November 5, 2013

Pros & Cons

Wendy Connett ~ Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque

The pros and cons of living in New Mexico!  It took me so long yesterday with San Antonio, I'm going to cut to 5 instead of 10.  


1) It's really, really (really!) dry.  We average 9.45 inches of rain for the year.  This includes snowfall as well.  The plants you see in the foreground have evolved to survive on a small amount of moisture. 

2) The winters can be cold ~ not like Wisconsin or Minnesota!  In the winter of 2011, we did have temp's of -7 degrees that lasted for about a week.  Brutal.

3) The seafood sucks.  Nearly everything in the grocery store was farm grown in Thailand and "flash frozen", meaning there's not much flavor left, and you never know the conditions the shrimp (or whatever) were grown in.  We have Red Lobster, Landry's and Pappadeaux ~ ugh.  

4) The winds.  In the spring the wind is awful, blowing from 17 to 35 mph.  Not all the time, but usually every day during April and May (& sometimes June).  This is the main reason I prefer fall in Albuquerque.

5) The "good ol' boy system" ~ I thought I had left this behind when I moved here from Texas, but to my dismay, discovered that New Mexico has a long history of political corruption and nefarious activities by those in political positions.   When I was taking my New Mexico history class, I read about a governor in Santa Fe (prior to becoming a state, during Spanish colonial times) that had indians weaving for him and selling the rugs to pad his own pocket.  I don't think it's improved a lot since then, although I admire Gov. Susanna Martinez.  


1) Hatch green chile.  I love it on eggs, burgers, stew, sandwiches, etc.  There is nothing that says fall is on it's way as the smell of roasting green chile.  I should also mention that New Mexican food is so great, that I no longer enjoy Mexican food from other places anymore.

2) The air and sunshine.  We rarely have bad air days, except in the winter with people burning wood in their fireplaces and wood stoves.  300 sunny days per year?  Love it.....

3) The culture.  As I'm a student of anthropology, I've done some studying and appreciate the history of our Native tribes (Tewa, Apache, Pueblo, Navajo) and the Spanish colonial time periods.  Fascinating.  One of my favorite places to visit is the Acoma Pueblo, or "Sky City".  

4)  Albuqerque is planned on a grid, with the mountains in the east, the plateau on the west.  I rarely become lost.  In San Antonio, the joke is that they "paved the cow paths".  Even after I lived there for 38 years, I would get lost anytime I strayed from the areas I was familiar with.

5) The mountains.  I love living in the foothills, and the view is amazing every day.  I've never lived near mountains before, and have to admit that I love watching the, hiking them, and photographing them.  The Sandia Mountains translates to the "Watermelon Mountains" & here's why:

Courtesy of Bing Images.  I have a suspicion that there was a filter used for this photo.

This is a bit more natural looking.

Ok!  I hope you might think of coming to visit sometime, as it is a beautiful place.  

Love, 365


  1. thank you! can you write about the best and worst places to live, cost of living, crime, safe area's, best and worst laws....and the cost of things...utilities, housing...?? we are thinking of moving from TX to NM but not sure places for jobs...? thanks again

    1. Jobs. I have to be honest & tell you that jobs are hard to find in NM. I suppose it depends on the skills you have. Albuquerque is the largest city, and we have UNM, Intel, Sandia Labs, and a military base. Santa Fe ~lots of government, colleges, but it might be more difficult to find work (but I've never looked for work there, so what do I know?? lol) However, Santa Fe is expensive, both in housing and everything else. When we drive up for a day of "whatever" gas is usually 7-10 cents more per gallon. I don't enjoy driving in Santa Fe either, probably because I get lost so often. Las Cruces is near El Paso, so is hotter (& maybe drier?). These are the 3 places I would recommend for a job hunt. Other than housing, I suppose that the cost of living in ABQ is close to San Antonio.
      Laws? I suppose you would need to be more specific.
      Crime: I bet you've heard of our APD troubles on the news. But compared to SA, I would have to say there is less, simply because there are fewer people. We got lots of crazy folk though. Doesn't every place have it's own flavor of wacky people?
      If I may ~ why are you planning on moving to NM?

  2. Hi Texas girl,

    Just found your blog—love it. My wife and I are retirees and are planning to move to somewhere in the Santa Fe/ABQ area. We are still not 100% convinced about moving from Denver to somewhere in New Mexico, but the idea open space, mountain views, sunsets and less traffic is so inviting. Your list of Pros & Cons for NM is true of Colorado too.

    Here's the issue: The closer to Santa Fe we get, the more expensive the homes are. So, we are looking homes from northern ABQ to northern Santa Fe… east or west of I-25.

    I haven’t completely read your entire blog, so apologies if you answered this before, but:

    • What are the top five areas around of the Santa Fe / ABQ corridor would you move to, if you could relocate and buy a mid- to upper-level home?

    • Have you found crime in New Mexico an issue?

    • Do you found insects or reptiles a problem? (my wife wanted me to say… snakes or bugs??)

    I have tons of questions, but I'll stop here.

    BTW— I too love to cook, eat quality food, explore the SW, have a degree in cultural anthropology, did some work in the Taos Pueblo area in the early 70s, and love a great margarita with friends.

    Thanks for a great blog. Keep it going.

    D and J

    1. Well, hello! What a nice surprise that you found & read my pro & cons that I wrote 2 years ago. I suppose I should revamp the whole shebang although I'm not sure there's much more I could add.
      **House hunting: In my opinion, you should put off purchasing the house for at least 6 months...because:
      I'm rather fond of Abq, so would be biased. We live in the foothills, and there are some really beautiful homes here. If you ask a realtor for homes east of Tramway, you'll find a huge price range of homes available. If you want to spend a lot of time driving, you could search out home in the Abq-Santa Fe corridor. You would be able to enjoy the stars at night if you don't live in the larger cities. If you rent for a bit, it would give you a chance to explore and discover the wacky eccentricities of certain areas. I could go on a bit here...if you want that, let me know.
      **Crime: Well, as I mentioned, we have our own brand of crazies in New Mexico. I moved from San Antonio, so in comparison, I would say I'm not really bothered. I find you are less likely to be a victim if you have some common sense, which I occassionally find lacking in my fellow NM's. Ha ha.
      ***Bugs and other general we have a lot fewer bugs than you have in areas with more moisture. Having said that, I've never seen a larger centipede. And it's armor was rather formidable, requiring multiple hacks with a shovel to kill. I also check the backyard for black widow spiders around the dog house. We did have a bull snake in the backyard, but you don't want to kill those because they keep the mice down (and most importantly aren't poisonous). If you are coming from Colorado, I would feel confident saying it would be similar. We do have coyotes and bobcats and bears (altho they don't come into the city that much). Like I said ~ common sense.
      As a cultural anthropologist, I think you'd be just wacky enough to fit in! Good luck, and let me know if you want more info.

    2. New Mexico is still The Land of Enchantment. When I was a student at UNM, I found these to be true Folks who work for the US government (Sandia Labs, Los Alamos Labs, Kirkland AFB) had good jobs and good salaries. Native American pottery and rug makers were "making bank." And finally, wealthy snowbirds from the east coast bought homes in Taos and Santa Fe. Period. After 10 years in Albuquerque, I moved to the west coast. I miss New Mexico. I go back for some art shows at Tamarind Workshop, Santa Fe Opera, Bernalillo County Wine Festival, Spanish Colonial Market and peace in nature.
      The cast, crew and director of Breaking Bad, all enjoyed Albuquerque. I am New Mexico True. If you live there you will to. As far as Texans visiting Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, I am reminded of the bumper stickers "Ski Lubbock!" New Mexicans are warm, kind hearted and hard working people. I would say New Mexico sooths your soul.

  3. What a stunning location! I really love New Mexico! I just bought a new home in Los Lunas in a D.R. Horton community and 3 years ago when I was first moving here, I never thought I would own a home here and plan on staying! Great post

  4. If this says anything, my mother and I are moving back to New Mexico (left Corrales to try a coastal lifestyle in North Carolina.) It's beautiful in North Carolina - great place to vacation, but New Mexico keeps calling us back. It is the Land of Enchantment.!


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