New Mexico - "Land of Enchantment"
I don't like to drive very much. I can drive and I will drive, I just don't like it very much. Trips over 2 hours long make me especially nervous if I have to go by myself. My longest drive alone, ever, was to Las Cruces New Mexico - a five hour trip from Tucson, Arizona where I was living at the time. My Wisconsin cousin, Lori, called me to let me know that she would be in Las Cruces visiting a friend for Easter (I think this must have been 1991) and asked if I would like to come out too. James was going to be away so I knew I would not be able to ask him to drive, something he loves to do (a marriage made in heaven!). So, I psyched myself up, got out my road atlas (even though the entire trip was done on I-10, which I highlighted on my atlas) loaded up my faithful beagle, Pablo into the car, and headed out. I remember making a very deliberate decision to get off the highway and get something to eat and get back on just so I could prove to myself I could do it. I chose an exit with a McDonald's and a big "E-Z off E-Z on sign on it". I remember going to the Unitarian Universalist Church services there, and White Sands National Monument. James and I visited Las Cruces another time when some friends of ours from Tucson moved there to take a job at the State University of New Mexico.
The book I chose, Heaven's Window: A Journey Through Northern New Mexico; and the movie, Rocks with Wings show different parts of the state than I know. Author Michael Wallis and photograper Jack Parsons created a book that is part memoir, part history and part photo album that tells the story of the Santa Fe/Taos area of the state - located in the top center near the Colorado border. After I read this I felt like I had woken from a dream. I was left with some vague memories and pictures, but recalling it seemed fuzzy. I don't think it is the type of book meant to be read cover to cover, as I did. The photographs are gorgeous. One could almost believe there is never bad weather there with all the fabulous colors, and bright blue skies portrayed.
Rocks with Wings is a documentary about the Shiprock Chieftans Girls Basketball team and its State championship victory in 1988. Coached by an African American man, this team comprised entirely of girls from the Navajo nation was never expected to compete at all. The story is really about the racial dynamic between the girls; the coach, Jerry Richardson; and the two white male assistant coaches. The victory is bittersweet, following a blow up between the players and their coach the night before. I ended up liking this more than I expected. I thought it would be more about the town becoming a "basketball town" but it told a much richer story and wove in a lot of information about Navajo history and culture. There was more basketball footage than I care for, but I understand why they had so much of the game. It did seem pretty exciting for those who would have been there. Shiprock is located near the four-corners area of the state. I have not made it to four corners, and still would like to go, even though I've been told there isn't much to it. I also learned recently that somehow it was discovered that the surveyors were off and had to move the marker to the correct spot, so if I had gone before it would have been the wrong place anyway. I can now look forward to visiting it in its correct place.
For dinner Paloma and I had quesadillas and black beans. Not really anything new for us, but a favorite and definitely New Mexican. I also made New Mexico Oatmeal Pie. I left out the walnuts and raisins the recipe called for because I knew Paloma didn't like them, and it turns out she didn't like the pie anyway. She is wrong though, the pie is yummy. Iwas surprised how much I could taste the egg. It really had more flavor than Iexpected. And my homemade pie crust was flaky and devine if I do say so myself.