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Have an Earworm on me

We’re back in Texas after meandering across New Mexico and Arizona over the past month or so.  The only problem with our route (Interstate 8 from San Diego to Interstate 10 through El Paso) is the fact that it runs through El Paso.  Which means there are lots of road signs for El Paso.  Why would that be a problem, you ask?  Because of earworms.

Earmworms are songs you just can’t get out of your head.  Endless repetitions of even the best tunes and lyrics are guaranteed no-fun after the 50th loop.  I happen to like fairly complicated songs, and usually only learn some of the words so it’ll be a chorus or at most one or two verses firmly lodged in my brain.  In this case, it was "El Paso", by Marty Robbins.  It’s a beautiful melody, a classic western theme, and far too catchy for me.

Every time I saw a sign for El Paso there went Marty, warbling away about his hapless lovesick cowboy and his very bad end.  But wait: there’s more!  Since I don’t learn songs all that well, about the 30th time or so another complicated melodic tune (that I know about half of) supplanted Marty with a Viking theme.  It turns out that the words to “Song of the Shield-wall”, by Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider, scan very well to the tune of “El Paso”, with only minor tweaks.

Click on the links at your own risk; I’m not responsible if you find yourself singing of Saxons in the Old West!
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Crossing the desert Southwest

I hope everyone had a great holiday season! Ours was wonderful; in December, after escaping the winter weather in Texas, we gift-shopped across New Mexico and Arizona. We had a pleasant stay in Mesilla, where we met the Pancho-clad Santa complete with reindeer-burro (picture posted earlier) after a tree-lighting ceremony in the old town square.

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Getting out of (bad) weather

Ahh, the vagaries of life on the road, aka fleeing the storm.

We spent Thanksgiving in Arkansas with my MIL; it was a nice long weekend with family members arriving at staggered intervals as their schedules permitted.  Sunday we got back on the road after roughly two weeks in Hot Springs, headed for Sherman, TX, on the first stage of our long drive to California for the Escapees’ Rose Parade HOP.

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Texas now, New Mexico before

Pelicans, seagulls, waterfowl

I’m sitting outside this afternoon, watching the first fire we’ve been able to have in what seems like years. I looked over our camping calendar and it has been over a year; the last time we were in a campground that would allow fires at all, there were burn bans in effect pretty much everywhere we went. At the moment we’re taking a rest day in Texarkana at Clear Spring Park, a Corps of Engineers park on Wright-Patman Lake, south and west of the city.

It’s been a pretty day, overcast and a bit chill, but still warm enough to sit out with the fire and watch the birds on the lake. Earlier today we watched large flocks of dark-colored waterfowl (ducks or coots, I’m not sure which) who were apparently travelling with flocks of white pelicans, as they swooped and swam to and fro across the lake. All of them were in constant motion, landing on the water for a few minutes then taking off again and landing in a different area, and flocks of seagulls swirled above them.

We’re on our way to Arkansas to visit family, and from there we’ll be heading south to Florida in March and April. On our way east from California, we got to do some touring in New Mexico, spending a few days on the western side of the state to visit White Sands National Monument, and then crossing the state for a few more on the eastern side to see Carlsbad Caverns.

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30's Stars Preliminary Layout

Preliminary Layout

I’m very happy to be back on the road, but with resuming our travels the quiltmaking has slowed down some. Still, all but two of the whole blocks are done for the 30’s Stars quilt! I laid out all the blocks and put together a rough preliminary layout so folks could see where this is headed. (Click on the photo to open it in my Flickr account at a somewhat larger size, if you like.)

Next step is finishing the last two full-sized border blocks; then I think I’ll swap to hand-work for a few days. We’ll be touring National Parks in New Mexico for the next week or so, so most of my time will be given to that. And in the evenings I’d really like to finish binding the log cabin quilt that has been waiting patiently for completion since November. That’ll be a nice, warm, low-stress project.

Check out what everyone else is laying out and planning up, on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday!