Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Hello! I regret to inform you, that while I was looking up the formal definition (well, wiki definition) of kiwiana, my very first - ever - blog post, deleted.  Grrr!    Thus I will leave you with this definition of 'kiwiana' to familiarize yourself with, if you are unfamiliar, as I shall probably use it in a future post :

Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand's heritage, especially from around the middle of the 20th century that are seen as representing iconic Kiwi elements. These "quirky things that contribute to a sense of nationhood"[1] include both genuine cultural icons andkitsch.

My next 1000 words are this image :
I'll write about why we are not going to France with TJ next time!

New Mexico Air and my midlife crisis

I guess this being a blog based on our travels it is compulsory to have an entry on air transit.  Also mandatory, at least from us losalamites, is a post about the newest addition to our local travel options, New Mexico Air and its glorious 20 min. flight from LAM to ABQ.  So here's the obligatory post.

Wow!  What an amazing little flight.  Load up the 9 seater, spin the prop, and hope you leave the ground before the ground leaves you.  To be clear, the Los Alamos airport is just a wee thing perched on the edge of cliff at the east edge of the main townsite mesa.  For all the years that I've been coming here (first as a visitor then as a resident) I've always thought about what it might be like to fly in and out of that little airstrip.  Now I've at least done the latter; in a few months I'll complete the round trip.  The verdict, well I've already given it - Wow!  Two thumbs and a giant grin way up.

I love to fly.  Always have.  I even look forward to trips just for the flying and the airports.  Yeah, that's probably a bit strange but I have to admit that I even like the airports.  Maybe because I know that it means soon I'll be in the air.  Whatever the reason, I'm just satisfied with a trip now and then to get me off the ground. 

This brings my thoughts to something I've been contemplating for some time - flying lessons.  This isn't just a passing fancy but more of a return to a youthful goal.  I remember spending hours pouring over aviation books, being able to identify planes from any era and knowing all their technical specs.  I even dreamed of being a pilot and joining the Air Force - at least until I realized I didn't like being ordered around and forced to follow someone elses arbitrary rules, that is.  Now that I've hit 40 and accomplished most of my life goals (wonderful family, check; Ph.D., check; lived abroad, check check check; speak a second language, uh well I did say most of my goals), I've been thinking back to those days and how important that was to me back then.  Why shouldn't it be important to me again.  This has occupied my thoughts for more than a year now and I've even been voicing it for several months.  I think it may be getting to be time to do something about it, though to be fair I really owe Kay her remodel before I pursue anything like this.  Until then I can still dream - and fly NM Air whenever possible.

Maybe that's what some might define to be a midlife crisis, though I don't feel in crisis.  I feel invigorated, and all because of a little 20 min. flight in a single engine puddle jumper ... which brings me back to New Mexico Air.

I expected the flight to be a bit bumpy, being at 4pm and around the time of thunderstorms this time of year.  It wasn't too bad in the end.  No signs of thunder and lightning and just a bit of rough air as we leapt over the cliff edge.  Pretty exciting really.  As soon as we went airborne I felt the grin creep onto my face and had sore cheeks by the time we landed. 

The views were spectacular.  I've posted a couple of pics here as taken from the window, but they don't do it justice.  You really need to experience it and see it for yourself.  With that being said, I hope all of my fellow losalamites will be taking this to ABQ for all their travels and  avoiding the 2 hour drive.  There were only 3 of us on the plane, bare minimum (from what I've heard) to keep this little airline in business.  I worry that once the subsidies run out this option will cease to exist, thus condemning me to the monotonous 2 hour drive and denying me the joy flight.  In which case I might just need to take those flying lessons.

For another review of the LAM to ABQ New Mexico Air flight read my friend's blog, Moscaline (  It also has a lot more photos.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All packed up with one place to go

And so it begins.  Tomorrow I will board the tiny plane from LAM to ABQ.  A whopping 20 min. flight.  Beats the 2 hour drive, though I'm told the late afternoon flight that I'm on can get a bit exciting, especially this time of year.

For those of you that have no idea what we've been up to, or what exactly "begins" tomorrow, let me 'splain ... no, there is too much.  Let me sum up. (Yes, I typed that with a Spanish accent)

I've taken a visiting professor/researcher position at two prominent scientific institutes in France (L'Institut du Physique du Globe du Paris, and L'Institut Langevin) for the next 5 months.   I leave tomorrow.  In the mean time Kay and the kids have gone to NZ for the same time.  They left last week.  We regroup back here in New Mexico for Christmas, just in time to get in some good Taos skiing.

Since NZ and France are essentially at opposite points on the globe, daily skypeing and phone calls will be logistically difficult.  Thus "Half a World Away" was born.  A way for us to keep up on what is happening on the other side of the Earth and let family and friends follow our adventures if they wish.

Welcome to our lives and feel free to comment when the mood strikes you.

Wish us luck,