Category Archives: Travel – New Mexico

A Wonderful Visit

You know you’re getting old when …

…sleeping late, visiting two workshops, and an early dinner totally tires you out!!!

Ok, maybe it’s not just getting old.  Ed woke up in the middle of Tuesday night with acid reflux and was absolutely miserable for about an hour.  Yes, I made a vending machine run about 2:30 am for a Coke and Sprite.  The Coke helped, he said, but I finally asked him to drink as much water as he could stand and that seemed to help a lot.  He fell asleep after that and I let him sleep late Wednesday morning.  I finally woke him at 10:30 because I was bored!  Up!  Up!  Up!  Time to get moving!!!

What happens when you break the toilet tank, pull down the shower curtain, and break the towel rack in the shower?  Yes, that actually happened Wednesday morning.  Ed had soap in his eyes, reached for the wash cloth hanging on the towel rack, and lost his balance.  Surprisingly, he only got a single cut on his back but, by last night, he was definitely sore.  So what happened?  You get a visit from the hotel manager, to see if you need a doctor!  Oh, yes, I’m sure the manager was concerned with any liability the hotel might have, but that would be normal and I would expect it.  Ed assured him that some minor first aid had been needed but I had fixed him up.  While we were out during the afternoon, Maintenance came in and fixed everything.  I was actually amazed.  I was just sure that they would try to move us to a different room but no.

Cousin Doug works with glass and owns a shop where others can come in and use his equipment to design their own work.  We got to watch some of them and then went to his showroom to see not only what they were selling, but also Doug’s personal collection.  That was fun but I think we both were entranced with his salt-water aquarium.  Fish, snails, shrimp, and lots of different kinds of coral filled his tank and he graciously spent a lot of time telling us about everything and answering our questions.

Then it was off to see Cousin Dennis.  He does computer animation and his work is absolutely amazing!  He designs his own characters and gives them personalities but the field is hard to break into apparently, especially when you don’t want to live in Los Angeles!  Still, it was fun watching him creating a face on his computer by “molding” a piece of basic clay and his computer is out of this world, it is so powerful!  24 processors, if you are interested.  Yes, I was amazed but I didn’t drool too much, I don’t think.

Ed in power-lift

We stopped by Stu’s new house after that, just so Ed could take a few more pictures before we left town.  He got them but then had a thrill when Stu’s friend took him up in a power-lift to take pictures from about 50 feet high.  The footprint of the house is impressive but, remember, there are 2 stories above ground and 1 below ground.  That was fun!

New House Footprint

We had a really nice dinner with Stu and Dena last night and I don’t think I’ve talked that much in years.  It was great! 

This afternoon, we flew home and by 7 pm, I was sitting back at my desk.  Stephi, Samantha, and SoLow, collectively known as The Girls, were extremely excited to see us.  I think they missed being in the house more than they missed us but we got lots of hugs and kisses from them all.  Bob and Willow, the goats, just looked at me like “Ok, so where’s the food???”  I haven’t seen Fred the turtle yet but I’m sure he’s sleeping now so I’ll check on him first thing in the morning.

Stu and Dena, thank you so much for a wonderful visit!  We thoroughly enjoy coming back to New Mexico and we are excited about returning when you have the official Open House.  Remember, Segways would be nice additions for guests!  LOL  Love you both!

Stu and Dena

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Old Towns

Monday morning, we enjoyed sleeping in and then going to Old Town Albuquerque.  Yes, we have been there many times before but it has been a long time for me.  It’s a great place for people-watching and we had to have some New Mexico red or green chili food.  In this case, we had chimichangas at La Hacienda, right on the Plaza.  Boy, were we stuffed!

Ed always looks for a ring here and this trip was no different.  He just didn’t find anything that he liked and he was more concerned with looking for something for me.  “Oh, I like this one, Kay!”  “This would look great on you”  “Don’t you see anything you like???”  My reply was usually negative.  Now, I love New Mexico Indian style jewelry but I just can’t see coming all this way to buy something that looks exactly like something in the next store or booth.  Where was the unusual?  Where were the handmade Indian items made one at a time, with tiny marks and flaws?  Not in the stores that I could find, that’s for sure! 

Kay in Old Town Albuquerque
Monday night, I begged off so Ed and Stu went out to dinner by themselves.  I’m sure both of them talked so much, catching up on their lives that I don’t think they missed me that much, although they would both say they did.  My stomach was actually a little queasy so I thoroughly enjoyed the evening relaxing.
 
Tuesday morning, I was up at 5:30 am. 

Cousins enjoying the balloons

YES!  At 5:30 am on our vacation, we were up and had breakfast at 7 and then were on the move to Stu’s new house.  We sat on the balcony and watched the balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  Needless to say, Stu is close to the Festival grounds and usually the wind is blowing just right and they come right over his house.  In years past, some of the balloons have even landed on Stu’s property, but unfortunately, this day they headed west instead.  We did get to catch the locals making their own ascension and they were gorgeous.

Cousins in the foreground; Observatory in turquoise

Then it was off to Santa Fe via scenic Highway 14, the Turquoise Trail.  This is something that Ed had never done and it is a beautiful drive through the mountains.  Once in Santa Fe, I think we stayed lost.  We had both been there many times before and were relying on memory to find the Plaza.  Of course, we had no map.  This was not a business trip and we had no schedule.  What did we need a map for???  Yeah, we just called Ed’s cousin Dottie and she met us for lunch at Museum Hill.  It was nice to see the museum complex but we had been aiming for the Plaza and were not anywhere close.
 
Afterwards, she took us to the gallery on Canyon Road where her paintings are going to be displayed and sold.  I believe they are already talking about a one woman show but that will be in the future sometime.  It was a very nice gallery, with all kinds of art, including jewelry.  Now this was more of what I was looking for, more freeform.  There was no way I was going to buy any of it ($7,200 for a necklace is a little out of my budget!)  but it was beautiful.
Kay and Dottie at Sugarman Gallery on Canyon Rd in Santa Fe

That night, Stu came and got us and we had dinner with his two sons and a friend of theirs at a little Italian restaurant.  I know, I know, this is New Mexico.  Who comes to New Mexico and eats Italian?  The locals do, that’s who!  Out of 6 people, I’m not sure who talked the most but we all were very vocal and had a blast.

We had an interesting Tuesday night-Wednesday morning but that’s a story for tomorrow.  I will tell you that, if you wake up in the middle of the night with acid reflux, try drinking an entire glass of water and sitting up in bed.  It helps, believe me!  Drinking a Coke might sear it so it doesn’t hurt quite so much but with the citrus acid, I don’t think it helps in the long run.

A Castle in Albuquerque

Ed’s cousin Stu has spent years designing and building his new house.  If you saw the detail and love that he has put into this home, you would understand why it has taken so long.  It will be well worth the wait but I really think he has just been having a blast putting the whole thing together.   

Front of House

 

 This is the front of the house.  The wall of windows will showcase a tropical garden just inside and the round tower contains a beautiful staircase.  I’ll show you both later in this post.  The door in-between the two is where the front door will be but that has not been finished yet.  The thick African wood for it arrived yesterday so they should be starting that soon. 

Ceiling of Staircase

 

The staircase circular room is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen and it’s not finished.  I just kept staring at this ceiling!  I have only seen one other like it and that was in Stu’s sister’s home in Santa Fe and both were designed by Stu.  

Stu and Kay at Top of Staircase

 

But this one has a staircase, just as beautiful, from the second floor all the way to the dungeon.  You get a perception of it’s size with us in this picture.  

Looking Down from the Top of the Staircase

 

At the bottom of the staircase, he is thinking of putting a pool table and for some reason, it just fits in that area. 

Once you are at the bottom and go past the pool table, you enter the dungeon.  Think I’m kidding???  Look!  

The Dungeon Door

This is the door and really works by pulling a chain.  Inside the dungeon, you would find not only a bar and party room, you find my favorite room, the studio.  Yes, this would be a music studio, complete with a small soundproof room for the vocalist.  I am in love!!! 

Tropical Garden

Back upstairs, I was amazed at the tropical garden that he has designed.    See the floor underneath these windows?  That is lots of base, topped with 6 feet of a special soil.  I’m looking forward to seeing the palm trees he plants in this room!  AND he is installing special equipment to de-mineralize the water so that he gets no water stains on the walls.  The walls, by the way, are created to look like lava rock and, believe me, it does look realistic.  Black walls seem stark now, but behind palm trees and beautiful, colorful tropical flowers, the black walls will really make the colors pop. 

Living Room

Directly above the dungeon, in the living room, now you can see the top of the dungeon door, but it will be hidden behind a wall when they finish this room.  

There is so much more to this house, including a 3 car garage plus a berth for an RV.  Bedrooms, office space, computer room, outdoor pool, and observatory are still just scratching the service.  I’ll show a picture tomorrow of the observatory but you will only see the outside of it.  Everything is computer controlled so from the computer room, you can control the observatory doors and the telescope.  

Another part that I really liked in this house is the ramp that goes between floors.  It is the length of and behind the tropical garden.  When I go back, I’m going to ask for a Segway to go between floors.  Think how much fun THAT would be! 

Yesterday, we went to Old Town Albuquerque and today we saw Old Town Santa Fe.  More on those tomorrow. 

Vacation

You know, sometimes a vacation is stressful because of all the frantic preparation beforehand or because you’re trying to see as much as possible in a limited time or because you are anticipating all of the catch-up work upon your return. The river barge trip is going to be active and fun and hectic and we will be gone 17 days. I have no clue what kind of stress I’ll have but that’s next year. This week, we are in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have no deadlines, no schedules, no stress. A vacation much-needed and appreciated. Why didn’t I find this type of vacation years ago???

It did, however, start off stressful. Ah, Sunday afternoon in Argyle. Now how could that be stressful, right? We’re finally heading off to the airport, grinning from ear to ear, when we saw what looked like the beginning of a funeral procession. Did some city lose a police officer or something? The procession was led by policemen on motorcycles. They were followed by more motorcycles, lots of motorcycles, all with their lights on and it seemed to go on forever. It finally dawned on me that the hearse had been missing, so unless the body was sitting upright behind or beside a live person, this was NOT a funeral. Then why did they all have their lights on? Why did the initial police officers have their red and white flashers on? Why were vehicles pulled over to the side of the road while they were passing? Gee, why were some of the riders waving at us and grinning?

The procession couldn’t take that long, for goodness’ sake, could it? We were all stopped to watch and no one had the guts to move. It was not a funeral! There were MILES of motorcycles. Where were these people going??? If you know, please post a comment because I am totally befuddled on this one. I finally gave up and thought “Y’all can be sheep but I have a flight to catch!” We passed lots of people still watching and just zoomed on by. Some of them caught up to us on down the road but by then, I was hooking’ it!

Yes, we made our flight with time to spare. With all the miles that I accumulated last year, I made Executive Platinum this year on American Airlines. I also hit the Million Mile mark last year on American. What really makes this nice is the upgrade to First Class whenever available. Executive Platinum members get first dibs on those unsold First Class seats. (Grin) Yes, we were upgraded to First Class and we’ve already been upgraded to First on the return flight.

Last night, we had a wonderful, leisurely dinner with Ed’s cousin and his girlfriend but, prior to that, he gave us a tour of his new home.  More on that tomorrow, with pictures, I hope.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but I will tell you that there are 17,000 square feet in this wondrous and amazing house!  I am in love!