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The Almost Dead Blog

So, I used to update this page religiously.   I still have so many posts I could make, tons of content, a few years worth of vacations, weekend adventures and numerous photography outings.  I don't seem to make the time for it anymore.    All of the following images were taken at the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque.   Expedition Oklahoma has been in New Mexico for a year, this expedition Oklahoman is enjoying her life in the west.  

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In a more intimate look at my life this year I will write like the blogger that I used to be.  I divorced this spring from a marriage that lasted over twenty years. It was over a decade ago but fear of being alone, fear of other things kept  me there. This notion that marriage is forever no matter how unhappy I was.  How ridiculous that we continue to suffer because of archaic societal expectations.   But it is still a terrible experience to lose this companion that you've known  your entire adult life.   Divorce is hell, terrible, traumatic and emotional no matter how necessary it is.  

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But it gets better.  It's slowly getting better.   I am far from impulsive and this decision took me a very long time to make, this move that I've thought about of for years and years.  This decision to move to New Mexico is one that I've written about and talked about for the last decade to friends.  This break which allowed me the freedom of dealing with anger or fear when I knew I left my world behind.   Rebuilding my life alone and away from the people I need every day because of the fear of staying too close to what was tearing me apart.   

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But then I met someone important.  I lost people who mattered this year, but I found someone who makes me realize why it never worked in the past.  

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So what is love? I was hesitant to say it but couldn't find any other emotion that fit.  I couldn't say I'm in "like" - Its not the obsessive love, it's not the disconnected love of twenty years of not feeling like I had control of my life.   It's not wanting to spend a weekend alone.  I'm an introvert, I've always valued my alone time.  It's learning about something that has never interested me because I don't understand it.  But at the same time its a million little things.

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Maybe this love is a love of the same things; it's a whirlwind weekend of road trips and concerts.  

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Love is effort and time.  This blog, this sightseeing, expeditions was largely driven by loneliness,  I photographed and became a photographer because I was lonely and wanted to be accepted.  I photographed parks because the camera was my companion.  The camera didn't disappoint me, the camera went with me and wasn't too tired for my time.  The places I went and things that I photographed and documented helped me put on a good face for the world.  I wasn't lonely when I could share how beautiful I found the world around me.  So much of my photography was, just that, loneliness.   

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So it has been four months and I'm not lonely.  I'm content.  I guess that is an emotion I've lacked in my life. I've always wanted to look for something better or more substantial for me.  But I'm content now.  

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I still love photography.  But I love my companion more and right now that is all that matters.   

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This song sums up my 2017...   "Lost And Found" - I went to see Train, alone the evening before my 40th birthday.  I will never go to a concert alone again,but this song resonates with my emotions this year...  

Here's to the time we have
Here's to the lines we crossed
Here's to the ones we're waiting on, and the ones we lost
Here's to the time we have
Thank God for what we got
Here's to the ones we're waiting on, and the ones we lost

And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around


The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque!

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It's been just right at a year since I moved to New Mexico.   We woke up early and went to the mall for the "Park and Ride" which is what I would recommend since it will save you the trouble of parking. Balloon_Fiesta_Albuquerque_2017-1

We arrived as dawn was beginning to peek over the Sandias.  

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What a beautiful morning in America.  

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I found a little history:

From a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world. Held each year during the first week in October, the Balloon Fiesta now attracts almost 600 balloons and 1000 pilots.

The first gathering of 13 balloons in 1972 was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque. The following year, 13 countries took part in the "First World Hot Air Balloon Championship", the world's largest ballooning event, held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. By 1978 Albuquerque was playing host to 273 entries. The number of balloons steadily increased, with 600 in 1988 and 903 balloons in 1999. The organizers of the Balloon Fiesta registered over 1000 balloons in the year 2000. Balloon Fiesta Background

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It was an amazing experience.  I also have had difficulty with my internet service at my current residence so updating this blog has been nearly impossible and extremely frustrating.  I live on a Navajo Reservation in western New Mexico and the digital divide is a real issue. 

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I really enjoy living in the west.  Albuquerque is a great town.

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I really don't need to write a lot here so I'll just share images from the event. 

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It was a "bucket list" kind of event.  I've always wanted to go to this event.  

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The first balloon festival that I attended was in Gainesville, Texas in 2013.  My lens broke that evening.  It was too windy for the balloons to fly.  

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The moon was out and it was a beautiful morning. 

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What a crowd!  

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This is the world's largest hot air balloon.  

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So many images.  

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Come to New Mexico!  

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Oklahoma Nights

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I did a little night shooting while I was in Oklahoma.  I did a lot of front porch sitting in Oklahoma this summer.  I got divorced this spring,  so I spent the summer at the farm with my parents and my sister. It was good.  I need to spend time with my parents.  I love the farm I missed it.  

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I miss my Oklahoma comfort zone.  I can run around backroads at night and not worry.  

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This year has been a very different year.  Difficult, I don't like being alone so much out here.   

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I've been back home in New Mexico for a couple of days now.  I am in two worlds right now, a difficult transition.  It is strange when you make a major life change, you lose your idea of what your future will be like.  In a way my past was my future and not having my past, I don't have a future.  It's a little disconcerting, not having a vision beyond the next school year.  I don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing right now.   I hope this feeling leaves me soon.   

 


Driving Across Colorado

On June 7th my sister and I drove across Colorado with the goal of visiting Dinosaur National Monument the next day.   We started our morning in Canyon City and visited the Royal Gorge first thing in the morning and then proceeded to drive across Colorado on our epic road trip 2017.  Eventually I'll post road trips from 2014-16!   

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I stopped to take a few shots of the Arkansas River which was flowing into the Royal Gorge.   We were traveling from the Royal Gorge to Salida on the first leg of our journey to Grand Junction.  

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We were heading towards Monarch Pass...

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Snow covered mountains; I think so!

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Driving across the country in our tiny car... 

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So we continued...  

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This is the area between Gunnison and Montrose, we didn't go through Montrose though, we continued north to Hotchkiss.   This is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is AMAZING.  

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This area is the Dillon Pinnacles.  

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Just beautiful.   

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So I believe this is part of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but it is also Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

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Incredibly beautiful, I had to stop multiple times to take photos!

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I believe I've been so far behind with posting images I didn't know where to start.  Maybe I can begin to work on this blog again.   

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I really want to go back ! 

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But we continued on... 

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The scenic route was worth the time! 

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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

It is finally time to start working on photography again.   I've been a terrible blogger for the last couple of years and I have so much content to post.  Some of this is because I've had not-so-wonderful internet service.  

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A little bit about the Tent Rocks from the National Monument website

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

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It was worth the drive.  The first hike was around the tent rocks, which apparently are also called "hoodoos" in geology.  

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A relatively short drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, it is worth hiking the slot canyon, which is pretty amazing.  

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This was one of my last May outings.  I didn't know about this place until my brother mentioned that he'd like to visit last fall and I've intended to drive up and see this place.   A national park is usually always worth your time.  

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This was a day trip that was definitely worth it.  

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I really enjoyed walking through the trail that led through the slot canyon. 

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I still take photographs like I used to. I still shoot fairly often, but perhaps not with the intensity or dedication that I did a few years back.  I need to spend time working on this page and my other pages and get back to where I enjoy the hobby of photography like I used to.  I'm sure calling it a "hobby" would set the passionate, absorbed, serious photographers in a furious rage.   It's just that it is my hobby.  

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It was a great day.  

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Take the time to go see your world, even if you don't stray too far from home. 

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Tent Rocks National Monument is worth  your time if you're visiting New Mexico. 

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I've Decided

That it's time to work on this blog.  A few weeks ago I went to El Malpais and wanted to do some night photography. 

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This wasn't a good evening.  I was homesick for Oklahoma.  I just wanted something normal.   

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Driving around in the desert to shoot the stars.  My divorce was just finalized and I've been feeling lost.  

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I just don't remember a lot about this night except how terribly homesick I was.  

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But how amazing the night sky is in the southwest.   

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I'm trying to remember that night. I knew I felt better by the time I was home, at the same time I was still lost.   I'm grateful for the friends I've had this last month who have helped get me through. 


I Haven't Felt Like

Blogging... despite the incredible amount of content that I have.  I've got an amazing archive of all of these places I've visited.  Yet, I have writers blog.  I just don't care about sharing myself on this format as much.  I don't worry about my images and content.  I don't need the following and I'm just no longer interested or truly engaged in maintaining this blog.  

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Last Saturday morning I was in Oklahoma. I got my wildflower shooting in.  I'm glad I was home, but at the same time it was a trip where I experienced the most pride in my son and it was the worst trip that I've made home.   

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I was so homesick the week before. I am so tired of the snow every week that we get here on the Colorado Plateau.   I just wanted to go home and feel like I was at home.   

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But sometimes home isn't a place. Home is a person.  

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And I didn't have that person last weekend.   

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2017 has been an incredibly difficult year.   

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I just want everything to be okay.   


National Radio Astronomy Observatory - A Very Large Array

On the Plains of San Agustin lies the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the home of " Karl G. Jansky A Very Large Array."

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This basin in Catron and Socorro counties in New Mexico is around 55 miles in length and 15 miles in width.   The plains are a remnant of a Pleistocene era lake.  After driving from where I'm living in Cibola county to the town of Fence Lake we continued to Quemado and across the mountains to the Plains of Agustin.  

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I think driving into these vast plains between the mountains is as impressive as the dishes.   I love landscapes like this, these basins that were carved out millions of years ago by natural geologic forces.  

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We stopped to take some photos before we arrived and read these signs...

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These signs should be when you enter the Plains of Agustin.  

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Now for the fun stuff....   

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My sister said I need to change my blog page name to "Expedition Oklahoman"   -  Not bad.  

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How they move them further away from each other or closer depending on what part of space they are hearing...

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This is how they move them around the rail around the Plains of Agustin 

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This is amazing, the technology of what it can do.  Seeing something that you've only ever seen in the movies.  Amazing.  

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Showing us that there is more out there than our little planet...

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So if you happen to be in New Mexico, I suggest stopping by and visiting A Very Large Array 

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We think our presidential election is so significant... 

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But if you look at the Milky Way we are nothing in comparison to the big picture.  


 


El Morro

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Just down the road from my new home is El Morro National Monument .  My last visit was in 2010 when I went to a workshop at Crow Canyon sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

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This natural pool provided the run off water so people could stop and rest on their travels and have a drink...and autograph the rock.  

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So, natural resources are important.  Water is extremely important in the American west, which made this a great place to stop and have a drink before getting back on the trail.  

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Of course it was an inscription rock long before the colonists arrived.   The Ancestral Pueblo people were busy inscribing on this rock. 

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Telling their stories in stone a thousand years ago.  

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I love the petroglyphs.  

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If you take the half mile hike to the top of El Morro you can arrive at the ancient village of the Shiwi people.  Atsinna.  

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The Kiva is the church of the pueblo people.  A house of prayer.   

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I've hiked El Morro every week since I've been in New Mexico.  This Saturday was particularly pretty.  

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Of all the things I missed about New Mexico, I missed the sky the most.  I am in love with the sky on these days where the clouds dot the dark azure sky.   

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The passed through here in 1709, the year the little ice age struck Europe.  

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They came in the 19th century and wrote their names besides the ancient ones, beside the Spaniards and marked their journeys west.  

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The oldest inscription from Onate, is dated prior to the Mayflower.   This history in North America that we often miss in our history books,   we forget about the Spanish and the French in North America.   We need to remember they were here too.   

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I like the hike up El Morro, the views are spectacular.   

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It was a beautiful day. 

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There is the volcano that I can see from my back yard.  This landscape is amazing.   

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and you can look down on the other side of the mesa.  

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You can look out and see Highway 53 and in an hour you can be in Arizona.   

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These stairs carved in the rock to make your hike easier.   

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Highway 53 and El Morro is kind of out of the way but it is well worth your time if you are in the area.  

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Inscription Rock, a little place in western New Mexico that documents centuries of travelers who were seeking a new life, or were just continuing to live their lives out on the Colorado Plateau.    








 

 

 

 


Back to New Mexico

I have returned to New Mexico.  I had an opportunity presented to me that I couldn't turn down.  I've been here nearly a month now and am slightly settled in.  Here are some images from my initial drive out on September, 24th. I lived in New Mexico in 2003-04. I took my first teaching position in The Pueblo of Zuni.   That year had an incredible impact of my understanding of the world and people. It was the impetus for my fascination with Native culture and heritage and it's importance..  

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I probably should have stayed home a few more days and got over my cold.  But I left the day after I finished my last day of notice on my Oklahoma job.   I made it to New Mexico fairly early but New Mexico is a large state (the sixth largest), I had a few more hours to go.  I was doubting my decision but I know that I can do anything for a year (or two).  I also know there are a lot of places I want to see in the Southwest and work on my photography portfolio and this is an excellent time in my life to do it.   

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This is El Morro... the closest National Monument  to my new home.  

As I returned to familiar scenery and a landscape of my past....  I was longing for Oklahoma and my family.   But I was also curious about this new school and new students, and schedule.  I also feel that I'm in a position where I'm treated as a professional which I never felt working for large school systems.   I am in a state that values the fact that I've valued my education and the pay represents that.  

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The grandeur of nature and the signatures of the people who traveled through in the past at El Morro.   This is an amazing landscape.  I understand the inspiration New Mexico provided for artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe. But I've got a lot more images and perhaps I'll  begin working on my blog more often now.