Friday, June 30, 2006

This is Your Brain

This is your brain on hypnosis.

Any questions?

I just got off the telephone with the executive director of the Albuquerque Opportunity Center. After a series of interviews that I went through with her and staff, I was offered--and accepted--the position as Program Director of the AOC. Hooray! This is a full-time job that begins on July 24 and I'm excited to be more directly involved in eliminating homelessness. More about all of this later.

I have also had a run on hypnotherapy sessions, with two new clients this past Wednesday, a return client coming on Monday, and a new referral.

When it rains, it apt metaphor if you have been watching the Albuquerque weather reports during this past week!

Monday, June 26, 2006


So when a majority of Americans feel alone, does that mean they're not alone???

(Click on title to read article.)

Why I Don't Have a Dog

I killed my virtual Chia Pet four times in two weeks. It sits on my computer's desktop and grows virtual grassy hair. Or so I think it does; I haven't seen it grow because I have neglected to press "water." The screen image has croaked four times, flipping onto its back, with Xs for eyes, and declaring, "You failed to water your Chia!"

I hope that there isn't a virtual SCPA.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday I drove down the western side of the Gila National Wilderness, going past four raging forest fires. At one point, smoke poured through my windows and I had to roll them up and turn to interior air. A ranger reported to me that the fires were caused by lightning strikes, but a local resident confided that one of the fires, while started by lightning, was a controlled fire that had swept out of control.

All along the drive, on just this one day of my entire outing, everyone I passed waved a greeting of hello. Did they know it was my birthday?

It is worth your stop in Buckhorn to visit the trading post there. A concrete floor supports sundries including a dairy case that sports a “Help Yourself” sign. The nearby chopping block with part of a tomato and a sliced onion gave evidence that customers were used to doing just that. Next to the soda fountain was a portable cooler with ice and a scoop, again for helping yourself. As I paid for my drink, I noticed the open Bible displayed there complete with highlighted verses for customers to read. It seemed a contrast to the rough guns, chewing tobacco and alcohol atmosphere of the place. Indeed, for a moment I thought that I was lost and had been transported back to the dueling banjo mountains of Appalachia.

“100 Hikes in New Mexico” gave me a clue to check out Turkey Creek Hot Springs. It warned against going during the rain season, which wasn’t relevant to me this 17th day in June. But at the end of the paved roadway, a sign recommended high clearance vehicular travel only. A Chevrolet Aveo hatchback is high clearance, right?

It took 45 minutes to drive 8 miles on the rock pathway used as a road to maneuver up and over the Brushy Canyon ridge that stretches north of the small town of Gila. With sheer cliffs dropping dangerously to either side, I used 1st and 2nd gears all of the way, occasionally hearing a rock try to sear the gas tank of my car. The drive was exhilarating and completely worth it as I dropped down parallel to the Gila River.

Parking the car at the end of the gravel roadway, I began the 5-mile hike up Turkey Creek. Fortunately, a four-wheeling man gave me a lift and I had to take my shoes off only once to ford the 4 crosses of Turkey Creek. Alone, again—and I would not see anyone else on the ill-marked trail for the rest of the distance—I easily spotted the dry Skeleton Creek coming in from the west. I passed a couple of great camp spots, but was convinced that I had not gone far enough. Even so, after the next mile, I was depleted. Not having hiked for quite some time, combined with the intense dry heat, left me ready to set camp, hot springs or not.

I left my pack to scout out the terrain ahead. It did look inviting, so I retreated and shouldered my pack for another stretch. Out of energy once again, and this time a bit shaky in my footing, I stopped thinking to pitch my tent. Still, my ever-nagging curiosity to see around “just one more bend” or up over “just one more hill” led me to leave my pack behind to scout out more unmarked trail. I discovered the overhang mentioned in the hiking book and so knew that the hot springs were still further ahead. I retrieved my pack and plodded on.

At one point, I had to take off my pack and drag it behind me to fit through a rock crawl space. After that, I was convinced that I was thoroughly done hiking for the day. Resting on a rock and munching on almonds, my energy slightly returned. With it came the resignation, “Okay. Just one more bend.” I scouted it out and to my delight, began smelling the sulfuric scent of hot springs. Soon I could feel the heat coming up through the shallow, rocky riverbed. Once more, I went back to shoulder my pack and walked on.

At last, I did discover a campsite next to the hot springs. I pitched my tent and enjoyed a refreshing soak. Sleep came quickly and I slept soundly until awakened in the morning by a wild turkey roaming through camp and calling out for me to get up. Dutifully, I crawled out to soak again in the hot spring.

As nice as it may sound, the springs were a bit of a disappointment. Too shallow, too hot and lined with about 4” of slimy silt. I decided to forego a second night and began the hot hike out of the canyon. Completing the reverse crawl under the rock, I found that I had previously passed a perfect swimming hole. It was cool. It was deep. It was refreshing and most welcome. I stayed for about 2 hours, dipping into the water and drying out in the sun on nearby rocks. This was worth the hike.

I left Gila, passing through Silver City, and went north on Route 152. This passes by the spectacular San Rita strip mine. I have never been a fan of cutting down a mountain, but I must admit that this is something to see. Exposed mineral made for a surreal palette, artwork reminiscent of Hockney.

From there, I stopped in at Truth or Consequences (yes, believe it or not, named after a television game show—and we think things today are too commercialized!) and there visited one of the half dozen or so hot spring bathhouses. At $6 for a half an hour in a tiled and serene private pool, it made up for the lack of hot spring comfort at Turkey Creek.

Next to T or C, I visited Elephant Butte to view our state’s largest lake. Besides being a barren land of rock, dammed river lake and a landscape worthy of a Star Trek film, Elephant Butte is near the newly purchased land for building a space port: a proposed rocket launch that private citizens will be able to use for vacations to outer space. “You Can Get There From Here!” a sign proudly proclaims.

Turns out, the sign was correct. I was able to get to Albuquerque from there. As the sun set to my left in the west, I completed my birthday tour de force and drove the final miles north to home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


From Roswell, I drove west through the Rio Hondo valley. I stopped in Capitan to pay my respects at the real Smokey Bear gravesite. (See photo above.) He was rescued there in 1950 and at one time enjoyed 98% recognition among all American children in his mission to spread wildfire prevention. I noted that, fittingly, that the Capitan Mountains were closed due to extreme fire hazard conditions.

I drove through the historic town of Lincoln City, last stand of Billy the Kid, and then on to Carrizozo, known for its cherry orchards. I purchased some cherries at a roadside fruit stand in Carrizozo; they were absolutely the best I’ve ever eaten. In fact, I nearly drove 40 miles out of my way on the return trip to buy some more.

I made it all the way to the Very Large Array west of Socorro before sunset. Self-guided tours are possible at the V.L.A. and I highly recommend treating yourself to one. It is possible to get right up next to one of the 27 radio antennas that, collectively, form a monstrous 36-kilometer single antenna. Each single antenna has an 82-foot diameter and could hold a 5,200 square foot house.

At the end of my tour, I stood out in the open field contemplating the vastness of space. First, was the visual largeness of the Magdalena field surrounding on all sides by distant mountains. This perspective accentuates the huge sky and reminded me of the big sky of Montana. From there, my mind tried to comprehend this big ball we call Earth and its place within our solar system, our galaxy and its place within ever larger spinning galaxies within galaxies. I turned my contemplation inward to the molecular structure of my own body. Microscopic cells, turning like miniature galaxies inside of me. A hologram of the external, tiny galaxies within galaxies. The micro. The macro. Infinitely large. Infinitely small. All interconnected and reflective of the other.

I flipped my awareness back and forth, but had to finally stop because I became physically nauseated with dizziness.

I slept the night of my turning 40 at 7,200’ atop the Continental Divide. I toasted the occasion with cherry cider flavored tequila (drunk from my newly acquired alien shot glass) and feasted on cinnamon frosted Pop Tarts.

P.S. Had a wonderful time last night with about 20 friends at the zoo concert and my home for dessert to celebrate my birthday.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back in ABQ

I had a great birthday retreat! Rather than post an account of the time all at once, I will take advantage of virtual reality and post some of my adventure over the next few days. You can pretend that you are reading this one week ago and it will be virtually as though you were. Got it?

In the meantime, I'm preparing for a party tomorrow night with friends. We'll go to the zoo for a Afro Cuban Latin concert and then back to my place for a pool/dessert party.

Now back to last week....

A Man was away for a couple of weeks and I realized that by taking Saturday off I could have 3 and a half days of freedom. So I decided to use some birthday money sent to me and finally, after 3 years of being here, go explore southern New Mexico.

I tossed my backpack into the car and took off. Hooray! Just what I like to do and the perfect way to turn 40: out on the road.

First stop was Roswell, NM. 110 degrees at 6 PM! And wind steady at 35 mph, with gusts up to 50-60 mph. I swam in the Bottomless Lake (a sinkhole) and was dry within 4 minutes after stepping out of the water. It was like standing in front of a huge blow dryer. Slept at the lake, swam again in the morning (winds died down, at last, around 3 AM) and then went to visit the International UFO Research Center. They don’t clarify if “international” means folks from all over the world come to visit, or that they only include UFOs that are international. Seems like the latter would be a bit restrictive, doesn’t it, considering that most UFOs tend to come from places other than Earth? I gave them the benefit of the doubt and had fun exploring all of the exhibits.

While in Roswell (besides spotting a sign in the window of a local barber that read: “Closed. Docter A.P.”), I also discovered the Alien Resistance Headquarters. With “Resistance is Fertile” as its motto, this center is dedicated to providing a so-called Christian response to the issue of alien abductions. Surprisingly, the goal is not to debunk theories that aliens exist. Instead, they use the Bible to purportedly prove alien existence and to promote the need for humankind to resist alien domination. Apparently there are all kinds of literal references to aliens in the Bible and it is our responsibility to turn to Jesus for protection and to use the scientific resources available to ward off alien control.

The headquarters also doubles as a tattoo parlor.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Off to Celebrate

My tent is airing out at home, sleeping bag drying on the line and all of my gear ready. I still need to pack clothes and stop to buy some food supplies, but I won't need much.

I just finished seeing a hypnotherapy client today and am now off to visit with A Man. This evening is work at the shelter. Then one home care client tomorrow (11-2)...and I drive away to enjoy my birthday on the road!

I think that this may be the last trip for my backpack. It's the one I used to walk across the country. There is nothing on it that hasn't been resown, welded or replaced. In fact, I stitched up the shoulder strap again just this morning.

I know should get a digital camera and upload photos right to this computer for you to see. Maybe someday.

For now, it's Roswell, Magdalena and the Gila Mountains for some eagerly awaited respite!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Keep Clicking!

Thanks to you, I am getting my first $100 paycheck from Google. Your clicking of ads on this site has earned me the following:
  • January: $1.41
  • February: $6.35
  • March: $39.17
  • April: $13.65
  • May: $42.56


Monday, June 12, 2006

The Low Down

  • Was away: housesitting and one night up at Fenton Lake. Had a crab legs, shrimp and corn on the cob there. Thanks John, Tracy and Austin! Enjoyed some fishing and bike riding.

  • DSL line at home is on the blink. May just cancel the whole land line thing.

  • Busy working. Had a cool hypnotherapy session with a person who had a phobia of water. (I offered her coffee instead of water.)

  • Housesat and got a little extra cash over the weekend. Thanks, Guttierezes!

  • A Man's family is away for two weeks. I'm only seeing him on Wednesdays for the next two weeks.

  • Costco deal is extended through August.

  • June home rent is paid for. Thanks, Sharon!!

  • I have blisters on my hands, but some cash in my pocket. Thanks, Odette! (No, I won't explain that one.)

  • I'm applying for full-time work as director of the shelter where I work. It has somewhat flexible hours, so I can still build my practice while paying bills. Will remain extremely tight financially until late August, if I get the job.

  • 5 days until my birthday.

  • I still want to start hanggliding this year as part of my continued celebration of the 40th year.

  • I have 160 prayer flags flying at my house and plan to add more.

  • I plan to spend my birthday by doing what I love best: just me and my backpack out somewhere. Don't know where yet, but will explore NM....road trip!!

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    Highs and Lows

    Today the temperature peaked at 97 degrees; tonight it will dip down into the mid 60's.

    Earlier I dipped into the pool; tonight I'll slip under the covers.

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Same Old Same Old

    Off to demonstrate washers and dryers (i.e. stand beside them and open their doors for folks to peer inside) at Costco. Then two hours to come home, change clothes, eat and be at the shelter for my evening shift there.

    I'm feeling a lack of collaboration in life. Especially around mealtimes, or when sitting outside to watch the prayer flags flutter in the wind or the birds play at the feeder. I seem to be lacking in ordinary companionship. More so, it is a lack of intentional ordinary, daily living on my part. So I am practicing being present with myself as I do ordinary things.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    Dennis Plummer

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    Oh yeah, and Dennis Plummer.

    (Just wanted to see what ads will pop up after this post. He he.)