Don’t Mess with Texas

I’m in Big D – the Lone Star State. The state with the motto “Don’t mess with us.” I saw real cowboys in the hotel lobby this morning. With spurs and chaps and hats and everything. My breakfast waffle was in the shape of Texas. I have to admire their brand. Very few states can sell stepping stones at Home Depot in their likeness. But Texas – very proud.

I’m a transplant to New Mexico. Sometimes I feel like we’re not even on the map. When the national weather is on, the forecaster dude/chick usually parks their caboose in front of us and points to their left (your right) to Texas’ amazing heat wave, wind, monsoons, etc. and to their right (your left) at the heat, wind, dust storms, monsoons, in Arizona.

Contrary to popular belief you DON’T need a passport to come visit me. We are in the continental US – the lower 48 – the 5th largest state by land mass wedged between TX and AZ.

Oh, and we don’t have to say “Don’t Mess with New Mexico.” Instead, we prefer to be known as the Land of Enchantment.

Our state capital is a mile and a HALF high.

Our state flower is a cactus.

Our state bird can kill a rattle snake.

Enough said.

The storm has passed…

The Las Conchas fire is now 50% contained – yay – and now they say another one is on its way. The beloved monsoons promise to cool down our temps, bring us much needed water and possibly cause flash flooding. As the late great Gilda Radner would say “It’s always something.” 

I moved here from Portland, Oregon for the beauty of the mountains, the abundant sky, the addictive properties found in the green chile and the quirkiness of the community. No fire or flood can change the way I feel about the Land of Enchantment. I am enchanted.

Rock on New Mexico.

BPOE and the Las Conchas Fire

My granddad was an Elk. He regularly attended the Elk’s Club in Lincoln City, Oregon and each summer we looked forward to the big picnic, complete with pie and watermelon eating contests.

Today I heard about Elks Lodge 2083. This Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks acted as a kind of clearing house for meals for the heros saving Los Alamos. De Colores, Blue Window and Hot Rocks heard the lodge was feeding the firefighters so they not only donated their time and talent, they donated food from their restaurants. Tony Fox of the LANL Foundation and former Elk came through immediately with the largest cash donation to get things up and running.
Ben Bouman is an Elk and our LPL Financial Service Rep AND someone who can grill hundreds of steaks in an evening.

He told me that around 14,000 meals in all were served out of the Elks kitchen. Firefighters were saying it was the best hospitality they had ever received and the only fire they gained weight on.

My granddad used to say that the B.P.O.E. in their logo stood for “Best People on Earth” I have to agree.

If you’d like to show your appreciation De Colores, Blue Window and Hot Rocks, please consider eating at one of these fine establishments. They are open for business!

A Celebration of Life in White Rock

This morning we received an email from Russ Gordon of the Gordons’ Concerts just to let us know that tonight’s concert is still on. His email was so inspiring I asked if I could share it. Now more than ever we need music and dancing and laughter. I hope you’ll join us.

This Friday night, July 8 the Summer Concerts gets back on schedule with a RoverPark, White Rock show. (The first light in White Rock is Rover Blvd. Go east one mile and park is on left.) Our band is the Iguanas and they play a fusion of rock, roots-rock, blues, Zydeco, Cajun, Conjunto, Tex-Mex, R & B and New Orleans second line jazz and funk. It’s a musical gumbo and they’re here to “Let The Good Times Roll!”
If you’re still in a smoky funk, you really ought to let these guys help. They know what we’re going through. They were living in New Orleans in 2005 when Katrina devastated the city. They were on the road and had to find their families and move everyone to Houston. After a short stay they were invited to the “Live music capitol of the world, Austin, Texas.” They became regulars at one of the greatest watering holes in town, The Continental Club. They eventually got back to New Orleans and are trying to help restore the city into one ofAmerica’s finest. The Iguanas are now back to touring the world behind their new album, “If You Should Fall On Hard Times”. I saw them Tuesday on the Santa FePlaza and they’re happy again. Darn near everyone was dancing and jumping. It was a celebration life and rebirth in Louisiana and New Mexico. I spoke to the band Tuesday and they’re very happy to return to Los Alamos and be with us. This is the third time they’ve played here and every show has been tremendous.

 

 

 

 

Finding Beauty in Adversity.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And in Northern New Mexico we get that. But sometimes the smoke can make for a beautiful sunset or an awe inspring sunrise or in the case of this photo a gorgeous muted backdrop to a heard of elk.

If you have a photo of the fire that is strangely beautiful, we’d love to share it with the world.

Email to dwymore@dncu.org

Del Norte Members Rock

I don’t know about you, but we felt pretty helpless last week. Watching the news, smelling the smoke, seeing the flames, and knowing that the majority of Los Alamos residents have already been through this – we wanted to do something. Anything.

When we heard that Denise Lane, owner of the Hill Diner had stayed open and converted her quaint restaurant into a mass production chow line for county workers, firefighters and anyone else helping with the efforts – we knew we could help.

With a Sam’s Club card and a truck – anything is possible. Buying in bulk is as American as it gets. Even the police and National Guard blocking the road to LA saw our good intentions and let us pass. We’re feeding people!

We started getting calls from our members. How can we help? As a financial institution, we do money well. So we slapped up a donation button on Friday and over the three day week-end had an amazing $800.00 donated by our members. That’s almost three truckloads of food.

We will be presenting the Hill Diner with another check this week in the amount of $1290.00. Thank you to all who donated.

We are Del Norte!

Celebration on the South End

I live in Cochiti Lake, New Mexico. One week ago the Las Conchas fire erupted in our backyard. Los Alamos’ side yard and sadly Bandelier’s front yard. Today the fire is almost 20% contained and everyone is back home. Thankfully no one was hurt. 

Late last week I was fortunate enough to be able to help the Hill Diner feed the fearless firefighters up north.

Today I got to help feed the firefighters down south. Our little town always has a 4th of July picnic and parade. But this year it was a little different. We had no parade, because the main attraction, our firetrucks and firefighters were working. But we had the picnic of the century. I think everyone in town turned out. The Cochiti Community Development Committee cooked up burgers and dogs and everyone brought salads and side dishes and desserts. This spread was epic.

The best part – whenever a firefighter arrived the entire town erupted in applause. They looked so weary and dirty and hot but seemed genuinely pleased to be part of the feast. There is no better way to bring a community together than with food and music and fun and friendship.

In every adversity there lies a seed of an equivalent advantage – Robert Collier

Happy Independence Day.

Rock on.

Have you ever cooked for 400?

I’m always amazed when I go to a large hotel for a sit down, plated dinner in the grand ball room and watch 400 people being served a hot meal at the same time! I love to cook – for four – not 400. The coordination and skill and timing is something to be admired. I know I don’t have those skills. Oh, I have other skills….like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills……

Anyway, The Hill Diner is not the grand ballroom at the Marriott. There’s not a huge industrial kitchen with an army of cooks and servers. It’s “a great 50′s style diner dishing up comfort foods with a New Mexico kick” according to the Gourmet Pig’s review on the Urbanspoon. And yet owner Denise Lane and her crew of volunteers have elected to stay behind in smoky, windy Los Alamos to feed fire fighters a much needed hot meal. 400 people cannot sit down in the Hill Diner so they package everything “to go.”

Yesterday we delivered some supplies and helped package 400 dinner salads. This wasn’t bag-o-salad (which I think is the greatest invention since bag-o-shredded cheese), it was beautiful fresh mixed garden greens. And a freshly sliced tomato topped it off before the plastic clam shell package was closed. Lovely.

That’s when I noticed the box of paper bags. They can fit four dinners per grocery sized bag. And someone took the time to write a message on each and every bag.

They say “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” It was 90 degrees and windy and smoky and that was in the parking lot of the restaurant. I cannot even imagine the heat at the fire line. The firemen that are helping the communities impacted by the Las Conchas fire are true heroes.

And there were not too many cooks in this kitchen – it was packed with love.