The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

The Roving Eselpee is dedicated to my firstborn, Nathaniel. He has encouraged me through the years to take more photos. So, armed with a very poor phone camera and even worse eyesight, I am photographing my life. This blog is also dedicated to my mom, Harriet. Family lore has it that I began adventuring as soon as I could walk, and I walked at 9-months. My mom took the photo featured above. While it might not have been her favorite photo of me, she said it was the one that was the most like me, my back. She always supported my love of adventure.

Starting the life of a traveling allied health therapist (SLP) is the initiating event of this blog. I gave 30-days’ notice at my job at Silver City Care Center in Silver City NM, took a job with CompHealth, and August (pictured in my Mimbres backyard below) and I left home. I chose CompHealth because they gave me a deadline to start.

August in Mimbres close up

I loved the Silver City area. It is a diverse, charming town nestled in the Gila wilderness of SW New Mexico. The people wonderful, it has good restaurants, and the best weather in the world (according to Joanne, my next door neighbor). I will miss it. Below is a photo of the Mimbres Valley where I lived for 18-months.

Hike home

I am doing a major downsizing. I started a family – of the five most amazing people ever – in 1980 and settled into an angle of recline. A household can accumulate abundance in 35 years that is relatively easy to part with, but my mother’s death contributed many items of deep sentimental value. Most of it is going. This is a painful labor. I have been in the fetal position deeply focused on the best of NetFlix to find respite from the pain. There were other bad things that I am not yet prepared to talk about contributing to the angst. Doing this while working full time then getting sick (an upper respiratory infection) was possible only because a friend showed up to put the stuff in a yard sale for cancer. I persevered because I believe this is the best decision for me.

The charge for my travel company is to send me to places I’ve never been to explore places I’d like to see. I googled The Most Beautiful Places in USA as a starting point. The placements are typically 13-weeks. I get benefits, some tax-free, and they get (and pay for) the licenses, certificates, etc. needed to work in each state. I completed an astonishing amount of paperwork and agreed to go to Carlsbad NM In addition to Carlsbad Caverns, recommended excursions to Bottomless Lake, Bitter Lakes, and the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park (thanks, Laura) are planned. This is an 8-week placement. Meanwhile, the travel company gets me set up to the first place on my bucket list, the Northwest.

I also intend to do an Immersion program in Guatemala. They have developed a cottage industry of teaching gringos to speak Spanish. The schools include cultural immersion and exposure to the socioeconomic issues of the area. The tuition is more than reasonable and contributes to the schooling of the children in the community.

So, Nate, there will be photos in your future!


Eselpee moves to Carlsbad NM

Eselpee moves to Carlsbad NM

August and I moved to Carlsbad on Sunday and I started work on Monday. It was sooooo coooool that it took me less than 10 minutes to unload the car and move in. The house is modest, but was remodeled in a grandiose way by a novice.

111 S La Huerta

It has nice slick floors (easy to clean, thank heavens!) with wood in the living room and bedroom, tile in bathroom, and slate in kitchen. It has separate shower and bath, and the bath has Jacuzzi jets and steps. The washer and dryer are amazing, but the kitchen sucks. The backyard is grassy and fenced in.

Sunday August and I walked around the ‘hood. We live on La Huerta, which means the orchard. I have a pecan tree in the backyard and most of the roads are named for tree fruits. The Mimbres neighbor, Joanne, who kept me in peaches grew up here. I guess that’s where she learned her skills (see photo of orchard at end of my street at the top). I have a big pecan tree in the backyard.

We also met some of our neighbors. The German Shepherds and Bichon live next door.

German neighbors

And the Poodle, Shiatsus, and Chihuahuas (one would not get in the photo) are on the other side of the German Shepherds.

french neighbors


A little further down was this guy.

buffalo i

He was relatively small, just a baby. He lives with a small, sturdy Morgan gilding who he will eventually dwarf. August did not do well on this walk due to getting many stickers in his feet, so I found a new place. This is the Pecos river, which runs through Carlsbad.

I read a book with Pecos Bill tall stories as a kid; he was like Paul Bunyon. Pecos Bill likely dug the Carlsbad Caverns singlehandedly in an afternoon then plowed the titular furrow (Pecos River) that would be named for him before dinner.

This Riverwalk gives us three 2 – 2.5 mile stickerless walks: the East & West sidewalks and South loop. On South loop, we found the large, grassy dog park and hung out there a bit with a variety of pooches. The first walk, East sidewalk, was a power struggle about how many times we should stop to mark ….everything.

So I got a retractable leash. August took just a few minutes to learn the spatial limits of it so he could lift his leg frequently by walking ahead to start and finishing before I got too far ahead. It’s like a dance. He looks uncomfortable in the photo because he had to stay while I back away from him. Not a happy concept.

August new leash

Work is good. I am just doing evaluations right now, which I like. People seem nice enough, but they think I work too hard. I was trying to meet federally mandated IEP deadlines. They said not to worry, the feds wouldn’t know we missed them until next year. So I leave on time and don’t bring work home. Strange. My boss says this will change, she’s got plenty for me to do.

The cons of living here are mind boggling. The local public radio station plays the usual All Things Considered programs in the morning and evening, but otherwise offers the vintage elevator music that coined the phrase, Muzac (not to be confused with modern shopping music produced by a company named Muzac). This is elevator music from the 60s, the style used for the occasional comic effect in movies. What does this bode for the best educated, most sophisticated citizens of this fine city?? Then there is the grocery store and restaurants. Yikes!

I will race around next week moving my tax home from Mimbres to Phoenix and getting Marley to Kingman, then return to start exploring the greater Carlsbad natural wonders.

Stay tuned!

The Roving Eselpee

The Roving Eselpee

The Journey Begins!


This blog is dedicated to my son, Nate, who has always asked for more photos. My camera is sketchy, eye-sight poor, and I have never been one to take snap shots, but stranger things have happened. It is also dedicated to my mother, Harriet Hammond, who took the official blog photo. While it may not have been her favorite, she said this was the one that was most reminded her of me. From the time I could walk, I liked to go adventuring. And she always let me. 
The plan is to spend about 13 weeks working in each location. My itinerary is a Google list of “The most Beautiful Places in the USA”. I also hope to go to Guatemala for a Spanish Immersion program during the first year. I am doing my first placement in the Carlsbad NM school district with CompHealth - because they gave me  deadline. When things calm down, I will research companies more thoroughly. Several short-listed travel companies advertise that they are “Pet Friendly”, which is a big selling point for my co-pilot, Mr. August.
August in Mimbres close up
Well, before the journey can begin one needs to leave everything behind. I find it very difficult to leave Silver City. It is beautiful with temperate weather and full of wonderful people who I will truly miss.
Hike home
It has also been a struggle trying to organize a complete paradigm shift while working full-time, battling the medical system, and downsizing, but I suppose that is just the nature of the beast. I have so many good reasons to be taking this plunge, but parting with things and beings that have great meaning to me is very painful. 
Dr Ratliff, said he could be my cardiologist long-distance. He can apparently order what I need wherever I am. I should have my PT/INR meter any day now and Dr. Ratliff can help me with anticoagulation. He and his nurse, Jessie, have been really great!
Yesterday was the bittersweet goodbyes to my colleagues. There was food, special treats, and gifts. Faith called me before I was home for just one more farewell piece of paperwork. It was actually a pleasure. I have really enjoyed those I worked with at Silver Care and Lordsburg: in Rehab, Nursing, Activities, Administration, and my Residents. I have learned so much from all – thank you!
My friend, Rebecca, and her husband stopped by today to help me with downsizing. I was shell-shocked and only beginning to recover from an URI, but she was calm and helpful. My memories will go to good causes in her hands. 
I leave in the morning and start work Monday - then actually move to my Phoenix  Tax Home on March 29th(with my roomie, Carrie). I will hopefully then get a driver's license and a new PCP, and then return to Carlsbad (NM). At this point I should be able to see the caverns, Bottomless Lake (thanks, Laura), the Judd Foundation (thanks, Delia), and the smell of oil fields – the smell which transports my neighbor, Joanne, back to her childhood there. If you have more suggestions, post them!
There will be photos, Nate!
Well, I am going to hit "post" and see what this blog looks like...