Sorry. Been preoccupied. We’ve been away for a while, this time on a true vacation. And when you are on vacation, the Sugar Blog Fairy does not spend time with you, and time passes very quickly.
The adventurous part of our trip was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, visiting Carol, a good friend we met while living in Romania. Besides reliving old times, the plan was to deal with the here and now (i.e., work around the “ranch”) as well as relax and sightsee. Oh yes, and eat, especially New Mexican food. Home style Green Chile Enchiladas (to die for), as well as Green Chile Cheeseburgers. The latter were from Burger Boy, a one-of-a-kind family restaurant on Route 14 on the way to Sandia Crest that grinds their own meat fresh daily. Extraordinary.
The main lesson learned here was that New Mexican chiles, especially harvested green, make for a totally different cuisine that is just plain awesome.
Now, of course, we must not have only eaten, as I didn’t show any new lbs. when we returned home. This was no doubt due to the manual labor indulged in, in order to keep our B&B hostess happy. The garden is coming along magnificently (Carol and my wife’s domain), and the feeder lines for the extensive drip system were dutifully and carefully run under a gravel walkway without having to do trenching (one of my many tasks). All in all, it was like a working dude ranch, and I was the only dude. But the rewards sure tasted great!
While relaxing after dinner outside, picking out chile seeds with a toothpick and watching the sunset over Sandia Peak, it was also relaxing to watch the hummingbirds frequent the garden feeder. At least until ‘Rufus’ showed up. Object lesson learned here was that Rufus is actually Rufous, a type of hummingbird that is very territorial and very feisty despite his small size, and has the chops to enforce it. Until he showed up, it was possible to get some nice photos in challenging surroundings.
Sightseeing took us this trip to Taos for a very nice lunch and a visit to the Pueblo. The trip back was more interesting. It seems every trip we make to New Mexico we either bring with us, or they plan to entertain us with rather extraordinary events. One year ago the Carlsbad Caverns fire broke out the day after we were there (saw one bat …), and, unfortunately, a hiker perished in White Sands National Monument the day after we were on the same trail. Needless to say, we kept our heads up this trip.
This summer, as one might have noted, has been extremely dry with drought conditions over most of the US. So, all of New Mexico was praying for rain, including us. It was predicted to be 30% change of rain (this was apparently a huge number for NM) beginning in Taos, but it was dry until we got south of Santa Fe, driving south along the same Route 14, the Turquois Trail. We drove from light droplets of rain over a crest into the remnants of a huge thunderstorm that had thrown inches of rain and hail everywhere. On the 16th of August one does not expect snow, hail, and ice. It looked like mid-winter, but with occasional unusual large wide green swaths painted across the road among the mud runoffs from some flash flooding. It took us just a short while to realize that this “green ice” (which is just as bad as black ice because it is even more unexpected) was the foliage from the roadside juniper trees that the horizontally blowing hail had stripped off the trees. The tip-off was the sudden evergreen “Christmas” smell as we drove over each of these “green ice” patches.
Speaking of Christmas, I also learned why New Mexicans often order their New Mexican food “Christmas,” even year round. That means covered with both Red and Green chile.
We learned a lot during our holiday. Again. Probably not just because we, like everyone else, are learning beings, but because we chose to expect to. It comes down to another part of Fundamental Principle 8, let’s make it 8c, that I discovered early on and have chosen to try and always pass on:
8c: I learn something new every day;
To be able to do this, of course, means one has to be prepared and willing, which draws upon the part where we move beyond merely seeing and hearing and choose to observe and listen (8a&b). After all, we have twice as many eyes and ears as we have mouths.
If this were the end of it, you’d probably think “Ah, I need to pick something, get a book (or website), and go learn about it.” Yes, we are able to do that. I chased Game Theory earlier this summer, and am now chasing Behavioral Economics. But then, I’m odd. The Eureka moment for me came when I realized the rest of the Learning Principle:
I just don’t know what it is; and
I don’t know who is going to teach me;
but I’m keeping my eyes and ears open. Part of this is what is known as Vicarious Learning – learning by observing. And we all have done it and continue to do it. Remember the post with our neighbor’s two year old who had learned all of Mommy’s favorite words and phrases?
Vicarious learning is a trait that can become a skill when properly nurtured.
A last story will lead to the concluding part of this Fundamental Principle. In graduate school I was in the university library (Note: at that time it was a big place where books and journals of all sorts were kept) where I was perusing through current issues of various research journals (Another Note: keeping up on current research results in one’s specialty was a required practice). I was reading some articles in a journal in another area than my specialty, when my fellow chemistry graduate student and roommate walked up and asked, “What are you reading that c–p for?” It was an enlightening moment. Among the things I immediately learned were
1) accepting him as my roommate was a major mistake (there were other events which occurred later that supported this conclusion), and 2) here was a prime example that led to my growing realization of Fundamental Principle 7c (“Getting It”). It was not until 10 years later that I needed and was able to use what I had learned in reading that article. Which is what led to discovering the last part of Fundamental Principle 8c:
I don’t know how long it will be before I’ll be able to use it.
What new thing have you learned today?