22 July 2012


I'm very sad to report that at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 a great man, my dad John, passed away. He was a life long soldier, a husband and most importantly, my dad.

In the days following his passing, it was very rough for me as I planned his funeral and grieved.

I moved from Los Angeles specifically to care for him. For seven years he has been such a huge part of my life.  I have no regrets and am SO glad I was able to make him comfortable his final years.

Originally I was proud that I would be able to talk about my father during mass; however, every time I would try to read the words I had written to myself, I could only get through a few sentences before completely falling apart.

My cousin Robert had served with my dad during one of his tours of Vietnam so I asked him to speak for the family. What I could not say at the funeral I CAN print here:

   "When John Jr, my sister Delores and myself were alone in the 'crash' room at the VA emergency room with dad after he passed, they both commented at one point, "poor dad".

     I understood what they meant; however, in that instant, I did not see him as 'poor dad'. I smiled
and felt a joy in my heart that he and my mom were together again.I thought, 'what a GREAT DAD'! For he was a father rich in his relationships with his family and friends for 84 years.   

     This wasn't a time to feel sorry for him, miss him, yes, but not feel sorry for him. To have lived for 84 years and have a wonderful wife, seven kids, 13 grand kids, 18 great grand kids and one great great grandchild AND to have been able to know them all is an amazing accomplishment!!

     He was able to know and love and BE loved by every one of them!

     Dad was very personable. Everyone was welcome in his home. From the most distant family member whose name he sometimes could not remember to the ice cream man who would ring his bike bell as he came down the street and who could easily spend a half hour talking with him.

     All his life my dads mission has been to serve and protect. First he served and protected his country as a young man towards the end of World War 2 with the Army Air Corps. Then in the Arizona National Guard. He would go on to serve two tours in Vietnam, resigning up because he wanted to. He would come home from those tours to serve and protect a wife and family.

     In the last seven years that I have taken care of him he and I renewed our relationship that had been put on hold when I moved away. I would take him to the NM State Fair to the Spanish Village so he could listen to music and eat a bowl of green chili, something he loved to do with mom when she was alive. He would go on drives with me to the missions of New Mexico or cruise along the Rio Grande to Tingly  Beach.

     As he got older he would just say, "I'll stay in the car." The trips got shorter as his health declined.

     And even when his mobility was limited, either John Jr or I would put his wheel chair in the car and just stroll him around the market so we could get him out of the house. He loved his trips to Dairy Queen in the summer. Strawberry Blizzard. He remained strong in spirit to the end.

     His last moments were spent next to me in the VA emergency room. He was in good spirits.

     The last thing he asked of me was a neck rub. He would drift into eternal sleep moments later.

     There was no outward pain. No tears. No fear. No last grasp.

     It was simply his time to go home... to his wife, 'Mickey'.

     One day we will all be re-united as a family."

He was buried at 11:30 am, Thursday, 20 July 2012

My dad was given a military funeral by the Color Guard of the American Legion Post 15.


I am so very proud of my dad and will miss him SO very much.

26 May 2012


I know I know...where the hell have I been????? I am SOOOOO far behind on posts...over a year and a half worth of stuff has happened. Honestly, e-blogger has just become too frustrating for me to use. It use to be sooo simple. Log on, REVIEW, EDIT, CREATE or POST ones blog, Log off. Not any more. There are so many functions you have to maneuver through and it just bugs the hell out of me. I like simple!!  One by one I have seen my friends blogs just ... stop. Months and months go by and more and more stop posting. Is it finally time for me to try facebook???   

Fire season has returned and it ties in with this posting. A year ago the Las Conchas Fire north of Albuquerque became the worst fire in state history. A year later, the Whitewater fire has merged with the Baldy Complex fire and has the potential to be as large due to the howling 50 mile an hour winds. Can you tell which photo above is the morning shot and which is the sunset shot??


When my buddy T-Rob was here this past spring, we took a drive up to Bandelier National Monument north of Albuquerque. I was devastated. The monument was hit hard by the Las Conchas fire. After the fire, the autumn monsoons hit and almost destroyed the visitor center that was built during the depression by the WPA. 

I am sad to report that the  area trails were washed away. You only know your way by ribbons tied around charred trees that lead you to the now closed cliff dwellings. If you go I recommend good waterproof hiking boots as you will have to cross streams where bridges were washed away.


I DO recommend you go to Bandelier, the monument will need a lot of money to restore the area. Also, take your kids, show them the devastation wildfires can cause.

If not you, who?

BTW, The top fire pic is an evening pic, the bottom pic a morning pic.

03 March 2012

The Visit

My buddy T-Rob out of Oklahoma was in town last week for some r&r. I was able to have some snowy peaks waiting for him. As of this writing, Sandia Peak still has a 42 inch base.

Although the peaks were snowy, in town it was mild and in the 50's. Perfect for a trip to the Rio Grande Zoo & Biological Park.

 On this visit, we would head north to Santa Fe, Taos and the northern frontier.

 I really like the pueblo and Spanish Colonial architecture that has been preserved in Santa Fe. Sadly, Albuquerque has leveled most of its historic buildings outside of 'Old Town'.

 If you happen to make it to Santa Fe, the 'plaza' is a must. Just off the plaza is a chapel called Loretto Chapel. It is a revered chapel because of the folklore of its famed 'miracle stairway'.


The stairway has been the subject of legend and rumor, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder [a mysterious 'carpenter'] are considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto and many visitors. 

The story was the subject of the 1998 movie 'The Staircase' starring Barbara Hershey and William Petersen.

I'm Out.

16 February 2012

City of Rocks

The last few months I have not really traveled in this great state which meant very few blog posts. Also, blogger has updated their software and I didn't like it very much. Unfortunately it takes me longer now with the old software to upload my photos. I also am not able to do some other things and it frustrated me to a point that I just didn't feel like blogging. Sorry about that. I've noticed similar situations on several friends blogs.

I have resisted 'facebook' and 'tumbler' among others and really only tweet now and then [most of my friends are not on twitter to begin with] so the immediacy of that tool only comes into play when I am actually on journeys, friends can follow along in real time online.

That being said, there are still plenty of journeys to be had.

There are many areas of New Mexico I have yet to explore, like eastern and southern New Mexico. Next week my Okie buddy, T-Rob, will be visiting and we are heading up north. I have my fingers crossed that the weather holds out. I am SOOOO not a winter driving person.

On my most recent trip, I headed south to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It is this huge marsh in the middle of the Jornado del Muerto [near the Trinity Site, where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated - see post at right]. It was amazing to see thousands of birds who migrate here for the winter from up north. The best time to be here is early morning and early evening when the thousands of birds become tens of thousands. The take flight in the morning to look for food and then early evening, come back to rest.

Of course I was there mid-day. I also did not wander too far off by myself as mountain lions frequent the area looking for food.

I drove further south to Silver City, NM and the City of Rocks [not to be confused with City of Rocks, Idaho].

City of Rocks, NM is a volcanic rock formation created almost 35 million years ago now eroded to what you see below. If you are headed to the Gila Wilderness to see the cliff dwellings, I do recommend checking this out. It is only about 30 minutes outside of Silver City, NM near Deming on NM61. Its a cool quarter day hike and not very strenuous.

The vistas are AMAZING. You can see for miles and miles.