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July, 2022
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Sat, July 02 2022 - 1:33 pm

July 31, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Since I had already gone past my monetary “allowance” yesterday I just went ahead and splurged on more stuff. Well, what can I say? I need it, hahaha.

Turns out O’Keefe’s Book Shop (right next to Michael’s) also has cards with photographs that Dennis took himself. After my predations, he had better augment his supply!

The store is so neat that I had gotten the impression it was mostly new books, but in fact he informed me that the books are mostly used. Not having perused his collection, the impression I get is that the emphasis is on the natural world and local and cultural history.

True confession - I have not thoroughly researched the collections of any of these stores I write about. The totally cool thing is that our small city has so many bookstores. How awesome is that?

There is still another bookstore that I have hardly seen. I’ll write about it another day.

So there are at least four, but there is also a University bookstore. It is near the gym so maybe I can stop there some day after my workout. If so, I will be able to see if they have offerings beyond textbooks.

July 30, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Went to an estate sale this morning that drew me to an area I had not walked before. I tried to walk fast and what do you know, the time it took me was very close to what my source speculated it would take. Good for me!

Afterwards I got to Farmers Market in time to wait in line a minute or so for its opening. What a wealth of ways there to spend one’s wealth!

It taught me not for the first time that I cannot take extra money to Farmers Market without spending it. Food and plants and rocks and shirts and people you know need the money you are handing over.

It is just too much fun.

July 29, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Since I wrote yesterday about the new bookstore on Bullard Street (it is new on the street but it used to be under the same roof as the SWAG thrift shop on Hudson) I feel that I should mention some of the already established bookstores downtown.

Or should I say shops? The one now housed in the Palace Hotel property on Broadway (across the street from its former location is owned and managed by personality-plus Michael Lacey. I ran into him during normal business hours at the library the other day and asked him who was managing the store.

He responded that it was not a store, it was a shop. When the proprietor was not there, the shop was closed. I did look up shop and store in on-line dictionaries and learned that the British do not use the word store the same way we do. They consider a store as literally that - a bunch of stuff in storage. Michael Lacey is Scottish, so his is a shop.

At any rate, Michael’s attitude is not unique here in Silver City; many shop-keepers her are rather cavalier about honoring their official business hours.

City dwellers tend to marvel at this casual attitude toward potential customers, but hey - this is a small town. The almighty dollar is not worshipped much around here.

July 28, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

The new bookstore on Bullard, SWAG, is a nonprofit for Southwest Adolescent Group. This very night they are hosting a poetry reading by Pamela Uschuk, a regional poet. She is quite celebrated, and has received several awards for her work. That is happening tonight at 6 p.m. Sounds worthwhile.

From August 3rd through the 17th, the store is sponsoring an educators’ sale for classroom teachers, home schoolers, and daycare and preschool teachers. They are offering educational games, flash cards, idea and workbooks. Start getting ready for school now. It is fast approaching. Maybe you will find something useful.

July 27, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

For a long time I have been meaning to explore north of 32nd Street - the street the hospital is on - but just had not gotten around to it.  Until yesterday, when I had a goal called hidden park.

On Sunday a visitor had come in asking about it. We had never heard of it, but lo and behold there it was on the official map of Silver City. I actually looked it up on my phone and it reported the hiking time from my house to be 45 minutes. Not for me. I would figure at least twice that. Yesterday was the perfect day; it was cool and clear for the morning.

For some reason when I got close to where the park was supposed to be I did not think to look again. I went down a street to a likely place and walked in a rocky creek bed. It looked like a hidden park to me. Too hidden - I got the feeling that I was trespassing on private property and decided to try again. I had been on Swan Street and kept going for another few blocks. Gold Street! Aha - it was also near the mystery park.

The major attraction on Gold was the biggest tallest agave stalk and bloom I have ever seen. At a time when the agave blossoms downtown in my neighborhood are spent and brown, it is still beginning to bloom, with half the inflorescence still in green bud. That alone is worth another hike on another morning.

Gold led to Silver as I recall, and I reached the end of Silver without stumbling across hidden park. There is, however, a large tract of open land there occupied by a water tank where people can hike, walk their dogs and explore.

Not hidden, not a park, but pretty wonderful.

Soon I will return to see the magical agave. I suspect that I had overshot the park when I reached the plant. If I had been too goal-oriented I might have missed that spectacle entirely.

That would have been too bad. The bloom is only temporary, and I have a feeling the still-hidden park will be waiting for me when I finally figure out its secret access.

True confession: I was gone from home for almost three and one half hours!

July 25, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Reading a book by David Sinclair called Lifespan which is awesomely interesting and very optimistic about the human race. One of his interesting observations is that pessimism is seen more often among the very privileged than among the third world countries and the poor.

Interesting, no? Think about that point of view. Gives me an excuse for (decades now) not especially appreciating existentialism.

Beckett, begone!

July 24, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

More about the park. I was hanging out with my family there the other evening, and a full-grown man climbed up the structure I wanted to try, so after they left, I did, too. I did not go all the way up to the point of the pyramid as he did, but I did climb it and it was fun. My grandson obligingly shook the ropes after I commented about what fun it must be with a half dozen kids climbing on it at the same time, making it more like a carnival ride - a physical hall of mirrors.

Yesterday we went to the Mimbres exhibit at the university and as far as I could tell everyone enjoyed it. I could not find the pot that looked as if it had a comet for ornamentation; maybe it was in one of the locked rooms on a lower floor. I do not remember them being closed off in the past.

As we were leaving the young man at the desk called us back with bags of goodies for the children, including pottery design prints and keychains also with Mimbres designs. There were other inclusions, but I did not see them.

July 23, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

A few months ago when I discovered the coolest park playground in the world I saw one of the structures and thought, I want to climb that! Followed of course by the thought: My grandchildren have got to see this!

Yesterday evening my grandchildren did see the park, and they loved it! So did their mom and dad. It really has something to offer folks of any age. More later!

July 22, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Walking through the ditch park has been a rather strange experience lately: there is often no one there. I don’t know why, exactly. I met a woman - a visitor to the town - at the Visitor Center before it opened a week ago or two ago who had not gone onto the path because she did not know whether it was safe there. I do not know either, but I have never had a problem with it. I usually walk it once or twice a day. It is shady!

Admittedly I do not go there alone at night.

I do know there was an episode here with a couple of women who were behaving a little wildly, so maybe the police presence that followed - and the security cameras installed at the Visitor Center have had a chilling effect on some people. I certainly have not seen any along the river walk, though. Not that I would notice.

Yesterday I heard a rumor that Spin, the local homeless shelter, was going to close. In my opinion I think that would be very unfortunate. Maybe it was just a rumor.

July 21, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I have been reading a lot of good fiction lately, but so much of it is written by or about the relatively rich and prosperous that I am beginning to wonder if the voices of the lower middle classes have any access at all to publishers. Jobs that I, in my youth, would have thought impressive are written about as if they are veritable prisons, only worthwhile as a possible foot in the door to whatever world they belong to.

Of course, I was always a small-town non sophisticate so how would I know? Except I guess that is the point. I feel as if the old novels (from, say the twentieth century) spoke to me. The ones I read now inform and entertain, but I somehow have trouble relating to a pathetic little student or wife who has a friend in Paris who treats her to shopping trips to high-end boutiques to cheer her up.

My empathy somehow falls short, entertained as I may be.

July 19, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Every time time I walk down a new street - or a new part of a street - I see something new. One of the most recent surprises was a sculpture garden in a back yard. When I went by last time it was getting kind of dark. I will have to go by again on a bright day and see what I can see. I do not know if the sculptures are a diverse collection or the creation of one person.

Since I often have not kept track of where I have seen the myriad of art that I have seen on my walks, even the relatively familiar locations can present a pleasant or stunning surprise.

July 18, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Farmers Market is small here, but quite wonderful. There is a woman who sells bread, whose loaves are exceptional. The first one I bought was large and had whole grains, including a grain called kensa or kenza which supposedly has great growing advantage I think in the hot, dry type of climate. Forgive my ignorance of specifics; the market here is not only abundant in good food but also a wonderful variety of distractions. That first loaf of bread stayed good for a whole week without refrigeration. This last Saturday I bought a couple of slightly smaller loaves which I will probably not be able to test for freshness after a week. They will not last that long. Spectacular!

The weather this week is in the nineties, but some breeze is usually around to make it more bearable. And if you compare it to other regional cities that isn’t half bad!

July 17, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

For the first time in weeks I walked on the Boston Hill open this morning. I was on the trail when the sun came over the hills to the East. There was no mud at all. Saw no mammals except humans and a dog. Where were the rabbits and the deer? Maybe they were out even earlier than they usually are in cooler weather. It is going to be hot today!

Went to a locally developed play by a group of actors who developed it together in five weeks. It was very... young. What fun, though, to see real human beings on stage doing some dancing and fighting, among other actions. Some lines that drew laughs from the audience I didn’t catch, whether because I am hard of hearing or because they were cultural references I couldn’t recognize, or both.

At any rate, it was good to see a play performed by real people in person for the first time in more than a decade. 

July 16, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Yesterday I had a very helpful and productive meeting with a doctor in residence here with HMS. It was also concerning, because the residency program here is being discontinued!

This is very bad news for the community, because it is, I believe, underserved even with the four residents that were in the program. The doctor I have seen since I got out of the hospital last August, one of the remaining two, will leave at the end of the month. I asked him why the program had been discontinued and he told me that the program did not get funded.

This is especially unfortunate because a person who is brought here as a resident might decide to settle down here with a practice - definitely a help for the community!

In the future I will be seeing a female practitioner which I am happy about, but she is a Physicians Assistant. This fine in itself (if that career had been available to me in my youth I might have chosen it!) but I have heard that PAs are beginning to be under as much pressure as doctors to expeditiously keep the patients moving through.

Ah, well. When I meet her in October I will ask how she feels about the loss of the residents.

July 14, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I am beginning to wonder about the butterflies. I am seeing lots of hummingbird moths and very few butterflies. I am seeing butterfly bushes in full bloom and others just beginning to bloom, including a smashing yellow variety I do not remember seeing in the past. The other day I saw a butterfly on one. I will try to look more closely, but that is not something I am having to do to see hummingbird moths these days. They are everywhere.

Since I have been whining for two days about the bureau of motor vehicles in Grant County I guess I had better celebrate the State government of New Mexico, which sent me a check for five hundred dollars yesterday. As a low income resident I qualified for this. Strangely enough, although the BMV would have required me to bring about two or three proofs of identity plus at least two bills that arrived at my current address, to get a check for five hundred dollars all I had to do was fill out a form emailed to me by a friend.

Our country is a very strange place these days.

July 13, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Upon deliberation I decided to try to make my appointment (I mean assignment. Does not the word appointment imply input from both parties?) with the motor vehicle employees of Grant County. I was at the laundromat at 5:30 a.m. I caught the 8:00 bus to a nearby location and walked from there, arriving early. I was supposed to check in online but didn’t even try. I was there. I had to wait, but I expected that because I saw half a dozen people waiting yesterday.

When it was my turn I had to be helped to the right counter (Well it was straight ahead of me. How could I know it would be so easy?) Right away the youngish woman there started in on her spiel to tell me what I needed for my license. I tried to tell her that first I needed some questions answered (something I would have done had anyone called me and allowed me some input about my appointment.)

I pulled out my current Indiana drivers license, my current passport, a gas bill with my address, and my personal checks. That was not enough to please the clerk. She told me she wanted to be sure I knew what I would need when I came back. It was not until I said I might not be coming back that - stunned - she listened to my questions.

Finally I got some answers. A New Mexico drivers license would cost me $48.00 for eight years, and my Indiana drivers license (good for another five years) would be voided. A New Mexico State I.D. good for eight years would cost me $18.00.

Two or three questions which I could have asked over the phone requiring maybe five minutes were finally answered after my spending over an hour of my time and at least fifteen or twenty minutes total of the time of BMV employees because of their new system. What a nightmare!

Here is my plan: I am going to make do as a non-car-owning resident of Silver City relying on my Indiana drivers license for five years until I am eighty, at which point (barring pressure from my family) I will get a State ID.

Yippee! Maybe when I am eighty the government will have given up on this pathetic new system that is supposed to be so much more efficient.

Fat chance. I am just as likely to be dead in five years and I will not have to deal with the equivalent of motor vehicle divisions ever again.

I should be so lucky.

July 12, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

This morning I had errands up the main business drag of Silver City. On my way home, it made sense to me to try to change my drivers license from Indiana to New Mexico. Although I am not driving these days since I do not have a car, I have been here for a year. Someone said a person does not necessarily even have to take a written test to switch.

I was nonplussed when I saw a big sign on the door that said, Do not enter without an appointment, with a website to get onto to do this. Huh?

Someone coming out suggested I go talk to the person inside the door, so I boldly pushed past the sign forbidding me to enter and walked inside. A young woman sitting right inside explained to me that I could get an appointment by leaving my name and number. Someone would get in touch with me.

I expected a phone call. Later this afternoon I got not a phone call, but a text message informing me I have an appointment for tomorrow morning at 8:35. Although the person I spoke to had asked me whether I preferred morning, afternoon, and maybe evening, I approved neither the time nor the date. The text message gave a link I should access in order to cancel or exchange my appointment. With exasperation I hit the link. I was going to be forced to go online, it seemed. The link, however, never appeared. The circling arrow just kept showing it was trying.

I did not make an appointment; I was assigned one.

So now I have to decide: my Indiana drivers license does not expire for another five years. Do I go do my laundry as early as possible (like 6:00 a.m.) so I take the bus and make the appointment, or do I just let it go? Why should I pay possibly big bucks for a brand new license when I already have one that will let me legally drive anywhere in the States?

To me the way I have been treated is insulting; it makes me feel less than human.

I guess I am showing my age.

July 11, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I came out without my umbrella. After all, it is only 12:45 and the rain is predicted for 3. Now already it is cloudy with thunder and lightning. Of course, that really means not a thing. This could all blow over.

As I typed this, it thundered more insistently and persistently as if to say, ignore me at your peril. Maybe I should believe, but this is New Mexico.

You never know.

July 10, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Yesterday before I went to the Farmers Market I took a walk to the Silva Creek Botanical Gardens. From the street they looked positively lush, but of course it is a xeriscape, so the gardens themselves are sunny and dry.

There were lots of beautiful blooms there, and of course interesting plants. The air was carrying a strange sweet scent that I could not track to its source. A mystery!

July 9, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Farmers’ Market was wonderful this morning. I could easily have spent one hundred dollars on the goodies there, but I fortunately did not have enough cash. The most spectacular transient objects for sale were the fabulous huge bouquets selling for only fifteen dollars. I don’t how much they would have cost at the florist (too much for my wallet) but Farmers Market is less than a five minute walk from my home. It was hot, but the walk was short, and this combo of pale yellow snapdragons, some variety I think of flowering sage, roses, dill, and either artichokes or a relative of artichokes called dugoons which are maybe just ornamental.

Whoever made those bouquets was a genius, and I decided to treat myself.

Ditto with the bright red t-shirt designed by Dugan, who is a regular at the market. He does paper cut designs and though he had told me some of the symbolism of his designs in the past, I had forgotten most of what he told me. Consciously, that is. When I chose one in a bright red and then had him tell me what its design represented, I thought it was highly appropriate.

Sadly, the dried mushrooms and multitude of other goodies available at the market will just have to tempt me another Saturday morning. I can hardly wait.

July 8, 2022
Silver City, NM

Last week I saw a man coming up the steps from the river walk. He turned north, then retraced his steps, picked up something sloppy and dark-greenish, threw it into the ditch, and continued on his way.

What do you know, I think he was a street artist! There at the top of the stairs, was what looked like a marijuana leaf done in chlorophyll on concrete. It gave me a chuckle.

The next time I passed I realized that it was actually rather an ambiguous image. You could interpret it as a lady dressed up in fancy costume with plumes coming out of her headdress or an exotic butterfly.

The image is still quite bright. It will be interesting to see how long it will last.

July 7, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

The little horticultural garden at the University has artichokes blooming and some fabulous giant pale gold lilies. I wonder if they have a scent - I can’t get close enough to tell.

There are quite a few hummingbirds and hummingbird moths enjoying the flowers these days. I have seen a hummingbird pass by blooms that are not at the right angle for it. I wonder if the moths can access flowers of the same species that the birds cannot. That would make for some good relations or at least a potentially harmonious sharing of resources.

Someone recently transplanted my borage into the garden from an oddly shaped pot for me. It is struggling.

July 6, 2022
Silver City, NM

More fireworks last night, but nothing I could see although I could hear them sizzling. Curious.

With help from a friend I have put perennial herbs in the ground. I still have some in one big pot, in which I am hoping to keep them alive over the winter. We shall see.

I did not have either ice cream or cake at the social, but the cake walk was fun. The second time I played the littlest girl one! I also won a cakewalk when I was about her age, and I have fond memories of it. Considering the way she was beaming when she presented the cake to her mom, I am guessing she, too, will remember the day until she is seventy-five and beyond.

July 5, 2022
Silver City, NM

Last night I went to a high point and saw the fireworks from afar in perfect peace sitting on a wall, but on the way I got some of the close-up experience from some pretty serious fireworks bursting right over my head. Exciting! Along the way there some people invited me to sit and watch with them, but even though they assured me that the fireworks were visible from where they sat, I was heading for higher ground. How friendly, though. That is Silver City for you.

When I got back home a half hour after my usual bedtime, I still heard explosions and wondered if I would be able to sleep. I got into bed and lay there until I started to see tantalizing sparkles through the blinds. I couldn’t resist. I opened up the blinds and watched more fiery flowers making displays perfectly framed in my window.

That is a first in all my various experiences of Fourth of July fireworks having a (for me)
private showing while I was in my own home.

July 4, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Lots of festivities are planned for the holiday today. Tons of stuff going on in Gough Park, including vendors. Maybe I will get there, but there is also an ice cream social as well as a parade scheduled before the storm is scheduled to hit, so I may not find time for that. I would avoid any political speeches like the plague. I dutifully listened to those as a child and wondered why there were not more people listening. Ha!

After the parade, which will proceed down Bullard Street from Pope and Collthere will be an ice cream social at the Silver City Museum on Broadway. This especially appeals to me because for my birthday weekeend (shared with another relative with a birthday) there was plenty of sweet cake but none of the cold wet frozen stuff. In addition we can expect other attractions like food booths and a cakewalk!

Rain is likely, but should be past by firework time. I was not here at this time last year, so I do not know quite what to expect. I’ve been hearing fireworks for a couple of nights now, so it will be exciting to get some visuals, no matter how distant.

Victuals and visuals for the holiday! Sounds good to me.

July 3, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

To tell the truth, I have a little trouble celebrating a revolution any more. How much better is the ordinary person’s life in Cuba now than before the revolution? How much better are the lives of people in the United States than they would have been under British rule?

Do not get me wrong - I am not saying that nobody’s life was better. Considering all the suffering and death that is the consequence of violent revolution, though, are enough people’s lives enough better to make it worth death and/or crippling injuries for so many others?

I do not know. Maybe I am just beginning to experience the guilt that survivors feel, but that, in a way, the point: I am alive to feel something.

July 2, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

I have been considering myself incompetent to work because I am forgetful and easily confused, but I have been reading about Pope Pius IX, and I am stunned by his rise to become pope, let alone to official infallibility.

He was not allowed to be one of the honor guard of the Pope honor guard in his youth because of epilepsy, so he decided to become a priest. It took a special dispensation and the condition that he not celebrate mass alone. Evidently that was not a problem. He had relatives in high church positions.

At one point he wrote to Pope Leo XII that because of his condition he had a very weak memory and could not concentrate on any one subject for long.

Just the man for the papacy, no?

As a pope he was considered highly impressionable, capricious, impulsive and unpredictable.
Just the man to make decisions about the religious rules and practices of millions, do you not  think?

So how did he become infallible?

He was powerful, and he was a bully. He got his way against strong opposition.

Sound like anyone else you have heard of?

Thanks to August Bernhard Hasler and his book How the Pope Became Infallible for yet another example of how really unfit and unworthy people become powerful nevertheless. Some of the above are directly quoted from the book.

It is a fascinating dip into history.

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