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Yeeha Rain!

Had plenty of rain on the trip North, but manageable. As long as the sun comes out in the mornings, it doesn’t take long to dry out any wet sleeping bags or blankets. I got a great 3″ latex mattress that fits the tent perfectly and gives everyone a nice cushie place to sleep. It’s a space-hog in the Buick, but well worth it.

Love my girl Lysa. She’s a great traveller and partner for car camping!

Don’t smoke or drink, don’t eat animals, pray.

We are definitely moving into a monsoon rain pattern, with storms forming over all the mountain ranges. The ones firing off the San Mateo and Jemez bring us wonderful lightning – and occasional rain.

Sober 90 days tomorrow, and my friend Debi is throwing a little party. Beautiful girl with an indelible New York accent.

It’s kinda neato that girls with years and years of sober time want to spend time with me! At least they see/understand/feel the realities of alcoholism. Liars, cheats and thieves we are. Unlike the “normal people” out there, though, we don’t deny our scoundrel ways!

I’d post a photo of Debi dancing naked with sparklers up at Costilla, but she’d shoot me! So I’ll post her picture from before she took off all her clothes!

When the Rain Comes

We rejoice over the smallest bit of rain!  There was a small, but quickly doused, wildfire this morning in the Sandia.  Thank God for our firefighters.

Mister Dog is having terrible troubles with his meds (pain and muscle relaxant) so we’ve stopped all the pills to see if he will regain his appetite.  I hate to see him feeling so bad!!

I will go to Taos and Costilla in the next few days.  Go figger…

Northbound Again

Like the Dire Straits song but reverse the direction.

Leaving tomorrow or Friday for a week in the North country, mainly the headwaters of the Costilla River (right on the Colorado border) and the Blanca Peak wilderness area.  I’ve looked at Blanca Peak in awe, studied all the maps, and decided the best place to camp is accessible from the NE side (adding another 3 hours of driving).

My good friends, Debbie and Debi, will be joining us for the last few days of the adventure.  My best friend and sometimes nurse, Lysa, will be riding shotgun for the whole trip.

So how does a guy like me survive two nights in a freakin’ tent with three good-lookin’ women?  I’m thinkin’ the best way is to go to bed earlier than all my wild girlfriends, get settled, and make grunting noises when they bring all that girlpower into the space.  If that doesn’t work, then I go sleep in the car with the doors locked!

I’ve made two bamboo bobber rigs, and I’ve been practicing with my fly rod since April, so I’m gonna go terrorize those wild trout in the Northern Sangres!  All the fish I’ve seen up on the Costilla are really too small to eat; but the little monsters will be fun to catch & release!

Gotta stop in to see friends, too, in Taos and Arroyo Hondo; then the best AA meeting in New Mexico at Questa.  We’re going to hit the little club at San Luis, too.

Yayyy!  Finally going to the high country where it’s cool and we can experience a high-mountain thunderstorm!!!

Sadly I became such a worthless and arrogant prick, before I moved back South from Taos, most of my friends in the Taos area don’t even want to speak to me.

I no longer have the luxury of thinking I might never drink again; but two things give me much hope:  (a) I’ve never submerged myself to this degree in the honesty and humility of working our steps; and (b) I don’t have a lot of time left.  I don’t need to worry about staying sober for years.  Just today.  Just enough.

I want to die sober and surrounded by my loving, caring and TRUE family.  I can attain that.  Not so much to aspire to, based on the condition of my heart; but I’m 77 days sober and totally on fire with my own quirky step-driven spirituality.

Constant and persistent prayers for those of my past whom I have hurt or caused harm.  You are the most important people in my life, the ones to whom I owe the greatest debt of gratitude.

Que se vaya la paz contigo.

 

 

 

Terrorism in North America

It’s refreshing to see mainstream media beginning to report more frequently on the terrorism occurring on the other side of our Southern border.  Mexico is now considered the second-most dangerous country in the world (Syria is currently the most dangerous country).

It’s even more promising that Rex Tillerson has clearly identified the root cause for the gruesome war zone that Mexico has become: US demand for narcotics and US provision of firearms.

However.  We need to understand the vagaries of news reporting and statistics.  First, the War on Drugs did not begin in 2008.  It began in the early 1990s (homicide rates skyrocketed in Cd. Juarez, the most coveted artery into the US).  By the late 90s the border cities of Matamoros, Laredo, Cd. Juarez, Nogales and Tijuana had become unsafe for tourists.

And the statistics, even today, are grossly under-reported.  Since the compilation of crime statistics is a moving target in Mexico – because authorities themselves are accountable for much of the violence – we may never know the true number of deaths attributable to the problem WE have created for our neighbors to the South.

I stopped collecting/analyzing reports of violence in Mexican newspapers, about five years ago, when I realized the terrorism was FAR WORSE than anyone was reporting.  My estimate, based on years of analysis, is that well over a million Mexicans have died in the War on Drugs – a war wagered by Christians against Christians.

Even if we’re able to be honest with ourselves about the mortality statistics, I think it’s important for people in the US to acknowledge we’ve caused the worst kind of terrorism this world has ever known.  People boiled alive in vats of lye and acid.  Folks buried alive or thrown overboard in the Pacific, people flayed alive and left to suffer – sometimes for days – until they succumb to pain and dehydration.

Even ISIS has “rules” about the taking of human life.  Things like waterboarding or beheading are tender and caring – in comparison to the wholesale horror being perpetrated on the people of Mexico.  I read just yesterday, of a woman in Coahuila, whose four children and husband had “disappeared”.  She’d reported the disappearance to local authorities, who told her there was no evidence of a crime – just a missing person.

Four months later a mass grave was found near the woman’s home.  Her children had been raped, terrorized, and flayed alive.  Her husband had been forced to witness these atrocities before he, too, was buried alive with his dead children.

What is terrorism?  Our US government uses the term constantly so it’s become ubiquitous and distant from our psyche.

The worst terrorism of the 21st century is occurring 300 miles South of where I am sitting now.  Think about it.  Do you want an individual skilled in eyelid removal or scalping to be drifting in/out of our country?  Remember.  WE caused this.

 

The Stress Factor

Cardiologist who worked with me a couple of months ago wrote that, “The biggest killer of men over fifty is ‘freaking ourselves out’.”

Stress. Kills more men over fifty than any other preventable condition. Obesity, obviously, is increasing in the population and will soon supercede other causes of death.

Obesity and stress, especially in combination, are already the biggest killers for women. Nearly all women with a BMI greater than 34 after their 40th birthday will be dead before their 60th birthday.

It’s becoming clear that, within just a couple years, obesity will be the leading cause of death for people older than forty-five. Obesity is “the new smoking” epidemic. It has already surpassed smoking, as a leading cause of death, by nearly 300% !!! That’s a 3x increased risk of death, over and above the risk from smoking, perpetrated by the new American “obese lifestyle”.

Heart Health update

My Cardiac Ejection Fraction (EF%) has now fallen to a point where it can no longer be measured in an echocardiogram. We can measure it accurately with the Nuclear Medicine scan but that’s an expensive test and it’s sort of a moot point. The cardiologist estimates my EF is somewhere around 5-6%.

My last CPX was good, though, and the internal pressures in my heart – measured during surgery last year – were pretty good.

I was at elevation yesterday, though, down in the Magdalena Mountains, and had some definite troubles above 7k feet. Dizziness, mainly, and developed a bad headache. I don’t really believe I have lost a thousand feet of elevation-tolerance; but I am certainly not handling rapid elevation changes as well as I was last Summer.

Regardless I’ve packed up my climbing boots and trail shoes, and plan to go camp/play in the mountains for the next week. I’ll do totally primitive in the Malpais for two nights, then head into the high country around Quemado where there are lots of good camping areas.

I will FINALLY get to see the Walter De Maria lightning farm, though it’s too early in the season to see much in the way of lightning.

But then I plan to go way South into the true Chihuahuan Desert, much lower elevation, where I’ll be “hot and full of breath”! Hehe.