IN 2013

Finally, a More Hopeful Year!

Several very bothersome work-related and especially personal things that have dogged us for the last few years either already have or are are coming to a semi-favorable resolution this year.  So, for us, it is finally a year of hope.

Potential highlights for this year:

1.  A pleasure/discovery trip to Lourdes in southern France, in October, [CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, TO BE RESCHEDULED]to complete the story begun in 2012 about Bernadette of Lourdes (see Item 23 in the 2012 Yearbook Page).

2.  A business trip to the Rusian Federation (done, the 'adventure' is linked below as item 6.).

3.  Item 24 in the 2012 Yearbook Page promised a page about my recently deceased brother Alex.  I had a hard time starting that page, but in March of 2013, it finally got done (item 3 in the table below).


True tales of walking the dogs in the desert adjacent to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada (photos and extremely short stories--turned out to be my last hike with "Blue"--my hiking companion for most of his 12 years of life)


Witches, and Mother Earth as the "weaver of a web of life" (musings on a theme, with an interesting YouTube link)


The promised pages on Alex, my brother.  (The promise was made last year.)


A long walk in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, along the Bush Mountain, Marcus, Blue Ridge and Tejas trails.  May, 2013.


Would I lie to you?  Not intentionally.  But turns out where I thought I was on one of my pages is not where I was.  To learn that, I had to take a 9.5 hour walk, about 15 miles, with about a 2,000 foot (~ 600 Meters) of elevation gain, up to near the top of McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas.


My first foray into Russia, with a surprise beginning.  A visa violation on my part landed me in detention and with my unscheduled butt on the next plane completely out of the country 24 hours later.   I was expelled!  Then I re-entered the country in Moscow, as expressly allowed by my visa, and the rest of the trip was very good, flawless in fact, thanks to our Russian hosts.  

Under this heading:

A--Why this trip?

B--Quick stop in Frankfurt along the way

C--In detention for visa violation, the transient lounge at Samara airport

D--The Bolshoi Ballet

E--The Saint David Monastery

F--The Kremlin (in two parts)

G--Downtown Moscow walks (in two parts)

H--insights into my ancestry from paintings by Dutch masters


Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife.  A book review written while in detention for 24 hours in the transient lounge at Samara airport, Russia (see above).  A book I had promised my recently deceased brother  I would read, a promise made a month or so before he died (see item 3 above) and kept seven months later.


An August 2013 re-visit to Sitting Bull Falls, a federal recreation area in New Mexico near Carlsbad, to check on the regrowth of vegetation.  I was encouraged.


The Cornudas Mountains of New Mexico and Texas, a discussion of origins.


AMAZING: two weeks later I revisit my two favorite 'dancing trees' in the burned out area above Sitting Bull Falls  and find them still alive, and still dancing!


A drive and short walk in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico with some splendid vistas and amazing vegetation..


Six books read in the Summer of 2013, three of them* with hints of courtly love:

  • Doc, by Mary Doria Russell (Ballantine, 2012);

  • Year of Wonders, A Novel of the Plague, by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, 2001);

  • The Messenger, by Mayra Montero (Perennial, 2000);

  • Inferno,*  by Dan Brown (Doubleday, 2013);

  • O, Juliet,*  by Robin Maxwell (New American Library, 2010); and

  • Aleph,* by Paolo Coelho  (Vintage International, 2012).



Germany: Berlin, Quedlinburg and Peine, impressions from a business trip without benefit of personally taken photos. Came home with 187 photos of our tip to Germany, Berlin and Peine.  There was a glich in the downloading process from the camera.  All that was recoverable was one photo of the small city of Peine in Lower Saxony   Guess I will just have to go back and repeat the trip!  It was a very pleasant and useful trip.


A flood on the Pecos River at Carlsbad on 12  September 2013.

To see other peoples' videos of this flooding, try these YouTube links:





The Blue House Cafe in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and its tree.


That flood on the Pecos River at Carlsbad (see item 14) was accompanied by other floods throughout the state.  One place that received a flash flood that day was the canyon where my two favorite dancing trees were still dancing in August (see item 10, above).  The outcome made me sad.  Really. For a while.


The Guano Trail again, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, on October 13, 2013, to check on vegetation recovery after the great fire of 2011.


Just a few reflections on Goce Smilevski's novel: Freud's Sister.


CHANGES in McKittrick Canyon after the flood of 12 September 2013, appended to a 2010 McKittrick Canyon set of photo pages, can be accessed here.

Click here to see a video of just one part of this flood on YouTube.

Remember: Please do not step on these important and useful creatures:



A review of Colm Tόibίn’s The Testament of Mary (Penguin Books, 2013), a hypothetical view of Jesus' life from his mother's perspective.


The promised visit to Lourdes, France, to complete my story on Saint Bernadette's life.


Frosted Black River.  A look at the Black River duruing an icey fog.  10 miles north of the Texas border in New Mexico.


That is all for 2013.  It is the Winter Equinox today.  Please go to the 2014 page to keep up with new readings and new trips.


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