Touristing in the rain

I have vowed to take a peek at the sorts of things tourists see when they visit here when I get the opportunity.   I had been busy wasting time when I saw that it was free museum day, so off I went into the rain to check out a nearby museum.   The museum is dedicated to professional rodeo cowboys.   It’s not my thing, but I decided to go anyway to see what they are all about.

There is their iconic statue guarding the front, a cowboy riding a kicking horse.   I always thought that the  strap on the back went around the animal’s tender parts, but it is actually around the waist.  The horse is trying to kick it off and if the cowboy goes with it, so much the better to the horse’s way of thinking.  (Horses are not deep thinkers).

The profession (getting paid to do this) of rodeo cowboy only started in the 1920’s, although men did this for fun before that. This magazine cover from 1951 shows one of the first well-known rodeo stars.

Being named rodeo queen is an occasion to get dressed up in a sparkling outfit.  Women compete in barrel racing (riding your horse around an obstacle course of oil drums as fast as your horse can go) and goat roping.

Besides having lots of display cases of saddles, belt buckles and other flotsam and ephemera, there are lots of western themed sculptures, mostly of horses and bulls except for this one.

There is also an outdoor sculpture area, and a catering facility, and a tiny arena for the bulls and horses to perform in when ever.   This is a Hall of Fame, so to have one’s name enshrined here, one has to be voted in from a yearly ballot.  And that applies equally to horses, bulls, and people.



Back in grade school, whenever we had to do a section on poetry, the teacher always picked “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.  It made no difference what grade we were in, the poem for the poetry unit was always “Trees”.  (And I have no idea why, it was just the way of things).   So here it is, the first line of “Trees”:  ” I think that I shall never see.  A poem as lovely as a tree.”   Obviously Mr. Kilmer was a bit confused by the subject, and he would have been even more confused after a short walk through our downtown.    We do have the usual sorts of trees, but then there are a few special ones.

I love this tree.   It has been downtown for several years and was purchased from the artist after being part of the art in the streets program.   It is made of steel and river rocks.

This tree is more recent, and has these lovely spinning leaves which give it a rather festive air.   I took this snap during a recent street event.

But this is the best tree downtown (or anywhere in the city).   This is part of the newest batch of art on the streets.   This handsome creature is formed from steel wire and looks to have a few river rocks inside.   I do love the local deer, and I hope this one stays and gets to be part of herd.

“Poems are made by fools like me.  But only God can make a tree.”

Shadows in Art

I got the notice rather late in the day after running errands and such.  It was free day at the local museum and I had not been there in a while, so off I went for the last days of the latest show.  As usual I got completely sidetracked by the lovely shadows of museum lighting and other irrelevancies.

There was a current display of art from Brazil.  I loved the enigmatic nature of this canvas, with both the figure we see and the unseen figures of the shadows.

This unfinished etching by Rembrandt has a shadowy quality, perhaps it really is finished.   (The green in the picture is a reflection from the exit sign).   (The exit sign is in case you don’t notice the huge gap in the wall).

Chihuly managed to flog a number of pieces to the museum’s permanent collection.   They are pretty enough, but the shadows make them extra fabulous.

The author as a pair of legs.  I love how this makes me look extra tall and slim.

And what was I up to?   Just snapping away at  random things which caught my eye.

This particular shadow was cast right in front of a painting by Andy Warhol.   I don’t think that he could have done a better portrait of me, that captures my essence. 😉


Besides festivals I also like car shows.  And not with just any sort of cars, I love the steel and chrome of vintage cars.   Because back when these cars were manufactured, styling was everything.   And no detail was unimportant, even a detail like hood ornaments (note for young people: almost every car had a bit of chrome on the front of the hood that proclaimed it’s identity).

This one on a vintage Cadillac features a flying person, just to let one know that riding along in this car was almost like flying. (sort of).

For the more literal minded, this one has a stylized bird.

How about one featuring a greyhound, they are known to be quite fast.

But not as fast as a wheeled rocket (a wheeled rocket??).   I’m sure this mash-up of two ideas symbolizes great speed.

This hood ornament was on the oldest car at the show.   I love the way the chrome is an integral part of the hood (bonnet to you Brits).  The hood ornament is not a stylized anything really, just a bit of bling, to help speed you down the road.


What is a summer celebration without a parade?   (There are lots of parades in our downtown, which the local merchants hate).  Here at the 107th Annual, it was a fine day for the parade, and there was a good turnout of participants.   The parade always starts late because it is hard work herding all these cats people, politicians, beasts and machinery.  Anyone who wants to show up can be in the parade, but politicians have to pay $100 for the privilege.  😉  Heading up the parade as usual was the State Police and the local fire department (they are quite proud that they have a newish truck!).  They were followed by the color guard of old soldiers who had squeezed into the old uniforms.  Next:

The mariachis were the most colorful group in the parade.  I don’t know if they are local, or if they are the sort that turns up at events. The mariachis at Mass just wore plaid shirts, so I don’t think they are the same group.

It is the West, so there must be horses.  And a rodeo queen or two.

This is M’s uncle, riding on a 1950’s John Deere, and coming along on the tractors behind him are cousin-ish relatives on his other tractors in the collection.   (Don’t ask me what he uses the tractors for or why he has them).

This is the son of M’s actual cousin, driving Great-Uncle S’ 1928 truck.  As Uncle S never threw anything away (he did finally buy a new truck in the 1950’s) the truck even has the original manual.

Non-relatives, these are government employees from nearby Fort Union National Monument at the tail end of the parade.   In between were Shriners, school kids, parade marshalls, heavy equipment,  old cars, new cars, a dog, a parade queen, more relatives and miscellaneous marchers.  And a good time was had by all.


This is a picture of M’s uncle, probably taken by M’s grandma about 85 years ago.   The other being in the photo is Lady, who was a good and faithful dog.   Some of the folks in old photos are hard to identify, but we do remember our dogs.

I not only got juried into Fine Arts at the state fair, but I got first place, which was rather thrilling and unexpected.

I am happy to report that the old truck is still there, rusting away into eternity.   The sky was not as blue as usual because of smoke from far away wildfires.

New Toys

I always have too many books (I did de-accession five books this past week), but one can never have too many toys.   And these are the toys that I mostly acquired in NM this summer.

These are the blinged out Godzillas and dinosaurs.  The Godzillas came from a toy store in  Santa Fe and the large dinos came from the Natural History Museum in ABQ.  The pterodactyl was found in a local art supply store and is my new favorite dino.

I didn’t really have enough time to carefully peruse the purchase of these wind-ups, my parking meter was about to run out!

This lovely hopping eyeball was a gift from an old friend.  Of course he had two, so I got this one to take home with me.  Thanks BooBoo!

These are tiny toys, I got two of each in case I wanted to make earrings out of them, but they are so adorable I think that I shall keep them as is.  And I do love jellyfish (from a distance at least).

The teeny tiny dinosaurs make a nice contrast to the larger ones.   They are very detailed in spite of being miniature.   I expect that They will be lovely to photograph in absurd situations.   And I don’t have to find room for them on an overcrowded bookshelf.


I had let my tiny front plot of grass become a wilderness, before I finally did something about it.  I mowed about half of it, but I did try to leave all the flowering bits for the bees and this is what’s left.

I have no idea what this is, but it seeded itself next to some Anise (this escaped the beds first and it is everywhere), so I have let it  grow on.

The yellow flowers are unknown, and the purple flowers are escaped from the flowerbeds.

A different one.

The biggest part of the wilderness is made up of oregano.  I expect that I planted a bit of it to use in cooking, but it escaped the boundary and set up shop in the lawn.   The bees love it and perhaps they are making some interesting honey with this somewhere.

And this is the back yard.   These flowers appeared a couple of years ago, and they grow without any assistance from me.

Besides all the wildflowers, I have a small section of tame flowers.   I think I planted other things as well, but due to neglect the main thing that survived was the marigolds.   They will probably seed themselves in the lawn for next year, and the patch of grass will get smaller.  It’s more for the next crop of bees.

Local Icons

Every place brags about the famous persons who lived at or were born in the locale.   And who wouldn’t want to be immortalized on art that covers up a street corner utility box?  Located right next to the juror’s parking lot in downtown, we have this exemplar of civic pride which celebrates these local icons.

This writer (1830-1885) was born and lived in the east for most of her life.  Coincidentally enough, she was one of the many tourists who came out to see the Falls of the previous post.  And she met and married her second husband here.   She did have a house in town and part of it is preserved in the local history museum (of course it was torn down).   She wrote a scholarly book about the failure of the US Government to live up to the various treaties signed with native tribes.   But she was more famous for a romance novel about the same subject.   She was buried at the top of the Falls, but was later moved to a cemetery.

This well-known inventor (1856-1943) only lived here for a brief time in 1899 (the building is no longer standing).  He came to do electrical experiments at high altitude (no word as to whether he visited the falls).  After blowing up the electrical grid of the city, he returned to the east.

This silent film actor (1883-1930) shown here as the character he portrayed in “London After Midnight” was actually born here.   His grandfather started the school for the deaf,  and the family lived nearby (and the house still exists).   Famous as “the man of a thousand faces”  he only made one talking picture.  The civic auditorium bears his name.

This woman (1918-2005), shown here in a demure pose ran a nightclub/bar about 2 blocks north of this spot starting in the 1950’s.  She featured well known jazz musicians and “everybody” was welcome according to her sign.  The club eventually became rather run down, so it was demolished and replaced with a parking lot in 1975.  The city does have a festival in her honor every year (and you know how much I like festivals, so of course I go).  And  I think the others should have festivals as well.  😉


There are several attractions here in town for tourists, and as I am a resident, I try to avoid them.  But a group I belong to wanted to go to this one, so I decided to give it a go and see if it was worth seeing.

And it has been a tourist attraction for a very long time.  The donkeys are no longer available, so we parked over by a fancy hotel and took a shuttle bus.  Then we took a tram uphill to the attraction, and then there we were at last.

So this is what we were there to look at.  Those tiny ants are people walking up the 285 steps to the top.   After walking up all these steps, one can go hiking (in case one is not tired yet), or spend $149 to ride a zip line down.  Or if one is old, like myself, one can ride an elevator to this overlook spot and take a photo.

There were scads of tourists roaming about the place, even though it was a rainy, gray day.   This tourist was taking selfies with the waterfall as backdrop.

It was a good idea to take the photos before the rain, because afterwards it was a waterfall of mud.  Not nearly as scenic as the before.

Where there are tourists, there is an opportunity to take their money.  This rather mangy looking stuffed mountain lion is at the entrance to the restaurant, run by the fancy hotel.  The lovely thing about the park is that dogs are allowed (and I don’t think that they have to pay the admission fee) and so there were lots of pups there enjoying the place.   I vaguely remember visiting over 30 years ago, I think I shall wait another 30 years before I go back.   😉