Monthly Archives: April 2012

Taco torture: Mexican food causes heartache

This writer's tastebuds crave the best Mexican food in the country, made in Las Cruces, New Mexico. (Thanks to La Posta's website for this mouth-watering photo of red enchiladas, flat, with egg.)

A couple of things this week made me homesick for Las Cruces, New Mexico.

It began with a call from  journalism colleague and friend William about his fabulous summer marketing internship with Ford Motor Company. Later, through email, he wished he, his parents and I could meet for dinner to celebrate. Impossible, since his folks live in SoNewMex, William is at Northwestern and I’m back home again in Indiana. His dad jokingly wrote we should all meet that night at Chope’s.

My mind wandered. I’m driving south on US28 toward this very unassuming establishment in La Mesa, about 20 minutes from Las Cruces. The road winds through acres of alfalfa, cotton and pecans. Irrigation ditches carved into the land carry water from the Rio Grande to the fields. And off to the left, the craggy, sometimes purple Organ Mountains sit atop desert foothills filled with juniper, sage, snakes … I miss all of it.

My New Mexico friends know the history but as I recall Chope’s has been there for eons. (There is great irony in Chope’s being listed on urbanspoon, by the way.) First it was just the tavern about 50 yards north of the restaurant.

Chope's, La Mesa, NM. Simple on the outside - hot and spicy on the inside.

Folks would walk from the bar to the kitchen to buy relanos to go with their cerveza fria. Now the restaurant bustles with diners  downing homemade Mexican dishes from tacos to red or green enchiladas.

For my tastebuds, the best Mexican food in the country is homemade in New Mexico. In the first few months, I tried flautas at several restaurants in search of the best. As my palate adjusted to red or green chile sauces, I switched to green chicken enchiladas. I’m tellin’ ya folks, this is good eaten’. I was ruined. Continue reading

Earth Day Trash Talk

Let’s see a show of hands: how many remember Earth Day, 1970? I do and I still have the patch to prove it. But the patch is nothing. I don’t know if I would chain myself to a tree to save it from destruction.

In fact I cringed this week to see a guy nailing a birdhouse to a tree in a city park. Something odd about that. Putting holes in the bark to feed the birds. Yet I said nothing. What would you have done? Walk by and say nothing as I did, or stop and talk about the irony?

But I do what I can. By now we are all recycling, using low energy bulbs, turning down the heat, turning up the AC. Sometimes I get down and dirty and pick up trash – usually just the small stuff here and there. Especially if I spot a trashcan or have a plastic bag with me. When I lived in New Mexico and walked my dog in the neighborhood desert, I once carried out the dead carcass of a computer terminal. There were clothes, plastic bags, rope.

Worse is the plastic I see on the Dunes beach – and it’s from us. Ribbons, balloons, the inside of baseball caps, pieces of plates, spoons, Frisbees, toothpaste tubes, you-name-it. Honestly, who do we think we are?

If nothing else, that first Earth Day made me aware. So have “Please Don’t Litter” campaigns, photos of waterfowl with six-pack rings around their necks, birds eating french fries – they’re not good for us, imagine what they do to animals. I thought I was giving my dog a treat this week by giving him some people food and he was sick for two days. Sorry, Aw’gy.

Each of us can do a few extra things to take better care of the only planet we’ll ever know. I like the idea of a “A Billion Acts of Green.” Go to this website and pledge to do one more green thing. I’m going to start riding my bike to the Y. It will be part of my cardio warm-up I need.

Just think if each of us commits to a new “act of green” – what will yours be?


‘What is WordScarab and how can I subscribe?’

Thanks to those who asked about subscribing. Here’s an update from the “About” page and a note about using the RSS button to subscribe. 

Writers write. But without readers, without making a connection, I’m just talkin’ to myself – again. Thanks for letting me share some thoughts with you!

My formal training is in journalism and my career path led me to business management. But while I often felt “in control” at work, I felt “out of control” at home. In fact, I joked that I had a split personality – corporate marketing powerhouse and conflicted homemaker. In hindsight, I think my then partner preferred the powerhouse. But … Continue reading

Easter celebrations for everyone, all the time

This is not about bunnies or eggs or lamb cakes. It’s about the joy of personal passion, death and resurrection.

“The JOY? of death and resurrection? Are you nuts?” you ask. Maybe, but that has nothing to do with this week’s post.

This “joy” is the result of owning life’s trials – the “passion” that includes anxiety, pain and suffering, feeling alone, abandoned, mentally tortured. It includes the death of a part of your ego and the resurrection of the new you.

Journaling about dreams can help your "resurrection." In a recent dream, I had a growth on my chin the size of a small cucumber! It was about not "recognizing" myself. (Makes me laugh, now.)

First, it’s not about me. Yes, the experience is mine, but since I believe we are all the same, all connected, you’ve had the same thing happen dozens of times. Did you know what was happening? Did you try to blame others? Can you embrace life’s changes as your personal “Easter” experiences?

Example: My recent move to Indiana has been a challenge because I pulled up my desert roots to replant myself closer to home. It’s something I thought about for three years, organized, anticipated and expedited. Vision + focus = results. I made this happen.

But, I have never moved somewhere I didn’t know a soul; didn’t have coworkers or clients who expected to see me. My sister is just down the road but I am a stranger in my town and have had to focus on creating my new life. I’ve refrained from joining the same old organizations – except for the Y – because I want to try new things – take guitar lessons rather than singing in a choir, for example. Until I find those things, it’s been a bit lonely. I have felt strange, confused. Wondering Continue reading