Thursday, February 19, 2009

Because it's what I do

I realize that I've been fairly negative lately and I've decided to curb that a little with an actual positive post about New Mexico. I suppose I feel some sort of obligation to it because I am now, officially, a resident of what a state that's in the top ten poorest states in the country. Interestingly enough, most of the other places I've lived are also on that list, which makes me wonder what my attraction is to poor places.

But there I go again, negative, negative, negative.

Most of you know I like lists so I figured I'd make one for this occasion too - this occasion of celebrating me and my town, county, state that I'm learning to like. Someone asked me the other day (from Kentucky) what I thought about living here and I said, "I'm learning to love it." That's the most diplomatic answer I could find. But it's really true.

Anyway, I keep veering off into the Negative Territory so here we go with the positive list:

- I've been here only six months but I can walk down the street and people know me and say hi.
- Everyone here loves dogs and since I love my dogs, I enjoy stopping and talking to people about them.
- I love the fact that my office is downtown, which allows me easy access to great restaurants, city hall, magistrate court, etc. Plus, the town's small enough that I walk to a lot of my meetings and I love that.
- Walking places and the people's love of dogs means that I can take Skye with me and either she's allowed to go in buildings with me or I can leave her tied up outside within sight.
- It still baffles me that at night, I'll walk out of the office or out of a restaurant and smell wood stoves burning. I love it, though - somehow it brings peace to me...a childhood memory, I think.
- I love how I'm able to creatively explore my journalistic abilities with almost complete freedom
- To go along with that, I'm proud of what I've accomplished here over the last six months.
- Every day when I drive home from work, I'm astounded at the beauty of the mountain range as I top the hill and wind down into them. I see it every day but it still impresses me.
- The rain here is so pungent. Even though it doesn't rain often, when it does, it smells so sweet. Yesterday morning when I walked out on the porch, I smelled it but there was no rain. I smiled, thinking that maybe it was just God's special good-morning gift to me.
- People here have accepted me as a person and in my job; I'm thankful for that.
- I love, love, love being closer to home and able to go home on the weekends I'm able to. That's really helped me through this transition and in my relationships with my family members.
- I appreciate the ruggedness of the land and the beauty of it - it makes you respect it.
- The sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, as are the night skies.
- The tow-truck drivers I've met have been phenominal (sorry, I had to throw that in there...but it is a positive so technically it counts!)
- I really like the massive dry erase board on my wall.

So there. I've done it. Now when people (my mom) asks me what I like about SC, I can whip out my list because I now have one. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


If I had one complaint with Life, it would be the fact that It is always, most of the time, difficult.

In hour #5 of a 6-hour trip home (one that should take 4 hours) I was trying to come up with the proper metaphor for how I feel about Life in New Mexico. This is the best I could come up:

I like to playfully torment children and one of the things that really frustrates them is if you dangle a toy or gum or candy in front of them and every time they go to grab it, you swing it just out of their reach. At first they think it's funny but then, after two or three times, complete and utter frustration sets in.

Somebody/something is SOOOOOO getting even with me for all the times I've done that to innocent children.

New Mexico, as a whole, is a very difficult place to live. And on the days where I just want Life to be easy and I want to accomplish the simplest of tasks without it being exhausting, the difficult-ness of living in New Mexico is completely frustrating. That's when I feel like the little kid.

Today I was driving back to Silver City from mom's house. I hate what I have to go through to get to her house. True, once you're there, it's pretty nice. But I hate that I have to worry about things like my tires and oil pan. I shouldn't have to worry about those things in my attempt to get to Mom!

I got up at 5:30, the kids and I left the house at 6:30. I dropped them off at school at 7:50 and went on my way. (Mind you, the hour and 20 minute drive from mom's house to the school is about 30 miles.)

At the bottom of The Mountain, I head out across the desert and make it about...10 miles. I see what looked like a roadblock. As I pulled up to the police officer, I saw a line of cars pulled off in a parking area to my right. I thought Border Patrol caught a bunch of Mexicans.

No. Not so.

I rolled up to the officer and he looked at me like I knew what I should do.

"What do you need from me, sir?" I prompted.

He told me the Missile Range was testing missiles and we had about an hour wait. He directed me to pull off behind one of the cars in row 2. I obliged.

And for the next hour and ten minutes, me and about 150 other people hung out on the side of the road watching our tax dollars fly overhead in the form of missiles and airplanes.

Skye loved all the attention she was getting, Jada growled and barked at every person who walked by and the puppies wagged their little butts and enjoyed being petted. It was really like Holly's Roadside Petting Zoo. I talked to a 15-year-old the whole time who helped me with the dogs and told me about her life.

Eighty minutes later, we were good to go. I make it about 50 miles and run into the road construction that slows everyone down to 40 mph for 20 miles. Ten minutes after that, is the inspection station where everyone's reduced to one lane and goes through what looks like a weight station.

The Border Patrol officer asks, "Are you an American citizen?" Since I always say yes, he always lets me go.

By the time I get to Silver City, it's been 7 hours since I woke up, 6 hours since I left mom's.

And I really want, just once, for Life to be easy, you know. I don't necessarily mean the big things - I know, trust me, that things are going to be tough. But it's the little things, the things that are just supposed to easily happen because that's the way it's always been....those things should be easy.

Things like:
- going to mom's house
- flushing the toilet
- draining the kitchen sink
- quartering a chicken
- ordering McDonalds
- getting mail
- taking out the trash
- getting to an airport
- making decent money
- taking a bath

Peace, my friends. Cheers to us and this not-so-easy, most of the time hard Life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Scenes from the office

Today I told everyone on Facebook that I loved hanging folders and filing cabinets. I later said I liked to have them color coded.

When I got to the office this morning and finished my triumphant task of organizing, I decided to take a picture for you. But then I decided to take pictures of other things around my office.

So here is the post. The post suitably dubbed Scenes From The Office.

Here is the proof the color coded filing system. Let me explain. Yellow is for things like Fire, Police Department, State Police, Fire, Sheriff. Blue is for things like city meetings, village meetings, hospital board, school boards x 2, elections, etc. Red is for court cases that we're following.
Also, do notice my Racer pride magnet on the front of the filing cabinet and also my magnet that says, "I only work here for the coffee, donuts and hot office gossip." I mean, that's really what it's all about, right?

These are the staple of my desk-top. Associated Press handbook, dictionary, myriad of phonebooks and a business card holder are the most important things....ever.

This basket really needs a name but it doesn't have one. Prior to my organization spree, it was overflowing with six months worth of story notes. In true Me-Fashion, I finally organized it, seperated the notes according to month, placed them in file folders and laid them down in the back of the filing cabinet. You really never know when they might come in handy.
Also note my card reader, which I do love.

I cannot have a desk without having Japanese Cherry Blossom body cream on it. If my hands are chapped, I will wait until I'm at work before applying lotion because I LOVE THIS LOTION!
My business card holder just hanging out. Incognito.

From the day I arrived in this office back in August of last year (seems so far away!) I've kept a paper from nearly every day in their respective piles. News. Sports. And on the other side of sports (not shown) is the weekly education page. This is when the other people in the office knew I was slightly neurotic about being organized and tidy. But man, these things come in handy!

Above me and to the right is a board with things like police codes and other blah, blah, blah, but mostly I use this board for personal effects. Like a picture of my favorite sports guys, my dogs, my sister and niece and a card Brooke sent me.

This is where notes and knowledge meet computer, meet NewsEditPro, and are shipped off to be added to tomorrow's paper.
Love my new phone!!

Calendar which keeps me sane and keeps me on track. This is also color-coded. Red are my appointments, blue is Sam's, black is our stringer photographer and highlighted days are days off.

And, just because, here's what the first part of next month's calendar looks like.

Bad picture but this is really my lifeline. Don't know what I would do without her. She always sits beside me here on my desk.

The board. Another tool of organization, which sometimes I keep up and sometimes I don't. But most of the time, we have outlined every day what we're going to run and this board helps us.
Plus, it's just fun.

On the wall to my right are gigantic maps of the various and sundry national forests around us. These come in handy when we're visiting ranches or when silly people get lost in the forest.
Also note the top of a three shelf organizer that sits on top of the filing cabinet. Bottom shelf is for community calendar items, middle shelf is for the education page and top shelf is for nothing in particular.

Another forest map, a state of New Mexico map and a state of Texas map. Under the New Mexico map is a map of city streets in SC.

The other side of my desk, which usually contains notes for stories I'm working on that day before they are transferred to the Unnamed Basket. One of my favorite pictures of Katie and I, a scanner that never works, all the necessary office stuff like paper clips, pens, highlighters, dry erase markers, etc.

The tour is over. Now you know what an organizational freak I am. (Now I know what an organizational freak I am.) Note: this tour did not include the drawers in my desk, which are still under Organizational Construction.

But, for peace of mind, my house nor my personal life is as color coded and organized as my office. Sam pointed out the other day that because of my behavior at the office, he expected my house to be the same way.

"But it's not," he said. "It's really not."

And he's right.

My house is really not.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Car mechanics make me cry...for real

I recently said on this blog, I think in the last post, that I've cried more in the last six months then I have at any other time in my life.

Today, I added a new thing to that list. I cried on the phone with a car salesman.

I was promised that my car would be fixed Friday - then it was today. So I called the car dealership and the young gentleman told me that Charles doesn't work on Saturdays.

"I think his nose grew when he told you that," he said.
"No, you're joking." I think I told him that five times and every time he laughed and said, "No, I'm not."

"Okay. I'm a reporter. And I have a lot of meetings this afternoon and I have to have my car."

"Oh - you're a reporter! Where?"

"The Sun-News in Silver City."

"I'm from Bayard."

"Well, that's not too far from Silver City."


"Let me get your name and number."

"Holly Wise."

"How do you spell your last name?"


"Oh, I know that name! I read your articles all the time. And your e-mail is on the bottom of every story."

"Yes, yes it is. And thank you. Now, if you get a hold of Charles, tell him to CALL ME!!!"

Thirty minutes later, I called the dealership. Different sales guy who told me Charles was no where to be found, he had on idea about my car and I did not meet the criteria for a loaner.

I kept him on the phone for like ten minutes, trying to process what he was telling me. By the time he asked for my number and I gave it to him, I was crying. And I hated myself for letting the Rude Car Salesman hear me cry. You never give them that satisfaction!

About this time, the 30" story I'd spent two hours working on, was eaten by my computer.

I started bawling and called mom. A week of pent-up I DON'T HAVE A CAR emotions all came spilling out. Oh, and the fact that nobody can do what they say they're going to do or put me as a priority. I cried about that too. :)

So I arranged a ride to Silver, a ride home from Silver and a plan for Sunday and Monday.

About ten minutes later, Charles called me and said they had a computer issue and the car wouldn't be done till Monday.

By that time, my meltdown was over and I did not cry while on the phone with Charles.

Monday I'm being taken to Deming first thing in the morning and I will stand in the dealership until 1) my car is done or 2) I have a loaner.

It's already been 8 days without a car.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Day in a Dealership

You know those moments when life is going exactly the way you want it to....

Okay, well, maybe not life in its entirety but your day, anyway.

Alright, you know those moments when your day is going exactly the way you want it to and then suddenly, from out of nowhere, you are completely blindsided by Fate, or Un-Luck, or maybe your shift cellanoid pack got clogged and decided to go on the fritz.

In my case, it was the latter.

I had my Friday planned to perfection and it was running like, well, like my car with an unclogged shift cellanoid pack.

I went to work, interview, back home, packed, loaded up the dogs, headed to Las Cruces where I had a haircut, a few minutes for shopping, three meetings with my bosses, a meeting with a source and then it was on to my mom's house where we had planned a Super Bowl/birthday party for my little sister.

But all the planning was for naught when my shift cellanoid pack got pissy with me and left me stranded on the side of the road, 54 miles from my house.

After feeling several moments of desperation and aloneness, I muddled my way through making decisions, calling the tow truck, etc.

Following are some pictures of what the dogs and I did for 7.5 hours while we waited for news on the car:

My poor car being loaded up and taken away. The two dogs and three puppies did ride in the car, on the tow truck, to the dealership.

While I listened to Dane Cook on my phone and monitored Facebook statuses, the dogs busied themselves with digging a hole - pure entertainment, I tell you.

Skye lost interest but Jada was determined to get on the other side of the fence!

Welcome to our 7.5 hour hangout spot. Skye watched for intruders while Jada worked on the hole.

Many, many times that day, Skye wondered why we were sitting in a desert parking lot and many, many times that day, I told her I had no idea.
The end of the story is:
- Car Mechanic One came and told me my transmission was "destroyed." I tried not to cry and asked why. "Valves get hot," he said.
- Car Mechanic Two said, "It's the clutches...clutches get hot."
- Amy and Christian came to get me
- I took my car to the Ford dealership, crawled over their security fence and shoved my key under their door.
- Got home at 8:30 p.m.
- Spent the weekend in wonder...alone.
- Heard from Car Mechanic Three yesterday who said it was my shift cellanoid pack - $500 and I'd be good to go.

Screw you, Car Mechanic One and Car Mechanic Two!

(they will SOOOOOO be getting a poignant letter from me)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

About Me

- I always wash my laundry at night. I’ve written enough stories on saving energy to know that energy is conserved by washing clothes at night. Granted, this may be true for only those who are on city water, which I am no longer on, but it’s a habit nonetheless.
- I enjoy cooking meals for myself and creating an ambiance of relaxation while I eat.
- I always carry paper and pen with me no matter where I go. I never know when I’ll have something to write down.
- Likewise, I always have my camera with me.
- I don’t spend money hastily; I usually plan my spending, including my “splurges.”
- I can’t work unless I have some sort of organization to my tasks, which include to-do lists, file folders, cabinets and piles.
- I change my dog’s water when I see dog food floating in it, which is often.
- Cleaning my house is theraputic to me.
- When I set goals, I’m usually right on target to accomplishing them
- Nothing angers me more than when my family is messed with, which includes boyfriends, husbands, teachers, school superintendents, doctors and health administrators. I’ve taken on my fair share of all of the above.
- I have to nurture something, which might explain why I raise dogs.
- Subsequently, I would love nothing more than to be a mom someday.
- My age surprises me sometimes – most of the time, I feel very, very young.
- I have no problem admitting that I’m wrong but I also have courage to stand up for myself.
- I’ve cried in front of more people in the past six months then I have in my entire life. This includes people like tow-truck drivers, mechanics, the general manager of our paper…you get the picture.
- My optimism over-rides my pessimism 99 percent of the time. I can always usually see the good in the bad, even for other people. The other one percent of the time, I need other people’s optimism to carry me through.
- Writing is as easy for me as….breathing.
- I’m working on making my desire to be a teacher come true. Goes with the whole nurturing thing, I think.
- Not many people intimidate me on a professional level. I’d rather talk to governors, university presidents, homeland security officials, police chiefs, etc., than the cranky old women who come to my office complaining that their public announcement was printed without the crappy picture they submitted.
- I will make fun of ugly babies.
- Specific songs and smells conjure up a world of memories for me.
- The most difficult question for me to answer is, “Where are you from?”
- I hate talking to close-minded people; they make me angry.
- I’m a planner but I also love being spontaneous (if it’s planned!)
- Nothing puts me in bad mood quicker then people who waste my time – people like the DMV.
- I’m anal about shutting the lights off when I leave a room.
- I have no handy-man skills but that doesn’t keep me from trying. My tool collection includes a power drill, hammer, multiple pliers and screwdrivers, wire cutters, nails and screws.
- I can shoot a gun.
- I’m na├»ve enough to believe that most people are inherently good.
- I’m not afraid to load up the dogs and take off to explore new places.
- I can easily get addicted to stupid games like Brickbreaker. I try to see how many times I can beat my own high score.
- I’ve helped birth 26 puppies.
- I have more than one journal started and they all tell a story – the story of me.
- I have a tendency to walk/pace while I’m talking on the phone
- I’m told that I sleepwalk and talk in my sleep fairly frequently