Friday, May 31, 2019

Home again, home again, jiggity jump

I left Albuquerque for home on Tuesday.  Early flight out with a layover at Dallas Love, to Hobby and home.  I’m always sad when I leave – miss my child and grandchildren before I’m on the plane.  But, I’m also always glad to be home, with my own ‘stuff’ and bed. 

In general, I don’t mind travel.  Did enough during the business years that it’s just something you have to accept and deal.  But, things have improved in many places with computerized kiosks.  Actually makes it easy and fast to check any suitcase.  I always check my suitcase.  First of all, I usually have a too big bag and secondly, I’m not tall enough to get it into/out of the overhead storage area.

Of course, I didn’t get a PreTSA boarding pass.  First stop, of course, is where they check your boarding pass and ID.  The guard looked at my driver’s license, looked at me, looked at the DL, looked at me, looked at the DL, looked at me.  OK, ok, that picture was taken nine years ago shortly after my husband died and in the realm of bad pictures, it is terrible.  Just wait until I start using my passport – that picture was taken 20 years ago!

Security is just about the only Disneyland line left at airports.  Lord you just about have unpack any carry-on just to get through.  Since I’m not yet old enough to qualify for the no shoe removal, those came off too.  Ugh.  So, with the injury to my foot, I tend to limp and favor the left one some when walking barefoot.  This seemed to upset the TSA guards (sentries, bouncers, watchers) and I was motioned to stand aside.  A little tubby woman told me she was going to pat down my left knee to ankle.  Was it sore?  Yes, replied I, it is.  Oh – well could she pat it down.  Whatever.  Honestly – I’m a little short 71 year old lady wearing jeans and a tee shirt.  I went through the “feet spread apart, hands over my head” xray machine.  I do not understand what they thought they’d find in a pat down.  (whine, whine, whine)

The flights were uneventful and I got good seats both legs.  My sister met me and we came to big W.  Stopped at her house to pick up the kitties and . . .  that’s a whole other story.

I was fearful I would have a rainforest in the back yard.  And, . . . . I did/do.  However, when I tried to go out the back door, this lil’ lady was blocking the way.  And, she is as big as a half dollar!  I had to sweep her down and outside.

Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear . . . . Grass up over my ankles, all my herbs tall as an elephants eye, every shrub tripled in size, the wisteria grabbing everything close, weeds EVERYWHERE! 

You can hardly see my little cowboy guy!

And, it’s hot.  Hot and humid.  Very humid.  Like 90% at 7am, humid.  And HOT!

Ahhhh – good to be home.

31 May 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Final Days

On Sunday, Denise and I went to the Bosque.  Now, in case you’re from a part of the world that doesn’t know what a bosque is (like me), here you go . . . .

A bosque is a type of forest found along the “riparian flood plains of stream and river banks” (t’was it here, I’d call it marshy land) in the southwestern United States.  The word bosque = the Spanish word for woodlands.

The most significant bosque in the US is the 300-mile area along the middle Rio Grande in New Mexico that extends from Santa Fe south to El Paso, Texas.
Desert Willow
 The forest itself consists mostly of Rio Grande Cottonwood Trees along with Mesquite, Desert Willow, and Desert Olive trees.  Rio Grande cottonwoods have been growing in the bosque for more than a million years.  They reproduce by seed which are carried through the air by white cottony tufts.  And, that day, the seeds were flying everywhere!

There’s also a wide variety of shrubs and grasses like desert hackberry, blue palo verde, graythorn, Mexican elder, virgin's bower, and Indian root.

Most of our walk was along the Paseo del Bosque Trail – a designated path for bikers, runners, and walkers about 16 miles alongside the forest on one side and Tingley Beach on the other.  There are many paths through the forest itself and we walked down to the mighty Rio Grande.  Walking along the Paseo del Bosque was full of people.  Bikers, as they approach, are supposed to shout out – “Passing on the left, on the left”.  We were passed by a family lead by two young girls that gave us plenty of warning.  Then, there were also the jerks on their racing bikes that just swerved around without warning. 
The Rio Grande
 On the other side of the path is Tingley Beach, an area with a large fishing lake, sandy beaches, picnic tables, flower beds, and an event venue. 

Mornings in Albuquerque are still very cool so the walk along the bosque was really nice. 

Bosque trails beckon
The way to thoughtful silence
Our sanctuary
Lee Mann

30 May 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Rinconada Canyon

Saturday, Denise and I went the Petroglyph National Monument.  It’s a 7200 acre national park that includes three canyons filled with 800+ petroglyph.  There are three canyons you can hike.  We chose Rinconada Canyon.  It’s a 2.2-mile loop with over 300 petroglyphs.  And, it’s all uphill.  The trail is rated East to Moderate (hahahahaha) and it’s ALL UPHILL!  Also, as a flatlander, I can say, there is little oxygen there!

Archaeologists have determined the designs and symbols carved on the volcanic rocks by ancestral Puebloans and Spanish settlers date from 400 to 700 years ago.  Pueblo elders believe the images are as old as time. They also believe that the petroglyphs choose when and to whom they reveal themselves.  Yes, I think that’s true.  A couple in front of us had trouble seeing them.  Of course, it’s impossible to get up close.  First of all, the area is rocky and would include some serious scrambling but mainly because, I suspect, that humans in general are not trustworthy enough to not deface them in one way or another.  So, if you ever go, you might want to bring binoculars to see up close and personal.

The images include human-like figures, concentric circles/spirals, animal figures, and geometric designs.  Many Southwest Indians are able to claim cultural relationships to past inhabitants of this area because they recognize the images as having deep cultural and spiritual significance.

A petroglyph is an image that is carved into a rock (vs pictograph which is a drawing or painting on the rock).  These were probably made using two stones; a “hammer and chisel” sort of thing that gave the artist the ability to peck images with detail.

The Spanish arrived in this are in the early 1500’s and they also left petroglyphs.

Probably done by shepherds

Religious crosses

As with any hiking in this area – remember you are in high desert.  It’s hot and dry.  Carry water and drink often.  Wear a hat as there is no shade at all.  Also, wear good walking shoes.  The first half of the trail is in soft sand so sandals would be uncomfortable at best.  Through out the walk there are signs to stay on the path.  The volcanic rock is fragile and the surrounding area is steep.  Plus, there are signs warning to watch for rattlesnakes.

26 May 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

Land of Enchantment . . . . . “Crescit Eundo” part 2

My daughter lives in the southeast part of Albuquerque.

3 dogs in the sun.  Looks like 2 dogs and 
a cat but really, Kevin would rather hang
with Rose and Iris, so 3 dogs.

It’s a nice area and every morning and evening I try to get out and walk a couple miles.  During those walks I find all kinds of interesting plants that I know I can’t grow at home but want to!

 Forsythia – while I have grown it at home
it needs more cold weather than we have and
it does NOT get to be 6+ ft tall like these!

I don’t know – it’s a shrub.  The blooms start as 
a little white flower then pops into these pink
fuzzy things

Lavender – omg – this entire front yard is a
lavender field and the bushes are 3½ ft tall
and about to burst into bloom!

Cherry trees and the owner
is letting them FALL ON THE GROUND.

Today I walked a different direction and saw this piece of yard art.  Very cool.

I keep reading from others about the strange weather everyone is having.  Here too.  Now, I’ve been to Albuquerque in the spring.  Temps tend to be cooler than home but still shorts and tee’s weather.  Last week, the temperatures dropped alarmingly.  I had to borrow a coat for my morning walk!  The temp never got higher than 51°!  The heat in the house came on!  One day we got up to see the mountains covered with snow – snow, in May!  I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.  Then, yesterday while Charlotte and I were out, the wind started up, blowing about 30 mph.  It was like walking in a wind tunnel. 

My daughter gave me a Fitbit to help track my exercise.  It thought I had walked up 9 flights of stairs by the time we got back home after windy walking.  The Fitbit is a fun thing.  It counts steps and turns them into miles (2.37 so far today), monitors my heart beat (66 bpm), number of calories burned (736), how I slept (restless), and a few other things.  I like that it tells me how much exercise I’m getting – makes me feel less of a couch potato.  Plus it buzzes me when I've been sitting too long.  (Time to take a stroll - try for 275 steps!)

Kirtland AFB is also in the SE part of Albuquerque and each morning at 7am, reveille sounds with a bugle call followed by the playing of “To the Colors.” which signifies the start of the duty day.  Then, at 5 p.m., retreat is sounded, followed by the National Anthem, signaling the end of the official duty day.  I know this because I can hear it from her back yard.  Pretty cool actually. 

Last weekend, Kirtland AFB had an air show starring the Thunderbirds.  We didn’t have to go because we could just sit on the patio and watch the planes as they flew over.  Those guys are really loud and it's just a little scary to watch.  

 Look close to see the jets

I think tomorrow we’re going to either the Petroglyph Monument or the Coronado Historic Site.  I’ll bet the Fitbit thinks I’ve climbed to the top of the Empire State Building by days end tomorrow!

24 May 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Land of Enchantment . . . . . “Crescit Eundo”

It’s been a busy number of days this past week.  I always enjoy being here in Albuquerque.  I get to spend time with my family, see the sights (different ones each time), and do a little shopping that’s not available in Wharton.  It’s a big city without being overwhelming huge with too much of everything – things to do, places to go, crazy drivers, and heavy traffic. 

Whenever I’m here, I have a list of Favorite shops I want to go to, like:

Saturday, my daughter and I went to Favorite – The Downtown Growers Market. 

“…mission is to support and promote local agriculture, small business development and community engagement in order to better the economics, health, wellbeing and education of New Mexico residents and visitors.”
Oh my dear lord – so much to choose from – vegetables of all sorts, herbs, plants, local meat, homemade breads, jelly, peppers, relishes, pickles, eggs, honey, cookies, pies and more.  Plus a section is dedicated for local crafters and artists.  I love it there.  Not all the spring vegetables were available because, here in ABQ, spring has only recently sprung.  Still my daughter bought fresh lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and greenhouse tomatoes.  Me?, well I bought a sweet roll (hey – we all have our priorities).  And, it’s all organic.  I want one just like this close to me!

Abby and I went to another

Favorite  Stranger Factory - a weird, unique, unusual, one of a kind place.  It’s a “postmodern, pop surrealist, lowbrow” art gallery and has some of the coolest stuff – from tarot cards to books to sculpture to original artwork to limited edition prints to just curious objects.  I love it and there are a number of things I always think I just might need.

Today, Charlotte and I went to a couple more.

So, I’m a cross stitcher.  It keeps my hands busy in the evenings (it’s hard to just sit and watch TV).  I start with a blank piece of fabric and have to count placement of each stitch.  I like to think it keeps my brain working also.  Favorite  Stitcher’s Garden.  I go every time I’m here.  And, I make whomever I’m with promise to not let me buy any patterns (I have six 3-ring binders full at home and yes, I have cleaned them out, keeping only the “ones I plan on doing before I die”).

My granddaughter was no help here . . . .

She, in fact, picked this one out.  And, it comes with a story.  The designer went through a Beatles stage and designed patterns based on Beatles songs – Strawberry Fields, Yellow Submarine, Octopus’s Garden, Long and Winding Road.  And had the patterns printed with song lyrics on each – without getting permission to do so.  Oopsie.  Had to have all the patterns reprinted sans lyrics.  Anyway, Strawberry Fields Forever will be the next project. 

Lately, I’ve made changes to some of my patterns by including beadwork.  For that, I need a very small seed bead – 15/0.  And, yes, I can buy them via Amazon or other internet stores but I’d really like to see what I’m getting.  (Telling me I’m getting 8 grams of beads doesn’t work for me – how big is the container for 8 grams?).  Favorite  Beaded Iris.  I like doing beadwork – adds sparkle and depth to a project.

And, finally we went to

Favorite  Figments Tea Shoppe.  I like it there – people are knowledgeable about teas, they have a very nice selection of lose tea blends, and it’s not frighteningly expensive.  Plus, it’s more than just a place to buy tea.  They also have all the tea accruements, specialty vinegars and olive oil, along with – garden stuff, knick-knack stuff, dragons, fairies, wind chimes, crystals, you know – stuff. 

And then, we came home.

23 May 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Tent Rocks

Yesterday we went to The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. 

WOW!  It is an amazing place.  And, if you decide to visit – wear good walking shoes and bring water (there is none to be had once you enter the gates).  If it’s a sunny day, you might want a hat.  And, a camera because there are about a million picture opportunities! 

Tent Rocks isn’t far from Albuquerque but you want to plan to get there early because in the summer, it fills up with visitors quickly.  And, they only allow so many people in the park at a time then, you just have to wait until some leave.

Kasha-Katuwe comes from the traditional Keresan language of the Cochiti Pueblo and means “white cliffs”.  The rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 7 million years ago.  They are made up of ‘tuff’ (a relatively soft, porous rock that is usually formed by the compaction and cementation of volcanic ash or dust) and pumice and a bunch of other things.

It’s on the Pajarito Plateau and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level.  And for those of us that live in places where the highest “hill” is the freeway overpass, that’s waaaay up there!

We took the Tent Rocks Slot Canyon and Cave Loop (about 3.1 miles) which is rated as moderate.  Hahahahahahahahaha – moderate – giggle, giggle.  It’s a loop through a slot canyon with hoodoos (tent rock, fairy chimney, or earth pyramid) and striated rock formations.  And the climb is about 750 ft (seven HUNDRED and fifty) to the top.  And, the whole loop is uphill – even coming back, I swear it was uphill too!  And there are great big rocks you have to crawl over that get bigger on the “down” side. 

Now follows picture dump

The grandgirls were standing
amongst the roots of that tree.

Yep – had to crawl under that

And this.  BTW – that’s not a fallen tree
it’s growing that way

About 3/4th of the way up, the trail turned into a wash filled with very large rocks.  That would mean – spider crawling up to the top.  Hmmmmm – pass.  My oldest granddaughter took on the challenge and went all the way to the top

I do think I might need this tree in my yard.  Looks like an Ent sitting around keeping an eye on everyone.

18 May 2019