Sandoval Signpost

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Sundance Mesa luminary stroll

On December 18, over 1,400 luminaries lined a half-mile stretch of Santa Ana Loop in Sundance Mesa. Residents made old-fashioned luminaries using paper bags donated by Western Paper Company, sand donated by Lafarge, and candles purchased by the homeowner’s association. More than 35 Sundance neighbors volunteered to create the enchanting holiday stroll. Santa Claus was the guest of honor.

re: music to go berserk by
I like all kinds of music. I’m the nut job you see walking around in his shorts in the dead of winter with an MP3 player clipped to his belt, ear buds hanging out of his ears, who stops from time to time to do a little dance. I listen to a very eclectic mix: Jim Morrison, Ricki Lee Jones, the Stones, Yo Yo Ma, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dire Straights, Safri Duo, Alien Project, and all of the incarnations of Bob Dylan. Lots of other good stuff, too. Did I say I like music? I do.

But there is one kind of music that drives me up the wall, out the window, and into the street screaming. Christmas music! Not all Christmas music, mind you. I love traditional carols. Especially when played by a brass quartet or performed by a large, well-rehearsed choral group. And I am extremely fond of Handel’s Messiah (although I have never understood why they are so fond of sheep).

In high school, the choir would place the best soprano in the hallway just outside the auditorium where she performed the hauntingly beautiful solo in “O Holy Night.” Her angelic voice echoed as if it might be emanating from heaven. The hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when I hear that song!

No, the cringe-inducing music of which I speak is commercial Christmas music. SHOPPING MALL MUSIC I call it. The kind of musical dross that prevents me from stepping foot in Albertson’s until the holidays are long past. I made the mistake of rushing into Albertson’s a few weeks ago to pick up a jar of mayo; it was not even December 1, and I thought I would be safe. Now, two weeks later, nothing I do can exorcise “Up on the housetop, quick, quick, quick! Here comes jolly old St. Nick!” from my beleaguered brain! Hearing that abomination blasting out of the ceiling, I became woozy and sick to my stomach. I had to sit down and put my head between my knees.

It all started in the late ‘50s when I first heard the song, “The Little Drummer Boy.” A song based on “Carol of the Drum,” written in 1941, and according to Wikipedia, based on a traditional Czech carol. Radio station KFWB in Los Angeles must have played “The Little Drummer Boy” 50 times a day. Rotating with every other song, and sometimes played two and three times in a row! What started out as charming and engaging soon fired the wrong synapses in my brain, and I have not been the same since. I have only to hear the first bar of this song before a primal scream starts welling up from deep inside. I beg, I scream, GIVE ME A LOBOTOMY! “Jingle Bell Rock” is not far behind, followed closely by “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and anything sung by THE CHIPMUNKS.

You may think I side with—and root for—Scrooge to stay the course. Not to give in. And let’s face it, Bob Cratchit is a bit of a wimp. But it’s just not true. I have many happy memories of the holiday season when I was growing up. And I will always remember fondly the first time I set foot in the auditorium in grade school with the rest of my first grade class and saw the magical Christmas tableau on the stage. Light reflecting off dark metallic, green objects still makes me feel warm and happy. But then this was in the late ‘50s. Before THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY!

I hope you all had a wonderful, traditional holiday.

—Gary W. Priester, Ranchos de Placitas


I, too, am outraged, as was ESCAFCA board member Gorrell, at the inexcusable, racist remarks of board attorney Cadigan, who claimed the “white” voters would, as always, discriminate against the clearly implied “colored” voters. Apparently, he thinks we are not all created equal as the Declaration of Independence states. The book Origins of the British describes how during the last Ice Age, a hardy group of people in central Spain survived and whose DNA is now generally found at levels of 60 to 70 percent in Britain, almost what it is now in Spain. So many of the “whites” in Placitas have about the same level of Ice Age Spanish DNA in their veins as do Mr. Cadigan’s “colored” voters; they just came here by a different path. It is about time for Mr. Cadigan to go back to Redneckville.

—F. West, Bernalillo East

Re: Mr. Wiggles the Gecko

The desert southwest is a wonderful place to live. It is unique in its topography, with its arid, dry landscapes. The wide range of temperatures can soar to 100 degrees or dip to freezing. Plants and wildlife have adapted very well, and one can see beautiful blooming flowers in the spring that have awakened after a winter’s nap.

We live in Placitas, a small rural, peaceful area, where one can be at peace with oneself while watching hawks soar, hummingbirds search for nectar, listen to birds sing, as well as the sound of silence. The sound of silence is sometimes broken by the rustle of leaves from the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) breeze of the wind. The sound of silence can also be broken by the occasional howling of a coyote, the hooting of an owl, or the indescribable sound of a road runner, who make their presence known. It is the silent ones that one must be aware of the possibility of an unannounced visit - the rattle snake, the tarantula, or the bobcat - all of whom have stopped by to pay their respects.

While a variety of birds go about their day looking for and finding food for themselves or their young, ants gather food for the winter, bees hum around the Russian Sage plants, and Jack Rabbits search for moist plants - sometimes inside ones yard - to quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger, there is one creature that has captured my attention - the Gecko.

The Gecko is a small lizard-like reptile that survives off of insects. They can scurry, they can jump short distances, and they have the cutest “dance” of moving their bodies in an up and down motion as if doing push-up exercises. Geckos can remain motionless for minutes at a time while assessing their surroundings. When they feel safe, they will scurry off to continue their duties of the day - searching for food. At times, they can be seen sunbathing, with all four legs stretched out in a relaxed position. At other times, they seek the coolness of a shady spot.

Part of the serenity and enjoyment of our home is watching the Geckos. A few years ago, I discovered that Geckos like to crawl onto our cushioned patio furniture. Unfortunately, I learned this quite by accident. It took the demise of a Gecko to realize that I needed to make sure that I was not sharing the patio furniture with my little friends when I wanted to sit outside. Subsequency, I now move and check under all the cushions before sitting. This is my way of attempting to assure that the Gecko population continues to thrive in the sanctity of our backyard.

More recently, there has been one particular Gecko - I’ll just call him Mr. Wiggles - who I have noticed has developed a “bedtime” routine. On most days, Mr. Wiggles will go about his day the same as his other friends. When I go outside to sit on the patio, I make certain that neither Mr. Wiggles, nor any of his pals have gotten to the chair or sofa before me. This is usually just before sunset.

One evening while sitting on the sofa, Mr. Wiggles was observed coming towards the sofa where I was sitting as if he wanted to share the seating. Since I was not yet ready to give up my seat, and being unwilling to share, I coaxed Mr. Wiggles to go in another direction - he did. After his patience got the best of him waiting for me to leave, he decided to try again. This time, he didn’t care if I was still there, and he was too quick for me to coax away again. He had scurried on across the patio, jumped up on the front portion of the sofa, and gently crawled in between the sofa seat and the cushion. Not wanting to crush him, I gave up my seat - he had wanted to go to bed, and he was not going to allow me to prevent this.

On another occasion, Mr. Wiggles was observed hanging out on the huge boulder just opposite the patio where the sofa sits. It was dusk again. He appeared to wait patiently - I continued to relax on the sofa. After awhile, Mr. Wiggles came off the boulder, came up onto the patio and stopped to where I could see him (and he could see me). He eventually scurried off toward the cobble stones by the rose bushes. Curious to see where he had gone, I peeked around the corner to see Mr. Wiggles just sitting on one of the cobble stones. I waited and watched for a few minutes - he had made no effort to move, so I sat back down on the sofa. A few moments later, at approximately 6:30 p.m., I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. Yes, it was Mr. Wiggles! He had doubled back from the cobble stone to the area where I was sitting. Instead of trying to make it to the sofa, he had decided the chair would be his best option for this evening. He had crawled onto the back portion of the chair, and quietly snuggled down between the back of the chair and the back of the cushion. Now he was happy and ready to settle down for the night. I, eventually, said my “Good Night” and went inside.

The next day was a beautiful Sunday morning. I went outside onto the patio to enjoy a cup of coffee at about 7:30 a.m. To my amazement, Mr. Wiggles was still sleeping in the same spot on the chair — after 13 hours! I know that quite often, people enjoy sleeping in on Sunday mornings, But Geckos?? So now, the question becomes: Where will Mr. Wiggles sleep when the sofa cushions come in for the winter?

— Sheryl Murry, Placitas

re: Access denied to property owners in Cabezon, New Mexico

Fourteen or more private property owners from the Village of Cabezon, New Mexico (Sandoval County) are being denied access to their properties. Their American Civil Rights of private property ownership are being violated. This violation has been going on for about forty years or more.
Three (3) separate gated entrances are always locked. The owners are supposed to have a key to one of the gated locked entrances, but the key never works, because the lock doesn’t exist due to another lock that has been put on the chain. This prevents and denies the owners not being able to reach their properties. If anyone puts their own lock on the chain to have the availability to drive through and reach their properties, the lock is soon cut off and removed.

The fourteen (14) private property owners are requesting David Matthews, Sandoval County Attorney, to enforce a mandatory NM law (on civil rights of private property ownership) that the three (3) separate gated entrance locks be removed and a safe passage (without hassels) is allowed to all the owners on a 24-hrs/7-day a week on a permanent basis. This happens to be a Sandoval County Road that is kept locked at both ends of Cabezon, NM, at all times.

In the past all the owners cooperated in having the three entrances to remain unlocked, provided all the private property owners could have a key that would unlock the gate. However it became a constant nightmare, along with hassels and threatening troubles to try and reach their properties. It is without a doubt an abuse of their civil rights.

The gates are always locked. This violation of private property ownership rights that does not allow access to their properties must not be allowed to continue.

At this time (after many, many years of a locked Village Cabezon, NM), enforcement of the law is necessary in protecting and defending the rights of private property ownership. The law must enforce that the three (3) gated entrances remain an open safe passage to all the community of Cabezon, NM on a 24 hrs., 7 day a week, permanent basis in accordance with the New Mexico Private Property Ownership Rights.

What would it be like for property owners and travelers on Sandoval County roads to drive up to locked entrances to rural villages and towns and not have access to their properties or have a right to travel from one village to another on a Sandoval County road?

It is an injustice to the Cabezon people to have Cabezon, NM locked up. All these past years the private property owners and their families of Cabezon, NM have been ill treated and without a doubt have had their American Civil Rights abused and violated.

— Angie Tachias





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