Thursday, April 30, 2009

coyotes and pigs

We hear a lot of distant coyote calls at night from the hills near our house. We've never worried about our dogs and cats, or even the goats when we had them. We figured all the loose dogs in the neighborhood would run them off, and up until last night, that's been true.

Around three in the morning, we started hearing a lot of barking, and a lot of yipping, that got closer and closer, and more intense every minute. Soon the distinctive sound of coyote chatter turned to something more like the unearthly screeching of B-movie zombies. Pretty horrible. We keep our dogs inside at night (duh), and of course they started barking and dashing around the house. Our two "guest dogs", Banshee and Neruda, who just needed a place to hang out for a couple of days, appeared to sleep through the whole thing. Maybe they're more used to coyotes where they live. Anyway, it was a sleepless night for most of us. The blended dog-and-coyote screaming sounded like it was in our own driveway. This morning we found out we weren't too far off.

The balance of nature shifted last night, and the dogs who once kept the coyotes at bay became the thing that attracts them. Food. Coyotes hunt for a living. I can't hold that against them, or wish they did something different. And people here are generally lousy pet owners, so I suppose it was only a matter of time. On any given night there will be from three to a dozen or so loose "pets" roaming the hood. Today there's one less member of the dog pack. The hungry, and braver than ever coyotes took down a big three-legged chow, out in the road, in front of the house next door to us. Pretty gruesome, the way coyotes eat their prey. I won't even go into it. Look it up if you want to know.

I'm really writing this for Taos, even though I know it won't matter. I wish Taos dog owners would read it. I with they'd keep their dogs inside at night, and safely, humanely contained during the day. I wish they'd treat their pets like pets. I saw the dog's owners solemnly drive by my house this morning, after loading their dead pet into the back of a truck. I felt sorry for them, sure, but sorrier for the dog who was so neglected and came to such a terrible end. Sigh... There are a lot of things I wish for Taos, and a lot of reasons why we're leaving.


On a lighter note, Swine Flu...
Seriously. I really think we should keep our heads about this, look at the facts, and try not to panic. I always ask myself, Is there money to be made by scaring the hell out of the entire country? Of course there is. One thing to keep in mind is that the "regular" flu kills thousand of people every year. Common sense is in order here. Panicking won't help. Take some simple precautions like washing your hands, avoiding coughing-sneezing people, eat well, rest well, and take your vitamin D. Someone sent me a good article on all this. Here's the link: It's a bit long, but I recommend reading most of it, skimming some of it, and getting all the way to the bottom of it. You'll feel smarter, safer, more in control, and healthier.

Tomorrow, something light and fluffy. I promise!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

we've been biffed

A few years ago, the Town of Taos decided to bring the town sewer line out to our part of the county. Might not seem like a big deal, but out here, being able to flush the toilet is more important than being able to vote for mayor, which we actually can't do...

The job was a big mess, and seemed to take forever. The road was all dug up, making it impossible to drive on, and sometimes to even get out of the driveway. But the worst of it was all the BIFFs... Backhoe Induced Fiber-optic Failures. Our electricity, phone, and internet were constantly "being interrupted", and nobody in charge really seemed to care very much. Eventually they finished up, we hooked into the system, and things flowed smoothly for quite some time... pun intended...

But now it seems they've saved up their pennies, and yesterday the backhoes returned, blocking the road and making another big mess. Yep, the perfect set up for the perfect BIFF. Our phone and internet were out all afternoon, and into the evening. When I called Qwest, they said they thought they could have it fixed by 11:00 tonight. Great... As it turned out, they actually fixed it this afternoon, which was lovely of them. But still, my day had a hole in it the size of the one in the road. I'm working into cocktail time here, and that does not please me.

So if I happen to disappear for hours (or days) at a time, it's safe to guess that there's been yet another BIFF. If I have to, I'll go into town and hang out at a favorite cafe. I guess we have to get used to internet being kind of hit and miss when we're out there traveling anyway. Trying to roll with it. And at least we can still flush the toilet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

loveseat love

The Interior Design Gods must have been listening to me the other day, when I was praying for a Nate Berkus Intervention. Oh happy me, he was on Oprah yesterday! His tricky assignment was to swap furniture around between four families, using what they already had in new ways, to give everyone a fresh look without spending much cash. The results were, of course, inspiring! Working on our trailer remodel, I realized that we already have so much stuff we like here in the house, it just makes sense to use some of it.

I've had this little blue loveseat for years, since my divorce in 1990. It was the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself, choosing just what I wanted, and not having to take anyone else's tastes into account. To me, it represents personal power mixed with comfort. I still love this loveseat, and I want to take it with us in the trailer.

The sofa bed that's out there is sort of... yuck. It could be reupholstered or slipcovered, but what's the point? We don't like the thing, and don't need the extra sleeping space. Our humble little trailer can theoretically sleep eight. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? Thanksgiving at Mom & Dad's just isn't going to happen while we're caravanning. So the matronly sofa bed, and all its extra weight, have got to go. And we're hoping the blue loveseat will fit in the space.

My friend Nate also mentioned that if you're on a budget, go bold with color. I think we get the idea! We're trying marigold on the walls... or maybe a deep sage... or red... still working with the Spaghetti Tin Palette. And I never would have considered stretch slipcovers if not for Nate. SureFit has some really nice ones, which means I don't have to reupholster my loveseat, but I can still give it a nice new look. It feels like an old friend, and I want to treat it well. It's lived in three states, four houses, and has even been a dog bed. The fabric is tired, and no longer makes my heart sing, but the frame is strong and sturdy, I like the basic shape, and it's still the most comfortable seat in the house. Some new foam and a nice slipcover, and we have a new sofa for the trailer. I feel very smart. Thanks Nate.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

weekly blog-bead-give-away

Hi Everybody! Welcome to our first Blog-Bead-Give-Away! I plan to do this every week, as a way of thanking you for being here! To enter, just leave your answer to this week's question as a comment on this post. Be sure to sign your name, or at least your first name and last initial, if you're very shy, or hiding from the FBI or something. No anonymous entries! One entry per person per week. I'll put the names in a hat, and hold a drawing on Friday or Saturday. The winning name will be posted at the bottom of this post. If you win, contact me by email so I can send your prize to you. Simple, yes? Here's this week's prize...

This week's question:

Describe yourself in THREE WORDS!

Answer as a comment below. Good Luck!

P.S. ~ If you have trouble entering from you phone, please just wait till you get to a computer. Thanks!

Saturday, May 2 ~ WE HAVE A WINNER!
BONNIE P., please contact me within three days to claim your prize!

The next Give-Away starts Monday!

the spaghetti tin

I haven't been sleeping well lately... well, for about the last three years. But recently I think it's mostly about all this motion we've set ourselves in, and all the little details that need to be taken care of before we can be on our way. Simplicity isn't all that simple sometimes.

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to decorate our trailer. The stuff it came with just doesn't suit us. (Scroll down a couple of posts for some "before" pictures.) Personal taste is a funny thing. I know a lot of people think the current interior situation is just fine. But we're thinking more "Gypsy Wagon" than "Grandma's Parlor", if you know what I mean. And I've been really stumped as to how to do that without making it too "Stevie Nicks" or, even worse, "Circus Freak". After all, we're going to live in this thing for a while. The only real start I have is some cool red glass rose knobs that I've been saving for a couple of years. I really want to use them in the trailer, if we can disguise the extra holes we'll have to fill when we take down the two-screw pulls that are there now. Other than that, I've just been losing sleep trying to figure out what else to do.

I woke up this morning with the thought of putting up a small backsplash of tiny one-inch mosaic tiles on the wall behind the sink and stove. Maybe olive green, or red, or turquoise. It seemed cool, but weird too. Where did those colors come from anyway? I shuffled into the kitchen to make tea, and BOOM, there it was, the Spaghetti Tin, gleaming in the sun like a beacon of interior design. I've had the Spaghetti Tin for years, but I didn't recognize it for what it was until just this morning. Now I've got it. Here is my color scheme!

About now you might be thinking I've been breathing too many propane fumes. But trust me on this. I think I can make it work. I don't have anything else to show you yet, but Rick is on his way to buy paint, and I'm hot on the trail of bargain slipcovers and drapes. I'll keep you posted on the progress. I think it's going to be ever so fabulous. Maybe simplicity is simple after all. You just have to be patient and let it flow. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get a good night's sleep tonight...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

super model

Our friend Katy George is a clothing designer who has recently started a line of Dog Couture. She asked our little Heidi to model in a photo shoot today, with Jaap Vanderplas behind the camera. Of course I had to snap a few too. I'm just so proud. She was a terrific little super model, reaching deep for her Inner Heidi Klum. Who knows... maybe next stop, Victoria's Secret! She does have the legs for it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


The best place to start is usually at the beginning, and here we are at the very beginning of a new adventure. If you've been following Greetings From Taos, you know that Rick and I are about to embark on a year-long (or more) road trip. A new blog seems to go well with a new way of life. And so, whether you know us well, or have just stumbled in here accidentally, welcome! I hope you'll enjoy Taking The Long Way Home with us.

What's up with the title, you ask? Well, obviously, Greetings From Taos won't work if I'm not actually in Taos. The original idea behind this trip was to take our time finding where "home" might be next, but it seems to have morphed into something bigger than that. Southern Oregon sounds good, eventually, maybe, but there are a lot of places that might be as good or even better. We need lots of time to check it all out. When we find "home", I think we'll know it. Until then, home is the world. Home is wherever we can drive with our truck and trailer. Home is bigger than we ever could have imagined, and smaller too. Home might just be a place inside of us that learns to relax and feel comfortable wherever we find ourselves. I might walk in the door and holler, Honey! I'm home!, or I might step out that same door, my hand over my heart, knowing deep inside that I am the home I've been looking for.

Of course it's too soon to tell all of this. I'm guessing and daydreaming and hoping for a most remarkable time out there on the loose. But the place to start really is at the beginning, and the beginning more or less started on Tuesday, when we drove to Moriarty, NM to pick up our trailer. We made it a party, by taking daughter Julia and Heidi-the wiener-dog along for the ride. After a lot of back-and-forthing, from Sandia Trailer, where we got the hitch installed, to Schwebach Farm, where we bought the trailer, and some good lunch in between, we were finally all hooked up and ready to roll. One last stop at Sandia Trailer on the way out of town got us some final adjustments, and the blessing of Jeff and Buzzard, two Trailer Guys who really know their stuff. We felt confident, and more than a little bit giddy, as we rolled out onto Old Historic Route 66, the original and ultimate road trip road. We were off to a good start.

On any trip south, hitting Santa Fe is something of a relief. It means about an hour and a half to home, and since we had started out really early that morning, we were ready to get back for a little margarita party in the driveway. But just as we were about to get on the highway to Taos, traffic stopped. As far as we could see, everything was just standing still, all the way back into Santa Fe, and way up toward the Opera House. We couldn't tell why it was happening, but we knew it was probably bad, and likely to take a long time to clear. So, we decided to backtrack a little bit, and take the mountain route through Las Vegas (there's one in NM too), Mora, Sipapu, and finally back to Taos. Laughing the whole way over the irony of taking the long way home, I knew for sure I had picked the right name for my new blog.

It was almost 9:00 when we got home. Too late for our Driveway Party. So we brought the dogs out to check out their new digs, and congratulated ourselves on a job well done and a day well spent.

Lucy is particularly pleased, because she gets her own "room" - the bottom bunk at the back of the trailer, with a big view of the world. I will decorate it especially for her...

The next night we had a few friends over for the real House Warming. We made margaritas, and the friends brought us sage and sweet grass to smudge out old energies. There was plenty of room for all of us, and even the dogs had a good time. (Do you recognize Sarafina and Mercedes? Go back to Greetings From Taos to meet them. Kat is doing great too, by the way.)

Thursday morning we started taking things apart. To me, a trailer always looks a bit too much like... a trailer. I want it to look more like a nice little house. We've ripped down all the, uh, window treatments, and have picked up some paint chips from the hardware store. This little decorating job is more challenging than I thought it would be, being relatively small, and pretty much all one space. I could really use Nate Berkus here! Oprah! Set me up!

And so, here I am on a lovely Friday afternoon, sitting in my trailer, totally enjoying my new place to write. I like hanging out here, just to get the feel of it. HaHa! We're not even out of the driveway yet. Still need to find a good renter for the house. If you know anybody, send 'em on over. We hope to hit the road in early June. We have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks, but this is where the fun starts. I do hope you'll join us.