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August 3, 2007

We Are Slow Learners

Bridge collapse.jpg
(photo from KARE11.com)

This morning’s paper was full of the stories that have come after the disasters of late: Katrina, the Tsunami, Virginia Tech. There are stories about the randomness of it all, the faces and biographies of those who perished, and the tales of the many who selflessly and spontaneously helped. It’s all too familiar.

There are also the recriminations and the political spin about whose fault the bridge collapse really was. Was it the governor? the legislature? MNDOT? the bridge inspectors? the engineers?

We have seen the enemy, and it is ourselves.

We, the voters, have elected a string of public officials who feel they have a mandate for “no new taxes.� This isn’t something they dreamed up. It’s what the voters who elected them wanted. Now our shortsightedness is coming home to roost.

We want it all. We want excellent education, highways, health care, and social services, but we want someone else to pay for them. Huh? The headline for Myles Spicer’s op-ed piece this morning read, this is a “wake-up call for taxpayers.� Yes, we must wake up. Continuing to dream will just mean that we experience more avoidable acute disasters (like bridge and dyke collapses) as well as slow and imperceptible declines (condition of our health, education, and the common good).

The Republican National Convention will be meeting in the Twin Cities; it will be interesting to see what that talk will be like. All national politicians will be having a hey-day with this.

Posted by hgroteva at 8:09 AM

August 5, 2007

Heavenly Retreat

Here's a little slice of heaven on earth. It's a B&B off the Turquoise Trail, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Here's where we ate breakfast this morning.

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And here's a view of the inside.


And now I'm going to go and enjoy it.

Posted by hgroteva at 1:16 PM

New Age Meets Old West

We ate dinner tonight at the Mineshaft Tavern, in Madrid, NM (with the accent on the first syllable of Madrid). The blue corn chicken enchiladas with red chiles were good, but I still like the chicken mole enchiladas at Curra's better. The place had lots of atmosphere - bikers, old hippies, locals, a very interesting mix of folks. Lots of tatoos, big beards, and a good time was being had by all. The band playing was good too - playing some stuff from Woodstock.

On the wall by the saloon-type bar, was the following sign:

Madrid's Nude Geezers
2008 Calendar
Be a Part of It!
Inquire Within

This afternoon, there were some dramatic thunderstorms. Around here, they call this the monsoon season --- but that just means they haven't been to India. Following our picture at the Mineshaft are a few of the more dramatic clouds of the day. Enjoy. I am.




Posted by hgroteva at 11:25 PM

August 11, 2007

Puppies = Toddlers

When I was picked up at the Albuquerque airport last Saturday, I noticed an animal cage in the back and asked something like, "We aren't taking the cats, are we?" The answer came back "no." Puzzled. Then she said, "It's not a cat cage." Putting 2 + 2 together, I'm sure I said something stupid like, "You don't have a dog, do you?"

Well, she didn't then, but she does now. Welcome to Sierra, the latest addition to the menagerie.

We picked her up on the way back to Las Cruces from Shangri-La (aka the Hacienda de Dona Andrea de Santa Fe). She's a cute, active yellow Lab. She's very loving and thirves on attention and affection. (I'm sure the Dog Whisperer would disapprove. The human - animal dominance hierarchy has not yet been fully established in this household.) So I've been helping puppy-proof the house. Just like a good toddler would, she led us right to the things that we had to modify immediately. The first was the rubber-tipped doorstop. She had that rubber tip in her mouth faster than I could turn around.

She is not fully house-trained yet. However, we are getting much better trained to know when to take her outside. It's really not the animals that get trained. They must have a huge laugh off of we humans. (For a great blog that takes the dog's point of view, I highly recommend Bosco Dog Blog - I've enjoyed it for several years.)

We just returned from Pet Smart with three gates so that we could keep her corralled in the tiled kitchen, especially while S goes to work. Each gate has a little cat door at the bottom, which Sierra immediately figured out and went through. Well - Dylan and Chloe will have to have their food put elsewhere.

It's been fun watching the dog and 2 cats accommodate. There haven't been any huge blow-ups yet. Sometimes Sierra jumps around excitedly, like she wants to play. She and Dylan have stared off enough times, that they now can co-exist. Chloe was reluctant to come out of the closet for the first few days, but is now just walking around as usual. Fairly easy.

Posted by hgroteva at 3:56 PM

August 14, 2007

Sierra's Home


This holiday has turned out much differently than I expected, but for some reason, I was never quite sure how it would turn out. Each time we had a "plan," it morphed under our feet. Much of our time has focused around Sierra and getting the NM house puppy-proofed. The back yard is now secure so that she can't slip through the wrought-iron gates on the sides. Despite the intense heat, the patio is in the shade much of the day - she's comfortable there, and she has her wading pool to splash around in.

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And there are 3 pressure gates that can corral her in the kitchen (on the tile floor) until she is fully potty-trained. We haven't used potty-words so much since we had toddlers (of the human kind!) An unexpected preoccupation!

Sierra is a very sweet dog - a nice disposition, eager to play and to please. She has definitely bonded with her master, in part because of the long walks they take each morning. She has also had some inter-species encounters with Dylan and Chloe -- she wants them to help her play with her squeaky bone.

Interspecies play.jpg

To be honest, I really enjoy her ... but I am not ready to take on that level of responsibility on a daily basis. Independent cats are more my speed at this time. I asked S how long she's wanted a dog. The answer was "Years." So I'm sincerely happy for her.

In case you're wondering how Dylan and Chloe are doing, here they are - stationed next to the computer.

Dylan + Chloe.jpg

On the other hand, I can tell I'm already feeling very parental and protective. Today we stopped by to tour a local doggy day care center. S has to drive me to Albuquerque on Friday for my flight, and it's almost 250 miles each way, so we thought we'd give day care a try. Well....... the poor dogs are lined up in narrow runs. "Day care" means that they are let out into a large field, as a group, to fend for themselves. I had flashbacks of some poor day care centers we saw when we had little kids. We're thinking Sierra might make the trip to ABQ with us..... The amazing thing is that the dude ranch is already booked solid for Thanksgiving and Christmas into 2009. I think there's a market niche to be filled here...

Posted by hgroteva at 2:41 PM

August 17, 2007

Friday Cat/Dog Blogging

Alas, my holiday ends today so I wanted to share a few last pix of the NM menagerie and their keeper. They're quite photogenic, don't you think?

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Susan Sierra outside.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 5:05 AM

August 26, 2007

In Memory, Wayne Caron

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UPDATE 8-29-07
I am still not able to comprehend Wayne's death. The deeper it sinks in, the sadder I get. But I found the visitation and funeral service for Wayne to be very healing. The visitation was so crowded that people were spilling out into adjacent rooms. There was no shortage of amazing stories about the many ways in which Wayne touched many individuals' and families' lives. It was good for us all to laugh together. At the funeral service, three things struck me. The priest's sermon focused on the Beatitudes (from the Sermon on the Mount) and on how Wayne's life exemplified the best of them. The measure of a man's life is his love, and not any of the superficial trappings we become so concerned with. Wayne's love was as wide and deep as anyone I know. Second, the priest said in closing that there is a Spanish saying that a person dies 4 times. The first is when his heart and brain stop functioning; the second is after the funeral; the third is after the burial; and the fourth is when people stop speaking of him. We can be assured that Wayne will live on in many, many minds and hearts, and in that sense he will never die. Finally, all these experiences have led me to wonder how much we really know one another. We tend to know each other in the roles in which we interact, but it is the rare event indeed where people from our various non-overlapping social circles come together. It's been wonderful to get to know many more sides of Wayne in the past few days. I wish I had been able to do it earlier.

I lost a friend and good colleague last week. Dr. Wayne Caron died unexpectedly, way too early at the age of 51, from a pulmonary embolism. I am still in shock. I will be writing more here or elsewhere about Wayne, but there is some urgency about communicating the details of the services in his honor. The following information is quoted from a message from Pam:

"As most of you have heard, Wayne Caron passed away very unexpectedly last week from a pulmonary embolism. His son Chris Caron, all of Wayne's family, and I [Pam] are broken hearted.

Visitation will be Tuesday night, August 28, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Gearty-Delmore Funeral Chapel, with memory sharing beginning at 8:00 that night. Please come and bring your favorite stories about Wayne to share with others.

The address of Gearty-Delmore Funeral Chapel is 3888 W. Broadway Avenue (39th Avenue North and West Broadway), Robbinsdale, MN 55422 (763-537-4511).

On Wednesday morning, August 29, at 10:00 a.m., there will be a funeral mass said at St. Raphael’s Church, 7301 Bass Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55428 (763-537-8401). There will be a lunch at the church immediately following.

Please spread the word of these celebrations of Wayne’s life with his friends, co-workers, students and families with which he worked. "

If you want to hear his voice again, here is a link to a video presentation he gave about the Family Caregiving Center.

Please visit the Wayne Caron Memorial Page at

Posted by hgroteva at 10:44 PM