of me and sailing through the traffic light ahead while I got caught for another cycle. I had been so patient and civilized getting to this point, I applauded myself. No private cussing. I had been polite with other traffic.

I, who always leave 3-4 feet between my car and the rear bumper of the car ahead, rolled slowly forward. The driver had been eyeing that gap hopefully. She made direct eye contact. She made a helpless gesture to indicate her position. I nodded. I understood. So, she mimed, will you let me in? I looked at her directly for a couple of seconds a slowly shook my head. She disengaged eye contact before I could mime the alternative action I had taken. She didn't express any anger, which I admired. The car behind me closed ranks, too. The light ahead changed and traffic began to move. Sure enough, the light turned yellow when I was halfway through the intersection. The car following so closely behind got through, too. Last I saw, the lady in the SUV was still waiting for a break in traffic.

I've thought about that a lot since.

It is uncharacteristic for me not to let a car in. I've been so grateful to others who have done the same for me. It somehow seems like good manners, which make civilization run more efficiently. Traffic flows much more smoothly when motorists are polite at merges. I didn't have anywhere I had to be that day. All I had was the residual frustration of having to redo that intersection and the time it took.

I wanted to say(whine), "Look lady, you don't understand. I've already made the same mistake. Let someone else help you." And my inner cynic suspicioned she assumed she had privilege and would get in because she was in a big SUV. It wasn't a fancy shiny one, though, and she was so nice. "I went around the block. So can you." Well, isn't that snooty higher ground?

I guess I want a SECOND redo of that intersection, and this time I let her in. But I'm not sure. I still would have been highly irritated if my pessimistic vision had come through and I had been stuck at the next light for my momentary kindness. I really thought I was a better person than that.

A local radio station has the "Flip Off" at noon where disgruntled citizens can take issue with anything from the federal government down to fast food places that get your order wrong. About a third to half of the flip-offs deal with traffic peeves. Some of those deal with legal violations, but a number deal with rude or reckless or simply bad driving. Obviously, what goes on in traffic in a metropolitan area impacts quality of life.

I am a great fan of Acts of Random Kindness. I've received a number and try to pass them on. One of the most memorable was many years ago. I was speeding (rather significantly) down the highway when I began overtaking two cars in the right lane that were going the legal speed limit. The second car pulled into my lane, drew even with the other car, and continued forward at the legal speed. I couldn't get by, I couldn't speed. I had some choice things to say to the driver as I followed in their wake. I was late! I was late! Let me by!

About two miles down the road, we passed a highway patrol officer working radar and just looking for a speeder like me. We went past and over a hill, and the car in front of me returned to the right lane. As I went by, the driver tapped the radar buster on his dash, and I waved thank you. I didn't speed quite so fast the rest of the way, and I was absolutely stunned. Wow. what an ARK.

I still am grateful to that anonymous driver years later. The woman in the SUV may be grateful to someone, but it isn't me. After ruminating and rationalizing to myself, I have to say: I regret that.